Yes, Pool Nirvana
The definition of Nirvana:
in Hindu theory, a state of supreme contentment,
with no desires for worldly things,
reached by meditation and right action.
In consideration of the matter of whether
I have achieved pool Nirvana,
I submit the following:
1. Pool on demand. I work at home, just a few feet away from the pool table. If I need a break from sitting at the computer, I can unwind by hitting a few balls, anytime. If I'm on the phone and somebody puts me on hold, I just put the call on the speakerphone and hit some balls until they decide to answer.
2. Quality pool. There aren't ANY better places to shoot some pool than at Mikie's Fun House. Oceanfront. Great music. Excellent food. First class table. Clean restrooms! No drunks. No distractions (no kids, no dogs, no wife).
3. My kind of pool. I really enjoy solo pool. For me, solo pool is a meditation. I get completely lost in the visuals, feelings, and sounds. I don't have a need for competition because, with me, pool is all about the beauty of it, not crushing an opponent. I enjoy pool with others as if I were giving a performance. That's one of the reasons I don't gamble with pool. I'm not trying to get over on somebody, but rather intending to share my art, my experience, and to learn from them as well.
4. Skill. I have shown to be able to sink challenging shots in stressful situations, and to do it enough to win against strong competition. And I keep getting better. I know I have not reached Perfection, but if that were to happen I would probably vaporize, so that would not be a good thing. The key is that Nirvana can happen, I believe, in a place that is not absolute Perfection, but in a place on the path to Perfection, where the Ultimate can be perceived, and appreciated, and in moments of brilliance and privilege, can actually be experienced. In this regard, I do claim to have had such moments, and with relaxation and quiet circumstances, I can go there pretty much at will.
5. Knowledge. I have learned from El Maestro himself. There may be one secret he is keeping to himself, but for the most part he has revealed the secrets of the game, the stroke, the spin, the cushions, the strategy, the mind, and more.
6. Creativity. The best part of all. All of the preceding conditions are fertile breeding ground for some shots which are pure fantasy, and then they actually work! I prefer to try some off-the-wall shot out of curiosity to see if it can happen, rather than to take a shot I know I can make. This is where the "performance art" part of the game comes in. This is the spontaneous, unexpected, completely delightful motion of the balls, creating a moment to remember.
So, El Maestro, you have your answer.
According to the definition of Nirvana, I'm there!
My esteemed instructor, El Maestro Tony Sorto,
asked me recently, via email,
if I had attained pool Nirvana yet.
What a great question!
Surely one which requires great depth of thought.
So I rolled it around in my mind for several days,
and then for several more days,
and off and on I would hit some balls
while thinking deeply on this question...
Just now, I answered his email,
saying Yes, I had indeed achieved pool Nirvana.
But I did not go on to explain in detail,
which is something I would like to do in this space.
But not right this minute.
This post is simply to get the topic on the table,
and to pose the same question to you, dear reader:
Have you reached YOUR pool Nirvana?
What it takes to be Great
It seems my Epic Road Trip caught the attention
of a new friend in Switzerland
who recommended a most excellent little book
Zen in the Martial Arts
If you read this book,
you may get some very good insights
which could lead to better pool
and a better Life.
Click the link to check it out at Amazon.com
and scan some of the pages.
Every time you see "karate" or "aikido"
just think "pool".
You will be amazed at the similarities.
It's all in the mind.
Time away from the table.
Just for the fun of it.
I like the feel of the hit.
How each hit can be different.
Force and spin and follow through
all combine for unlimited possibilities.
I like to invent shots in the very
last seconds before I take them,
after I'm down over the shot,
with an approximate stance,
with approximate alignment,
and do all the adjustment
with last split-second spin or speed to
get to a certain precision place for the next shot.
When they go, you are in the Zone.
When they don't go, it's time to slow down.
I like to watch...
So, I became a member of the IPT.
If you like to watch,
and you click the box below to join
then that would be a good thing.
The commission I get goes directly, 100%
to spinal cord injury research.
And that's probably a lot better than what
the IPT would do with it if you signed up
directly on their website.
Click the box!
And enjoy all the benefits of membership.
(click the box)
El Maestro honored me with a visit.
We shot some 8-ball for a couple of hours.
He says he can't figure it out.
He says when I shoot straight pool,
I play well, making the right choices.
But when I shoot 8-ball,
I have a challenge with strategy.
And my 9-ball game is strong.
So what's going on with my 8-ball game?
El Maestro gives me something to try.
I'll let you know if it works.
Waste of Intelligence
I ran across this quote today:
"Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence
as you can find outside an advertising agency."
I then made the leap to shooting pool...
But I think there is more artistry and poetry in pool
and certainly more fun,
so I guess I don't mind
wasting some extra intelligence on pool.