Gold Crown IV

Gold Crown IV
FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, California

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sweet Squeaker

Someone once mentioned to me that
the secret to winning at pool
is to never let your opponent get "on the hill".
Well, duh!

However, there is a certain simplicity to it.
If the other guy gets to the hill,
and the game has any element of luck
(and of course it does)
then anything can happen.
And, "anything" in this case means you can lose.

This sets the stage for last night's match,
my first public appearance as a Seven.

The team captains toss the coin
to decide which team puts up the first player.
I wasn't watching,
but I guess we lost the toss
because all of a sudden I get the nod.
I'm being put up "blind"
without knowing who the other team puts up.

This is not to our/my advantage, I'm thinking.
Surely, if they respond in a typical way,
they will throw a lower skill level player at me,
which means they only have to win 2 games
and I have to win 6.
Naturally the element of luck works in favor
of the player who needs the fewest games to win.

The other captain didn't miss a beat.
He puts up their UNDEFEATED skill level 3
who, as El Maestro says, shoots like a 5.

I have heard El Maestro speak of the
extreme danger in situations like this.
For example, if the low skill level player
should luck into an 8 ball on the break,
or I scratch on an 8,
or rattle an 8 in the jaws,
or some other such awful thing,
then with only one win,
the other guy is "on the hill".

So there is added pressure to
exercise immediate and total control, from the first shot.
I win the lag, and the first two games,
but my opponent, somehow, gets the third game,
and now I must be flawless for the next 4
or my undefeated record is gone,
and my debut as a Seven will
result in the humiliation of defeat by a S/L 3.

I know I have to shut my opponent down totally,
leaving no possibility for them to run out,
or even get lucky.
I must play safe until I can run out, absolutely.
It turned into a marathon of 105 minutes.
I won, 6-1.
(vs. M. Morgan, s/l 3)

The last game was most interesting.
I broke, made a solid,
and as the balls came to rest
I saw that solids were sitting pretty for a runout.

It was at this time that the Devil Himself appeared
on my left shoulder and whispered:
"Go for it."
And on my right shoulder, an angel whispered:
"Mikie, Mikie... it's hill-hill, be careful.
Remember what we learned about
the folly of effortless spectacular runouts?"

The Devil laughs mightily and sneers:
(I could swear the voice was George Bush)
"Are you kidding? A child, a moron could run this table!"
"It's a break and run for the win! How juicy!"
"Go for it Mikie... show your Seven stuff."

The angel probably said something wise,
but I didn't hear it,
as I was salivating at the thought of
my first Break and Run patch
in my first appearance as a Seven.
I could feel my already oversized ego
expanding to new, untested dimensions.
Explosion was imminent, and probable,
but such bloated egos are deaf to wisdom,
blind to all but ever more self-aggrandizement.

So I go for it...
And it goes nicely until,
with two solids and the 8 left,
El Maestro calls timeout.

He counsels one way of dealing with the out,
and I share with him my plan,
which he approves as being more cautious
(saving for last the
solid blocking a stripe)
but it involves tricky position play
to carom the 8 off a stripe, into the side,
and shooting from the rail on that final shot.

Such was my plan, and
I pocketed the remaining solids,
both down-the-rail shots from across the table,
and fell into position for the 8-ball carom
for the win.


(blog top)


Robert Johnson said...

If you won 5-1 as skill 7, with the opponent on the hill, then your opponent was SL4. Playing SL3 would be 6-2 race.

Robert Johnson said...

Maybe you won 6 games and you didn't realize it? Feel free to update your blog and delete my comments.

Michael McCafferty said...

Thanks for the correction.
I have changed the blog to reflect a score to 6-1.

I never really looked at the score sheet to see the number of games I needed to win. I just assumed it was five, because it was always five, except the one time I played a Seven, then it was four (I won).

El Maestro taught me to ignore the score in these sessions...
my opponent's handshake, and/or the team's applause
would signal when i had won.

I remember he would ask me:
"Will you play to win any harder/better if you know the score?"

It kinda made sense.
Shouldn't every shot have maximum focus, regardless of the score?