When playing a pool match, how many times has your opponent started collecting the balls before the end of a game? I look at this as an attempt to get into somebody's head, an attempt to get under somebody's skin or throw them off their game cause when you are shooting you get into a rhythm and then are unable to finish that game. You then get up to start the new game while in your mind you never really finished the previous game. I know I feel better when I am able to see something through to the end. So I ask you is it a sportsmanship violation?
So this posts moral brings me to my Tuesday night TAP League match. My team was playing at home at JJ boomers in Lowell, Ma. My match was against a good 6 in the league, so as a 5 I needed 4 games to his 5 games. The first game I shot pretty well, I ran down to where I had one ball and the eight ball, left myself an easy stop shot into the side with the 8 going into the corner. He decided to step up to the table and start getting the balls out of the side so he just gave me the game. The next game we went back and forth a couple times and I ran down to the 8 ball leaving myself a fairly easy shot on the 8 and again he just started getting the balls out of the side. I find it frustrating when people do this because it is just a tactic try to get into somebodys head. You're not allowing a person to finish the game disrupting the flow by not letting or allowing them to shoot it out. I mean people have missed easier shots so why not let them just take the shot. The next four games my game seemed to slip a little and he ends up winning them. So now he needs one game to me needing 2 games. This next game I make a shot on my last ball with top and leave myself about a 110 degree cut on the 8 ball into the side pocket. It wasn't necessarily an easy shot but to me it didn't appear to be that difficult of a shot. So why if he gave me the first 2 games as he did, why did he not give me this game as I made it down to the 8 ball again. Well I made the cut shot on the 8 and he racks for the final game. We go back and forth a little and I eventually am able to put together a run of my last 4 balls with a leave on the 8. As I get up to the table for an easy shot on the 8 in the corner, he walks up to the table congratulating me. Giving me the 4th and final game I needed to win my match. So out of the 4 games that I “won”, I only really pocketed one 8 ball.
So I ask you to share your opinion of this kind of tactic in game play, especially if its early in the match. Do you look at it as a mind game? Do you feel it is an attempted sign of respect? If it is the last game I guess it is what it is, even I have done it in the last game of a match but I felt it was more of a respect to the person I was playing against to give them the last game or last ball or two of the game.
So on a different note I did play in two other matches this week. I played 9 ball on Sunday night and 8 Ball on Wednesday night. Both of those matches I also shot well. I am feeling myself shooting more consistently as well as getting my leaves. Both of these items I will always to continue to improve upon.
On my Sunday night 9 ball team, we were the away team playing out of the Red Onion in Baldwinville, Ma. I played a 5 so it was a 46 to 38 point race. In practice I ended up playing against him a few games and was feeling pretty good with how I was shooting. I ended up being able to pull out a 17 to 3 victory holding him to 15 points before I got to 46 points. It felt pretty good to finally shoot well on a table that has caused me so many issues in previous matches. While I was keeping score for the last match, there was some banter back and forth about some of our players skill levels, and I said well I am a 6 to his reply was well you shoot like an 8. I may shoot well some nights but I am definitely not consistent enough to be an 8. I would like to eventually get to that level of consistency, but I am not there yet.
On my Wednesday 8 ball team, we were the home team playing out of JJ Boomers in Lowell, Ma. I needed to play sooner rather than later so my team put me up second and the opposing team put up a 3 against me. So me being a 5 the race was me needing 4 games and my opponent needing 2 games. First game my opponent got down to the 8 ball but was unable to get a decent enough shot on it to win. During my play towards the end I was able to play a decent safe giving me ball in hand with one ball left. I then shot my ball into one pocket leaving myself the 8 into the other pocket. During one of the following games I even attempted a jump shot to try to cut a ball into the corner and I missed it by about an inch or two. I like the fact that in the TAP league there isn't any restrictions as to how and what I can shoot with, just that I need to call a ball and call a pocket and then hit one of my balls first. I proceeded to win the next 3 games and my opponent congratulated me with how well I was shooting. He was the picture of good sportsmanship. I even remember playing him before where he beat me. As I always say, even though I know I am a good shot I never claim to be unbeatable.
So there was my latest week of play. Hopefully some of you will share your view points on the forfeiting of games issue so I look forward to reading your views. But as for me, I will forever be learning the art of pool. When I feel that I can not learn anymore I will be sure to stop playing. I don't believe that will ever happen though as there will always be something to learn. May your aim be true and your leaves be what you are looking for.