At what age do you know all the rules of the game you’re playing?
40, 50? Every single player reading this knows someone like this. The guy in the room that knows all the rules because he as been playing for 40 years.
I have ran across this a lot over the years and it is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to playing the game. How can you play a game and not know what the rules are?
I know this question is very broad, so let me break it down to something easier.
How can you play in a league, and not know what the rules are?
The APA, BCA, NAPA and many more all have their own set of rules of which you must play by. Wait? They all have their own rules? “I have been playing pool for 40 years, I know the rules.” I think this statement needs to be translated into something else.
“I have been playing longer than you, so I know more than you.” does this sound better?
I dont claim to know every single rule for every single league. Why dont I? Because rules change, constantly. This being said, every single league updates their rules and makes these changes public. The APA (American Pool Players Association) prints a new addition of their rules every couple of years, and makes announcements on changes prior to a new addition if needed.
So one would think that staying updated on the rules would be easy for everyone? Right? Well, lazy pool players may not be updated.
Many times in my travels and conversations I run across “the old guy” and have no problems at all with proving him wrong. Lets face it, in pool, age is not always knowledge.
Is the 60 year old cue maker better than the 30 year old cue maker? Not always, we know that. Why? Because we dont know how long either of them have been making cues, right?
Rules can help you or hurt you in pool.
Hurt me? How? If you do not know the rules, you cant use the rules. That hurts you as a pool player. BAD. What do you do if a player moves a ball, or knocks one in with their hand by accident? If you dont know the rule, you just hurt your chances of coming out on top of the situation.
Age does not make you a walking rule book. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock. Knowledge makes you a pool player who knows the rules. Captains, be that guy who knows the rules. After all, you are the captain.
Do you have to agree with the rules? Not at all. Are they fair? Yes, they are. We all follow the same rules at the same time for each league we play in, so fair is fair. They help me just like they help you (or hurt you).
My advice to everyone, read your current rule books, by-laws, etc. Talk about rules often. Bring them up in conversation around your room every day. Encourage players in ask questions about the rules, and help them find the answer. Do not be afraid to tell someone you think they are wrong about a rule, but be prepared to show them who is right or wrong. If someone calls you out on a rule, dont get upset, you will look foolish if you get mad over a rule you have no control over.
The rules can help you or hurt you. Know the rules for your league. Age is not always knowledge. When rules change, there is usually a reason why it was changed. I can guarantee that it was not because you didnt read it to begin with.
Start this year off right, and make sure you are not caught with your cue ball hooked from the first shot.
Happy shooting everyone!
Editor: Dana Gornall