If you enter my home on a dreary day, you may hear the crack of a billiard break or see the brightly colored red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green and black billiard balls scatter on the purple pool table. You may also hear a Ping-Pong-table-tennis ball smack the table, the wall or me. You may also hear loud ha has, woo hoos, oh nos and very long uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhs– like fans chant at football games preventing the players from hearing their signals.
I have always been “one of the guys.” Consequently, I have a unique and special relationship with my son. We play chess, Ping Pong and billiards during inclement weather. We play to win and we laugh often.
Chess is one of my favorite games and I was unbeaten for years. When I was in fourth grade, I played on the high school chess team. When I play chess with my son we split the wins. Of course it is not about winning but about fun and bonding. Okay, we like winning too!
To play billiards, a player uses a cue stick and hits a white cue ball into at least one of 15 balls directing them into one of the six pockets on a pool table. Eight of the balls are solid and seven are striped.
When we play Eight Ball billiards, one player shoots the solid balls–not the eight ball– and one player has the striped balls. The players take turns and the object of the game is to shoot all of their seven balls into the pockets and then pocket the eight ball last. If the eight ball rolls into a pocket before the player pockets all of his balls, that player loses the game. The player also loses if he hits the cue ball into a pocket while shooting the eight ball.
When it is my turn to shoot, if I am winning–which isn’t often– my son plays the pool table like bongo drums, yells the uhhhhhh chant, and jumps up and down trying to make me miss my shot. Of course I laugh, miss the shot and he wins. I also attempt to distract him to make him miss too. When I occasionally win, I tease him that I will tell his friends that his pool-
shark mother beat him in billiards. I also threaten that I will have his school announce that he lost to his mother over the public address system.
When we play Ping Pong, my son slices the ball with his paddle and the ball bounces on my side of the net and then bounces back into the net out of my reach. My only hope to return the ball is to belly flop on the table and hope that it doesn’t collapse from my weight. I barely flick it over the net and he slams it back sometimes hitting me!
Our games are humorous, lively and loud, and you can hear us throughout our home. Playing these competitive games has strengthened our relationship, and I cherish every moment.
- Right on cue at Hopkinton Senior Center (milforddailynews.com)
- Ping-Pong Master Busts out Marvelous Behind-the-Back Table Tennis Shot (bleacherreport.com)