Late to the Game...


2b || !2b t^ ?
Just a personal journey of how my life led to the game of pool (if anyone cares to read).

I’ve always had an interest in pool. It just took a while to get its full grip on me. My first memory is that table in my Uncle’s basement. We would travel to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving every year. Down the stairs in the cool basement was a pool table. Too young to know what I was doing, and too young for the adults to pay attention to my interest in the game. Back home I remember a neighbor having one, but my friend had no interest or maybe wasn’t allowed to use it. Either way it remained covered up so we did other things. As a teenager I had many other distractions so I don’t recall anything during those years. But then came college.
I moved to Myrtle Beach and at that time you could drink beer at 18. It was the early 80s and the clubs had terrible music and disco girls. I was technically still a kid so some of the bars were a little intimidating, but I found one called Rockburgers that felt right. It was at the beach, I could park my motorcycle in front, great food, a little stage for good bands, and a couple of pool tables. It wasn’t a passion yet, I just enjoyed playing with my basic novice knowledge of geometry.
Pause again as my life became engulfed in my new career, my business, and family. I think I played less than a dozen times with my wife on date nights, but she had little interest. Ironically during the last two years of our marriage we had moved into a house that had a pool table downstairs that I only played on once during all that time.
After our split the kids and I moved back to Florida to start a new life. This was about four years ago. Then one day my boss said one of the guys dropped off his league team and asked if I wanted to fill in. And so, it begins. I walked into a pool hall for the first time. A room full of nine-foot tables and no quarters needed. He gave me an old cue of his to use and I showed everyone my lack of skill. My new team gave me lots of pointers that I did my best to remember. Even though I played poorly, I still had a great time. The hook was finally set.
The first couple of years, I would play every week and my game did improve, but then kind of plateaued. I wasn’t really practicing, I was just playing on league night and occasionally playing with a friend at a bar. I joined a second league which was a bar league which was a different experience to the other league, which was really challenging. Most of these guys have been playing most of their lives so I realized I had to get serious. About that time my last two kids graduated, so I had more time and freedom to devote to improving my game.
I know it is the Indian not the arrow, but I felt it was time get a nicer arrow. I was playing with a used Minnesota Fats graphite cue my Dad gave me. Old habits were making me frugal in my search at first thinking I can’t spend a lot. I was looking at the $100 cues for a while and about to pull the trigger, when it hit me that I was kind of looking at a newer slightly better version of what I already had. Seeing how cues could last a life time I broadened my search for what could be “My” cue. With my new Pechauer in hand and the thirst for more knowledge and skill, I started finding more time for practice. I watched YouTube videos, read what I could, and found a table to play on.
I think my game was beginning to improve, and then someone had a bat snack and Covid shut everything down. I had this new passion and drive to play and I was stuck at home. After a while I saw people were selling their tables for next to nothing. Like a pool junkie, I was actually measuring my apartment to see if I could make it fit. Getting rid of most of my other furniture was the only option. I did consider it for a minute. Too dangerous to play pool, but Home Depot was a safe space so I converted my dining room into a workshop as a distraction. Built a maintenance cue lathe, made some folding cue rests, case hooks, and magnetic chalk holders…
After a few months the restrictions eased up, I got to go play again. No leagues yet, but I found a place with a couple of tables so now I could practice again. I met some new guys there and one in particular gave me lots of useful instruction that really helped boost my progress. I know I am a noob with a wase to go, but I am enjoying the quest as much as the game. After a while bars with a restaurant license could open at 50%, me and some of the guys from the bar league started to meet every Friday night for dinner and pool after. A little normalcy felt good.
A couple of weeks ago bars and pool halls re-opened and leagues are starting back up. We got to finally finish up the last couple of matches to complete the season that got cut short. Took first place so yea for us. Based on some of the posts I have read, I feel many of you have been playing for long a time and love the game, but may be less worried about when you can play again. I am in that new, can’t get enough stage, looking for any opportunity to play. Hopefully I can someday get as good as some of the guys I play with.

I may have been late to the game, but I am glad I finally made it.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I took up the game too late myself. I missed my best years. I was 39 years old when the fever hit. And I had no competition here in rural SW Indiana because the two guys I played with alot both got cancer and died. Competition has always been the area I have been missing.