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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.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Be Prepared

Fast Mikie, as a Boy Scout!

Another Saturday at the pool hall...

I hardly had a chance to warm up
when El Maestro matches me up with Ken J.
who I have faced before
most recently in my Big Win
of almost exactly one year ago.
I won both matches at that meeting,
on the way to winning the tournament.
(click here for that story)

This time Ken J. evened the score
with a 7-3 victory (9-ball).
Ken J. is a very strong player.
I did not play well.

I have noticed in the last several weeks
that my performance curve seems
to start out low and then improve
as the games wear on.
This means I need a way to get into
total focus mode right from Jump Street.
Gotta work on that...

We took a break for some severe gluttony
at the Mexican restaurant nearby,
and upon returning to the pool hall
there was PJ (last Saturday's match)
waiting for a chance to even the score.

I was not expecting this.
I figured I had competition done for the day.
And here I am fat and sluggish again
after an enormous meal.

In the Wild West
a victorious gunfighter
never had to face the same opponent twice.
Not so in pool.
Opponents keep coming back.
There is no peace.
Eternal preparedness is mandatory.

So, again I am caught unaware.
I'm thinking this is El Maestro's plan
to teach me some lesson
in the psychology of the game.

PJ wins, 7-6.
Again, I did not play well.
This pretty much gets PJ even
after my win last week at 7-5,
so El Maestro calls for a "rubber match"
to settle it once and for all.

At this point, I'm almost dead on my feet,
but I can see that there is no escape,
and I will just need to find the strength.
I was hot, dehydrated, low blood sugar,
and very tired.

One of my favorite general-purpose solutions
to unexpected circumstances is to
"Do what you can, and fake the rest"
so I took some water,
a bit of hard candy to re-energise,
and tried to imitate a focused pool shooter.

It must have worked
because I won 7-2.

My day of pool lasted 10 hours
and my back was killing me.
Thirty eight years ago I had spinal surgery
in a failed attempt to fix a herniated disc.
Since then, just standing for any length of time
is a painful challenge.
So pool tournaments are a love/hate thing with me.
It's just another excuse for losing, if I let it.
I gotta get over it, don't I?

As a Boy Scout,
I learned to "Be Prepared"
and I need to bring that into my game.

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