Today’s pool hall adventure was something pretty awesome. I get there and the parking lot is near full. I walk in and most of the tables are taken; and the people I’d usually play with are busy. So, I grab a tray of balls and find a table. I haven’t even put my stick together when Kevin (an instructor who hangs out there and to whom I’ve talked only a handful of times before) asks if I’d like to play some 9-ball. Of course I accept! I’m also strangely nervous, but trying to keep it in check. We only got to play 2 games, which he, of course, won – because his student had just arrived for the day. But it was interesting to watch him move around the table. Then Morris showed up and we played the remainder of the day.
Now, I didn’t make any fantastic shots, per se, but I did make three back-cut bank shots – one all the way down the table – and mostly got position. Unfortunately, whenever I miss, most of the time I’d be in position for the next ball – which often meant he was snookered behind some other ball. So: Point for getting position – Negative point for missing the shot. This constant having to fight out thing really got under Morris’ skin and I think it threw his game off. Either he’s miss the object ball, or scratch – sometimes both. The table seemed to have only 2 speeds: too slow and too fast. Getting distance-based position was a real trick, one that neither of us actually got a good grip on all day. Normally, Morris can cut balls with very impressive accuracy, but today for some reason, he was off – to me, it seemed as if he wasn’t accounting for throw, or was just simply out of stroke. Regardless, he let me back to the table frequently and I was lucky enough to only 3 balls to clear to run out. Today was my day to win, it seemed. He, again, commented on my game, which is indeed pretty awesome.
Just before leaving, I heard someone mention a 9-ball tournament next month – now that caught my ear pretty strongly. I will be entering this tournament. It’s November 4th, single elimination. I have discovered a few other key elements to my game I really need to work on – most immediately the thin cuts. I’ve gotten better, but they’re still a gamble for me. I also need to retrain my eye because every time I see a less-than-half-ball hit, I immediately think “bank” – I need to start thinking “cut”. More often than not, a cut shot will offer more positional opportunities than a bank shot will.
I plan on spending a lot of time shooting the next three weeks and really try and work out some issues. I have no delusions of winning the tournament, but I really don’t want to go out the first round.