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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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On the road again

This past Wednesday I packed cues and supplies for the trip north, along the coast road from San Diego to Mountain View, about 500 miles. The primary mission was to compete in the qualifier tournament for the US Amateur championship. The secondary mission was to enjoy the spectacular ocean/mountain scenery from the cockpit of my very worthy road machine, top down, at speed. A little over half way through the trip, I stop at my favorite little hotel the Ragged Point Inn. My room is #29, only 15 paces from the edge of a 300+ foot drop to the ocean and rocks below. Outrageously spectacular.

This is one of the reasons why I like pool. It gets me out of the house, occasionally. And that's good therapy for a hermit. One could even imagine it as a medical expense. Maybe it's deductible. I'll look into that...

I like to arrive on site a couple of days ahead of time, so I can get the feel of the place and the speed of the tables, the balls, the menu, etc. The place is Shoreline Billiards, and is under new management this year. I was pleasantly surprised to see all relatively new cloth, all new balls (Aramith TV set). Best of all, the tables played great. Much faster than my table at home; it gave me an interesting perspective on the humidity of my oceanfront location. And resolves me to install fresh cloth and a dehumidifier at home. I like fast cloth!

I put in a couple of hours on the tables on Thursday and Friday, and I was enjoying the conditions, and my performance. I was ready...

My first match went well, and I won 7-2. I had him down 5-0 but left him a hanger and he got another. I may have let up a little and let him back in the game, but then I got serious about ending it. I played well.

Second match also went well, and I won 7-3. I played well again, including one particularly fine and tricky break & run in the 9-ball segment.

The tournament was won by CJ Robinson and John Johnson. CJ put me on the one-loss side when we stood at hill-hill and I missed shape on a 4-9 combination. In my next match, JJ finished me off. That put me in 3rd place. Unfortunately, only the top two go to the big show, the finals, in Atlanta, in November.

It was a real marathon. My last match ended just past midnight. And I started hitting balls at 10:30 am... about 14 hours of pool. John J. finished his match past 3am. I didn't stick around for it, I was wiped out. These kids are one-third of my age and have a lot more stamina. I'm going to have to work on my endurance over the coming year so I can hang in there longer. During my last match I was actually yawning. That's not a good sign.

This tournament, only once a year, is a focal point of my pool. I made several improvements over the past year designed to help in this one tournament. I made a major investment in some footwear which were a great success in reducing pain/discomfort in my feet, legs and lower back. I also invested in special glasses which have a fixed focal length tuned for about 2' to 12', just for pool. This seemed to be an improvement over the "progressive" lenses I had been using for the past several years. The lenses are also bigger, so I have better vision on the longest of shots, and less neck strain. I also started using an energy supplement called FRS, which gives excellent results of keeping mental acuity for exended periods without any of the jitters of other stimulants.

It is truly said that "Competition improves the breed." It is Darwin's theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest, yadda yadda yadda. I definitely feel that I am getting better.
Water under the bridge. A good learning experience. I'm looking forward to next year!!

Also competing in this national tournament were two of my favorite bloggers, both cute, young, Asian, female bloggers (or is it female Asian bloggers?). OMGWTF was there in Mountain View, and came back the long way after a first round loss against the same person she had to beat in the finals. She's got spunk, moxie, and other fun words I like to use... A thousand miles away, in Denver Colorado, my Fun House buddy Samm Diep breezed through her qualifier unbeaten. Congrats to both, and hope you both make it to the finals. I wish I could be there for that match!


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