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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.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Play vs. Work

Dan stopped by yesterday, an unplanned visit, to shoot some pool.  It has been several months since our last session on the table, and with his taking on a new job and me out of competition this year, we were both somewhat out of stroke.  However, every time we get together, we both compete fiercely because we both want to win, so it's always a good match.

This time, however, I decided up front to just relax and have fun.  Sure, I wanted to win, but since I had not practiced at all recently, there was no expectation of winning.  

In fact, just two days before, a couple of friends stopped by for some 3 player cut-throat pool, and again, it was just pure fun, not at all serious, and I played very well, winning almost every game.  So it was with this precedent that yesterday I just dropped the whole idea of competition in favor of pure play.

An interesting thing happened:  I learned a few things that I almost certainly would not have learned if I was in serious competition!  We played a game of straight pool to 100 points, and normally we both play very tight, with lots of safeties, but this time, with no requirement to win, I played a lot more loosely, and took several break shots that involved multi-ball carom/combinations buried in the rack.  A couple of shots didn't score, but some produced spectacular results.  

These sorts of shots appear often in straight pool, and you'll never know if they will go unless you take them.  Some of these shots are marginal, or so outrageous that any smart competitor will choose to play safe rather than take a chance of opening the rack for the opponent.

So, in a way, serious competition can keep you from trying these shots, and learning more about what makes them work (or not).  Sometimes, only pure play can teach us important lessons.  Advice of the day:  lighten up, go play, and learn something new!

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do.
Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain

Man is most nearly himself
when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.

The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.
CK Chesterton

We don't stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw


Anonymous Samm said...

Merry Merry & Junk! Can't wait to stop by the fun house again soon. ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Johnson said...

Sometimes when I am about to finish a game, and there is nothing important at risk, I will challenge myself with oddball shots. The shots are good for my learning experience, impressive if they work, and the opponent is happy if he/she happens to win. You have to understand your opponents though -- some consider this patronizing rather than charitable.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 2:03:00 PM  

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