recently i went down to my fave PH to practice. as such, i ended up shooting with this gent–let’s call him ufo. (don’t f~* ask.) i got a little miffed in the process.
we’ve practiced many times before, and one thing that sort of bothered me was that he liked to play races to whatever games of 9-ball. the thing is, ufo doesn’t shoot very well. actually, let me correct myself. to me, he just seems to lack cueball knowledge. by my estimation, roughly 70% of the times he doesn’t know where the cueball is going, or he can’t make the cueball go where he wants. the lack of speed control takes care of the other 30%. the result is that he shoots a series of haphazard shots that makes no sense, shape-wise, whatsoever. apply that to playing a race & you can see how artificial the score becomes. there’s no money on the line, he can’t forge together a meaningful runout, so what’s the point of a race? when i practice with someone, i want the session to have good pool. clean runouts. creative shapes. clever shot-making. these are the things i try to do when i practice against someone; i feel guilty when i can’t shoot well against my opponent, since i feel like i’ve wasted my opponent’s time. i get none of those with ufo.
i suppose i’ve reached a fed-up point, since i’m finally writing about it after many years of shooting with ufo.
and surprise, ufo likes to make inane remarks when he gets lucky with a shape, safety or shot, or acts like he means to shoot the lucky shot. good grief. smugness is not a personal trait i look for when i make friends. i like it even less on a pool table. f~*.
in contrast, i’ve had some really terrific practice sessions with a great player, even though we both played poorly. (he hasn’t been playing competitively for a while now.) although he wasn’t running out consistently, the shot selection and stroke were all delightful to watch and learn from. that’s all i want out of a practice, really; learn something. is that much to ask?
a logical result from this, of course, is that i’m not playing ufo anymore, or at least for the time being. i don’t miss it a bit. also, i figured that since ufo’s no beginner, and we can’t learn from each other, there’s no harm not playing him. instead, i’ve been using the time to do drills and experiment with new shots; much more productive this way. and i’m happier as a result. i don’t think ufo likes the situation very much, but oh well. there are many like-minded players as he, and i’m sure he’ll have no trouble getting a game. as for me, i’m enjoying my time alone.
[addendum nov. 17, 2009: i forgot to mention that ufo had taken upon himself to experiment with bustamante’s two-finger grip for the past few weeks. i’m liking my decision more and more now. and i wish him the best of luck with busty’s grip; he’ll need it. badly.]