Ever since I can remember, I was always the person to turn down competition. The fact that someone else could be better than me at something made me so mad I just couldn’t bear the idea, so I avoided everything that could have placed me in that humiliating position. This means I didn’t play sports, I didn’t enter school competition, and I had a hard time dealing with family game night.
But a few years ago my dad bought himself a pool table, placed it in the garage, and started spending long hours there, shooting by himself. I was definitely intrigued: what kind of satisfaction playing by yourself could bring? What sort of game is that and what’s the point? Finally, the curiosity broke my fear and I asked him to join. I then discovered a great sport that had a lot to teach me.
When you’re shooting at pool, you’re not just randomly pushing the ball around, hoping it will bounce into one of the pockets. Pool requires a certain mindset to control rather yourself and guide the ball where you want it to go. You can be playing against someone, but the primary connection is between you and your objective. I never thought I could reach such a concentration level while engaging in something so…fun.
Playing pool has brought me a lot of friends – I have begun entering different competitions – and what I like about it is that these friendships are based on a mutual respect for talent, technique and, in the end, fairness.
It’s also something you can easily do in different contexts: I already mentioned my dad’s garage, competitions, but there are pool tablets scattered all over this state: bars, sport pubs, sports centers, I even have one at work, for all employees to use at will. There are portable ones you can take on picnics and camping trips, and so on. For me, it’s an accessible distraction that revives both my body and my mind.
And yes, it can get competitive, and that’s just as great, because in the end all that competition makes you want to be better not than the adversary, but yourself.
But most of all, I like to play pool because it’s open to different set of rules that you can convene upon with your adversary. If you’re playing with your 12-year old cousin, you can leave aside the score and just enjoy the pleasure of shooting together.