**Sorry--I don't know if this is "pool related" enough, but I'm posting it here anyway. . . .**
I first "learned" 8-ball from my dad when I was about 10 years old, when he would take my brother and I to the Rec Center, on the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.
I was big enough to get the cue on the table, and understood the basic idea of hitting solids or stripes, but certainly never devoted that much time to it. Once in awhile, I might go there and pick up a rack to knock around. I assure you, I wasn't really conscious of trying to get better, but I did have some idea of how to aim/hit. (My method was/is to "make the "outside" (equator) of the CB hit the OB where I want it.) There was never any true "theory-and-practice" going on, and I probably had less than 10 actual sessions like that.
About five years later, I found myself shooting on the 7-foot Valley table at the local bowling alley--relocated to northern GA (Dad had retired after 20 years of service). I still pretty much just worked on aiming and pocketing--never any strategy or position play, although I think I must have started learning some draw and follow. . . .
Fast-forward to age 21. Having moved to SoCal in 1987, I spent a bit of time in bars, playing pool instead of drinking (didn't start that until about a year later). Started learning more english for position, but still hit most things much harder than necessary--I had aim and pocketing pretty much figured out by then.
As I've mentioned, I began my drinking "career" around age 22, and went to a few pubs with my roommate Dave, about 2-7 times a week. Actually, there was some cross-training going on: Dave taught me to drink, and I taught him to play pool! Anyway, I was still a 'bar-banger', but I could fend off the bulk of challengers. (I guess this was the early, "shotmaker" phase.)
Well, about three years, a few hundred drinks, and a few thousand balls later, I wound up in Santa Barbara, California, working on "durable medical equipment"'--which is industry-speak for "wheelchair mechanic". (During the summer of '95 I had become unemployed, Dave died from a motorcycle accident in Canada, and I found the job in SB.)
Santa Barbara--that is, State Street in particular--is blocks of bars and restaurants, with most of the bars providing a home for at least on 7-foot coinop. Playing pool every night gave me a reason to be out, and drinking, every night--among others, I found a family in the barscene, and my (night)life was anchored in pool. It was during my three years in SB that I was invited to play in the BCA league, learned about ball-in-hand rules, and played, and played, and played. Of course, by now, I was able to position fairly well (on a 7-footer), and I was calling the Wildcat the "bar I'm from". I met and befriended many 'regulars'--and the subset of pool-table-regulars in particular. My closest friends and I ruled the table, whenever we were there ("often" would be a gross understatement). We took on each other and all-comers, usually getting well liquored at the same time. This was like living in a bubble, that finally burst, close on the heels of a career change, which brought me to. . .
. . .here, Atlanta, where I found another league, where I now frustrate myself, because I can no longer play at the level I felt I was in Cali--falling-down drunk, or sober. However, my job situation had taken a turn for the better, and I was making more money than I ever had, and have managed to swing a house, with a 9-ft AMF Playmaster in the basement. And, while I don't play as much, or, honestly, have as much fun as I used to, I am glad to have it--for the following reason, which is actually closer to the point of this post!
My dad was in the neighborhood yesterday, and I had the opportunity to play him our first 'real' game--21 years after he introduced me to a pool table! I had never even thought about it, but he, evidently was very good, "back in the day". And, while he has actually played a few times within the last 5-10 years (on my step-brothers 8-footer), he hasn't done it 'seriously' in about aforementioned 21 years! And, his eyeglasses are an issue (they're progressive lenses), and he has the beginnings of Parkinson's to deal with (shaking), I was amazed. Cold, he shot surprisingly well, and even potted a carom-shot, and barely missed a cross-side, combination--something like this:
I still won the three games we played, but I was/am still highly impressed. More than that, I got a perspective on my pool "life", and another reason to love my dad. (BTW, he's 62.)