Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

overthinking: Pool

Posted by Gexx on February 18, 2007

I want to get better at pool. I have purely selfish reasons for this. Last June, at a conference, a colleague who became a friend totally kicked my arse. He played all of his balls, then played my balls, then got the eight ball in. Granted, he didn’t do it continuously. We probably took about 10 turns each, but I think I only sank two balls the entire game. Therefore, he’s not marvelously good.

I’m just that bad.

I will be attending a conference with this colleague in June, and our hotel’s restaurant is a British Pub with what seems to be an ample amount of pool tables. Therefore another game is very possible, and I really don’t want to be as embarrassed this summer.

So on Friday, A, a friend and co-student in my department, and I decided to take advantage of two situations.
1) We are both rather attractive single women.
2) I have a pool hall 50 m from my front door.

After dressing “rockstar cowgirl” style, which is appropriate for 90% of the clubs and bars in K-ville, we wandered over and snagged ourselves some cues, a table, and a pitcher of Blue Moon. As we expected, we were the only single women there. Of course others noticed it also. On many occasions we turned down offers for drinks, and one gentleman was threatened with “git yur grubby paws offa mah table afore I jam this stick up yur arse and drag you away wit’ it.” by me.

Where does the geeking out come into play? Surely I’ve become used to conversations where “liminal,” “cultural relativism,” and “postprocessual” are thrown about like four letter words at a junior high lunch table. Yes, I have, and that is not what I am referring to. Instead, I continually watched the movement of the balls and the angles at which they hit. One time, the cue ball was spinning in place and I mentally reconstructed the force paths, picturing the little arrows that my physics textbook used to use. I told A about it, and she laughed and told me just to play the game. The final mental link that this game which cause me to realize how much of a geek I am was when I thought of a cartoon that I once had: Donald in Mathmagic Land.

In Donald in Mathmagic Land, Donald duck learns the value of knowing angles when playing pool (three cushions billiards, to be particular), but that scene has always stayed with me. Babysitting in high school, I had a chance to watch this when I first started playing pool. Therefore, the connection was made between geometry and rebounding.

In conclusion, I gradually improved. At one point I managed to get three balls in consecutively. The whole, time however, I thought of Donald Duck as well as little blue arrows. A and I have plans to go to the Grad Student Social on Monday night and play a few games for free there. I think that I’ll be able to hold my own come June.


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