Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friendship and Pool :: Evolution of a Pool Player

November 10 2010,

This entry is inspired by p00lriah's entry call "aspirations".

I started playing pool in Feburary of 2007. Before then, I have only been to a pool hall maybe twice. Hubby on the other hand grew up playing pool, so he wasn't starting from scratch like I was.

Hubby and I were mulling around not having much to do, and he had gotten a pool stick for Christmas, so I suggested that we go to a pool hall and play a little bit.

I looked around for places to play and came up with a list. We also found a local pool hall that offered free pool on Fridays and Saturdays for two hours. We started slowly, because I had no idea how what I was supposed to do with a stick. We took a table at the corner of the room so that there were less distraction and that I would not stick out like a sore thumb.

Once I got the hang of things, we started playing 8 ball. Hubby would of course break and I devised a plan to get ball in hand at the beginning of my turn. Believe it or not, this was helpful not only making shots, but in strategizing on cue ball position. The other thing I am allowed to do when playing with hubby is if I shoot a ball and another ball goes in, it is still my turn. These handicap made the game less stressful and less frustrating. It's good to have fun and not be discouraged.

In the summer of 2008, we decided to join the local pool league. Oh my, what a disaster it was for me. I had just started learning how to break and I knew what the rules were, but I kept on losing games and it was really discouraging. In the middle of the league, I dropped out. But I did not stop going, because I would hit some balls and practice while hubby continued with the league.

This is where we met Phil, the guy who passed away three weeks ago. The very first time we lay eyes on Phil, I was sitting watching a match with Hubby on the next table. Phil comes storming by pissed as hell. I whispered over to hubby and said, "Be careful of that guy, he has a temper." Oh boy, was I wrong. Turns out that he was a great guy.

Hubby had the most points in the "B" league and came home with a trophy that now sits proudly in the corner.

In between 2007 and 2008, hubby bought a bunch of cues. We started with McDermott cues. Hubby got me a McDermott cue which had geckos on it. I instantly fell in love with it because it was balanced right. Everything about it was right.

After hubby bought a bunch of cues and researching on custom cues, he decided to order a Webb cue sometime in the summer of 2008.

Hubby decided to join the fall season league. The original operator of the league resigned and another person took it over. Hubby was put into the "A" section, after a few weeks of league playing, he was downgraded to the "B"s. Hubby was pissed. Pissed because the new person running the league did not talk to him first, and if he was placed in the "B" again, it shows that his game was not improving and there was no point in being in the league. He dropped the league and just played during the weekends.

In March 2009, we went to the Super Billiards Expo in Valley Forge, PA. We met a bunch of memorable people, including OMGWTF, the TAR crew, and people from Jimbo's Army. Here's a recap of the event. I remembered meeting OMGWTF for the first time and gave her a hug. Later on her blog I read that she does not like strangers giving her hugs. Oosps. Oh well, live with it OMG.

In July 2009. Our new cue was ready. It took hubby's cue a little bit longer because Webb wanted me to get a cue at the same time that hubby did, so hubby's cue was postponed at least six months. :) Lucky me.

The story with my Webb cue was, Webb wanted Christmas presents for his family. So as barter, I was to make him 5 quilts in exchange for a cue. I had 4 months to make the quilts for him. It was all wrapped with fabric bags and little notes were written on behalf of him. All he had to do was give them to his family.

I think it was around this time when hubby found that another pool hall offered free pool on Mondays and Wednesdays if you buy a minimum of $10 of food. Phil at this time was frustrated with the league too and decided to drop the league. That was the start of Phil and hubby going to this other pool hall either on Mondays or Wednesdays or both days. I would occasionally join them, but most of the time, they were together from 5:30 till midnight.

Fast forward to August 2009. We started looking for a house. Our criteria for the house was that it could fit a pool table. After searching for a few months in the 2 mile radius from the apartment where we were at with no success, we expanded it to a 4 mile radius. Finally on February we found a place that would fit the pool table perfectly with some work.

In September 2010, we were ready for a pool table. We were debating between the Gold Crown V and the Diamond. Phil and his wife made the decision for us, because they loved the Diamond much more than the Gold Crown. So we ordered the Diamond with a firm deadline installation to the local installer of October 15, 2010. The table was delivered and installed on October 14, 2010.

Phil came over as often as he could, and hubby and Phil would play for hours. I would interject here and there with a few games. It's too bad Phil only enjoyed the table for a few weeks. It was his dream to have a pool table where he did not have to pay to play. But our house was always opened to him and his wife.

Since Phil's passing, playing pool has been tough. I hardly play on our table. We still go to our local pool hall to see pool buddies, it gets us out, and forces me to play for two hours.

Thus, a new chapter begins and may hubby and I write a new chapter in our evolution or pool playing.

Getting back to p00lriah's entry called "aspirations", yes, we all have aspirations to become better players, but it is the journey that is important. Pool playing is a hobby that is social, even though sometimes there is not much talking but playing, it is the time that is spent with the other person and the bond it forms.

By the way, with hubby, I no longer take ball in hand for every turn and I break even if he wins. He is also required to bank or kick the eight ball, and when I call a ball into a pocket, and another ball goes in, it's still my turn. :) Lucky me.

Quilt & Bitch


p00lriah. said...

i'm glad u liked my post enough to write one ur own. :)

Pool playing is a hobby that is social, even though sometimes there is not much talking but playing, it is the time that is spent with the other person and the bond it forms.

personally i have mixed feelings about this. while it's true that a bond can form by playing with someone, i feel the competitive nature of the game isn't very conducive to bond-forming. when someone really wants to get better, the social aspect of pool goes out the window, and it becomes a drive toward something greater. omg aptly chronicled this transformation in one of her posts. so i guess your statement is true with certain players. me, my increasing tendency is to ignore pool's social aspects. it's not that i'm becoming antisocial, but rather the focus on the game becomes so great it turns into this all-consuming, solitary pursuit of perfection.

this kind of approach isn't for everyone, and it's kind of hard to explain unless you experience it first hand. it's not good or bad, just one of many ways to play the game.

i'm sorry to hear that your friend passed away; i went through the same thing two years ago. my way of remembering is to play more pool. i kind of think your friend would rather see you guys play on that nice diamond than have it collect dust. so please, enjoy the table for all of us. :)

omgwtf said...

never rush the return to pool -- it'll always wait until you're ready to play again

no worries on the hug -- you were not a stranger, plus you are a fellow crafty-person :-D

Quilt+Bitch said...

I've figured that pool will always be there when I'm ready for it again. It's weird that I play less with a pool table in the house. Go figure.

As for the hug... I guess we were friends in the virtual space until we met in person.