Pool can be beautiful. I know, that sounds weird, but to a pool player (read: a player, not necessarily a gambler or hustler), he or she knows what I mean with that thought. There is a beauty in a smooth, level stroke. There is something special about a soft touch that either drops the ball neatly in the pocket, or leaves the opponent tucked up behind another ball pressed on the rail. There is a simplicity in a solid, straight shot. And when you can carve out an amazing shot that you could only imagine in your head? Man, there’s just no comparison.
I have loved the game of pool for over 25 years now. I began by watching some of the best female players in the world play in Peachtree City, Georgia when the WPBA (Women’s Professional Billiard Association) made a stop there for a women’s tournament. I spoke to Ewa Mataya Laurence (when she was still Mataya, and when she still had curly hair that was so popular in the early 90s) while I was sitting outside of the tournament taking a break. My ladies team took a picture with Jeanette Lee, arguably one of the best in 9-ball history, when we were at the national tournament for our amateur league (APA y’alll). I emailed Alison Fisher several years back to ask her a question about practice and drills, and y’all, she emailed me back. Who knows? It might have been an assistant or a secretary that did it, but in my mind, with the words she chose, it was Alison, the Duchess of Doom.
Most pool players have nicknames. The Texas Tornado, the Striking Viking, the Black Widow, The Irish Invader, and the list just goes on. My nickname given to me by my awesome amateur 9-ball team from nearly 20 years ago was “the Face.” (Thanks to Reid and Cheryl Meadows!) Whenever I would seriously get into my game, I would stop the socializing, get quiet, get inside my thoughts, and I had a major RBF (Resting B**ch Face, before that was a thing). But when I had on “the face,” my opponents knew that I was ready to be serious. Sure, it’s all about the fun, at least for amateur leagues, but for me, it was about getting better, being better, and having a claim to something I was good at. Maybe even sometimes, great at.
So when I carve a ball down the table that looks like it had no chance of going? Yep. That’s my happy place.