Archive for November, 2012

One Of Those Days

Posted: November 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Excited to be back in the pool room yesterday, I got there early and started hitting balls.  I was there to play “198” and “220”.  I was going to score well in both.  Maybe win a little money and build up my average.  Instead, it was “one of those days.”


In my first game in “198” I started out with a “snap game,” a GREAT way to start a match!  It was a bit of a bad opening break that left the 2-ball tied up.  But the 1-ball was in a place where I could break it out, which I did perfectly.  After that, it was easy; I just took my time, made sure to pocket the object and leave myself a shot at the next one.  Nothing tough; nothing hard.  When the 9-ball finally dropped, it all felt so easy, so natural to run out.


Next game, scratch on the break.  Crap.  OK, it’s a snap game I’m working on, so I still can use this next run to give myself a big opening score.  I pocket the 1-ball, but get out of shape already on the 2.  I’m thinking, “Serious?!?”  I miss the two trying to get in shape for the three.  Dammit.  I open with a snap game, but can only muster a net score of 9 in the second game!  Aaargh!


The rest of the match went on like that.  I couldn’t seem to hit the head ball square.  The cue ball would fly off on either side of the rack on the break and the patterns I was used to seeing never materialized.  Then, invariably on my first shot I’d get out of shape.  The subsequent shots would just get farther and farther out of shape until I was hooked or I missed the shot trying to get back into shape.  It was embarrassing.  Final score:  never mind!


“220” is next.  An opponent is waiting to go, so I jump right in figuring the bigger table and a fresh game will be better.  Nope.  Same problem, different game.  Couldn’t hit the head ball square.


But I didn’t give up.  Every time I walked to the table I’d think, “OK.  This is where I turn it around.”  Then I’d hit the cue ball just a little wrong and I’d be back to scrambling without the patience or skill to get things back on plane.  I didn’t quit and managed one cut game.  The subsequent break didn’t leave me an opportunity to use the Cut Option.


The bottom line was, I wasn’t breaking well.  Upon reflection, I should have taken some time between the two matches to figure out how to hit that head ball square before moving on to another match.  I also should not have eaten a big ol’ bacon cheeseburger before playing.  Now THERE’s a distraction!


Old “220” Average:  43.50

New “220” Average:  44.00

Goal:  70


My New Stick

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

It came!  My new stick arrived!  Let my improvement commence!

Before the 2012 BCA Western Regional 9-Ball Tournament in LincolnCity a couple months ago, I decided it was time to improve my equipment.  I have a Lucasi pool cue with the original maple shaft.  I bought it probably 15 years ago, and while the shaft is still in great shape, it is a simple wood shaft with a distinct grain.  As an engineer and a woodworker, I know that wood is flexible in one direction and stiff in another.  I believe that that inconsistency in flex added some inconsistency in my shot-making ability and limited my improvement.  Some of the other players might wink and say, “Well, Pete, maybe you should work on your (fill in blank) first.”  You can fill in the blank with numerous pool elements: stroke, timing, aiming system, banks, straight shots, long shots, rail shots, and so on.  Others might say, “If your stick is your problem, you’re hitting it too hard.”  Or, “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get a new tip?”  And inevitably, someone will add, “You’d be better off just going bowling.”  (Ha. Ha. Ha. You guys are hilarious.)  In any event, I was convinced I needed something new to add some spark to my pool life.

So I headed to LincolnCity hoping to talk with some folks, try some sticks out, and maybe find a deal.  I talked with a bunch of people about the options including the Predator, Tiger, OB and some others, and remarkably everyone had their opinions (which flowed pretty freely!).  Eventually I came to the conclusion that for a B-Level player like me almost any shaft upgrade will probably do just fine for a bunch of years.  I checked in with Jessie over in her 911 Billiards corner.  She gave me some shafts to hit with and I test drove a Tiger and the OB-1, both about $200.  I had a knowledgeable friend test drive them too, and we independently decided on the OB.  The “deal” I got was not paying sales tax in Oregon.

It took awhile to get and I know 911 got tired of my breathless, “Is it here yet?” every week.  (Thanks for your patience, Jessie!)  It finally arrived almost 6 weeks after I ordered it.  And I’m pumped!  The fact of the matter is that I believe it will make a difference in my ability to make shots and more importantly, the pace of my improvement.  It removes any possible shaft flex inconsistency and replaces it with a hard, cold truth which I expect to hear every once in awhile, “It ain’t the stick any more, dummy!”