A friend of mine invited me to play on a team he was putting together for the Thursday night UPL league at Hammer Heads. On Thursdays, I usually play in the open 9-ball tournament they have at DJ’s Family Billiards in New Port Richey, but I hardly ever come in the money so I wouldn’t really be losing anything if I changed my schedule.
On the first night of the league, I showed up a little after 6:30 PM. A meeting was scheduled for 7 PM and I didn’t want to be late right off the bat. I needn’t have worried – the meeting didn’t start until after 8. Corey Deuel explained how the league worked, how fees were collected, how score was kept, etc. His sidekick, Tony D., also pitched in with explanations. Preeminent was the fact that players had to pay their yearly $20 UPL membership fee before they played. Weekly league fees were $8. I didn’t bother to ask where the $8 went.
As our team gathered, I noticed that my friend had recruited more than the required 5 team members. In fact, there were at least seven. Before making my $20 commitment, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be just a part time player. When I asked, my friend assured me I’d be playing every week. So, I anteed up and launched my UPL career. I didn’t play real well, but I did manage to win my match 47-30. Our leadoff man won by the identical score. After that, it was down hill. We lost the next three matches. My friend, who plays as well as me, sat out in favor of another member who couldn’t hit the rail. I left, unenthused.
Next day, I’m talking to my friend and he reveals that we are all going to have to sit out so that everyone gets a chance to play. The more I thought about it, the more unhappy I became and, ultimately, I decided I didn’t want any part of being on his team. I emailed him, saying I quit. First, I wanted to play every week. Second, I believe you should field your best team every week. And, third, his idea of giving everyone a chance to play regardless of how well they play is nice when you’re coaching little league, but it has no place in a pool league where teams are competing for money.
Hey, I only have so many Thursday nights left in me. Rather than waste my time making nice-nice with a couple mediocre players down Hammer Heads, I’d prefer to sacrifice myself to the sharks at DJ’s.