This past week I stayed at a place with a pool table so I’ve been practicing. I graduated from a lousy player to a mediocre one. My old strategy was to whack the ball as hard as I can and pray that it eventually finds a pocket, but now I can line up and sink a shot with reasonable confidence (provided it’s not a bank shot or something; if there’s no straight path from ball to pocket I’m still hopeless).
I also learned how to play snooker. The mechanics are the same — hit balls into pockets, look cool while doing so — but where you simply win or lose in pool, snooker uses a points system that highlights how much better your opponent is. It also has an air of sophistication that pool lacks. Granted, this might be my imagination, but I get the sense that pool is to snooker what checkers is to chess, and now that I know how to play I’m sticking with that perception.