This tactic is commonly used by older players (qualified AARP members) on younger shooters (20-somethings). They are fulfilling an obligation to the past and the future. When they were young, they were victims of the oldsters. Now that they have joined the gray hair league, it is their obligation to use those same tricks on today’s youth. Basically, what they suffered decades ago, they pass onto the next generation.
Any young person likes to believe that he is mature enough to handle his own affairs without interference from “old folks”. Add in the desperate need to look cool (or at least not a dork) to his peers and that individual is a walking bulls-eye.
Here is an example of how this shark is applied. A kid is looking around for someone to play. An old geezer notices his search for an opponent and volunteers. The shark begins before the match.
The older guy starts with a fixed stare at the younger player. The kid finally responds with “What?” With a wondering and curious tone of voice, old dude asks, “Did you really pay money for that <haircut, shirt, etc.>?” There is a slight pause, then the zinger, “It doesn’t look good on you. Who are you trying to impress?”
Further into the match, additional input is offered, “What did you spend on those clothes? Can you get your money back?” He then patiently waits for the reactions, hiding his little smile as the response takes effect.
A few minutes later, he switches over to the hair-do and says, “I suppose that haircut can grow out in a month or two. You probably should wear a hat for a while.”
These and other comments and questions dig deep into the kid’s psyche. The old guy knows, since he was the same target long ago. Each verbal thrust is closely monitored for effectiveness. Positive results are noted when observing a slight tightening of the lips, a passing frown or a roll of the eyes. Additional prods help keep the youngster off balance.
If there is someone of a similar age at a nearby table, the oldster tells the kid (quietly of course) just how stupid that youngster looks. Additional comments speculate about probable upbringing, such as, “Looks like his parents have some kind of degenerative brain disease to let him look like that.” Even though targeted at someone else, the kid still feels the effects as a back-handed insult.
For the old-timer, this is pure personal entertainment and an opportunity for revenge against the flow of time. It is his way of passing on the suffering that his old dudes gleefully used to put down him and his buddies. Now he is gifted with this opportunity to be just as witty as they were back then.
NOTE: This is strictly a one way street for the youngster. To take his revenge, he has to let a few decades go by before he can inflict the same sharks on that new generation.
If you happen to spot such a competition between generations, stop to enjoy the show. It can be entertaining to watch the expertise in which the oldster disintegrates the focus and concentration of his target.
Young players all need some seasoning and it is a social obligation for senior citizens to provide this type of education. It might even be considered a right and privilege of getting old.
If this is happening to you as the younger player, grow up and use your head. You are not your clothes or haircut. In any competition on the pool table, you are a player.
Smile to the elderly gentleman and thank him for the opinion. Then focus your attention on the game. Use the pokes that attempt to distract you to drive your focus and intention to be the winner.