There was a time in my life when I very much enjoyed shooting pool. If was a brief time, back in my early 20’s, but it did not last. It is a shame because at one point, I actually became a decent player. This was after I ditched the maniacal greaser ex-boyfriend who tried to teach me how to hold a pool cue just right, and where to stand at the table and blah blah. He was OCD. I was having none of that. Anyway, I hit the town, post split, and played with the girls. I had quite a bit of fun learning the game. The only problem was, I never practiced much. The only education I had in regards to shooting pool came in the form of cinema. As a teenager, I watched “The Hustler” over and over…but it was all for Newman, not the actual game itself. Later I watched “The Color of Money” and became more intrigued by the game. I made a pact with myself that I would learn the game, become a pool shark, and whip any fool who tried to play with me. I know,ridiculous. Alcohol does terrible things to the ego. I even thought about getting my very own stick. It never happened. I never became a pool shark.
This past Christmas, my interest in pool became evident when I said yes to a game with two friends who flew in from Paris. I hadn’t played in a very long time. We picked a spot that was a regular old haunt in the Old Port, in Portland, Maine. I became deliriously happy at the thought of playing again. As we hung our heavy coats and picked out our cues, I became overcome with nostalgia. I thought back to the old days and smiled. I wasn’t crazy about the lack of Del Shannon on the juke, but I put up with Nickelback because all that really mattered was that I was going to have good time. As for the game, I totally sucked. I lost continuously by my friend Matthew, his lovely wife, and some dude who came along who was studying to become a neuroscientist.
It was a beautiful evening, and I shall never forget it. One thing I learned was that the term, (which I loathe) “practice makes perfect” is perfectly true.