Tuesday November 28, 2017
Here I am again, sitting at my desk in the warehouse office. I am supposed to be doing “job related” activities like processing returns, scheduling pickups, inventory management, answering the phone and pretending to care about whatever the caller’s dilemma may be when in reality, I couldn’t care less! But what am I doing? I’m thinking about pool. I’m thinking about the pool group pages which I manage. I’m thinking about tournament promotion ideas and I’m thinking about my blog. So, as I sit here putting my job, well being, and future in jeopardy, this thought enters my mind: what is it about this game that has this affect on me? What is it about this game that has this affect on so many others? What is it about this game that can take up so much of my time, monopolize my thoughts, and keep me searching for answers even when I’m away from the pool room? What gives it this controlling power?
I can remember when I first fell in love with this game. I had played pool before, but not with any passion. Not with any purpose. Not with any determination or desire. This one time, this one instance though, it all came together and sparked a fire inside of me like nothing and no one else has ever been able to do before or since! What did it? What was the catalyst? I won money! I had never played for money before. In fact, the thought had never even crossed my mind because I actually hated the game! Yeah, that’s right, I hated pool! But, this time it was different! This time a new challenge presented itself, more than just knocking balls in the holes and celebrating an empty victory with a cold beverage. This time, making that game winning shot was rewarded with cold, hard cash! Suddenly, this game which had been so boring, so stupid, so pointless, now had a purpose! It required skill with an element of luck which, when a wager was placed upon the outcome, transformed this boring, stupid, pointless game into an adrenaline pumping, emotional roller coaster of excitement! I started to notice things like angles, spin, speed and how they affected the shot. Things I had never cared to notice before. But now, when the outcome of the game mattered, when it had a direct impact on my wallet, I wanted to know everything there was to know about it!
When that night was over, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I had ALL of THEIR money! I had done it! It was MY skill against all of theirs! It was MY desire to win that had pushed me! Not a coin flip, not a lucky guess, not luck of the draw, it was ME! I had done it better than all of THEM! Granted, none of us in that group were of any account by the standards which I gauge my game today. In fact, we were nothing more than bangers who hadn’t clue! But at the time, it was huge to me! That was the first time I had succeeded in something which I had chosen myself! It wasn’t an assignment handed out by a teacher. It wasn’t a test on a lecture by some monotone professor. It was something I had chosen on my own. I had put myself in that situation and I had handled it! That night was life changing for me!