DISCLAIMER: This post is not something satanic.
ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: This post contains reminiscing from the past only. It is not that author had not moved on from it.
Hmmm… I am feeling the billiard player’s blood back in my veins again. I’ve begun to play a lot again. Back when there were academic obligations, I would only get to play once a week. But now that the burden was gone, I frequented more.
Billiards is the sport that relieves all of my psychological stresses. When I feel frustrated, I usually break the balls harder and I would try to do two-, three-, four-, five-, six- cushion exhibition shots to quell the thirst for relief from those frustrations. When I feel pressured on the academics and the academe, I then venture on taking some difficult shots to gather my concentration.
I already confided to some of my friends about these concentration lapses of mine. There were days when I would feel pumped up and determined and there were also days when my mind was lost and it’s focus was in oblivion.
My eyesight was deteriorating. When I first wore glasses back in 2011, it was just 1/75. Now, the optometrist was advising me to wear glasses of about 1/225! I already had the difficulty on executing some long shots in billiards to the point that at some times, I would have to rely on my instincts to pull that shot off. I’ve been toying with the idea of using a Dennis-Taylor-type of glasses when playing because when I usually do my shot routine, I usually look up to see further with my line of shot.
On the other hand, these glasses of mine helps me with my pool hustling on some of the pool halls in Metro Manila. Some people won’t see me as a threat and then they would issue a challenge for a match. The rest was history, with my opponent learning his lesson to never do that again.
I’ve been going around on some of the pool halls since the loss of the UP Alumni Center due to the fire. It is not only to look for worthy opponents but also I want to promote my organization, UP Pool Club’s vision and missions to students from other universities. I want also to give them the impression that even academic guys can be proficient that the sport. That rarity of that sight: a guy like me beating out their best guys, attracted attention to some.
The first instance was that in Tomas Morato in Quezon City. I just won the doubles tournament there and my companions were gobbling all the booze to their satisfaction. I don’t drink liquor so I went to watch the other people playing. But not before I got to play the champion of the singles event. He was only a 14-year-old kid and he trashed me 8-2. He was more of a genius in the sport than I am. Later on, the shock would put me in a brief retirement.
After that match, I went to watch on the other pool tables. Only Kuya Glenn who is a fellow of mine in UP Pool Club was the person that I know of remaining. The pool hall was full of relative strangers to me. I get to see their mannerisms, their flamboyance, their badmouthing. I couldn’t bring myself to go home because Kuya Glenn was already drunk and I just couldn’t leave him driving home in that state.
Anyway, I was just a silent observer on one table where two girls were playing. I found the one girl cute and the other less cute (I don’t know how to describe her! XD ). It was just like the episodes in the Alumni Center where I was just watching how they played badly until it finally got to my temper, then the next thing I knew was that I was already teaching these people already.
The cute girl was interested in me. She invited me into a drink. Because I don’t drink liquor, I refuse. She instead proceeded to give her number, but I assured her that I would be frequenting to that establishment later on and I would be seeing her again, which was a lie, of course.
And it all boiled down to another episode of me almost getting laid. I just can’t imagine myself doing those things, although the urge that is natural to men was insisting me to do so. I do not know if I have to regret those things albeit I became true to my words and principles. I was just a pathetic hopeless romantic.
When Kuya Glenn and I were driving home back to UP, he stopped by on the Quezon Avenue to fetch some hookers for me! Maybe he witnessed how I turned down that booty call. Again, I refused. I just looked away in order to avoid seeing the face of that hooker.
The refusal of mine can actually turn into a drinking game given its frequency. I vowed to myself to never give in to premarital sex. I abhor it along with hypocrisy. I’ve been telling my friends time and again that I won’t be doing those things.
In Sta. Mesa, the most proficient women player there expressed her interest on me, even inviting me to her house to “play”. I just looked away to say no. I must be really weird to decline those things and to lead an almost robotic life.
In the recent UPD Lantern Parade, instead of participating on the parade, with chances that I might see the girl that I like with her date, I decided to play billiards to my heart’s content that afternoon. I reestablished my supremacy to the pool hall inside Village B after months of absence.
I was playing for 4 hours already and I wanted to take a break. But my opponents, who were lining up to have a chance to play with me, insisted to keep me playing. I finally found my excuse when an ex of mine called. We got to meet on the academic oval. Although I was happy to see her again, I just don’t feel the butterflies in the stomach that I once had when I see her. Having a conversation with her again proves how much my romantic skills have degraded in the past 3 years.
I wanted to comfort her(given her recent break-up), but I know I must keep my distance in order for her to not mistake it as me getting back to her. Around 10 in the evening, I accompanied her to Nepa Q-mart near Cubao. I then proceeded to play on one of the pool halls I frequented also, which was in Cubao. It was their best player, who was a Class A- player, who issued a challenge to me. I told him that I just wanted to play for fun, meaning less money at stake. I eventually lost to him 14-11, despite being 11-7 up. It all started when I missed that simple 2-foot straight shot to the corner pocket. I dawned to me that I was already exhausted. I just let the match continue on at that point with me missing rack-winning chances (which I normally took for granted). We finished the match around 12 midnight. My opponent was delighted by my performance (I was the only one who stood up against him on equal grounds) and he invited me to be his training partner. I just told him that I can’t assure when I would come back (Because there are still many pool hall on my target lists to go to).
That was not the end of my odyssey. My next stop that night was at Pasay City. Only their Class B+ player was the one willing to have a match against me on equal grounds (They typically asked for a horrendous handicap), but that player, who I only got to know as Rusty, had appointments to attend to. I just then practice there by myself for 30 minutes and I set home to Cavite.
On Cavite, despite being exhausted, I forced myself into playing another match there. Well. Crap. I lost 13-7.
I was an attacking player. I prefer to try my best to produce a run-out even if the spread of the balls was not good. That mindset of mine has its roots back in 2010.
December 2010. I was fed up of the first fall-out between me and Tel. I decided to date another girl. That girl was a batch-mate of mine in the Political Science department. Everyday, I managed to wrap my arms around her(Where is my former self now?!). But when it came to dates, her preferences were terribly expensive, so by the Christmas break, I started gathering money for the date.
I had already 2000 pesos in my possession, which was already enough to pull off that date, in the middle of my Christmas break. The only task for me to do was to have that money survive until January.
Around that time, I was already playing billiards for 3 years already. I was cocky on my skills already, although it was already commendable to my current standards. I went to play against the neighboring Purok‘s best player, Abam Pineda. I was grateful that it wasn’t a money game, because he was beating me badly.
But I still remember that one faithful rack. When I managed to get one rack back after the barrage of racks from his side, I whispered to myself: “If I manage to produce a run-out here, Tel will be mine.”
I really don’t know why I sputtered Tel’s name in that statement when I was dating another girl. Maybe I was still disappointed on our recent fall-out. It was like a pact with the devil, that if I managed to get this right, I would get the girl I want.
All of the sudden, when I took the break, the balls were spread easily. I had an easy run-out, which was my first one. After that rack, I had chills on my back.
A week later, I lost that 2000 pesos on a money game that my granduncle had invited me to. That incident gave my parents a bad impression on my passion in billiards. I lost that date money. Hahahaha. Then three months later, I and Tel were on the same track together, fulfilling what the Pact had promised. But a pact with the devil was no pact at all. Eventually, things came crashing to the ground. That put me into a 3-year depression. During those times, I tried pathetically to produce a run-out, hoping that the pact was still on.
Now, I am doing it with ease. Although, my mind is a bit shaky on the last few balls because the pact was still at the back of my mind.
I hope that there will be revisions to that Pact. I still hope. That the name of that person I mentioned on that Pact would be different, although a homonym. I begin to play again to my heart’s content.
If I managed to overcome the curse of that pact, I know that I will be a formidable player.