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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.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Signature of a Shooter

At the very end of last night's match, I was looking at a straight in stop shot for easy shape on the game/match 8 ball straight into the opposite corner. But, for some unexplainable reason, I chose to turn the simple into the rediculously complex and cheat the pocket with high right english to come three rails to get perfect shape on the short side for a straight in shot into the side pocket.

Looking back on it, I was doing something that was very wrong, but it turned out right. I can't figure out if I even saw the simpler stop shot. I saw the 3 rail position, that's for sure, but it was inappropriately risky. I think I did it more out of a playful nature, writing my signature on the finish of the match. As if a simple stop shot and a straight in for the win would be too boring, too easy.

I knew I had the match in the bag. I was two games ahead, and at the table looking at the last two balls. I sensed that my opponent had already given up in his heart. But I was still playing the game, and it must have been my playful, childlike persona who took control of my computer-mind, and invented a shot that was intended to be spectacular, all for the fun of it. My signature, writ large.

I have seen El Maestro do this sort of thing many times.
Monkey see, monkey do.

It reminds me of the signature of an aviator, the way he lands his airplane. In shooting a shot in pool, and in landing an airplane, it has to be done right the first time, there are no "do-overs". Even people new to flying can tell if a landing is executed well. But the real judges are all the people at the airport who are watching you all the way down. Fellow pilots, non-flying old-timers, student pilots, wannabes, and even mechanics who will put the pieces back together if you screw it all up... they are all there watching your every move with detachment from the security and anonymity of terra firma.

With so many critical judges, the aviator must execute a technically perfect landing (3-point, no bounce, short roll out, smooth, etc). And to do it with some flair, some particular signature move which gets the juices flowing in pilot and voyeur alike... now THAT is the goal of an aviator's signature landing. I was particularly focused on making my landings, my aviator's signature, a thing of beauty.

I find many parallels between flying and pool. I'll probably write more on this later.

Here's another example:
Porsche and Ferrari people are completely different.
There is an old saying that Porsche is to Ferrari as artificial insemination is to mad, passionate lovemaking. In this way, Allison Fisher would be the Porsche of the pool world while Fast Eddie Felson, shooting "fast and loose" would be the Ferrari. As an ardent fan of the Ferrari mystique (I have owned 5 different Ferrari over the last 30 years), I want to see my pool game evolve more along the lines of the mad, passionate lovemaking, but with a good bit of play, humor, and even surprise thrown in. Capricious, possibly. And yet, winning at a world class level.

And then I woke up.
Back to the practice table...


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