I hit up the pool room early yesterday evening with the longing to play on the nice big table with a nice cue ball.  It was so nice.  After focusing on bar tables for the last week, I really needed the big expanse with a good rolling CB.  I actually used my measle ball for a bit and while it’s less than half a millimeter larger than the balls they have, it doesn’t bother me at all.  Anyway, my league captain came, Mike, in and we decided to play a little one pocket as he’s just recently been introduced to the game through another teammate (John) and I’ve been watching an awful lot of it lately. (THANK YOU OnTheRailTV!) We didn’t even finish one game before John came in and joined up.  He and Mike usually play for $10/rack and he gives me Mike a 12-7 spot.  I asked about playing Widow 1P or maybe just alternating, but John had no idea what kind of spot to give me and I don’t think he really wanted to play me anyway. I believe he truly thinks I have no business being at the table.  He’s been playing for 30 some-odd years, knows everyone in town, played in all the big tournies, he’s been around the block. He could be such a great source of information, but is purely of what I call ‘the old school’ pool players.  Honestly, I don’t really like playing him either.  He’s one of these guys that just *always knows* the right answer and he’ll tell you that answer… even if you’re playing on a different table.  Now what he says is correct, no doubt about it, but he delivers that information with all the tact of Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino.  He once coached me with a shot that, according to him, “your girlfriend could make” … it was an off-angle follow-in-combo on a bartable.  Annnnyway. I would like to play with him more because I can learn things, but it’s really frustrating any time I take more than 2 seconds to look over the table he barks “what the F are you waiting for… [insert perfect shot here] is the only shot you have”.  One day, we’ll play and I’ll be able to completely block out his barking and I’ll win.  Not anytime soon though.  He’s an 8, I’m a 5 (according to 8-ball league ratings); I still have to beat Mike, a 7.

So… sorry, tangent.  Anyway, it turns out it was a one-pocket evening as I played with the guy working the counter on the next table over while M and J played.  Went 2 and 1 with him before it got too busy for him to play and work.  Then my stepdaughter, XY, came up and we played some 9-ball.  mmm I missed 9-ball. Just 9 balls on a giant table… the game seemed a lot easier last night for some reason. I guess my 8-ball and one-pocket and straight pool mind could formulate routes better with fewer balls/options to work out.  When she left, John was about to leave so Mike and I played a single rack of 1P before he left.  I was not thinking about the game at all and lost horribly.

Then another regular, Ray, came over and asked if I wanted to play some cheap 1P. I waffled for a second then said, “eh, what the hell, sure.”  I figure it’ll be a good lesson for 5 or 10 bucks.  Now, I know this guy plays one of the owners (Larry) at 1p – and I’ve seen Larry shoot 1p; he’s deadly.  I thought for sure I’d lose 8-0 or maybe 8-1.  I thought about asking for a spot, but I wanted to see just what this guy did, because I heard him and Larry talking and he was asking for a giant spot from him, so… hrmm. 

Anyway, the first game I made a lot of errors, and he didn’t make any.  I lost 8-2, I think.  The 2nd rack I played a lot smarter, had some, what I would call, excellent break-outs from his pocket, took a few risky shots, but always with the result of getting the CB to his rail or the bottom rail.  I still had a few mishaps, scratched twice and made one of his balls trying to execute a 2-ball clear-out.  Still, I won that rack 8-3.  We were even and his brother had to go, so we ended it there.  But, I feel like I played really well, recognized that I was “in” the game and was able to keep my mental focus, keep my mind from wandering or talking too much.  Now, I’m not so naive to think that we’re even 1p players… he missed a lot of shots he shouldn’t have.  If he had made those, he probably would’ve won the rack, but I was getting the rolls, so…

I’ll close this with a little question for the cosmos: I can still count, almost, the number of games I’ve played of 1p.  Yet, for some reason, it’s the only game I’ve ever put money on (scratch one time with a teammate for BB 9-B). I always lose the first game and win the 2nd.  So, I end up breaking even each time.  I’m happy about it, but it’s just strange to me that I would ever win a game of 1p, considering.  Maybe the universe is telling me I should be a 1P player?