Back in the day when for about 10 years pool took over my life, I played on a team out of an odd little bar on the lower east side called Parkside Lounge. I have played on a lot of teams over the years but this was one of the most memorable. We grew incredibly close incredibly fast, practicing at a pool hall every weekend and then playing even more pool at local bars into the wee hours.
I took this photo with Tri-x film pushed to probably 1600 and at a slow shutter speed using just the ambient light of the bar. It was a match against Barfly, a bar known for two things; good pool teams and occasional Bill Murray sightings. Here my teammate Ben is playing that blurry shadow known as Jimbo, considered then one of the league's best players. In his mid 60s at the time, he also paid me one of my favorite compliments ever when he once asked me if my Mother was single.
There was a lot of talent on our team and we easily won the division only to lose in the play-offs. Ironically to another team I was on (did I mention I was obsessed?) which only made it into the finals by nabbing the wild card slot. I had to sit out entirely to remain eligible in case either team advanced. Unable to fain neutrality, I watched with tears in my eyes as my Parkside team went down in flames, despite the odds being clearly in our favor. Even more upsetting my captain was moving to the west coast for graduate school and there would be no second season.
I would go on to Captain my own amazing team, Octopussy, the only all woman team out of NYC to make it to the Nationals in Vegas. I also had many successes on my own, finishing 5th in the APA 8-Ball Classic and 5th again in the WPBA Amateur Nationals and later in Atlanta, winning a qualifier into a WPBA Pro event. Still, those three months playing at Parkside remain some of my fondest memories of those early, eyes wide open, fiercely besotted, living the dream days.