.....When I was learning how to play
pool there were no books, no videos, no instructors and no leagues
to play in. The best way to learn was to watch. I was privileged
to see some of the greatest and some of the not so great. My
purpose for publishing my pointers insrtuctional column is not
only to inpart pool knowledge to my viewers but to share with the
public what these great players from the 1980s and 1990s looked
like. Through my trusty Canon, for a moment in time they are immortalized.
Some are still here and some are gone and I still remember the
joy of watching them play.
Do Pool Rules Cover One Foul Cue Ball In Mouth?
ONE OF MY favorite movies of all time is "Irma La Douce" with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon, directed by Billy Wilder. It should be no surprise to my readers that the scene which vividly comes to mind is one where Jack, in a successful attempt to rescue Shirley, shoves a cue ball into her pimp boyfriend's mouth. Now, after seeing Steven Simpson's pool exhibition, I'll never cringe again.
Steve, who comes from Tennessee, executes trick shots and pockets object balls by spitting the cue ball out of his mouth. He said the secret is "tongue English." Without the use of any other props, Steve was able to make the cue ball roll, spin, jump and somersault through the air. You can see from the photographs just how much velocity the shots had. The audience was especially thrilled by his completion of three rail billiard kick shots, and one amazing five rail kick.
......Michael Ian Shamos, in his book “The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards”, calls Simpson’s bizarre style of play “Mouth Billiards”. Robert Byrne refers to it as “Blow Pool”, probably a more appropriate moniker. As Shamos explains, “It was long regarded as difficult even to take a billiard ball entirely into the mouth, and a case is known which an unfortunately successful practitioner had to have his teeth extracted in order to remove the ball.” Personally, I don’t endorse this style of play to anyone, dear reader.
......At a Steve Simpson exhibition, first he would grab onto the end rail. Then he would rock back and forth, finally spitting the ball out and complete pocketing balls and even shooting tricks shots.
Someone in the crowd shouted out, “if he makes a cut shot, I might be impressed."
......Steve, who is handicapped, was up for the challenge. He placed a ball in front of each of the top two corner pockets and then completed a trick shot I’ve seen being made a number of times with the cue stick (I even made it myself a few times.)
After placing the object balls, he exploded the cue ball out of his mouth. His cue ball made the first ball in the left corner pocket, and then it hit the top rail. Instead of coming down table, which one would expect, because of all the top spin executed on “whitey”, the cue ball hit the top rail several times moving sideways along the top rail until it pocketed the object ball in the opposite corner pocket.
"That’s my tongue English shot, my wife loves that one.” Steve laughed. And the crowd laughed right along with him. Everyone loved him.
Then I saw Steve spit out an unbelievable 5 rail kick shot, pocketing the object ball. I know people who have been playing 20 plus years, and can't make a 5 rail kick with a cue stick.
......I borrowed this drawing from my copy of Robert Byrne’s “Treasury of Trick Shots in Pool and Billiards”. Robert remarked, “People who have never lied to me swear that Steve Simpson can make a five rail bank shot by shooting the ball from his mouth. I’d love to see it.”
Now Bob, would I lie to you?!
After witnessing such a graphic demonstration, I now realize that the stunt is possible, but I don't recommend it to anyone. Hats off to Steve Simpson for having the courage to try such a feat. And even more remarkable is that a challenged individual would find a unique way to participate in our beautiful sport. I know I'm not putting my foot in my mouth when I say there must be an easier way to make a living.
.....Pool Pointer Archives
.....1. Closed Half-Bridge
... .2. Look Before You Leap
.....3. Mechanically Inclined
.....4. Keep A Level Cue
.....5. Double or Nothing
.....6. Chalk It Up
.....7. V-Bridge It To Victory
.....8. The Right Combination
.....9. Referees; unsung heros
...10. Don't Lag Behind
...11. Tongue Twister; Mouth Pool
in for more Pointer articles coming
your way each month.