Monday, August 29, 2005

One-Eyed Jack and the Magic Eye Patch

Though I haven’t been posting too much lately, don’t take that to mean I haven’t been shooting pool. I have been. And, I’ve been playing pretty well. Yes, though I’m pushing 60, I am still improving.

Most recently, I came in 4th place, one spot out of the money, at the “A” nine-ball tournament at DJ’s two Thursdays ago. Considering the caliber of some of the players, that’s about as good as I can ever hope to finish. Likewise, I finished third at the big $250 added 8-ball bar tournament at Classic’s. As I predicted several weeks back, the money attracts all kinds of hot shots, one who’s been on the pro tour.

The latest boost in my play has to be credited to the eye patch. I started wearing it around the house a few weeks back hoping it would encourage my dominant eye to be more dominant and thereby eliminate the problem I have zeroing on object ball contact points. It may have helped in this regard, but honestly speaking I forget to put it on most days and therefore haven’t given it a true test. When I wear the patch, my wife calls me One-Eyed Jack.

Anyway, more significant is the fact that I’ve been wearing the patch while practicing my long straight shots. Nothing will point out faulty alignment quicker. When you can start popping in those long straight shots one-eyed, you can be pretty sure you're in line. Hopefully, when you remove the patch the good alignment will carry over to your other shots. It has for me. I was missing a lot of shots and blaming them on my vision. Now, it’s apparent that at least some of those misses were due to bad alignment.

Another thing I’ve been doing involves the use of a small disk (see earlier entry on my aiming device), about the size of a silver dollar. The disk has a single line through its diameter. In order to help me visualize the contact point on the cue ball, I place the disk flat on the table between my bridge hand and the cue ball. The line on the disk must be placed at the same angle as the object ball to the pocket. Looking at the lead edge of the disk helps me locate the contact point on the cue ball. At least that’s my theory. And you can’t argue with success.

A few weeks ago I mentioned my latest pool story, Remembrance of Ignominious Things Past. In an example of cross-promotional brilliance, I redesigned my pool t-shirt. It has the familiar flaming 8-ball image on the front, and on the back it states pool rule 6: “When you bet and lose, YOU HAVE TO PAY! Otherwise, people might think you’re a freakin’ scumbag.” Be the first on your block to order one.

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