How to put together the PERFECT Team
for league play and other crimes.
A Pool Team is a great mystery of life. 8-ball or 9-ball or whatever, it matters not.
According to the laws of physics, the simultaneous collision of three bodies is impossible. They will never, ever, ever hit at exactly the same moment.
Can you imagine what that implies for a 5-man team? Not counting substitutes, spares, move-aways, business travels, and long over due encounters with the legal establishment or the Grim Reaper.
Nevertheless, like Mickey Rooney yelling “Let’s do a Show!” we gather once or twice a year and assemble THE pool team that can take it all.
Most of us get sucked into, err, begin the pool-team phase of our life when the first half-decent player asks “Wanna play sum team 8 dis Toisday? We got plenny good players and need a sub dis Toisday."
He is a Captain desperate for bodies, having long ago abandoned the hope of finding Archer or Strickland or any sober talent willing to play Thursday night 8-ball and brings $10 or $15 bucks.
Now I have given it great thought as to who should staff my own perfect pool team. Skill, attitude, reliability, personality, loyalty to the King, err, Captain, cleanliness, charm.
Each of us has our own personal “Chemistry” to bring to a social situation, and pool teams are definitely a social situation. Each of us has our own subjective definition in this area.
So I have envisioned my perfect team to include the follow “Look and Feel” as they would say in the computer business.
If your criteria does not include team showers (as mine does, uhh, I guess I am into team togetherness and cleanliness, lots of cleanliness) that is your personal matter.
And so I present my perfect team image below. (I am taking the picture so I can’t be in it..…)
Now, that this daydream is over, I return to my own prison of reality and say I am simply overjoyed with teammates who will show up, know most of the rules, and have the evening’s fee available in ready cash.
If they avoid verbal and physical altercations with BOTH rivals and teammates, shoot better than 50%, and don’t need a lift home, they are to be cherished like said nymphets above.
If, and this is stretching it, they have anything kin to a reasonable understanding of business, politics, economics, and life in general, and top it with a good sense of humor, then by all means have a Doctor surgically attach your (Captain’s) lips to their butt because they are rare and valuable, indeed.
The reality of it is that emotionally, most teams appear as the following team composition, and if pressed I could name the persons to which I personally attribute this “Look and Feel.”
Now the team depicted in the following image is slightly more mature and is what takes 2-4 seasons for most teams to evolve into, image-wise. This shows a more mature interest in the game, the concern for a teammate’s predicament, and a higher respect for the equipment. Note that they are not laying on the table but are using reasonable methods to get to the shot as opposed to a Boston Shorty swan dive into the middle of green.
The shooter even has a reasonably solid stance position albeit that the bridge is a bit too long.
Well, after many seasons of league play, I have painfully researched images that represent the pool teams to which I have been associated or teams that I have had the honor of doing combat against.
Now, when it comes to any team that is bound for National tournaments, such as BCA, APA, VNEA, etc, I suggest a pre-trip team pow-wow to establish one small criterion. This may seem silly, but it took me many, many team trips to put the concept into words (assisted by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, no less.)
It seems that the Olympic Jamaican Bobsled team took no end of grief, even having a B-movie produced in Hollywood mocking their efforts.
Well the Olympic qualifying process is intended to make sure respectable, capable teams and individuals show up at an Olympic event, not just any idiot willing to strap themselves to a board and fling themselves off of a cliff.
So that year the PM of Jamaica called his Olympic bound team to ask if "They were going as Tourists or as Competitors?"
Now when it comes to pool teams, EITHER answer to this question is the correct answer! Just know before you go, accept the answer, and make sure all teammates have the same answer. That is the trick.
Are we Competitors or are we Tourists?
Certainly some teams have no thoughts of high placement much less of total victory so they go out, hit 5 casinos until 4-AM, have a beer at their 8-AM match if it so fits their fancy and keeps their buzz alive. Maybe they win a match or 2 or 3, end their reign of terror, and resume their role as solid Tourist for the remainder of their trip.
Other teams claim hard-core Competitor (they think) but still do the casino stomp and wonder why they don’t make the finals. Some bolt for the airport and pay (again) to get out of Tinsel Town and may be a bit upset at having lost out as heirs to their rightful throne.
Other teams compete ferociously, marshal their energy, get rest, play smart, and when and if they lose out, they smile, put up their cues and SWITCH from Competitor to Tourist with the fall of the last ball, and are off to terrorize the tables (craps, not pool) and no longer worry about who missed what shots.
The women dress it up and the men freely peel off C-notes and their life as adults drifts towards decadence and depravity, at least in my way of thinking.
Tourist or Competitor. Competitor or Tourist. That is the question. I can do either. I prefer to do both. My answer is "Competitor, then Tourist."
Be a Hard-Core-Competitor until the fat lady sings. THEN transition to Tourist-to-the-Max. THAT is the kind of team I want!
I wonder if they want to take a team shower? I hope not.
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