The Pour House
Ladies and Gentlemen of Billiards Digest,
When I received the May 1999 BD, I could not help but jolt at seeing the faces of the five henchmen that graced the cover. The Pour House of John Abruzzo. John is Mr. Patience on the table with his methodical style. Claudio Parrone looks like he could gleefully rip my head off without a moment’s hesitation. Mike Bandy is a machine on the table. Randy LaMar has a barrel full of wins. Steve Hayes skill I knew too well.
Click Cover Picture
In 1995 I came in 5th/6th behind Steve Hayes (National Champ) and I have watched the various Master’s Team victories they won, some cut pretty close while others were total romps. Nevertheless, 5 of 6 Masters victories (a notable number for someone who finished 5/6) stuck in my mind. They were monsters. Dragons to be slain.
I also thought that both BD and the Pour House team were taking a chance, especially when I read the final line on the first page of the story “They don’t” indicating what the chances of my Masters Team was against them. That article just might be the Kiss of Death, I thought, for cross hairs would be naturally been drawn to them.
I carried that magazine around for a whole month. I just begged for one shot at them. I had it in a plastic folder in Las Vegas and saw it every morning as I prepared for play.
THE magazine parked on a shelf in my pool room
There is no way I would match up with them individually, they shoot too strong. But I have had a good track record of dispensing headaches believing I can beat anyone in the world in a short set. A long set? No. A series of short sets? No. But a single game? Most definitely. I’m not a World Beater, just a headache with a cue.
My team slugged it out with them and even though I was not the Hammer, I found myself in a bad spot on double-hill holding the weaker position in a 40-inning safety battle. My opponent put me in the unenviable position of having to make a difficult choice and an equally difficult shot. A mistake and the Pour House move on and I head to the showers. A make (with anything resembling shape) and they are done.
There were three choices with no reasonable safety to play. I had a spread out combo over 6 feet; a rail-first cut with the ball 4 inches off the rail and just under a foot from a pocket; or a 6-foot 60 degree cut with the 12-ball 18 inches from the corner and the cue ball 2 inches from the foot rail.
My selection: The latter, with a long slow roll of the cue ball, an even slower roll of the object, and a slim hope for a safe if it misses. A low percentage shot all the way around. I tried to remember which way the table drifted. I swear the cue ball did “S” curves on its path. I forgot to start breathing after the cue ball was on its way.
It fell, and I got on line and stayed there, barely avoiding wetting my pants. When the 8 fell, bedlam ensued and a sour faced Pour House closed down shop while my teammates beat me senseless and tried to dislocate my shoulders in their joy. I was instantly drunk.
The Score Sheet
The Pour House were complete gentleman. Each graciously shook hands and wished us well. “Nice shooting” and other gentlemanly remarks were offered.
Later Claudio saw me, changed his direction and came my way. “There goes my head,” I thought. Claudio smiled and remarked that he agreed with my shot selection (same logic I used) while his teammates choices were closer to my teammates choices, namely the rail first shot.
Claudio was a perfect gentleman and talked about the shot as if he was my teammate and not a mortal enemy. The sparkle in his eye was as if he shot it, not me. Claudio loves the game.
There is no doubt that the final moves of that last game was micro-analyzed by both teams to see what could have been done differently. I am sure both teams agree that I was toast. I agree that I was toast. I was offered a 10% shot and it fell.
Captain Abruzzo never gets any respect
The Pour House are a championship team comprised of championship players with championship gentlemen's attitudes about the game. Now I am not so naive as to think that such a cluster of spirited competitors are tame gents who have never loosed a sharp tongue or clenched fist, but their conduct is what I enjoy of the BCA games.
I wish all teams could have the manners and spirit of The Pour House. They are pure champions, but for one brief moment, I, Carl Pearson from Dallas, Texas (supported by a helluva team) was their Worst Nightmare.
When “The Machine” from Canada took it all running over us, I consciously tried to emulate the championship manners of The Pour House. It was tough but I think I did it. I wanted first place with all my heart.
Honestly, I did not say that!
Carl "Carlo" Pearson
Captain - “Worst Nightmare”
1999 Masters Division - 2nd Place
Damn Canadians took 1st
Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it. Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.
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