APA Pool Diaries: Entry 1 ~ Ralf Greenleaf

APA Pool Diaries

Entry One

The pool hall calls the players to that perpetual sea of green felt that blankets the tables in most pool rooms across the country and around the world. Billiard balls are spheres, and so is the moon, and I hear pool balls colliding in the gargantuan scope of infinite time and space — pool balls rocketing throughout the universe in the form of so many stars, planets, moons, and the mathematical world of geometry, physics, psychology, sociology, and other elements of epistemology known as pocket billiards. When you hear that distinct click of the ball or thump of the ball or plop of the ball, you know you’ve made the shot, and that sweet satisfaction comes shining through like so many beams of light from our Sun. Spheres like the Sun sustain life, and pool balls, and playing pool makes life enjoyable and worthwhile. I find meaning in these geometrical spheres we bang in pockets around the globe, also a sphere. All these spheres. Perhaps it’s the most perfect Geometrical shape or form — that’s debatable. At any rate, I’ve been keeping track of my successes and failures in the APA (American Poolplayers Association). Here it is, my status thus far, since returning to the league in about 10 years:

What’s going on pool players and billiards aficionados? Patrick Sampey here, APA skill level 7 in 8 ball. I’ve been out of the APA for a while, always working on my game, in an attempt to improve, but have kind of missed the league. I stopped playing in the league back in 2007 back in Tallahassee, FL, and have been a 7 since approximately 1999 — so I’ve maintained the league’s highest ranking for a while now — as my game actually improved when I left the league back then.

Now however, I can play and maintain a game, and the league actually motivates me to play better to try to get a win for the team. I’m a team player. I will help with timeouts, try to help players work on their games, and they don’t need to be on my team. I like to help out anyone that’s cool with me and loves the game of pool. That’s how we each connect.  I feel that as a higher ranked player, it’s up to me and other higher ranked players to help others improve on their games if they like, or if they just want to enjoy it and not take it too seriously, then that’s fine as well. Not everyone is the same skill level, but all can enjoy the game and have a chance to win. A good 2 or 3 is tough to beat when you need to win 7-2 and 6-2 — when they only have to win two, and they can run out multiple balls, and play good shots, that’s tough to overcome.

Currently, I’m 5 wins and 2 losses for this session of 8 ball we’re in right now — about midway through. So that’s a 71.4% win percentage and decent I feel — especially since both times I lost, the two fives that beat me on the two times I’ve lost thus far played like 7’s, so they got hot on me and played well — but those losses are good too, because it helps me to play better — more competitively. Hopefully I will get my win percentage up there. If I can pull out a win next week, then I will be 6-2, and up to a 75% win record. Then, the week after that, perhaps I can win again, and get up to a 7-2 win record — and at that point be at a 77.7% win record, so I hope I can get there. Good number! On the other hand, if I lose next week, I will fall to a 62.5 win percentage, and faltering a bit I feel. Then, if I got into a slump, or just had the misfortune to not get many opportunities at the table, then there’s nothing I can do about that. If someone just runs out on you, then all you can do is rack; that is the reality of pool. You can be shooting your best game, but so are they, and they get the first shot and break and run out 3 straight racks on you, and there’s not much you can do better, but learn to lag the cue better to