Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Books and balls

I suppose it's time for a pool update! I haven't played much in the last couple of months. Our team was on hiatus for a while, and then I switched teams, and now the new league has started back up again.

First off, we're playing at a new pool place that is MUCH closer to where I live. (SUPER! No more driving 45 minutes out and another 45 minutes back every week! The new place is maybe 25 minutes from the house. It is sooooo much easier.)

Secondly, the break doesn't appear to have affected my (albeit cruddy) game very much. We played 9-ball on Monday night, and while I didn't win any games (because, well, I didn't hit the 9 in), I made some balls in every game. It reallyreally helped that the guy I was playing wasn't crazy-better than me. Nothing demoralizes you more than playing against someone who can cream you without even half trying.

Oh, and I have a new (to me) cue!! One of the guys on my old team GAVE it to me! Now, I ask you, do folks get much nicer? It is really pretty, too. He gave me a case and everything. I sent him a sweet note and a $50 gift certificate to Bravo! My unofficial pool coach tells me that this is perhaps the first thank you note written in the world of pool. If that's so, then pool players should have better manners.

I have also just finished reading another pool book - The GosPool of Bank Pool. The book has alot of racy anecdotes about pool legends, as well as some amazingly helpful diagrams and formulas about how to determine where to bank the ball to get it in the pocket. Now, I'm no math major, but there's at least one formula in the book that already makes sense, so I am very hopeful here.

As for the racy stories, let's just say that coach's insistence that career pool players are not seedy folks is getting kinda flimsy. There's a section on who used to be best at skipping out on restaurant and hotel checks. A story about a hustler who carried three loaded guns on his person at all times. Another section on a talented player who was in a mental institution. (His friends would break him out, take him around to all the pool halls and bet on him, winning considerable money, and then throw him back over the institution wall when they were done with him. Classy, no?) And numerous (numerous) tales of what the author calls "lemons" - con jobs that make easy marks think other players are weaker than them. Then, of course, the "weaker" player beats them out of everything they are willing to bet.

Like I said, quality people, right? Doesn't sound like they had much reason to thank their colleagues!


A. Boyd C. said...

Part of the appeal in pool is that there's two games going on. One on the table involving balls and pockets and the other between the minds of the players.

I've long suspected that some of the stories about abusing neophyte "cons" was really just bravado to psych out other players on their own level--although I'm sure there have been an awful lot of rubes going home with empty pockets along the way.

You would think there'd be no gender gap in pool, but I notice that the championships still have men's games and women's games.

For years the same was true with chess, only they took it a step further. There simply were no women in championship chess. I don't know what they did to them to prevent them from competing but they might as well have held the championship chess games in the boy's locker room since there wasn't a woman in sight.

Nicole Bradshaw said...

I like that comment about the two games. Isn't it true of every competitive endeavor? Folks always seem to be trying to psych the other guy out. I was never much for that. If I'm playing a game, dangit, I'd rather just have fun and enjoy myself. When it comes to stuff like that, I'm not a competitive person.

Grades or work, though, and you had better watch out. I'm good-naturedly fierce about such things. I won't try to undermine you, but I'll do everything I can to outperform you.

Sandi said...

About the gender gap ... that could work in your favor if you ever decide to go on the road. ;)

A. Boyd C. said...

I'd like to say these guys might respect you if you out-played them on the psychological level, but with you being a girl and all they might not see it that way.

Still, it might be fun to experiment on that level, just to see what happens.

Nicole Bradshaw said...

Watch out pool world? Somehow, I doubt they have anything to worry about when it comes to me!