This month’s PoolSynergy topic is “What’s your story?” About eight months ago, I kicked off a two year mission to dramatically improve my pool playing skills. In preparation for this effort, I did a little research on skill development and the factors that influence a person’s ability to develop world class talent. My journey has required me to do a fair amount of soul searching, and as such I began questioning not only my own motivation for playing the game, but also the motivation of other players who have achieved success in the sport. Why do some people love the game? How did they initially get hooked on the sport? What keeps them coming back to the table again and again? In essence, what’s their story?
Welcome to Volume 9 of PoolSynergy, a monthly collection of some of the greatest writing in pool. On the 15th of each month a group of writers publish articles based on a common theme, and a host publishes a summary page with descriptions and introductions to each article. This month I’m hosting, and I decided to pose a question to the PoolSynergy authors: “What’s your story?” Why do you love the game and what keeps you coming back?
Several authors contributed to this month’s topic. First off, we have Alison Fischer, Editor and photographer for NYCgrind.com. Alison describes growing up with a Brunswick Gold Crown III pool table, and her mom teaching her the fundamentals of the sport…the bridge, the stance, and how to aim. She and her mom played match after match in the basement, and from there the obsession set in. You can read Alison’s story here.
Gail Glazebrook, the 2010 BCAPL Women’s Open National Champion, also describes growing up with a pool table, a 9 foot Renaissance. Her dad taught her the fundamentals of the game, and it wasn’t long before she was giving the guys a run for the money. You can read Gail’s story here.
John Biddle, founder of the Pool Synergy project, describes his current relationship with pool as “a more mature, long-term love relationship, rather than the hotter, more lust based attraction of my youth.” John talks more about his relationship with pool here.
Mike Fieldhammer, founder of BilliardCoach.com, tells about spending every holiday and summer learning from his grandfather. He subsequently honed his skills during college, practicing all night on one of four regulation size tables at 25 cents an hour. You can read Mike’s story here.
Melinda Bailey, author of the blog “Pool is a Journey”, describes her start in pool during high school. She played lots of video games, and “…became so good at the video games I got bored…so I ventured over to the pool tables to fill my time and satisfy my thirst for staying busy.” You can read her story here.
Johnny, author of the blog “A Journey Into Billiards”, preaches the educational value of pool as part of his attraction to the sport. According to Johnny, “ Whoever said you don’t learn anything in a pool room has obviously never spent any time in one. There’s interpersonal politics, business and finance, psychology, physics and geometry, spatial reckoning and mental prowess.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. You can ready Johnny’s article here.
Jarno Virtanen, author of the blog “Caroming the Combination”, describes several memories from his early pool life, and how his learning experiences in darts and table tennis led to a life of pool. A friend of his bought a pool table and put it in a private club. Of course, he joined the club to be with his friends, but as Jarno puts it, “…my main motivation was the pool table.” You can read Jarno’s story here.
The author of the p00lriah blog blames his addiction to pool on television. He watched a trick shot exhibition by ”machine gun” Lou Butera, and was hooked. According to p00lriah, pool is one of the “…few games that combine deep logic with complete chaos…no matter how good you get, you can never completely master the game”. You can read p00lriah’s story here.
Jake Dyer, who writes the blog “Untold Stories: Billiards History”, tells us that his first exposure to pool came during college via a book a friend gave him, “Hustlers, Beats and Others”, which describes the sociology of pool hustling. He later traveled to Costa Rica for some time, where he witnessed old-school pool hustling first hand, and he fell in love with both the game and the culture. You can read Jake’s story here.
For a complete list of PoolSynergy editions, you can visit John Biddle’s website at PoolStudent.com. I hope you enjoy this month’s addition of PoolSynergy.