Writing The Game — Diary Of A Billiards Aficionado
“Got a picture of your house and you’re standing by the door
It’s black and white and faded and it’s looking pretty worn
I see the factory that I worked silhouetted in the back
The memories are gray but, man, they’re really coming back
I don’t need to be the king of the world
As long as I’m the hero of this little girl
Heaven isn’t too far away
Closer to it every day…” — Heaven, by Warrant.
Thursday, July 9th, 2020 — I was talking with my girlfriend today, about writing daily articles here with InsidePoolmag.com, as we cover all aspects of billiards. I had been idle since the Coronavirus shut the world down, depressed, and withdrawn into myself like some kind of misanthrope, disillusioned with one’s own humanity — cloistered away from an unkind universe that seemed to be spiraling into chaos.
Then I remembered the game I love, billiards, and how I love to write, to have the ability to reach out to you the readers, the billiards aficionados, and I remembered that life continues, that we must go on, that…I digress. Suffice it to say, I felt like I had an epiphany today, and it may seem too simple for some, too ignorant for me to have not known all along, but even so, it came to me like a revelation, her words still echoing in a great reverberation of the angelic voice saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” my girl had said — and with a verve and pizazz few possess (she so cute.).
Staring at the blinking cursor on the canvas of white that is my LED screen in this virtual world we so often lose ourselves in, and I’m one with Great White on the Bluetooth headphones, literally jacked in to the system — but I’m an individual, a pool player, writer, poet, a lover of life! Yes, life is the gift and I’m going to grind in this pool game until the wheels fall off…
Great White continues on the headphones, cranked up, “In the morning, don’t you wake me. I’ll be dreaming that I’m free. Come the daybreak, don’t you shake me. Send me back to misery. Cause I’m dealing with the devil, with no help from above. I’m stealing with the devil through this house of broken love.” And as I listen I think of how music heals me, and all the songs of love, life, and how it all relates to these games we play; pool is a game, sport, a way of life for some — some live, eat, breathe, drink and swim in a sea of green felt in pool halls worldwide, and they never stop grinding. Yeah man, some live for the game, and that’s the kind of pool player I’d always like to be, tenacious. And how do we develop that grit that it takes to always play your best even in a “house of broken love”? You keep pushing is what you do. You push on through loss of love. You push on through the Coronavirus. You push through the rain, all the pain, and you find a way to face another day.
And I’ve been to the bottom, and I’ve done things you wouldn’t, and I’ve laid it all on the line for the game I love — but I survived and I came out bronzed and not burned, with the spirit of an indomitable champion. And I know I’ll never be a professional pool player, that I’m mainly a pool writer, but this article is a story of pool and love, and how those that love us can lift up our personal pool games like my girlfriend has done for me, but I may not mention her name, because she may want to keep her anonymity and not be put on blast like that (lol)…I digress. Let me get to the meat of what I want to say herein…
So I was invited out to a local bar-box eight ball tournament featuring some of the best players in my local area, as well as players from some surrounding areas, and I won the tournament — and my wonderful girl that supports me in everything I do was there, and I’m here to tell you that when someone backs me, has confidence in me like she did that Thursday night two weeks ago, I feel like a golden, pool-playing God; that’s exactly how I played once I got that oil in my pool-machine arm. I made every shot at times, but then at others I had a little luck.
She’s out there like, “Patrick, I have faith in you, and you are one of the best pool players I’ve ever seen. Kick their ass!” and pumping me up like that. Telling me that she knows I can win it, that she’s seen how well I play, basically making me feel like a king.
When you have someone in your corner like that? You truly can play your best. I know I can. She had my hair on fire, my toes in the sand, my eyes to the sky, was on cloud 9, and just coasted through the tournament undefeated through about 9 straight matches or something like that.
Then, at the end, after I’d won the lag and break, before the break, I went back to my girl and whispered in her ear, “Just for fun I call the eight in the side pocket on the break,” and I kissed her, went up to break on what would be the final rack of the tournament and my victory lap (second place got nothing btw…).
So there I am, having set up the cue ball about an inch and a half from the right side rail where I break from when I’m trying to make the eight ball on the break. I got down on the shot with the side rail bridge hand, and low right on the cue ball, aiming for the second ball back in the pyramid of balls down table, and…
(In slow motion…) “Boom!” I exclaimed as the eight ball pots in the left side pocket. A tournament win with an exclamation point at the end, and my girl going crazy for me in the background as she watches the ball drop, and me take down yet another of hundreds of small bar box eight ball tournaments like this one.
But this would be the best win, because she was there to see it, and the love of my life. Keep on hitting them balls. Keep on loving. Keep on living. But above all players, keep grinding. Patrick Sampey, full throttle ahead, always and evermore I grind!