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Team USA — Redemption ~ by Patrick “The Tallahassee Squirrel” Sampey

“I’ve paid my dues Time after time. I’ve done my sentence But committed no crime. And bad mistakes‒ I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face But I’ve come through…

We are the champions, my friends. And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losers ‘Cause we are the champions of the world.” –MERCURY, FREDERICK.

The Mosconi Cup 2018 between Europe, and 13 other countries and the US just concluded yesterday, Dec. 7th — with team USA taking back the Cup 11-9, the first time since 2009– 8 long years of European dominance silenced. The cup returned to the country where 9 Ball pool was born, and home of the player the tournament was named after, Willie Mosconi — arguably the greatest player that ever lived (although I go with Efren Reyes…it’s subjective to some extent.).

Tyler Styer is my friend on Facebook, as I network in the game — adding pool players, fans, and great champions like Styer.

(Thanks to all the fans of the game from Sneaky Pete Mafia, as we roll out these upcoming articles covering the Mosconi Cup, and what it means for pool in the USA.)

Every single player on our team came through for the team, and it was a total group effort all around. The fans were raucous, the atmosphere electric. Woodward winning, hands held high — what now? The audience and chants of “Euuuuuuuuuurope!” Forever silenced, or until next year when USA and Europe face off in 2019 in Vegas, back on home turf! The champs return to defend their title.

Shane van Boening dropped the cup-winning 9-ball for Team USA, beating Alex Kazakis 5-3; and it was the one-nine combo — dead in the center of the pocket. Van Boening pumps both fists in the air! Redemption 2018! Bang! The curse of the Cup is over with, and he is still a young man, with many years left to be on top of his game if he so chooses –pool having no real age constraints of other sports, games, contests of wit and skill.

Woodward gets the MVP playing some of the best, clutch pool of his life! Amazing! The internet buzzing, with players talking about the games, watching the matches — seeing the best of what USA has to produce come through in top form and representing the status of our game — and we are coming up again, in this resurgence to pool prominence — our players flexing their prowess.

Kudos to team Europe, and all the top players. Going into day four, being down 9-6, with USA needing just 2 more points for the victory, and Europe coming back strong, not going down easy — touting the world’s number one, Eklent Kaci –who came to play. All around, Europe had the advantage going in. Jayson Shaw frustrated by the rush of defeat 5-0, but came back to win the rematch, fighting tooth & nail until the end.

USA fans and Europe fans colliding in the virtual world of Facebook like so many pool aficianados (and a little trash talking too…).

It led to wild celebrations with Team USA players jumping on the table in celebration –toppling an eight-year Team Europe streak. Johan Ruijsink captained Team USA to victory, having led the Europeans to seven successive Mosconi Cup titles prior to that — now with team USA, showing yet again the melting pot that is the United States — how we accept all people world-wide as our own (and we all need to remember that…).

In the most stressful pool arena worldwide, the fans boisterous, alive, the volume on max– the USA and European players looking calm on the outside, the storm on the inside a typoon.

What a show!

USA pool fans watch and take notice, as billiards history is made, and USA is back on top of the 9-ball pool scene worldwide, rising again against some of the best players worldwide. Incredible contest. For the ages. It had it all: jump shots, break and runs, and that one-nine combo for the entire shebang.

Day four, Albin Ouschan drops 4-5 to Skyler Woodward – USA up now 10-6. Then the Europeans win the next 3 to make it 10-9, and the Cup hanging in the balance, playing some amazing pool. But the MVP would not be denied that day, for SVB had his back –that’s what teams are about, the sum of all parts, not any single player alone, and this US team had come to play and win where so many had fallen short before, all past losses instantly forgotten, if only for a moment, the final ball pocketed.Team breakdown:

  1. Team Europe Marcus Chamat (captain), Eklent Kaci (world #1), Niels Fiejen, Alex Kazakis, Albin Ouschan and Jayson Shaw.

  2. Team USA Johan Ruijsink (captain), Jeremy Jones (vice-coach), Skyler Woodward(MVP), Shane van Boening, Billy Thorpe, Tyler Styer and Corey Deuel

Mosconi Cup rules 2018 —

  1. 30 second shot clock in operation at all times with one 30 second extension per rack.

  2. One ball on the spot

  3. Hand racked in a wooden triangle.

  4. Cue ball anywhere behind the headstring.

USA back on top players! Keep on hitting them balls!

Author: Patrick “The Tallahassee Squirrel” Sampey

Editor: Chris Freeman


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