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APA Pool Diaries: Entry 1 ~ Ralf Greenleaf

APA Pool Diaries

Entry One

The pool hall calls the players to that perpetual sea of green felt that blankets the tables in most pool rooms across the country and around the world. Billiard balls are spheres, and so is the moon, and I hear pool balls colliding in the gargantuan scope of infinite time and space — pool balls rocketing throughout the universe in the form of so many stars, planets, moons, and the mathematical world of geometry, physics, psychology, sociology, and other elements of epistemology known as pocket billiards. When you hear that distinct click of the ball or thump of the ball or plop of the ball, you know you’ve made the shot, and that sweet satisfaction comes shining through like so many beams of light from our Sun. Spheres like the Sun sustain life, and pool balls, and playing pool makes life enjoyable and worthwhile. I find meaning in these geometrical spheres we bang in pockets around the globe, also a sphere. All these spheres. Perhaps it’s the most perfect Geometrical shape or form — that’s debatable. At any rate, I’ve been keeping track of my successes and failures in the APA (American Poolplayers Association). Here it is, my status thus far, since returning to the league in about 10 years:

What’s going on pool players and billiards aficionados? Patrick Sampey here, APA skill level 7 in 8 ball. I’ve been out of the APA for a while, always working on my game, in an attempt to improve, but have kind of missed the league. I stopped playing in the league back in 2007 back in Tallahassee, FL, and have been a 7 since approximately 1999 — so I’ve maintained the league’s highest ranking for a while now — as my game actually improved when I left the league back then.

Now however, I can play and maintain a game, and the league actually motivates me to play better to try to get a win for the team. I’m a team player. I will help with timeouts, try to help players work on their games, and they don’t need to be on my team. I like to help out anyone that’s cool with me and loves the game of pool. That’s how we each connect.  I feel that as a higher ranked player, it’s up to me and other higher ranked players to help others improve on their games if they like, or if they just want to enjoy it and not take it too seriously, then that’s fine as well. Not everyone is the same skill level, but all can enjoy the game and have a chance to win. A good 2 or 3 is tough to beat when you need to win 7-2 and 6-2 — when they only have to win two, and they can run out multiple balls, and play good shots, that’s tough to overcome.

Currently, I’m 5 wins and 2 losses for this session of 8 ball we’re in right now — about midway through. So that’s a 71.4% win percentage and decent I feel — especially since both times I lost, the two fives that beat me on the two times I’ve lost thus far played like 7’s, so they got hot on me and played well — but those losses are good too, because it helps me to play better — more competitively. Hopefully I will get my win percentage up there. If I can pull out a win next week, then I will be 6-2, and up to a 75% win record. Then, the week after that, perhaps I can win again, and get up to a 7-2 win record — and at that point be at a 77.7% win record, so I hope I can get there. Good number! On the other hand, if I lose next week, I will fall to a 62.5 win percentage, and faltering a bit I feel. Then, if I got into a slump, or just had the misfortune to not get many opportunities at the table, then there’s nothing I can do about that. If someone just runs out on you, then all you can do is rack; that is the reality of pool. You can be shooting your best game, but so are they, and they get the first shot and break and run out 3 straight racks on you, and there’s not much you can do better, but learn to lag the cue better to get the first shot.

There’s a lot of good competition in my area, and many good people, and that’s the main part of playing pool in a league, is to get out and socialize with people, and have something cool to do once a week, or twice a week if you play on two teams. The APA is a great outlet for getting out and hitting some balls, and playing the game we all love, with friends we see each week. They don’t have to be on the same team — they can be on the opposite teams too. That’s the cool thing — sure you can be competitive in the game, and want to try to win — but at the end of the day, everyone can help one another to become better players, enjoy the game, socialize, and just have a good night out.

Since my return to the league, I’ve already met many cool people around my area. They all love the game of pool as I do, and have pool tables, and cue sticks, and pool gloves, cases, etcetera — and they really support the APA and what they are doing for the game.

Just recently, I’ve interviewed many people, many players in the game, figures in the game, and the like — and this is all a part of the process of supporting the game I love; so I write about the game I love and hope that others would read, and hopefully have some similar stories or can relate to some of what I’m saying, and we pool players worldwide can connect and network through social media to gain more awareness of the diversity, flavor, color, and life that is to be enjoyed playing this cool game some genius invented. In 1600 Shakespeare mentioned pool in Antony and Cleopatra. By 1675, pool tables were said to be commonplace; that’s what has been said of the European pool influence to the game.

Eight ball was invented shortly after 1900, so the game is new to the world and universe as far as we are aware, and I love how it can be a strategy game like one pocket, or a more run out game like 9 ball, and much more offensive in nature.

There’s some tough competition out there, and some cool people to meet and talk with. Get out there, and support your local pool league, and support the APA as well if you have an extra night a week. In this way, we can each individually give back to the game that we enjoy so much. This kind of thing is what the game needs to gain more notoriety and prestige again — and we need to keep on reading about the game, watching the game, playing in leagues and supporting the game we all love; that’s how we change it for the better — from inside out, not outside in — that rarely works.

Thanks to all the readers and Facebook supporters for all the continued support and helpful leads on more articles SPM Magazine can feature. Please contact Sneaky Pete Mafia here if you have any story ideas for us moving forward — and always and evermore keep on hitting them balls!

Also, I won 5-1 against a very strong sl5 playing with my Champion Sports cue that I got from, which has a layered tip I can draw length of table with. And I won’t say too much about it as yet, but so far I like it very much. Rock solid. And I jumped a ball with draw to get shape and run out the rack practicing with the jump/break, so that’s great. I’ve been making a ball on about every rack, so that gives me a chance for a break and run.

Furthermore, the bluetooth headphones rock when I play, as I have Iron Maiden or Lil Wayne or Mozart cranked up. One rack I broke and ran out and didn’t realize it — just zen and the art of 8 ball, run out style. I need more break and run outs to make a statement — and deny players an opportunity at the table. But I also play that 8 ball on the break shot, because I want to win in one shot, so that makes less break and runs I would say.

My headphones are called iWorld and can be bought for thirty five bucks here — and I suggest you get a pair if you like to rock at maximum volume, and cut out the outside noise of the world completely:

It’s so fun to get in that pool zone while enjoying some cool music free from wires. Liberating. It’s fun. That’s the best part of the game — just me and the table.

Don’t forget to check out the APA at


Author: Ralf Greenleaf

Editor: Shaylyn Troop

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