9-Ball Junkie – 31st Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships

listening to
Banda Sonora

Cream of Wheat (good for hangovers)

obsessed with
why I bought a sweater that looks like a tie-dye shag rug on acid

The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships is one of three events in what I consider the trifecta of pool in America . The other two events are The Derby City Classic and the Sands Regency Open. I’m working on getting to Derby City (where I will start ALL KINDS of mad s—), but, in the meantime, as the Meat Loaf song declares, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

Chesapeake , Virginia , never offers much. There’s the general tepid humidity (which causes my hair to unfurl into a majestic Afro, complete with *poof!* sound effect) of the area, the ridiculous freezing cold of the Chesapeake Convention Center (avoid frostbite–do not wear sandals or other open-toe footwear), and Men In Pool.

Since Barry Behrman’s U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship is men-only (less cannon fodder), many Europeans were not present (even less cannon fodder), and I had less time (vacationing with The Parental Unit), this will be an abbreviated report.

Many Thanks To: J.R. Calvert of Inside Pool Magazine for illustrating my blog. I’m going to get a working digital camera soon, I swear. I just keep turning the Digital Camera Fund into the Drinking and Shopping Fund.

The Usual Disclaimer: All the bunk written here is solely my opinion, meant in humor, and for your amusement. All players (well, most players) mentioned play f—ing GREAT, so don’t think I wrote all this because I was jealous or unaware of their pool playing prowess.


Scott “The Freezer” Frost [USA], it was only a matter of time before I painted your portrait in typographic pixels. I usually see you in oversized white polo shirts horizontally striped with one or a combination of the following colors: red, orange, or yellow. It is not an unpleasant look. For one thing, I’m always reminded of McDonald’s when I see you sporting your Sean John gangsta plumage and I remember how much I like their French/Freedom fries. It’s a pleasant memory: golden-crisp fries drenched in trans-fats and liberally sprinkled with sodium. However, your inexplicable short-sleeve plaid shirt in yellow and black (I immediately thought of Paul Bunyan and a Giant Bumblebee locked in Mortal Combat a la King Kong and Godzilla) brought back memories of a different sort–memories of Old MacDonald. Old MacDonald, as in the farmer of that children’s song that was the soundtrack to my tormented and traumatic childhood.

Please utilize a milder plaid in the future and my eyeballs, drenched as they are in Stoli from the night before, will be forever grateful.

As wildly varied as your choice of clothing may be, Mr. Frost, I must raise a glass of strong alcoholic brew to the fact that your eyebrows are always, ALWAYS perfectly arched. How is that? Do you get your eyebrows done at a salon? If so, what salon? They do a DAMN good job. If you wax/tweeze/arch them yourself, may I inform you that women pay upwards of $40 to have their brows shaped as wonderfully as yours? If the one-pocket thing doesn’t pan out, let me know, and I’ll refer all my Los Angeles gal pals to your salon. When you open your salon. You WILL open a salon, won’t you? We eagerly await the establishment of your temple of beauty.

Speaking of crazy patterns, Mr. Richard Chan [vendor, X-Breaker], that brown and baby blue bias-plaid/weave patterned shirt you had was–trippy! You had the shiny trendy spiky hair, cool eyeglasses, and the air of “I Am An Uber-Trendy Asian–You Only Wish You Looked This Good” attitude to match. However, I would suggest wearing black pants with that shirt next time. Nothing says “Martial Arts Master Assassin Masquerading As Mild Mannered Cue Dealer” quite like a loud shirt and sleek black pants.

Tang “Texas Hold ‘Em” Hoa [USA], I am mesmerized by your bald pate. I would love to put my skills as a pastry chef to use by slathering Pillsbury vanilla frosting (currently on sale, two for $5) on your dome to create a Winter Wonderland tableaux. The front of your head, with its gentle slant will be the perfect bunny slope, and the more aggressively vertical back of your head is the ideal double black diamond. I will have a tiny helicopter on that side drop off masked ski men with automatic machine guns. They will be chasing the tiny James Bond figure heading for the nape of your neck.

About Schmidt–John Schmidt [USA, 1st – $40,000]–the 2006 U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion, let me take this moment to tell the world that you do a hell of a chicken dance. For once, my sides were splitting from laughter and not because someone kicked me in the ribs because of some s— I said. Sorry if this is classified information you didn’t want leaked, but just go look at your trophy and giant check and you’ll feel better.


Jeremy Jones [USA], that was a cool shirt you had on. I liked the refreshing colors and the variegated stripe widths and pattern. I’m so used to your poker-face persona I had prematurely relegated you to the group of men who dress in colors usually reserved for baby food.

Marcus “Napoleon” Chamat [SWE] vs. Ronato “Ronnie The Volcano” Alcano [PHL]. When I saw this match, it looked like the beginning of a bad joke: “A Short Scandinavian and a Tall Filipino walk into a bar…”

Shannon Daulton [USA], I covet your lush eyelashes.

Stevie Moore [USA], you are a much, much more handsome version of Ray Romano.


Mika Immonen [FIN], you look so cute in that short-sleeved white shirt. I want to knot a narrow black tie around your neck, hand you a Bible and–presto!–you’re a Mormon.

In Parting

Go easy on the crazy plaids, yeah?

Tuck in your shirts–I don’t need to see the Harry Brothers (Back, Belly, and Crack) when you stretch.

Don’t sleep in the stands. You know who you are.