View Full Version : He Wuz Missin NUTHIN!
09-03-2002, 09:37 AM
I sat down on Sunday night after a local tournament had shut down where the winner of the tournament(monster player, won't tack on his name) was hitting against a guy who was definitely deep in the zone. This player was maybe, and I mean maybe 16...had never shaved is all I could tell, one of those young guys in a baseball cap who gets teen confidence by turning his cap around(which I always found maybe worked for one shot and that was it.) I'll tell ya folks, sitting there for that hour on an overhead perch watching that player make a veteran player smile and finally shake his hand after he KNEW he couldn't beat him that night was a special event(IMO.) I can only imagine that Earl Strickland(without the attitude, this kid was just tending to business, no BS'n) was probably that "hot" at his young career.
Oh well I didn't really have much of a point here but to express that the beauty of seeing someone truly in the zone, playing someone who is supposed to have you on the ropes, both game-wise and mentally...well the experience will stay with me a long, long time. Just remembering the way that veteran player continued to smile as the guy relentlessly and undoubtedly stroked everything like your supposed to, speed on time, shifting gears for safes, streaking in long shots with that perfect stop, follow, EVERYTHING worked...that's the true grace of the game, from both sides. I could almost sense touching the zone simply by being there, that may sound strange maybe to a few...sid~~~word of mouth the next day was that the younger player was shooting way over his head,,,all'z I know is that he never lost his gift that hour, nada, none, zilch
09-03-2002, 10:05 AM
Sid - Sounds like the kind of performance that brings a lump to our throats whenever we encounter the pure beauty of it, whether a perfect skating or gymnastic routine or a 105-yard punt return or a "once-in-a-lifetime" symphony performance.
I think part of our reaction is based on the knowledge that it is a transitory "golden" moment, gone but never to be forgotten by those who saw it, and we were privileged to witness it.
Thanks for sharing it.
Walt in VA
09-03-2002, 10:56 AM
Even being on the receiving end of one of these types of performances is a pleasure to me. I love to see the game played to faultless perfection. It's easy to accept loosing with dignity, when I've been masterfully outplayed.
09-03-2002, 11:25 AM
I know where you are coming from. Hell I've gone home with more cash than I came with and felt less entertained, meaning that many'a times I've handed money over BUT been BEATEN, not lost it. Call me a fool but I'd rather see talent than circumstance ending in winning, even if it is my dough...sid
09-03-2002, 04:56 PM
Sid, great story. My favorite "in the zone" experience happened in 1986 in Worms, Germany. A good friend of mine, who played just incredible pool, was involved in a serious money match. $2,000 a set race to 11 straight-up in 9-ball rotating with 14.1 and he had to go to 100 and the "kid" had to go to 125. My friend was the best 9-ball player in Germany at the time (he was U.S. Army stationed there) and the "kid" played 14.1 like GOD!!, so we knew we were in for a battle !! There were only about 8 people watching this match (the backers of the young 17 year old "kid", the owner of the small pool place and myself). I was taking $1,000 of each set backing my buddy and they played about 15 hours without a pause. About 2 hours into the match the "kid" took his shirt off and was playing bare-chested and had a Sony Walkman blasting music into his ears as he was playing. 3 times my friend had a substantial lead in 14.1 and only needed a few balls and the "kid" needed 75 or more to reach 125. These 3 times as he approached the table he said in German to his backers "it's over, collect the money !!". The table was a nine-foot tight S.O.B. and it was incredible to me that anyone would say it's over with 75 or more balls to win needed. I didn't translate what he said to my friend as I didn't want him to know the confidence the "kid" had in his 14.1 game. At the end of the night I think we lost 2 sets of the 9-ball and every 14.1 match so I dropped $2,000. The young "kid" in this story you might have heard of, his name is OLIVER ORTMANN !!!
His world-class improvement in 9-ball actually started this night as he often said later that he learned alot from Chance Chin during this match up, but he certainly didn't need any help with his 14.1. World-class pool seen up close (not on T.V. and not in a big crowd) can be impressive, numbing, invigorating, stimulating, educational, etc., etc. When you ever have the chance to witness it it is something you will never forget.
Sid, your post reminded me of some amazement I had watching some young players play.
In November of 2000, I went with my girlfriend to the Women's and Junior's World 9-ball Championships, in Quebec. She was competing, and I was of course just hanging out, watching, and having fun.
I was AMAZED at how well the teenagers played Pool. I know lots of pro players (that's how I met girlfriend), so my standards for being impressed are pretty high. (Not bragging on my own skills here. Certainly have to play a lot better than I myself do before I'm impressed.) But it never occurred to me that teenagers could play Pool like this.
These kids were incredible. I sat there in awe as I watched teenage kids, wearing vests with sponsor's names on them, get up in a world championship and string racks together. I saw one match between a Taiwan player and a German player. The Taiwan player (keep thinking to yourself: teenager) got up and ran 5 racks. No luck or slop involved. He just shot world-class Pool. When he finally broke and didn't make a ball. The German TEENAGER walked up to the table, looking very unimpressed with what he just saw. He ran out, and broke and ran out 2 or 3 racks of his own. These were TEENAGE KIDS!!!
If you catch yourself thinking "Yeah, but we have some good teenagers around here...", remember that things change considerably when you play in a world championship. The play that a teenage kid displays at his local favorite Pool hall is likely not the play he would display if you flew him halfway around the world and put him under the bright lights and pressure of a world championship.
In the end, the tournament was won by Dmitri Jungo. I think he is from Switzerland, but I'm not sure. They mentioned at the tournament that he was the youngest player to every win a Eurotour event. He was 15 when he did that!
It was inspiring to see that level of play coming from kids.
On a side note: There was a GLARING difference in the level of play when comparing the Asian and European juniors to the Northamerican juniors. I think that is due to the different levels of support and organization they had. They Asian and European teenagers were typically travelling as teams, with professional organization representatives and professional coaches. The Americans and Canadian teenagers were typically travelling on their own, with one or both of their parents.
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