I suck at poker because I never play. So I suppose I can’t say for sure that I suck at poker. But anything one can be good at without practicing is stupid. Although, I can think of stuff that’s stupid even if one practices it religiously. Anyways. It is my understanding a poker player can produce an advantage by stashing extra cards up his sleeve. When the time comes this player will augment his hand with a choice card, thereby stacking the odds against an opponent. Using this as a metaphor for my situation with my project at Mr. Lee’s I will say I have no more cards up my sleeve. That is, I’m hosed. I’m playing fair from here on out and the odds are certainly not in my favor. Of all the cards a climber may sneak into his hand while sitting across the table from his big project I have played them all. I suffered early-season volume days to set up a strong taper, I committed twenty-something days this season to dialing in beta, weather throughout the year has been extraordinarily good, weather last weekend was the best of the year, I’ve stayed healthy… All this amounted to about 18-inches of progress on Saturday. Now I’m trying to read my project’s tell and I think he’s holding a straight. Not cool, destiny. Now I’m playing even odds. Buddhist Palm WAS against the ropes. I’ve been laying into him with heavy hands for five rounds. He should be coughing blood but he’s whispering at me through his gloves like, “is that all you got?” And, yeah, that’s all I got. Now I’m exactly where I didn’t want to be. The climbing season’s ticking away and I’m locked in a war of attrition. There’s no hail Mary play in the works. The tactic now is to battle every inch between here and chains – the slow fight; the most tedious and miserable way to send.