(Friday, 7/30) – Today I made the drive from Santa Rosa to Petaluma, CA. I knew the direct fifteen mile route along Hwy 101 was marred by nearly continuous road construction, so I decided to take an alternate route through the wine country. I left the hotel and went cross-country, catching Petaluma Hill Road, and bypassed the entire interstate. It was an interesting route, with vineyards and various wine industry establishments along the way. It’s amazing how much more relaxing the drive was, taking back roads all the way. Maybe this will become a new habit!
I eventually made it to Petaluma, and pulled into the parking lot of Universe Billiards, a relatively large establishment with 21 pool tables, a snooker table, 3 cushion table, a couple card tables, and 4 pinball machines. I arrived around 11:30, but the place didn’t open in 12:30. Rats! When the manager arrived around 11:45, I was able to slip in and grab a table ahead of time. After all, I had a lot of serious practice to get in today!
I started with a warm-up routine, then shot some basic drills for about an hour and a half. I just focused on shot making and distance control. Around 1:30, I stopped my warmups and set up my first series of shots from “The Pro Book.” Then I decided to take a break for lunch before getting started with the ‘serious’ workout. I went up to the front counter and grabbed a couple large slices of pizza and a large diet coke (my hypocrisy knows no bounds!), and I sat and watched some other players roll the rock around while I enjoyed my nutritious lunch. After a few minutes, a guy walked up and asked if I wanted to shoot some. Within minutes, I found myself in a three way game with Brandon and Jack, a couple of skilled local players, playing for money. Well, there goes my planned practice session!
We played a ring game of ten ball, with the 5 and 10 being money balls, each worth $1. For those not familiar with ring games, we played a rotation game with 10 balls, the balls had to be pocketed in numbered order, and we used the basic rules from 9 ball. We did implement the following major exception: NO SAFETIES ALLOWED! Basically, we set the game up to be totally offensive in nature, which made for some very wild shots! We played for almost 3 ½ hours, with no one clearly being able to break away from the pack. I started out ahead in the money, and stayed ahead for most of the session. I ended up finishing the session at $4 ahead. Hummm, let’s see: $4 divided by 3.5 hours of work = $1.14/hr. If I lived in a 3rd world country, that might be good pay for my efforts, but here in the States? Nope, I’m not going to quit my day job anytime soon! I guess tomorrow I’ll put in a little extra practice to get back on schedule.