During the 1996 US Open in Virginia Beach I purchased a Joss/Predator cue. Being an early riser, and anxious to give it a test run, I left Pat sleeping peacefully in the hotel room and drove to Q-Masters in Norfolk. They are open 24 hours a day during the US Open, so I knew they would be open at 6:00am.
I rented a table and started putting the stick through it's paces. I aimed and stroked with it the same way I stroked with my other sticks, and with the exception of straight-in shots, missed every pocket.
While shooting I was approached by a Q-Masters employee (I only know him as the assistant to house pro, Dave Bollman.) He suggested a 9-ball game. I refused, explaining my purpose for being there. I did not have another stick with me, and I wasn't about to risk my money using a spanking new stick (as if any of my other sticks would have made a difference.) But, he knew a juicy fish when he saw one and kept changing lures.
Well, having scaly skin and a brain that would handicap the average perch, I finally reasoned that the best way to test the stick would be under the pressure of competition. But not a lot. I might be mentally declining, but I still have enough brain matter to know when I'm being hustled, so I insulted the guy with my own offer: a race to 10 for a buck a game, and no weight. Believing it was probably a waste of his time, I was surprised when he agreed. He won 10 games while I was chalking up for the first.
Now, here's the kicker. After yanking his fish in the boat with one pull, he turned to and asked if he could try the Predator. "I've heard of them," he smiled, "but I've never tried one." I handed him the stick. He pocketed, with authority, every ball he shot at, turned to me and said, "nice stick."
The moral? Are you serious? You want a moral from a perch? Okay, I'll give you a moral......
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