Florida Billiards Journal Entry 2.6
I love pool, you know, pocket billiards -- never really played billiards sans pockets. I enjoy every aspect of the game, from the multitudes of different people with different backgrounds, to the green felt, to all points of light in between. If you go in any pool hall, you can find hustlers, champions, professionals, doctors, fast food workers, women, men, young, old, liberal, conservative, white, black, Asian, Latino, etc. And it doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, where you come from, or what you believe -- the only thing that matters is how well you play the game.
The game of billiards sustains me like meditation sustains the golden sage dubbed the Buddha -- Gotama Siddhartha. (This is my zen in pool)...
I am enthralled in the game when I play, enraptured in the motions of spherical Billiards balls! And I am committed to the game, having read about 20 or so books on billiards, having reached a level 7 APA ranking back in 2000-2006 or so, but perhaps not exact dates, and I believe I would be a 9 in APA 9 ball, as I have gotten much better as a player since those days, but all that is not to brag, because there are so many players that are so much better than me -- suffice it to say, I'm a top notch amateur and that's cool with me. I wish I could be a pro, but then, I wouldn't want to travel all over like that to go to different cities, states, and countries to go play tournaments. It would suck to me personally, but I don't know if I could ever play to that level. It's possible I'd like to think, but not likely.
I recently broke and ran 3 racks in a row against a buddy of mine in a race to 7 where I beat him like 7-0. So, for me, I'm loving 9 ball here lately! Too easy a game you say? You are too good for me. But I digress, what I mean is that I feel that I can play a good speed, but plenty of players run faster. My A++ game could give many players problems, but I'm not consistent enough. But I have only been able to play like once or twice a month, and still maintain a strong 9 or 8 at a minimum rank in APA 9 ball I assert, so this is the best I've ever played in my life, and I've been playing since about 1998-2017 now, and that's about 19 years or so. And I wish I could get in more big time 9 ball tournaments as I've only been in three my whole life, and I'm 45 now, so I've achieved all I'm going to achieve in the game most likely. Anything's possible I guess though, I could catch another gear and play at another level, but I don't know if that will happen, and really I enjoy just being able to play when I am able, which is rare.
Normally to maintain a game to the level I purport to play at it takes much more hours of practice than what I am able to muster, but I've logged so many hours in the past that I can maintain a good game now.
The game for me is so often a creative representation both mentally and physically, it's the “pleasures of small motions” as Bob Fancher has said, and it is a mental exercise of sometimes playing probabilities, sometimes applying Geometry, and physics whether or not we players of the game know the physics, like skid-induced throw and things of that “nature” as Arnold Schwarzenegger may say. (Sometimes I can't spell that well, but I read a Psychology Today article one time that said spelling in English, or bad spelling specifically, didn't mean you weren't smart, again I digress…)
Pool is a game. Life is a game some would claim. Who knows? I just keep hitting them balls.
In one open event at Zingale’s, back when it was Snookers in Tallahassee, FL I got in, I was complimented for beating a player from Texas or something by Tommy Kennedy, 1992 US Open winner.
Kennedy had told me back then in 2000 or whatever it was something like, “That's great you won, but you're about to play a guy named Scotty Townsend.” I was like, “I got this!” But Townsend beat me down 9-3 or whatever. It was harsh, but even so, a great learning experience, and I feel that it was an experience that has improved my game tremendously. So that was my first “big time” tournament experience, which was cool.
In the second major tournament I was in, Michael Zingale and I played on the loser's side at Starcade Billiards Hall in Ft Walton Beach, FL years ago in early 2000’s -- Zingale is the owner of the pool hall called Zingale’s, and an upper-tier pool player. But Zingale had congratulated me on my game back then, saying “that's the best” he's ever seen me play. I lost to him 7-5 I think it was. A great tournament for me, having beaten one player 7-0 on the loser's side, and beating several others to get to play Zingale. Zingale, having won against me, made it to day two and in the money for the tournament.
In the third and final major tournament I was in, it was a lackluster affair. I went to the loser's side the first match, getting beaten by a buddy of mine named Detroit (not sure what his last name is). He won 9-6. Then I won on the loser's side 7-3, then lost 7-3 to go out of the event. This all was recently in a Starcade event this year in 2017. So I really feel like I could have done better.
But for only having played just 3 Major pool tournaments, or bigger events, I feel like I've done well given my ability and limited experience in tournament play at that level.
Yeah, pool has been good to me. I've won plenty of team trophies from when I was in the APA pool league back from about 1998-2006, and maintained the highest rank in 8 ball as a 7 from about 2001-2006. I've won probably about 100 or so small bar box 8 ball tournaments. I've made the 8 on the break probably more than 100 times. I've won money, I've lost money, and with all the tournament wins, and a couple big money wins, I'd say that I'm up on the money or even worst case scenario. I've beaten the ghost in 9, if you know the game. I've beaten many top notch players.
In Florida, guys like Tommy Kennedy,Stoney Stone, Mike Davis Jr, Rick Howard, Buddy Hall, and Charlie Williams come to mind, all residents I'm pretty sure -- and legends in the game of pool.
Scotty Townsend was one of my idols in the game and consummate pool pro. RIP. One cool story about Scotty Townsend that I know is from a few years ago when I played Townsend some cheap 9 ball sets, races to five. We were at Starcade Billiards in Ft Walton Beach, FL. I won one set 5-0, but still lost like $20-40, but after I won 5-0, he said “Here’s what we're going to do now.We're going to adjust the spot. You won't get that spot again.” Scotty had given me one game on the wire and the wild 8, flip for the break. That was the highlight of my pool game for me because beating Scotty, even with weight requires a player to play top notch pool.
Also, one highlight of my pool “career” was when I beat Stoney Stone -- Florida pool professional -- in a short race to 3 tournament. It was in Crawfordville, FL at a place called “SeaNiles,” now closed down I think. Stoney went on to win the tournament, coming back to beat me in the finals. Still though, I played a good tournament.
Indeed, I've played with some of the best, although I'm not one of the best, but every now and then I can really play.
One pocket, bank pool, 8 ball, 9 ball, 10 ball, straight pool, or rotation, I'm cool with it. 9 ball is my favorite at the moment.
Play on Players! Get your game on!