I just couldn’t resist going to the Derby City Classic – By Alex Lely

I just couldn’t resist going to the Derby City Classic – By Alex Lely

Until two weeks before it started I wasn’t thinking about going, but then the organizer of the Bank Pool & One Pocket Hall of Fame dinner asked if I was to come. Later, I was speaking on the phone with a friend of mine talking about going for just a couple of days. That’s what he does all the time for his work. He travels the world, in-and-out, taking the time difference for what it is. So then the frenzy really kicked in. I looked for flights, he was looking for flights, but the next time we were on the phone again it turned out that he was never going to go. Well, then I wouldn’t either.

Two days later I booked my flight. I would leave home on Thursday and get back on the plane for the return-flight on Monday. A quick fix, enough to meet all the people from the industry that I wanted to talk to, to meet up with friends, and to get some playing time in bank pool and one pocket. Especially one pocket offers me a lot of value. In any session that I play I’ll learn something new. Something to use in commentary or teaching. These particular little shots do not come up a lot in a year, and they add up. How big is Efren Reyes’ bag of tricks?! A lot of that knowledge isn’t his born-with talent, but comes from playing different games. If you play 61-rotation and one pocket and throw in a couple of hundred hours of baulkline billiards (that’s what he did), it shows. As a commentator and coach I want to learn about those things.

I decided to stay on Dutch time. That I would be there without jet lag and without one now I’m back home again. The downside would be that I wouldn’t be able to play the bank pool tournament.  But, it would allow me to be fresh during the night while watching some of the high stakes one pocket action that’s always going on at the Derby City Classic. Loved it. I got up at 23:00 hrs. Watched and played during the night. In the morning I would get some breakfast (my lunch actually) and meet up with people, watch, and socialize after.

There were some big games. Mostly played away from the big crowds. Either behind closed doors or in private rooms where seating capacity was very limited. Now, in these big games more often than not you’re not looking at some top pro’s. It’s a separate circuit from the pro’s. You’ll see one now and again, probably 2 or 3 tier 1 one pocket players.  I watched the players that you don’t get to see on YouTube. They would have a hard time beating the 6-ball ghost (rotation), but they know the moves. They know what to do with all those marbles in the mix. What impressed me most is their ability to roll the cue ball. They are good at it, because they do it a lot. Many games will get down to the end, because, in general, they do not play run-out one pocket. So many games come down to 3, 4 balls on the table. Very suspenseful. They mastered that specific skill better than most pro’s.

I had a lot of fun and picked up a shot here and there. When people asked me why I stayed so short I explained the why. Instead of a surging feeling of extreme discomfort from day 6 onward due to an overload of impulses and sleep deficiency, I would now go and wonder how these days have gone by so fast. On the flight there I did some work, on the flight back I managed to get solid sleep and once home, without jet lag, I’m following both the action room through www.poolactiontv.com and the Accu-Stats TV-table matches. Good stuff the Derby.

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About Alex Lely

Alex is a communicator and networker, an elected politician, a professional sport journalist, and was trainer/coach for the national selections at KNBB. As a trainer he was hired by Israel, Russia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland. Until 2006, Alex roamed the world as a professional pool player, winning many titles: World Pool Master, multiple European Champion, multiple Eurotour winner, former European number 1, and was a member of team Europe in the Mosconi Cup. In 2008 he captained (non-playing) Mosconi Cup Team Europe to a historical 11-5 victory.