- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Taking your nerves out on them?" said a friend.
"No, they were taking them out on me. All morning they were sticking their heads out the window, and I got a reprimand from the principal. The next time I catch a kid with his head out the window, the rest of him will follow."
Finally the last game started. Mizerak broke, and Crane, usually conservative, tried a long, difficult shot and missed. "That's the trouble with this game," he said ruefully. "You can play and play and play, and you're still going to miss. That's the part that's hard to take."
Mizerak went to work. Fourteen straight, then another 14. A Bunny stepped up to rack the balls. Her tail fell off. Mizerak grinned at her, dropped 42 more shots and then played safe. And so did Crane, and it went that way until Mizerak gambled and missed, and Crane, a master at controlling the cue ball—and that's the only real secret of straight pool—methodically ran 107 straight shots. Then he missed, gambling on a long bank shot that left him grumbling. "Balls all over the table," he said, "and I can't even see one to shoot."
Mizerak made a run of 15 and another of 31, but he was done. Crane reached 150 and the championship, and Joe Balsis, who had been out in the other room practicing, came rushing into the room.
"What happened?" said Balsis.
"Put away your cue, Joe," a friend said. "It's all over."