Pool Players

Pool players are a different breed. Whether they are the ones who beat you quietly or if they talk to you while they’re at it, with the very good ones there is a certain swagger when they approach the table. How’s that Nike commercial go? I’m better than you, and I can prove it. When the place is packed with my immediate circle of pool playing cohorts, there is so much arrogance packed into the area that the walls are fit to burst. And arrogance is not a vice if you can back it up with ability.

When it’s just the players there it’s all about the games and that’s enough, but when there are non-players present and they are watching the table, the payoff to your ego can be incredible. I’m not an elite player, but when I’m on a roll I can make some shots to make the neophytes’ jaws drop. Sometimes the only shot you can see is to kick the cue ball off the rail, hit the five into the two cross corner pocket. And sometimes that shit actually works. When that happens I like to go straight to my next shot without any reflection as if I fully expected the previous one to go in, as if I make those all the time.

The best thing is to follow that up with a fundamentally sound game, beat an elite pool player, and quietly say “Nice game.” It’s more impressive than doing cartwheels and dancing the Pee-Wee Herman. When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.

The other night my pool team was in the midst of a hard fought league night that was poised to go either way. It was clutch time in the second round and I said to them, “Come on y’all, this is what we live for!” A female friend who had shown up to watch turned to me and said “This is what you live for. Don’t nobody else live for this.” Lauri, my team’s female player, looked at her and said, “It’s why I’m here. I love this game.” Yeah, I was thinking. How you like me now? But the other chick still didn’t understand. You have to be a pool player to understand. A pool player is a different breed.

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