Last Tuesday the Legends and Champions Tour came through my little town and I took this opportunity to spend some time with 2 of the greatest players the game has known: Johnny Archer and Nick Varner.
I signed up for the private clinic which started at 11am. First up we spent a few hours with Johnny, and he likes to talk. However, he was so very humble and friendly that you forget you’re talking to a multiple world champion after just a few minutes. He’s understanding of everyone’s abilities and is willing to answer every question with honest knowledge. Some questions he received were about the technical side of pool and while he admits it’s neat to know the precise physics of the game, none of it exactly relevant to making the ball. He stresses alignment and cue delivery – everything else is just practice. No aiming systems, no pivoting, just pure and simple “see it – do it” mentality. It was refreshing to hear someone of his stature get away from all the hi-tech hoopla that pool jargon has picked up over the recent years. The game, while being immensely difficult is not really hard to understand. Make this ball hit that ball such that the 2nd ball goes in the hole. That’s about it.
After a few hours with him, we took a break and each played him a rack of 9 ball. I have to admit, it was awkward enough to play him – but even more so after standing around for several hours then having to play. As such, I did my usual… make some nice shots to get on the 9, then dog it. lol I was lucky enough to record the event.
Once everyone had their turn, Nick came over and started his session. He didn’t talk quite as much, and was more about showing us shots and position routes. I’ll have some video about that up in a few days. Nick, like Johnny, was very accessible and eager to answer questions. How many other pros start off a session by asking “Who wants to learn what?” It was a really good experience. At the end of his session, we each played him a rack of 8 ball.
Then we had a break for a few hours before the public exhibition started. The pool hall filled up quite nicely and after the introductions, Johnny Archer played a few racks of 9-ball, explaining his shot choices with positions; then a rack of 8 ball. After that, Nick took the table and did some trickshots. One in particular was, in my opinion, the highlight of the evening. Good thing I caught it on video. 🙂
Finally, to end the evening, Johnny played a top local player, Andy Quinn a race to 7 in 9 ball. It was a very exciting match with some of the best shot making I’ve ever seen – in person. It was cool getting to watch Andy play for real. I’ve only heard of his game and only seen him play once before; bar table 8-ball.
After that was over, Johnny and Nick were available for autographs, pictures, etc (see previous post). All in all, it was an amazing day, and I had a wonderful time. I certainly hope that if any of you get the opportunity to attend one of these events you jump on it. It’s worth the day off just to hear the stories that get told along the way!