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P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

When Is A Win Not A Win?

Tony "El Maestro" Sorto arrived around 2pm
to give me my regular Saturday lesson.

First we played some 9 ball, but
using bank shots and kicks ONLY!
What a great way to learn these shots...

Next, I told him I wanted to play a match,
in the Masters format
(up to 8 games of 9 ball and
up to 5 games of 8 ball,
in a race to 7).
I also wanted to give it my total focus,
and let there be no talking whatsoever
during the match.
Usually we both have the motor-mouth
going, talking about pool and everything
else under the sun, including some
good natured sharking.
This time I wanted to practice what it
would be like when playing in the
finals of US Amateur Championships.

The rule was that any talking whatsoever
by one player would be treated as a foul,
and give ball in hand to the other player.

Amazingly, we spoke only once in the match,
to clarify a rule, then went back to silence.

I got off to a great start in the 9 ball games,
getting up 3-0, but El Maestro came back strong.
We finished the 9 ball games tied at 4 games each.

The 8 ball games were very hard fought,
with one game going what seemed to be
at least 20+ safeties.
Amazingly, I got on the hill first,
then Tony caught up and we were
facing each other for the match with
only one rack left.
Many more safeties ensued, as both of us
were playing each other very tight.
But Tony finally broke free and ran
the remaining stripes only to get himself
out of shape on the 8.
He made the 8, but scratched after
his cue ball caromed off one of my solids.

It was at this exact moment that I let out
a blood-curdling yell of triumph,
as Tony unscrewed his cue.

It was certainly one of the most hard fought
matches I have ever played.

But was it a true "win"?
Is it a victory when your mortal enemy
has you at his mercy, and then trips and
falls on his own sword?

Did I win, or did I merely survive?


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