It’s been a very long time since I’ve written, so luckily, Samm Diep recruited me to post a top 10 list along with many other pool industry bloggers. Strangely enough I had already planned to write this post, but just needed a little push, well ok, maybe a big shove, to get it done.
My top ten things are mostly tongue in cheek, but there is at least a grain of truth in each one. Of course these are all generalizations, and there will be exceptions to every rule, so please refrain from telling me about your mom’s second cousin’s ex husband who is a world champion even though he regularly snaps cues in half when he misses.
10 Signs You Are A Great Player…Or Not
1. A great player doesn’t whine. Do people run from you when your matches conclude, especially if you lose? Do you go trolling for the first sympathetic ear that wants to listen to every layout, every roll, every game you gave away? News flash: Nobody wants to listen to that. Great players know it, and when they are asked about matches they usually respond in 3 word answers. I played bad. He played great. I got lucky. Any more than that is TMI.
2. A great player always takes responsibility for losses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people cry about losing to their opponents rolls. Hell, when I was a younger player I used to do the same thing (sorry to everyone who had to listen to that). Let’s face it, yes, people get rolls in pool, and yes, sometimes they seem to cost you the match, but it’s very rare that you have no opportunities or make no mistakes. It’s just part of the game, especially when you’re opponent is playing well and you’re not.
3. A great player sees the match clearly, and gives credit where credit is due. If your opponent is running racks and you miss a 2 ball in one of your three opportunities at the table, you should recognize that you were outplayed and you didn’t lose because you played like crap. Which leads me to the next point…
4. A great player either speaks kind words to their opponent at the end of a match, or shakes hands and says nothing at all. They don’t say “I played like shit” or “you got so lucky” or the cringeworthy “wow, I played so bad I can’t believe I won.”
5. A great player never throws temper tantrums at the table. Unless they’re Earl Strickland.
6. A great player has contempt for their opponent on the table and respect for them off the table. It is ok to want to bludgeon your opponent with the dull side of an axe while you’re playing, but great players never engage in fights, name calling, or the silent treatment simply because they lost the match.
7. A great player usually plays with a fairly simple cue. Top players are usually sponsored by cue companies that make cues for the masses. Occasionally a great cue maker will sponsor a player, but usually they really don’t make enough money to do so. People with large collections of expensive cues, or people who switch cues like Imelda Marcos switched shoes are probably not great players because great players know that it ain’t the arrow, it’s the injun.
8. A great player is a great sportsman. Everyone has their own line to draw here, but truly great players will call fouls on themselves. Most will tell their opponent if they are shooting the wrong ball or breaking out of turn. Many will give advice on shots that came up during the match when they are playing weaker players. All of them will look their opponent in the eyes and give a firm handshake at the conclusion of the match, win or lose.
9. Great players don’t disparage other people’s games. Most great players know how difficult pool really is, and know that there is a slow progression to greatness. Most of them remember being at the lowest levels of the game, and remember what it took to get to the highest level. Players who cut other players games down are just projecting their own insecurities.
10. Great players have fans, but more importantly, haters. Yes, that’s right, you haven’t really made it into the upper echelon of pool until someone you’ve never met is disparaging you on the Internet. So the next time you’re on the pool forums and you read about how someone’s grandma could give you the orange crush and your girlfriend looks like Jocelyn Wildenstein, just sit back and revel in the fact that you’ve finally made it.