T.J.’s “1-4-All” Shot
I have played about a bajillion games of pool and watched about a bajillion more games of pool played by other souls and soles. That totals two bajillion which approximates back to a bajillion, take or leave a bajillion. A bajillion is just shy of infinite, so two infinites equal an infinite. Follow?
More simply: A doo-doo pot full of games.
Some of the most beautiful games are simple, on-line, cue-on-a-string working through a rack. Works of art. In a tournament I am happy to have one perfect game, where the cue ball could not have been place better by hand.
Then there are the exciting shots that tip a game with one swat of the stick. The jump or masse’ that takes you from the sewer to heaven in one twitch of a biceps. Everyone watches. Everyone holds their breath, and even your opponent thinks “Damn, now he deserves to win.”
Now and again, however, some strange effect takes place and you see something unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Maybe you saw something like it when you were just starting cue sports and were too inexperienced to know that you had just witnessed a miracle.
Maybe as your experience increased, you didn’t launch the cue ball with quite the free wheeling wild abandonment of youth.
Most of the happy freak shits, I mean shots, occur in slop games like where rolling-the-cheese takes precedence over a 4-ball run out. “ROLLIN’!” as you pull the trigger and the 9 flies around in search of a pocket.
It happens less in call-shot games, normally limited to a great cluster break or missing a shot only to have it carom or bank into the correct pocket following a less than planned sort of path. Called Crapola.
In a call-shot game, such as 8-ball, it is not uncommon to sink the intended ball and have another beneficial ball (opponent’s or yours) exit the playing surface to your gain.
But head, shoulders, rump, and torso above all of the shots I have seen is TJ’s One-Four-All shot.
Now TJ is a great player. The few times I have beaten him his world famous ego surfaces and I get juicy offers of incredible weight just so he can get another shot at me to rip out my throat on the table. These offers have been made with the subtle style of a grizzly with an attitude. A bull moose with a bone (all of yours) to pick. An acid dripping Alien whom hasn’t eaten in 300 years. Get the picture?
And TJ likes to talk. He’ll discuss your lucky rolls, his bad rolls, and your stupid shot selection.
So this year TJ was without a team for BCA Las Vegas. My first guess was that he had killed all of them off. Bob Vanover (a regular season teammate and Texas Hall-of-Famer but, as a Pro, is ineligible in Las Vegas for the amateur stuff) hooks him up with us as his (Bob’s) replacement. Other teammates said TJ would be fine, so it was fine with me. As long as he didn’t try to eat opponents or me, Captain d’jour.
TJ turned out to be a great teammate. Always encouraging, always trying to get/keep you up and thinking straight. “Hang in there!” which was his way of saying “You are only a three-rail kick and two banks shots from victory!” It worked.
Now I must admit one time, and only one time, he let his intense style of play get the best of him and his remarks to the opponent were how should I say it, a bit aggressive with a fine team from Houston. After the shouting stopped and the puffed chests subsided, things returned to normal, fierce competition.
TJ is at the table in a very, very close match. He has two possible shots, the 1-ball and the 6-ball. The 6-ball is probably what I’d have taken, but the risk was in spreading the cluster into trouble with the stripes across the table.
The 1, 6, 7, and 12 balls are accurately numbered. The 2-ball and 4-ball may have been some other solid, but who cares, so I hereby declare they were the 2 and 4. Who is to argue?
TJ elects, however, to take the 1-ball. Now I can’t always tell when TJ is going to spin it, slam it, baby it, draw it, follow it, or whatever, from his stroke. When instinct takes over, TJ is liable to rip it where the rest of us might smooth it or slow roll it.
Instinct. Either that, or a What-the-Hell attitude, but you don’t expect a W-T-H attitude from someone with TWO Master’s victories already under the belt and tasting blood for a third.
FIRE IN THE HOLE! As he ripped the 1-ball straight into the back of the pocket. Warp 3, as I recall.
This is where the magic occurred. I drew the cloud around the balls in the diagram because for the life of me, I, and several National-championship-trophy-owning-Master-players sitting a few feet away cannot figure out what exactly happened.
“What happened there!?!?!” said I. “Don’t know.” said they.
Now I will describe the cue ball path first. It slid off the 2-4-12-6 cluster, rubbed the 7 and left perfect angle down on the end rail for pocketing the 7 and going anyplace on the table.
Now for Swami TJ’s effect. I’d have bet a bajillion dollars that this could, never, never, ever happen.
The 2-4-12-6 cluster went to work. They crashed, bashed, bumped, thumped, torqued, untorqued, retorqued, wound, unwound and tickled each other’s fancies. ALL WHILE STAYING INSIDE THE AREA OF THE CLOUD. Then magically the 2-4-6 came flying out of there leaving the 12-ball behind to sit.
The 1-ball was out-of-sight in the pocket and long gone. Now the 2-4-6 balls emerged from the cloud and headed for the same pocket, single file, 8-inches apart and each at the same speed of Warp 3. They flew like machine gun bullets.
Three beads on a string. A string of pearls. Baby ducks following Momma. A string of sausages. Kids at day camp going to the john.
4 balls drilled into one pocket with 3 of them forming a Morse code of "O O O" like dot-dot-dot in an “SOS” message.
How did it happen?
Me: “TJ, dammit, what happened there?”
TJ: “I don’t know. But dere all gone.”
Which was all that mattered, come to think of it.
I’d still love to know what happened.
(Muttering to self: Now if the 2 hit the 4- nope- then if the 2 double kissed- then- no- the 6 must have- yeah- that’s it- then how did the 12 get- how’d the 6 get past the 12- and must have triple kissed- or maybe a chalk dot kept- and the rail- wonder if it was loose- or high- but then how’d the 4 get- and all at the same Warp speed- with the 12 stuck still ……..)
I guess all anyone can say is “Nice shot, TJ!”
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