Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Horror!

I just got back from my practice session over at the clubhouse. My sessions usually run the same – they start off with a couple of racks of straight shots, corner to corner, long-ways across the table. After I start poking them in (and, unfortunately, I do mean poke) with regularity, I switch to angle shots, placing the object ball just off the rail three diamonds up table from the corner (one diamond south of the side). After each shot, the object ball is placed back in this spot. I start this progression with the cue ball along the opposite side rail, one diamond north of the side. If I make the shot first try, I move the cue ball north one diamond and progress around the corner and along the end rail one diamond at a time till I’m shooting a straight in shot. If I miss along the way, my penalty is that I can’t move on until I make two in a row. When I complete this, I reverse everything so that I’m cutting in the opposite direction to the opposite corner… if you know what I mean. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m going to make up a chart and keep track of how many shots it takes me from day to day so that I can see if I’m actually improving, but I forget about it almost immediately. Next, I shoot some spot shots from both sides of the table varying the location of the cue ball. Then, I start playing nine ball by myself, setting the balls up in different formations, or just throwing them out on the table at random.

Of course, the most important part of my session involves practicing the shot or shots that caused me to be eliminated from the previous night’s tournament. Oh, God, I hate to think about it. I beat some good players last night but wound up missing an easy shot along the rail that would have left me with a straight in shot on the eight in the side. The Horror! Unfortunately this kind of thing is all too common. I’m pretty sure the problem lies with my stroke or with that series of spastic gyrations I call a stroke. I’m determined to make my stroke better. Today, I consciously exaggerated my follow through on every shot. I think I’m on the right track.

Anyway, my good buddy, JP, is moving back to Tennessee in a couple weeks and with him gone I can’t see myself going to very many bar tourneys anymore. I played with the A-players at DJs in New Port Richey this past Thursday. I didn’t expect much of myself and wasn’t disappointed. The eventual winner blitzed me in my first match. And after jumping to a 2-0 lead in my second match, I made the mistake of waking my opponent up and paid the price as he came back and ran three games on me. Still, I had more fun than I would have at the bar tournament down the road. Who knows, someday I might actually win a match.

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