The crowd was definitely up for some fun at the 2nd Annual Garlic City Billiards Rally – an event that marks 1 full year of activities by the Rally Round Downtown Gilroy volunteers and participants. New friends and old friends gathered around the tables at 7:00 for a demonstration of the basics of pool by Bob Beaulieu, a teacher and long-time pool player.
As a real newbie to the sport, I learned quite a lot – did you know there is a kitchen on the pool table? Ghost balls? Did you know that you should grip your cue stick one had back from the balance point, and as if it were an open tube of toothpaste, and you don’t want to squirt toothpaste all over the floor? All new to me! Better yet, your bridge hand acts like a transmission:
- Hold it so the tip of your cue hits the cue ball dead center and the cue ball will stop when it strikes another ball
- Hold it so the tip of your cue hits the cue ball above dead center, and the cue ball will follow the other ball after it hits it
- Hold it so the tip of your cue hits the cue ball below dead center, and the cue ball will back up after it hits another ball
That, of course, is if you hit the other ball dead on, as you intended all along. (Easy to say, but a bit more challenging to put into practice.)
I learned the above (and more) from Bob’s instructions, and that alone made the evening worthwhile.
Bob finished up the instructional portion of the evening with a couple of trick shot demonstrations. (Pay attention! These are trick shots. And the trick was on us.) Bob presented the shots by lining up the balls for the shot, then asking the audience how to accomplish the challenge he described.
Trick shot #1:
Setup: 4 solid balls are lined up perpindicular one pocket. A striped ball is a an inch or 2 away along the same line. The 8 ball is beside the opposite pocket. The cue ball is between the striped ball and the cue ball.
Question: How do you get 4 solid balls into the pocket PLUS get the 8-ball into the opposite pocket without hitting the striped ball that is directly between the cue ball and the 4 solid balls?
Answer: Cheat! Put the rack around the striped ball, with the tip up against the closest solid ball. Hit the rack with the cue ball. The rack hits the solid balls and they roll merrily into the pocket. The cue ball bounces back to hit the 8-ball into its pocket. Game over, you win!
Trick shot #2:
Setup: Two solid balls are up against the bumper at one end of the pool table. A striped ball is sitting on the bumper, held up by the 2 solid balls. (See picture, below.)
Question: How do you get the cue ball to hit the striped ball without touching the solid balls? Watch the video.
Answer: Cheat! Hit the cue ball and immediately smack the surface of the pool table. The striped ball with push the two solid balls to the side as it drops to the surface of the table, and the cue ball hits it without touching either of the solid balls. (Of course, the striped ball can’t go anywhere useful, so your turn is over, but, hey!, it was cool to watch!)
Pinocchio’s pizza was provided by Rally Round Downtown Gilroy (thank you, Gary Walton!), and people ate, drank and played pool until 9:00.
The full range of pool expertise was present on the tables. I personally was poster boy for first time players who love theory but aren’t very good at making it work. (You mean you are supposed to hit a ball EVERY TIME??!!) At the next table over, Mike and Dave seemed to really know what they were doing. (I was suspicious when Dave had his own cue stick.) The rest of the gang seemed to fall nicely between the extremes.
Just so you can clear your calendars early, we are pretty sure we will be having the 3rd Annual Garlic City Billiards Rally in April, 2014. We’ll let you know as soon as we get the date settled. My recommendations is that you just keep all the weekends in April free so you won’t have a conflict.
My only challenge is to somehow work in 20 years of practice before the next Billiards Rally. I mean, I’d really like to have the cue ball hit something on every shot. Or is that asking too much?
Meanwhile, take a look at some shots of the RRDG pool hustler squad in training.