Rack ’em up!

Fort Bragg Advocate-News - - SPORTS - ‘Tal­lMike’ Bo­hanon

There are some play­ers in our league that have im­proved their pool play­ing game since we shut down the League.

Huh? How could that be? It is be­cause they have their own pool ta­ble and have been spend­ing so much time iso­lat­ing that they have spent more hours play­ing pool. I spoke to one such per­son the other day and was told, “I have got­ten quite a bit bet­ter over the last few months.”

I was at first sur­prised but af­ter some think­ing de­cided I was more dis­mayed than any­thing. (I could barely win a game against “Cap­tain Dan” be­fore the shel­ter-in-place or­der was in­sti­tuted.)

Now, af­ter a few days of just mop­ing around the house, I de­cided that this is re­ally a good thing. Why? Well, we all have heard that if you are play­ing some­one bet­ter your game gen­er­ally im­proves. Con­versely, most of us have also heard, that when play­ing some­one not as good our game will de­cline. I can’t wait to play pool with hi­mand im­prove my game.

Cap­tain Ed Smith and his son Chris, who re­sides in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, re­ported those bars have been open for weeks and the pool ta­bles had no re­stric­tions. Now, un­for­tu­nately, they have an in­crease in ill­nesses and closed many of those same busi­nesses again. We have so many fewer peo­ple I was up­set we couldn’t play. Once again I have gone full cir­cle. Happy, now, they were be­ing more care­ful with our pop­u­la­tion.

Local pool player feed­back about last week’s col­umn for ideas to re­turn for pool play: “Don’t do it un­less we have the Pan­demic licked,” seems to be the main theme. An­other trend was: “We have way too many play­ers that are old or un­healthy to risk an early re­turn for pool play­ing.”

I agree; we have a ways to go be­fore we have an un­re­stricted play, but if a mask and gloves were worn, would that work?

One list for play­ing pool dur­ing the pan­demic said to not use bleach on the balls but rather use a 65 per­cent so­lu­tion of al­co­hol, and then a com­mer­cial ball cleaner af­ter. They also rec­om­mend gloves for rack­ing, and a mask while play­ing. Carry your own chalk and keep it to your­self is a great idea for play­ers. Shar­ing chalk is an easy way to spread dis­ease. Wip­ing rails and wash­ing hands of­ten also made the list.

Greg Pud­er­baugh asked me if I knew about Venom. I at first thought about snakes, then spi­ders, an­swer­ing, “of course I know about venom.” When he started talk­ing about his Masse shot I re­al­ized he was talk­ing about a dif­fer­ent kind of venom.

He was in­stead talk­ing about Flo­rian “Venom” Kohler. He is that young guy fea­tured in this month’s Bil­liard”s Di­gest. He is 31 years old and has been mak­ing pool videos for Youtube since 2007, his videos have been viewed more than a bil­lion times. He is as they say, “quite a phe­nom­e­non” when it comes to trick shots on a pool ta­ble. Look him up and you will see for your­self, some of his tricks look im­pos­si­ble to per­form, but he does it ef­fort­lessly.

Greg, of course, loves trick shots on a pool ta­ble and has a few of his own. I don’ think much of trick shots, but they still look cool when they are suc­cess­ful. It is like when Will “The Tooth” Niemeyer blasts a half- dozen balls in with one shot. It is cool but it still doesn’t en­cour­age me to play a trick shot. I pre­fer a bank or kick shot.

A bank shot is when you shoot an ob­ject ball into an op­po­site rail and it bounces back to go in a pocket on the op­po­site side. A kick shot is when you play the cue ball off an op­pos­ing rail to make or hit a ball on the op­po­site rail or pocket. It is even more fun to kick two, three, or even four rails to make a ball.

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