jack in the box

before we begin, just want to mention project gutenberg quickly.  chances are you already know about this; i mean, you probably enjoy reading if you read blogs, and if you enjoy reading you’re most likely to dig around online for free and paid books.  if not, project gutenberg is a volunteer project that digitizes public domain books into various e-formats; they have tens of thousands of free books to download.  if you enjoy reading and have an ebook reader, a tablet computer (like an ipad), or a smart phone, be sure to check it out.  you can find thousands of literary classics for free, and even some books in foreign languages.  for example, the entire sherlock holmes collection is free, as well as famous authors like tocqueville, t. s. eliot, mark twain, chaucer, alexandre dumas, dickens, edith wharton, to name but a few.  those of you that use iphone/itouch/ipad, many free books on the itunes bookstore are from project gutenberg.  happy hunting.

i’ve gotten several thought-provoking comments from some of my readers (all four of you); i really appreciate you guys taking the time to share your opinions with me.  (special mentions to q+b, minnow, and ms. redemption).  as far as what prompted my previous post, i should probably expand on it a bit.

eons ago, i was in arizona visiting my friend.  pool, of course, was one of the items on the to-do list.  (in fact, pool was on our nightly to-do list.  good times.  :D)  while we were playing 9-ball, some gents (loosely termed) decided to snicker at us while standing close to our table.  the gist of the snickering was basically that we were 9-ball players, and they were superior because they were 8-ball players.  the whole situation became pretty stupid pretty fast.  fortunately, no fists were exchanged during the incident.  (where is kenshiro when you need him anyway?)

i personally believe that when we start to categorize shots as belonging to a particular game, we start to pigeonhole ourselves into thinking that we belong to a certain category as players.  i’m sure you’ve heard of people saying so-and-so is a “one-pocket player”, or a “9-ball player”, or a “(insert favorite game) player”.  i believe it starts from labeling things unnecessarily.  personally, i think of myself as a pool player first and foremost.  i’m a pool player who plays certain games more than others, but i don’t think of myself as an 8-ball or a 9-ball player.  if you ask me, i’ll play a game even if i suck at a it or have never tried it before.  i mean, i can happily play basic pocket billiards for hours on end.  does that mean i’m a basic pocket billiards player?  why all these divisions anyway?

pool is fragmented as is.  i don’t believe we need all these sub-categories to further differentiate us as players.  just because you play straight pool doesn’t mean you’re not a pool player; you are playing pool when you play straight pool.  or honolulu.  or chicago.  one day, i hope to also call myself a billiards player on top of a pool player; i’m still working on my pool game, but billiards is a ton of fun as well.  i suck royally at billiards, but that doesn’t mean i don’t love it.

don’t chain jack inside a box.  let him come out and play.

8 comments on “jack in the box

  1. I totally agree with your point….and the thought of looking down on other players because of their game is ridiculous.

    Not being familiar with a certain game can be an advantage. I remember watching a streamed one-pocket match between Sylver Ochoa….and gosh I can’t remember the other player’s name. But Scott Frost who was commentating said that he was a scary opponent. He was skilled enough to do just about anything he wanted to on the table, but it was almost impossible to predict what he would do because he wasn’t a “one-pocket player.”

    • what’s funny is that i watched these gents play before the snickering began…they averaged 3-ball runs on an 8-foot table. not exactly stellar. 😛

      i know it’s ridiculous to keep going back to kiamco, but i watched him playing some really great one-pocket for not being an “one-pocket player”. it was a display of pure offense. i think in pool, there is no need for a player to confine himself/herself to certain styles of play.

  2. Ok, I’m guilty of categorizing 8 ball and 9 ball players. I prefer to play 8 ball because it’s a slower game and there are more balls on the table to play safes. Thank you for making me realize that whatever game a player plays, it doesn’t matter.

    • don’t get me wrong q+b. it’s a free country, and you can do what you like. i just think that when us players start categorizing, we start to limit ourselves from seeing what is possible on the table. pool is tough enough; why put shackles on your mind when you don’t need to?

  3. agree thoroughly with your overall point. i agreed somewhat less thoroughly with the original objection to the “one pocket shot” comment because i think there are shots that could be categorized as unique or better suited for certain games. like you could have a friggin epic straight pool break but it wouldn’t look anything even remotely like a decent 8-ball break. i assume you’ve watched efren play about a bazillion times, right? have you ever watched him play one-pocket? if you haven’t, make a point to sometime… to me, at least, it really unleashes his creativity to beyond insane levels and you see him do shots you’d probably never see in other games. i get your overall point, really! but i can envision certain shots earning labels as well.

    • i get what you’re saying gary. i agree that certain shots suit certain games better, it’s just that i enjoy finding new applications to shots and i find labels confining. i’m not totally against labels, i just think a player can potentially limit himself/herself when he/she look at things from set points of view. glad you enjoyed the post though!

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