I’d like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the most under rated sport out there – Pool. Almost every single person in the country has played at least one game of Pool in their life. I would be willing to bet that ninety percent of those people have no idea how the game can really be played. I remember my grandparents as well as my parents gasping in horror when I first told them it was something I did several times a week. They immediately thought it to be a hoodlum game and nothing could come of it but trouble. I have defended the game to them many years and explained that times have changed. I informed them that on one of my league teams, there was a lawyer, a sheriff a child therapist, a pharmacist and a few factory guys. People from all walks of life play the game. There are many different levels of players – from beginner to intermediate to pro status. What a lot of people don’t realize is the amount of sacrifice and dedication it takes to play the game.
I picked up my first cue in 1994 and won a hundred dollars off a few coworkers. After a few months of playing, I really thought I was the best around. One day, a guy came into the bar and told me about a tournament a few miles away and I figured, what the heck. I took off the next Saturday and entered. I went two and out. For those of you that don’t know what that means, I lost two matches in a row and was out of the tournament. I watched on for hours as many different players I had never thought to exist went on to make some of the most amazing shots I had ever seen to date. Along comes a guy named Tim, whom was a national champion many times over among the amateur ranks. It was like watching a magic show.
I spent the next few years traveling the state every weekend getting into these tournaments and slowly getting better each week. Tim had decided to take me under his wing and teach me all that he knew. I will be the first to tell you that I am far from the best. I am average and yet I dominate my area regularly in the tournaments and gambling scene. Here I am, eighteen years later, playing the best in my life, yet nowhere good enough to go pro. I could win a few tournaments here and there among the pros, no doubt about it. However, in today’s economy, the price is too high to get in for me to afford. The winning could amount to over a million to be announced as the best in the world. Even the bottom players among the pros make a six digit income annually, including endorsements.
I’d like to go back and just tip my hat to all of those who helped me along the way, but I’d really like for the public to know that if you ever picked up a stick to beat some balls around, it gets better. If you find yourself with nothing to do one day, look up a tournament online and make plans to go one day. You don’t have to play, but at least give yourself the experience of going to watch. You will see the game you typically have fun with at the bar and usually associate a few beers with can be played at a level you would not think possible. I just want every single person who has ever picked up a cue to realize that you are not the best. There are some amazing players out there, but you got to leave town to meet them. If you truly want to see a magic show, go put your money up and see how the game can really be played.
I read every little bit of history I can on the game. Legends like Masconi and Greenleaf have progressed over the years to the likes of Archer and Reyes. It truly is amazing to watch. By no means am I barking at anyone, but I think it would be fantastic if the game of Pool would get the credit it deserves as one of the most difficult sports out there. If you have ever played a single game, you know exactly what I mean. However, if you are the guy or girl that plays daily, you really know where I am going with this. For all of you out there who think Pool is nothing but a game you play in a bar that isn’t difficult, I challenge you to go find a tournament somewhere in your area and see just how easy it is when you are playing someone with even a small amount of intelligence about the game.
I promise you, if you are competitive at all or have any gamble in you whatsoever, you will be addicted the first time you take the attitude that you are the best around and lose to some guy sitting at the bar for the cash. They are out there. In every single bar or Pool hall, there is that guy who you never see play until someone runs their jaws and puts their cash on the light. Again, for any of you out there who thinks the game of Pool is easy or not a sport at all and doesn’t require any talent to play, I challenge you to do this. Put your money on the light and when it is all said and done, I’d be willing to bet that ninety percent of you have lost what you put on the light to a better player. I encourage you to sit down with them and have them show you a few things. Learn a thing or two and spread the knowledge. Allow the sport to grow beyond what it is, so that it may be recognized as a sport to those out there who truly do not have a clue in the world.