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Your have a call on line FOUR! 

(You Idiot!)

 I am always amazed that pool players, who hate receiving advice more that any species on earth, are so prone to OFFER advice, unsolicited at that, to any soul who may be holding a cue stick and is within shouting distance.

 Now I must admit that there are a few million pool-players that could richly improve their game if they would only listen to every word I say, execute those words to perfection, and send me the credit.

 So we hate receiving advice.  League play mixes together players embodying an assortment of skill, temperament, financial strength, age, wisdom, ego and experience.  We can all learn from each other, live in harmony, promote World peace, and promulgate brotherly love. 

Uhh huh.  That is, as long as you refrain from advising me on my pool game.  If you attempt to inflict you pool wisdom on me I have this ritual using flaming swords to perform upon your person.

 But we all mortal at the game, are we not?  We all make mistakes.  Blow the duck.  Choke a berry.  Boot the ball.  Poo the screwch. 

I have just witnessed a string of mental errors at the tables where teammates would have loved the ability to call for a time out to inform the player that he was about to hose it all up.

However, intelligently written rules, gentlemanly conduct, and willingness to let Mr. Know-It-All slit his own throat overrode the winning instinct.  Besides, even perfectly accurate advice is seldom taken well by the recipient.  Flawed advice has been known to result in an uppercut to the advisor, be they well intentioned or simply egomaniacs with perfect sideline tactics.

 Moments later, after the foolish error has be converted from opportunity to history, the fool now turns to his teammates and attempts to shift blame by “Why didn’t somebody cough, or faint or something?  We will probably LOSE THE MATCH because nobody gave me the signal!”

“Why didn’t somebody tell me there was another stripe on the table as I fired the 8-ball into hell?”  Uhh.  It’s not like the thing was hidden from you.  At most there was about 40 square feet for you to observe, and the things are color-coded and on a green background to make it easier to see. 

I suppose you could have a point if we played on Paisley cloth with Paisley pool balls under black lights.

(YOU tell him he’s shooting

off the chalk like a fool. 

I think he’s armed.)

 A year or so ago I wrote about a good player who made the 8-ball on the break and continued shooting 3 more balls before getting around to looking for the eight.  Apparently he was not much of a run-out planner, at least not for that game.  I later suggested that the opponent could have waited for an opportune moment, then jump up and shout, “Why’d you shoot the 8-ball?” (Proceeding to the appropriate pocket and making a big show of extracting the 8 from the depths of the pocket.)

 Scotch doubles seems to breed the worst advice situations.  They even wrote it into the rules, ONE time-out per game to settle differences.  Since then even the one timeout has been eliminated.  In mixed Scotch, they should add the line “then do it like the man wants it done” just to make it an official declaration of war. 

Two men, playing a tournament of Scotch Doubles are likely never to speak to each other for a year and are fully capable of ramming each other’s car in the parking lot.

 I was playing money Scotch Doubles a few years ago with a (non-teammate – words added so as to not aim these remarks at any teammate) player who drew down on the 8-ball when we still had one of our family left on the table. 

I called time and pointed at the ball without uttering a single word.  He actually defended his actions by saying he was just lining it up while deciding where to level the cue ball for me.  I remarked that he must also have been practicing calling the 8-ball for he had called out and pointed "8 in the corner."  We escaped with that one when the opponents drop-kicked it.

When he did it again later, I again pointed out his error even though we had already had our time-out.  So we gave up ball-in-hand?  It was better than an instant loss, and as matters turned out, we still won that game. 

I was totally hornswaggled, bamfaboolzed, and tizzleframmed when he up and does it a third time!  I let him fire the 8-ball in the hole, gleefully informed him that he had boneheaded the game (while pointing at the still top-side ball of ours) and to pay his $20.  I tossed in my $20, asked if he was just lining that one up, if it got away and then I  retired from cue sports for the evening.

After hearing female Scotch players crab about the antics of their male counterparts, I came up with suggestions that made all of them wiggle as only power-mad females can wiggle.

I suggested that when their overbearing partner jumps up shouting “TIME OUT!” before the balls even stop rolling that they return the favor by immediately stating in a firm (or sexy, or feminine, or caustic, or screeching) voice these simple words  “TIME-IN.” 

It is over.  The once-per-game Time-Out has been instantly suffocated in two crummy syllables.  Time-In.

Now I think that one course of action is to play by the rules, be gentlemen and ladies about the game, and let your fool teammate blast the lot of you out of the tournament because he can’t see a ball hiding right there in the middle of the table.

The alternative is to devise a set of signals with which to communicate to teammates when they are about to self-inflict a dastardly deed.

My first though was to have a visual signal such as using a laser pointer to circle the cue ball and thence dance the little red dot over to the appropriate ball.  This fails if you are on the backside of your teammate for the result would be a red dot on their butt and a failed attempt at communication.

Besides, the opponent’s attention might be raised by seeing a red dot lead his mortal enemy at the table out of the jungle and into the light.  Hostilities would ensure within moments.

Dropping a cue stick, maybe repeatedly, might also get through to the thick-skulled teammate but this would disturb all tables around you and make EFLs right at left.  Enemies-For-Life.

Coughing would work, but you would have to have a designated cougher so all of you wouldn’t burst into a cacophony of coughing fits at the same time, then have all of you stop at the same time.  Not too obvious there, no, not at all. 

Also, you would have to have a backup or alternate cougher in the case that the designated cougher was at bat as was about to bunt their way into the pool bonehead hall of fame.

An audible signal must be used (different techniques must be devised for the hearing-impaired) and one that is not too out of line with sounds that are heard in a pool hall. 

Kick-it-in” and “Work it out” are two that are commonly used in an attempt to trigger a reevaluation of the shot but because they are not very specific are allowed to pass. 

A “Have we had our time out yet?” question posed to the opponents is nice way of saying to your teammate “LOOK IT OVER AGAIN OR I’LL KILL YOU!” without giving up a precious Time-Out.

Another option is to have all teammates have vibrating beepers dropped in their shorts and a cell-phone with each of them on speed dial.  This is a perilous solution in that cell coverage and phone delays could delay the timing of the critical message of “Hey Jerk.” 

The cost of many pagers would be prohibitive for some teams and I don’t think I’d like to pass around a single beeper during the match.  Besides, some of the perverts I know would intentionally line up on the 8 to get a thrill page.  Our team would have to have an annual "Lost Pager" budget of $500 for these guys lose anything not surgically attached to their ass.

Trotting up to the counter and having the shooter paged “CALL ON LINE FOUR!” might work if the player missed seeing the 4 ball.  Screaming “CALL ON LINE FOURTEEN!” would be too obvious a 14-ball signal for most pool halls only have a couple of lines, and 4 was stretching it and 14 phone lines is bonkers.

Besides, paging signals don't work.  No one listens to pool hall pages except the bar-keep who love hearing his own voice on the PA and secretly wishes he were the DJ at the local breast-bar instead of pouring drafts for whiney pool players. 

If anyone has a great signaling technique, I NEED to hear about it.  I have a few teammates who desperately need help. 


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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