Monday, January 19, 2009

Pool League Schedules, Etc.

I play in two bar leagues, one on Monday, one on Wednesday, and it’s always a mystery where, when, and if we are going to be playing on a given night. The schedules we were given at the beginning of the season are out of date, so our captain has to check with the league operator on game day and then call up the members of our team. Who needs that kind of aggravation?

Well, these headaches could be removed if the league had a web page that players could access quickly for information. Think of it – a schedule, the standings, top point leaders, and even rules and a picture gallery! A web page seems like such a necessity for leagues operating in the year 2009, that I decided I would provide such a service to league operators who desire a web presence but don’t have the resources or know how to do it themselves. Check out Ace’s Pool League HQ.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two Steps Back

It was less than a month ago that I beat one of our local sharpshooters to make it into the finals of our local open nine-ball tournament. My would-be opponent in the finals, the best player around here, had been up since 4 AM and asked if I would like to split the pot. Knowing he’d most likely beat me, I said yes. He later observed that he had never seen me play better than I had been that night. That was good to hear.

I had been seeing the balls better lately which accounted for improvements in my shot making. But my stroke was still pitiful. I knew that – it was nothing like the stroke I had when I was a kid, smooth and fluid and relaxed. But, I had it in my head that at my age (I’ll be collecting SS in June) there was no way I could will my bones and muscles to produce a good stroke. Then, while I was practicing one day, an old-timer, a guy probably a dozen years older than me, came over and started giving me advice on my stroke. Well, I figured, if he doesn’t think I’m too old to learn, maybe I’m not. So, that’s what I’m doing now – working on my stroke.

One exercise he’s got me doing involves shooting spot shots. I’m not to aim, per se, just go for a half-ball hit – aim thru the center of the cue ball (cb) at the edge of the object ball. You can’t make this shot, he claims, unless you put a good stroke on the cb. Of course, there are other factors involved, like form, stance, etc., and I’ve been practicing those at home in front of a mirror. I try to keep them in mind at the pool room as I’m shooting my spot shots. After that drill, I throw all 15 balls onto the table and pocket them deliberately, using my new and improved killer stroke. It’s a little awkward, right now – I’ve taken a couple weeks off from gambling – but I’m sure I’ll be back at the table shooting better than ever very soon. Count on it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 Resolution Breakdown

No one said it was going to be easy – keeping my resolution to be more tolerant in 2009.

First came that old jerk-off who spilled a tray of balls on table number four at DJ’s. What an asshole! Then, last night, during our Boondocks team's first pool league match of the new year, I was put to the test again by the team from Cricketers in Port Richey.

In my first game of the night, I was playing this girl, the only female on their team. I missed a bank on the 8-ball into the side pocket and the eight came to rest about an inch beyond the side pocket and about 1/8” off the rail. My opponent managed to run out to the 8-ball, leaving the cue ball approximately in the center of the head end of the table. To me, it appeared she had three choices – she could try to cut it in the side (a shot I thought I could have made), she could try to run it down the rail to the corner, or she could have banked it cross side or cross corner. This is my frame of mind as she calls one of her teammates over to the table and confers with him. After a few words, he walks around the table and positions himself between me and the side pocket, screening me from the 8-ball. I get off my stool and lean out far enough to see what he’s doing. He’s making a lot of unnecessary hand gestures in close proximity of the 8-ball. My first thought is that he was going to put his hand on the point of the side pocket and depress it. Some players believe that this can give you a little more room on shots like this. However, I was giving them too much credit. Their plan was to move the 8-ball enough to make the shot into the side simpler. Despite all his gesticulating, her teammate punked out and called on a second teammate to take his place. He took up the same position, screening me from view, and I, again, was forced to leave me seat to see what he was doing. He continued the same tact, talking with his hands, moving his fingers all around the ball. When his critical move came, he was trying just to nudge the ball a fraction, he applied too much force and the 8-ball moved 3 or 4 inches. By then, I’d had enough. I went to the table, pushed aside the cue ball, and grabbed the 8-ball, declaring the game over. They bitched and I called them “fuckin’ cheats.”

That’s about as tolerant as I can get.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2009: The Year of Tolerance

High on my list of New Year’s resolutions is my intention to be more tolerant. Like, regarding that old guy, Tom, who came into DJ’s and dumped a tray of balls out onto table number 4 a few Thursdays ago, I will try not to utter the word “asshole” under my breath every time I see him. Hm… good luck with that. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, people who do that are assholes. I was in DJ’s another time when this other idiot did the same thing and thereby also offended my delicate sensibilities. I couldn’t keep myself quiet. “Where’d you learn that move?” I asked. “At the friggin’ Moose Club?” (No offense to the Moose out there, it was all I could come up with on the spur of the moment.) I can only imagine how Moulton Teasdale, the guy who owned the pool room where I grew up, would have reacted to someone doing that to one of his tables. Most likely, he would’ve made a few choice comments regarding the man’s intelligence and lineage, and then thrown the stupid mother ef’er out, suggesting strongly that he never come back. But that was yesterday…

Here, I had intended to move on to my second resolution, but writing about the first one has me so ticked off that I can’t think straight. How’s this? I resolve to be the same mean old son-of-a-bitch in 2009 that I was in 2008. If you don’t like it, shove it!