One of my favorite quotes that pertains to almost all of life is: "It's better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission". This is based on the assumption that if you ask permission, most likely you won't get it, but of course the thing you want to do is not grossly illegal or otherwise heinous. So, I like that philosophy. You get away with a lot more, and have more fun.
Now, when it comes to pool, as I learned in yesterday's weekly 8-ball tournament, that good advice is just wrong. There is no forgiveness in pool, especially in a tournament, especially in the finals, especially in the final game of the finals... You just can not innocently pick up the cue ball, thinking you have ball in hand, get busted for it before you shoot, and try to put it back where it was. There is no mercy, no forgiveness. These people are hard core. If they have their boot on your neck, they will crush with glee.
That's what happened to me. I was in the finals with "Ball in hand Benny". I call him that because he is the tournament director, and he says that a lot. He's an eagle eye, watches both tables at the same time, and if anyone fouls, he's quick with the "Ball in Hand" shouted from across the room. Other than that, he doesn't say much, but he's a likable guy.
How could I have made such a stupid mistake? Well, Benny had actually scratched a couple of times in recent games, and given up ball in hand, and I was thinking about "Ball in Hand" Benny, ok? So in the final game, he misses, and on my way to the table, my attention was distracted by someone in the audience, and I disengaged from the game momentarily, and when I focused again on the table, I just thought it was ball in hand. NOT!
So "Ball in Hand" Benny got ball in hand, and ran out for the win. And I came in second, again. I'm getting a lot of second place finishes, so I just *know* that a first place finish is getting close.
Nice shooting, Benny. You deserve it.
What I have to learn from this episode is that I should NEVER touch the white ball until after I look my opponent in the eye, and get permission for ball in hand.