At least you’re not dead

November 01, 2013

This is embarrassing, but it must be said.

When I arrived on the Isle of Man Wednesday night, I was exhausted. I’d been on three planes, endured a six-hour layover, and ridden in two taxis. I’d not slept in a bed for a couple of days. But I had to get my PSLive registration card if I wanted to go to the casino to work. This is where I first made an ass of myself.

I stood in line with PokerStars’ frontman Lee Jones and waited for my turn. Jones turned to the man behind me and asked me if I knew who he was. Knowing I should recognize the guy but didn’t, I apologized and said, “No.”

It was Conor Cummins, a motorcycle racer and legend here on the Isle of Man. Jones had been giving Cummins poker lessons, and the racer was about to play a big tournament here.

For those who don’t know, this island is home to the TT, one of the most famous races in the world. It’s dangerous in a way I can’t begin to describe. I knew a bit about it, but the most lasting memory was a video my colleague Rick Dacey showed me a few months ago of a TT racer going terribly out of control and flopping like a rag doll through a field. It was terrifying. I couldn’t believe anyone would risk such grave injury and sure death. This guy in front of me was one of those kinds of guys.

So, I looked up at Cummins and said the first thing that came to my tired mind: “Well, at least you’re not dead.”

Cummins looked at me sort of funny, and I’m not sure, but I might have heard Lee Jones gasp. Whatever I’d said had fallen as flat as a rag doll in a field.

Knowing I was in no shape to try to recover, I wished Cummins luck in the Main Event this week and moved on.

UKIPT_IOM_Velli-86_Conor Cummins.jpg

Conor Cummins playing at the UKIPT Isle of Man event

So, if you will, fast forward to last night. I was having a late dinner with Dacey when the Main Event had finished for the day. I turned to him and said I’d met Conor Cummins, but that my joke about not dying didn’t make the man smile.

Dacey looked at me sideways. “Um, I showed you that video…” he said.

And then, like waking up from a too-long night in the pub, it dawned on me…that video…the one Dacey had shown me so many months ago of a man nearly dying…yes, that was Conor Cummins, a man who will almost certainly endure some form of PTSD for the rest of his life, and a man who I’d cheekily congratulated for not being dead.

You can watch it for yourself here.

Friends, if you need lessons on how to ingratiate yourself with the locals, I suggest you look elsewhere, because my social wipeouts are the kind of things that would make YouTube viewers cringe.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Loading...

Next Story

Loading...