Pool Boy


I started playing pool at age 10. At the YMCA. It took me months but I became good at it. I played for hours each Saturday. For years. It helped develop my mind, my brain, my eyesight and my confidence. Good things to develop at age 10.

I loved playing pool. It is a game of logic, a game of math and geometry and angles and a game of skill. Like golf, or bowling, it is you, playing against yourself. I played pool throughout my youth. And beyond. I became good at it. Very good at it. I even impressed my dad, who saw me play and was so impressed, he bought me my own pool cue. I loved that pool stick. Nearly every day, during high school, I went to the local pool hall down the street from the school, and played for an hour or so, before I walked the several miles back home. It was a real pool hall. Darkish, green felt, two hanging lights over the tables, pool cue racks on the wall. I played straight pool and nine ball. I was able to beat nearly everybody in the pool hall and throughout my city. One day, the local "best player" challenged me to a game of straight pool. He was the 4th ranked pool player in the country. His name was Alan Kiehl. He was GOOD. I beat him. OK, he spotted me 10 balls to a game of 25; I only had to sink 15 balls while he had to sink 25, but I won! I beat the 4th best player in the United States! I was 18. Now, THAT was good for a young man's confidence!!!

I even seriously considered going pro, becoming a professional pool player, except they had only a few tournaments in those days and I would have had to travel the country and hustle pool. That can be dangerous, especially when a tough guy in some pool hall loses his money to you and gets angry. In the end, I decided to go to college instead, where I was the best pool player on campus.

As I aged, my eyesight was not as sharp as it needed to be in order to be a really good pool player. Yes, I wore glasses but it wasn't enough. I played occasionally for a few more years but I could no longer play up to my own high standards, due to eye-hand coordination and eyesight. I eventually gave up playing pool. But I can still play in my mind!

I give credit to playing pool for helping to give me a sharp quick mind, which I have had for an entire lifetime. Thank you, pocket billiards, I honor you as you honored me.