i like food. not so much in that gluttonous way where i’d sit in my undies in the basement, greedily sucking out the marrows in the chicken bone formerly attached to the fried flesh of a well-cooked drumstick. (who does that anyway?) i’m talking more about savoring a meal, enjoying the aroma of the dish, and allowing your taste buds to discern the subtle colors of each particular spice, and letting the whole experience wash over you like a water jet inside a jacuzzi rushing to relieve you of all the fatigue and tension built up over the week. a mini euphoria.
let’s take sushi. many of us ate sushi before, even if just california roll. easy to get, no? most markets carry sushi now; if not, you can probably find a sushi boy or a local joint that’ll slice or dice up some raw fish and happily call it nigiri or fire roll. until one day, your friend/coworker/family takes you to a good sushi restaurant, and all of a sudden you have comparison. it’s now over for you. you can never go back to sushi boy ever again. the next day, you get an extra job (or two) just to afford that better stuff, whatever it’s called, because that’s now sushi to you. all those years before, you had raw fish boy.
pool, like many aspects of life, share the same traits you’ve just seen above. i’ve been there.
imagine a guy playing in a bar or a family pool hall, possibly with his friends. (if you prefer the female version, mentally convert it to she.) he’s happily making balls, one or two in a row, content with the results as did his friends. then someone shows up. not a pro, but a better player. the better sets up two tables over, racks nine balls into a diamond pattern, and breaks. making two balls, the better runs out the rest. the guy watches, entranced; while his friends paid no attention to the better, the guy knew that what he saw was a purposeful, pre-designed set of orchestrated moves that was single-mindedly executed without the reliance on chance or oddly shaped talismans. (unless it’s an omg ninji, then you’d need one. go buy it now.)
the guy is now f~*ed. he can never go back to the way it was before, happily, if not blindly, pocket a ball here and there. he has now seen better, and he now has to pursue it, whatever that better is.
many would call this obsession, and rightly so. i tend to think of it as a refusal to conform, a longing to become more than what we were. it’s a call to a higher standard, to not call good great, because you’ve seen great. just like the first time you played on real simonis cloth, or the first time you pocketed a ball on a diamond table. you now possess the crushing knowledge of what could be.
happy playing. 🙂