Welcome back to the 2014 World Tournament of 14.1!!
On my second day of play my first match began at 2:00pm against a truly great player and even better person, Max Eberle. I shot the opening break, I left Max a glimpse of a shot and he got up and drove it home to the pocket. He was off to the races and put together a very nice 30+ ball run. When I finally returned to the table I managed to drop 22 balls into the pocket before I missed. We traded defensive shots back and forth, making a few balls along the way. I managed to pocket 12 more balls before Max rallied his focus, and ran out the rest of the set to raise his cue in victory. After the match Max and I swapped strategies and techniques and a few compliments, he is a true gentleman of the game.
Between my matches I settled in to watch a few other matches going on. One of the great things I saw was Moscow’s Evgeny Stalev’s high run of 225 balls! During a practice session Chicago’s Tom Karabatsos (a student of Dallas West and Frank Stellman) showed me an amazing shot. (see diagram A)
Sean “Alaska” Morgan was to be my next opponent at 7:00pm. The match started off with no real fireworks, both of us struggling to pocket balls and fumbling a few safeties. With the score running close Sean made a break for it and pocketed a very tricky shot to open up the stack. He then hit me with a barrage of 20+ ball runs and fierce defensive maneuvers. I managed to scrape 37 points onto my side before he put the final nail in my coffin, beating me 100-37.
Dejected, I stepped out into the cool night air, unbuttoned my vest & began the long walk back to my lodgings. I was exhausted, and soundly defeated, both physically and mentally. The bright lights and noises of the city had all faded away as I replayed my matches in my head. “Don’t give up” I said to myself. I decided after dinner that I would return to the pool room and practice until I could no longer stand. I had one match left to play the next day at noon, and I was determined to win, no matter what! As I was hitting balls around in the back of Steinway Billiards, my friend Justin Bergmann approached me and we began talking. He started telling me about his matches from the last few days and I told him about mine. He reassured me that I belonged. After all, I had earned the right be there by winning the qualifier in Chicago at Red Shoes Billiards. After Justin had left me I went back to practicing. I noticed I was pocketing balls much smoother, and seemed much more relaxed. Justin had strengthened my resolve with his words of confidence. I was ready for day three!
Join me next time for the final day! My last match, and some fun at the Straight Pool Hall of Fame Dinner!
In case you missed it:
EXPERIENCE DAY 1