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A Pool Player Looks At 50

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 -- The Tallahassee Squirrel envisioned the 9 ball dropping on the break, slow rolling at a slight angle -- kicked in by a ball rebounding back into the stack off the end rail, throwing the 9 back to the left side he broke from -- finally plopping down into the corner pocket nearest him from the headstring, the "golden break."

He had seen it all replay in his mind over and over again since earlier that night, then, hill-hill with the other team on a scotch doubles league they had created locally, he made that nine exactly as his mind's eye had foretold! And pumped his fist in victory -- their team, "Brothers Grimm," having won the contest that evening last 5-0 against another strong team, they being the favorite team in the league; but the top rated team at the beginning doesn't always win in the end, and they knew that, but it was all there for the taking, laid out before them like a warm summer sunset you can almost reach out and touch.

They won the first four weeks of the 14 week session 4-1,4-1,4-1,4-1, and then rounded out with the 5-0 win the fifth week just last night, Tuesday, October 26th -- now appearing to be on cruise control, knowing they'd have to grind each week however, and never let up. The Brothers Grimm, Sam and Patrick, both the highest rank in their local league, they knew they had to play hard every single week to win the field -- to never let up, keep the pressure applied; sometimes if the right pressure is applied, your opponent will buckle, or their opponents in this particular case.

But that nine on the snap put an exclamation point on yet another win for the team, as they continued to bang it out week after week every Tuesday night.

How they became such a tight knit unit was directly related to how hard they played against one another individually all these years -- hard. They both top rated amateur players with experience on any table from a 12ft snooker table, down to a 7ft bar box, having won hundreds of smaller bar box tournaments and a couple bigger events each. So, as a team, the Brothers Grimm had already become a name the local players knew, and knew well, formidable adversaries.


The above italic text depicts myself, Patrick Sampey and my teammate Sam, and our team the "Brothers Grimm." I broke and made the nine last night on the last rack where both teams needed it for the win. It was just a small win in the grand scheme of things, but what a cool early birthday gift I thought from the universe herself -- and the pool Gods of course.

Today is my 50th birthday, and I look back on many great pool years, reflecting upon being a top rated 7 APA (American Poolplayers Association) player since 2000 up until present day -- although I'm not currently in the APA. But wow! 50! Half a century, and so many hours logged playing pool since I picked it up as a hobby at about age 25, just fresh out of the US Army, having just completed my enlistment serving with the 101st Airborne Division. What a long, strange trip it's been -- so many different walks and talks in the billiards world.

So many cool articles about players, products, tournaments, books, etcetera I've covered in pool since I wrote my first article on Efren Reyes, dubbing him the GOAT (greatest of all times) of pocket billiards, all around. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it at present. Check that article here if you're interested:

Since that time, I have written many articles for Sneaky Pete Mafia magazine and InsidePool magazine, but SPM (Sneaky Pete Mafia) is my home I feel, where I come to read others articles, learn a little myself, and contribute a verse myself.

And I've heard so many players say, "I used to play much better," and meanwhile, I feel like my game is as good as it's ever been, and even though in around 2000 I was a skill level 7 in both eight and nine -- I have since then beaten APA 9's 9-0 in the race to 9 on the 9ft table and feel like I most likely would rank up to a 9 if I played APA again, which I doubt, but anything is possible.

And I have so many wonderful pool friends on Facebook from around the globe like Aloysius Yapp, Joshua Filler, Nick Varner, Tom Kennedy, Charlie Williams, Mark Wilson -- and so many others -- as I continue to canvas the game about these great champions and leaders in billiards.

I've learned so much not just about pool, but life as well through the years through this game I love. Sometimes pool seems to be like a lesson in sociology and psychology and even philosophy, with the nuances of the mental aspects of the sport.

But mainly for me, playing pool has brought much happiness and joy into my life, and that to me is the main point: I love every aspect of pool -- as diverse and dynamic an endeavor as I've ever known.

So for the last 25 years I've become enraptured in pocket billiards, studying every game from one pocket to Russian billiards, and snooker and everything in between, playing the game, playing in tournaments and league and reading so many billiards books-- and I also love 9 ball; If everyone is playing it, then everyone is playing it. Earl Strickland is the best 9 ball player I've ever seen.

I've seen The Hustler, Color Of Money, read the books, and love Walter Tevis, one of not just the best billiards writers, but all around writers ever. Great stuff.

I've watched Poolhall Junkies, and wrote the article behind the movie on Robert Leblanc, the person the movie was based upon, though they took many liberties with the story. Here is a link to the article on Leblanc:

I've played in $300 a rack one pocket money games, and won hundreds of dollars in a night, and lost a bit on a few occasions as well, but I always played cheap sets with almost anyone besides known pros and that kind of level usually. But all in all, I've played some very decent pool, although my main aim is to write the game, having had my training in Journalism in the US Army, my original MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was 46Q, combat journalist.

But I was reclassified into electronics from journalism and lost sight of my writing dream -- substituting electronic theory for the daily news, and possibly the Army Times.

At 50, I'm still here, still grinding, still hitting them balls, and still writing pool articles. I love my pool life. Hope you enjoy yours as well.

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