Some years back, maybe too far back, my Josie and I found ourselves, much to our surprise, at a snooker tournament. My old buddy from North Battleford, Hal Grobman by name, was competing and, since it was taking place in the newly renovated Midtown Plaza, we thought we’d check it out.
Well, Hal didn’t do all that well in the tournament, which is a shame, but from my selfish perspective this was a good thing as he came up into the stands to sit with us and generously fill us in on the finer points of the game. Watching the game as a know-nothing, the play at this level seemed very straightforward as it seemed that all the shots were pretty much straight in. Fuck-all to that.
What I was missing was the fact that these people weren’t necessarily worried about the shot, because they were that good: The shot was going in. No question. What they were concerned with was where the cue ball was going to end up in relation to all the other balls, or at least the next ball in the strategy, and the one after that, and the one after that. In addition, they needed to worry about the result of an unlikely miss, and not leaving their opponent in an advantageous position for his next shot. This is the name of the game, after all. If no good shots present themselves, it is good strategy to ensure that the cue ball is left in a spot that has your opponent snookered.
Watching any professional, or anyone proficient at their craft, do what they do almost always leads to the observation that “it just looks so easy.” Watching my wife, ma petite authorette, typing anything is astonishing as the words flow smoothly across the screen without any apparent hesitation. Listening to her working on a manual typewriter was like an Uzi attack, but with bells. I get my share of admiration while teaching my craft, so I understand what has gone before to make it look easy.
This concept of preparing things so that the rest of the process is, or at least looks, easy, is the very basis of the way I try to do things in my profession. In any process, there is an optimal course of action that will lead smoothly to the ultimate goal, and the more experience one accumulates, the easier it gets. Each step may seem simple, but doing them in the correct order is crucial to a smooth transition from start to finish.
I have more to say on this subject, but it’s very nice out today, so I’m going to go mess around in the sun.