When the annals of great sporting achievement are written, my name will be revered in the Pantheon of greats. I shall rank alongside Baron Pierre de Coubertain, indeed even above him, for he only ‘borrowed’ the idea of reviving the Olympic Games from a vicar in Shropshire, whereas I have created an entirely new sport. Well, sort of.
Speed Pool. Never heard of it? Well you will.
Like the revered Baron, I have ‘borrowed’ liberally from someone else’s ideas but like so many geniuses (genii?) I have taken a concept and extended it so far beyond its humble starting point that the result is so earth-shattering as to be considered utterly different and far superior to the base that spawned it, as indeed Man is to the primaeval slime from whence he came. At least, that’s what my lawyers will be arguing.
Bercause, you see, Speed Pool makes ordinary Pool look – well, tame. Pedestrian. Lame. And please don’t quibble about starting sentences with prepositions. Or splitting infinitives. I am boldly going here, people!
The basic premise of pool, as any fule kno, is to pot all your balls and then the black before your opponent can do the same with his balls. Easy. And slow.
With the cunning addition of just one simple-to-understand rule and one legal doping agent, the game is transformed.
Surely, Martin, I hear you cry, nothing can be so simple. But yes, it is – as all the great ideas are.
Take the telephone. By speaking into a paper cone, attached to a wire, your voice can travel countless miles and a conversation may be held with a person who is not even within ear-shot. Imagine that! Better still, technology has now advanced to such an extent that there is no longer the need for either the wire or the paper cone. The two ingredients considered utterly fundamental by Alexander Graham Bell are now redundant in long-distance hailing. Astonishing!
Television is another example. Simply stand a person in a dinner suit in front of a spinning disc and, as if by magic, their image – and even voice – can be transmitted to a glowing sheet of glass in every drawing room in the land. Without adverts!
Science is truly remarkable but behind every discovery is a man. Without Einstein, racing cars wouldn’t make their peculiar sound, high-pitched as they come towards us, yet lower in tone as they depart. Without Newton, apples would have to be picked from trees and pigs in orchards would have to master ladders in order not to starve.
And so it is with me. You may consider me vain to compare myself to such luminaries but until you have witnessed my otherworldly creation, you can simply have no understanding of its over-reaching magnitude.
As you have to read every paragraph of Steven Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ twice or three times, just to figure out what he’s talking about, so Speed Pool will leave you dazed and awe-struck, wondering how it is that a mere human brain could dream up a concept so lofty.
Enough of the preamble. That can be consigned to the marketing men and ad agency creatives who will struggle to properly convey the mastery of my genius. To the rules; for this is a game you can – and will – play.
The rules of Speed Pool and simple. Pot all your balls and the black before your opponent can do the same.
So far, so normal.
Turns at the table are decided by the normal methods. Winner stays on. Winner breaks. First to put is either ‘spots’ or ‘stripes’. When a player successfully pots a ball, he has another shot until he fails to pot, whence play is taken up by his rival. Mis-cues or other illegal shots result in a free shot for the opponent. An in-off when playing the black automatically costs the player the game.
Again, so far, so normal.
And here is where the magic pixie-dust is sprinkled.
First. To play at World Championship level, all players must be doped. That is, they must be drinking pints of Guinness – with Tia Maria shots in the pints. For a National level competition, lager, bitter, red wine (or even white) are allowable.
Secondly – and here the true master-stroke is applied – each player must take his shot BEFORE THE LAST BALL ON THE TABLE STOPS MOVING.
In its entirety.
Oh. For goodness sake, you say, is that IT?
Yes, that’s it.
As I said, simple to understand – and with the compulsory doping rule, you understand why – and revolutionary.
When was the last time you broke a sweat playing pool? Exactly. Two frames of speed pool and you will be perspiring freely. This is Olympic-class exercise, people. Especially when you involve a racing driver.
Racing drivers, as we know, love to win. At everything.
There are no exceptions.
Within two frames, any racing driver is a whirling Dervish of cue, pint and determination to succeed. They just can’t help themselves. It’s as much in their nature as it is for lions to rip the throats out of Wildebeest. Ever wondered why there are so few Wildebeest in racing paddocks? I think you can work it out!
And so it is with Speed Pool. They just HAVE to win. Which means that for everyone else, the game is immeasurably improved, as players and bystanders can enjoy the sight of one of nature’s most elemental forces at work.
Allan McNish is renowned as one of the world’s great sportscar drivers. But his pair of Le Mans wins pale into insignificance compared to the delighted glow of satisfaction he exudes when you mention to him his stature as the reigning Speed Pool World Champion.
Sure, Porsche and Audi pay better; but nothing can replace the thrill of that San Francisco night and lifting the inaugural crown.
Speed Pool. You owe it to yourself.
Nice slogan that. Anyone got a good font we can use??