Do you ever shoot pool? I do. It's one of my favorite activities.
When I was young, I played a lot. It was a fun activity in college. Two decades later when I started riding motorcycles, I returned to the game. My friend Rich, a biker, owned a seedy bar and we used to hang out there and play late into the night. Rich is very good and our lengthy games sharpened my skill. For a while, we competed as a team in a local billiards league and did quite well. I stopped playing when Rich moved to Las Vegas where he lives now. I visit him occasionally and am impressed that he has a fancy pool table in his living room. Not every wife will let you do that!
There are several billiards games, the most popular of which is eight-ball. That's my best although I sometimes play English billiards -- which uses only three balls on a table without pockets. That requires totally different skills.
The reason I mention billiards is because I'm getting back into the game. Last week I pulled my cue-stick out of storage and headed down to a local pool-hall. (Yes, I have my own cue.) I'm out-of-practice but a few months of steady play will bring back my ability. What I love most about pool is its meditative quality. It quiets your mind and trains your body to be steady and smooth. It's a lot like motorcycle-riding; you're dancing with the forces of nature. At its best, billiards makes me feel closer to the center of the Universe.
Pool is also cool. It was the subject of "The Hustler", a classic film from 1961 starring Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie. In the movie, Jackie Gleason is mesmerizing as Minnesota Fats, a legendary pool player whom Paul Newman's character is desperate to beat. The tension during their bouts is amazing. Many years later (1986), a sequel was made with Tom Cruise and Paul Newman ("The Color of Money").
"The Hustler" was shot in grainy black-and-white, which perfectly suited the material, and the shooting was actually done in New York City where the drama takes place. The film was nominated for nine Oscar awards and won two.
"The Hustler" stimulated huge national interest in pool when it was released. I saw it as a teenager and was entranced by a tricky pool-shot in it called a "masse." With a masse, you hit the cue ball very low (below its center) which causes it to jump into the air. Jump! Once it becomes air-borne, you can make it leap over over balls. I learned how to do it and it's my favorite way to impress people. When you're in a situation where the cue-ball is blocked from an object ball by other balls, you can make the cue-ball leap over them to get to the object ball. People's eyes widen when you do it right 'cause they didn't think it was possible to make pool-balls jump in the air, certainly not with control.
If my return to pool takes root, I might get a table for my house; there are beautiful ones, ranging in style from traditional to modern. (See below.)
Have I enticed you in playing? Maybe we can go to a pool-hall together... Rack 'em up!
I enjoy a bit of pool, mainly when I'm holiday. I'm totally rubbish at it but enjoy trying to improve my skill - like you say, it's quite meditative. I'd love a table in my house, that one at the bottom is beautiful.ReplyDelete
I know! We think alike. I don't really care about being good and competing; I just like playing for its intrinsic joy.Delete
I am totally lame at this, but I never really learned how to play.ReplyDelete
I can see where it is a very meditative skill.
I often see pool tables for sale in estate sales, but have never considered buying one. Our house would need a whole other room for it.
If you can twirl a baton, you can hit a cue-ball. :) I could teach you how to play in five minutes. After 20 minutes, you'll be an average player. Yes, tables take up space which is why there are pool-halls. There are outdoor tables if you have a patio or backyard.Delete
I can see the meditative aspect, and the competitive one, too. And the joy of honing your skills, and seeing the progress. No, I'm not in the least interested in pool. But I get the attraction. I think people in high-pressure jobs or with hectic lifestyles need these all-absorbing hobbies that force you to stay in the here and now (as opposed to your mind racing a million miles a second, focusing on the past or the future). Some people say golf is good for that, too. Or painting. It really doesn't matter: as long as you enjoy it, and it helps you relax. You should definitely get a pool table.ReplyDelete
Hey, you're talking about me!Delete
My dad was an old pro at pool and taught me some good tips. I love playing, havent in YEARS though. I always loved visiting people who had a pool table in their basement/rec room :)ReplyDelete
GUESS WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL??? A pretty darn awesome card from a very special someone! Thanks so much.. I LOVE IT xox
Let's play sometime! I'll be right over... :-)Delete
I have tried my hand at a few times but I was terrible, just terrible. Oh and btw I think Sephora may have makeup classes.ReplyDelete
*sigh* Yes, they do. But...Delete
I have not played pool in about 4 years, I keep looking at my cue thinking I should go play a few rounds but all I need is time and right now I don't time for my blog let alone anything else :(ReplyDelete
That's okay,Dale. Return to it when it fits into your life. No rush.Delete
I can't play pool, actually I tried only once, so maybe I should try again:) However I prefer outdooor activities, lately I returned to badminton, great fun, even for adults:)ReplyDelete
Badminton is fun!Delete
I tried pool a couple of times when I was younger but somehow never really got into it. I guess I just did not try often enough to really get good enough to enjoy it ;)ReplyDelete
conscious lifestyle of mine
Glad you are taking this up again. It is a fun and focused activity! I used to love playing and adore the movie Hustler.It is sort of like yoga with a cue stick..ReplyDelete
Never really played pool seriously...just playing around. I am not the best at sports, hehe. But I don't mind watching others and love the sound of it in the background. Glad to hear you've started playing again. I've heard of, but have never seen, The Hustler. My late father was a big B&W movie fan, so I know he'd want me to see it.ReplyDelete
I'd love a pool table! I'm not really that great at pool, but I enjoy playing it. I have a friend back in Texas whose husband makes pool tables as his side hustle. :)ReplyDelete
I like to play pool, too, but haven't in ages... My dad actually has an English billiards table but (as you can imagine) it's very difficult to find people to play with. He used to play in Paris and has been in love with the game since!ReplyDelete
I used to play at university when we'd go out to the bar. Many many moons ago :) I was not great but I had fun. Yay you for picking it up again! Those tables are beautiful. The blue one looks like a pool of water, cool and refreshing.ReplyDelete
What a fun post (I love that movie) and look at a classic pastime/sport. I've never been any good at billiards myself, but my mom, step-dad, and one of my grandmas are all excellent at it, so I've had a fair bit of exposure to pool over the years.ReplyDelete
Yes! I love pool! I'd like to play pool with you some day. Even though I'm horrible at it lol. My parents used to have a pool table when I was in middle school and high school. It was a lot of fun playing with my entire family. You'd think that would've sharpened my skills...but noooo.ReplyDelete
pool is so much fun! I love it even though I'm not good at it. My parents own one at their home so normally play there.ReplyDelete
I've tried, I suck!ReplyDelete