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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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just Doing My Job

Another Thursday night,
another APA team 8-ball match.

My match was dead last in the lineup,
my least favorite... I prefer to go first,
take care of business, and get out of there.
Hanging out in bars ain't for hermits like me.

I won the first game,
lost the second.

I have come to realize something about myself:
I really, really dislike losing.
It kinda puts me in a funky mood,
and, for a hedonist like me,
what's the point?

So, with the score 1-1
and my opponent (Ken Conley) with
the fresh taste of my blood,
I decide that I will tighten the screws.

This is something I learned from El Maestro.
Many times he will play safe when there is no need,
just to frustrate the opponent.
The cat toying with the doomed mouse.

While El Maestro has refined this to an art form,
it is not my preferred style.
I'm a lover, not a fighter,
and certainly not a torturer.
(not that there's anything wrong with that!)

I would much prefer to run out clean
than to drag things out by duckin' and divin'
and playing an unnecessary chess match,
but something inside me wanted to try a new tactic.

An evil spirit welled up within me,
and I played shot after shot
that was devious, gratuitous and even malicious.
I hated myself for it,
and yet, somehow, it felt sooooo good.

My strategy worked.
I won the match 5-1.

And now,
on the morning after,
I still feel dirty,
but it's a good kind of dirty,
if you know what I mean.

(blog top)

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Blogger Robert Johnson said...

Welcome to the dark side. Lol, sometimes a game is a lot easier to win if you block the opponent's shots, steal pockets, let the opponent drop too many balls... then do a good safety that gives you ball in hand and a somewhat easy runout.

I found many of the games I lose is because I try to run out, but fail to complete it after sinking a few balls. Then I get frustrated trying to avoid giving up ball in hand or trying to avoid a scratch on the 8.

Friday, March 16, 2007 1:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fast Mikie, I enjoy your blog. I play with people who can't resist a good safety when its in front of them, even when they have other options available. I'm sometimes one of them, and it draws complaints from the opposing team, as well as sometimes my own. But it sounds like you weren't drawn in by the beauty of the shot, but just messing with your opponent. (Hey, its all part of the game.)

How do you react when your on the receiving end of such tactics. Does it get under your skin?

Sunday, March 18, 2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCafferty said...

That's an excellent question presented by "Anonymous", about how to react when on the receiving end of safeties.

I'm thinking that the best way to react is the same way to react to every situation at the table. It is just one shot at a time, completely without emotion, no one shot more important or difficult than any other, and every shot an opportunity to learn.

My preferred way to "react" is to not react. Each time that it is my turn at the table, the layout is the way it is, regardless of how it got that way, whether by my opponent's error or intention.

I think this would be a Zen way of playing the game... to give every shot the fullest attention and intention, but to be emotionally detached from the outcome.

When you say that it sounded to you like I was messing with my opponent, it does sound cruel and not in the best interests of sportsmanship, but I can assure you that I was not thinking that way at the time. What may have appeared to be excessive safety play to others was, to me, dictated by the situation at the moment. The beauty of such shots was in exercising Patience, and in allowing the opponent to rearrange the table according to my plans (to move his ball from in front of mine, or to give me ball-in-hand, for example), rather than for me to take a risky shot. Patience is the key strategy in this regard.

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of this awesome game, Beauty must be judged in the context of the rules of the game, and the situation at hand.

Thank you for your execllent question...

Sunday, March 18, 2007 11:31:00 AM  

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