Posted by: Noni | June 6, 2010

Changing the rules, adapting the game

When we were kids we would make up games and change or modify the rules according to our circumstance or situation. For instance, 500 Up (Scrub) is a game  where a batter hits balls out to a group on the field and according to point designations (grounder 25, one bounce 50, pop fly 100) when someone has earned 500 it’s their turn to bat.   If it started to get boring because the batter hit mostly infield grounders (25 points) then a ruling would be made to switch batters at 200 instead.   We didn’t realize that our on the spot negotiations were training us for a future of flexibility and creativity.

5 wood

5 Wood

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a Russel (friend since childhood) and when we were done he invited me to go play pool with his work colleague, Ralph.   The three of us arrived at the recreational room of his apartment building to find that there were no cues.

Ralph had brought his own balls (a complete set) but had lent his cue stick to someone who hadn’t yet returned it.  We all registered our disappointment then Russel suggested we play with the golf club.  Ralph agreed and rushed back to his suite to get one.  Minutes later he returned with a 5 wood.

“Are we really going to play with that?”  I snatched the club from Ralph’s hand and held it as if it were a cue… “Not bad, this could work!”

This wasn’t the first time Russel and Ralph had sunk the eight ball with a golf club…  and it didn’t take long to figure out I had been snookered.

Surprisingly the game was fun and offered some unique challenges that I had never experienced before.  Most notable was the advantage of reach.   (a 5 wood is considerably shorter than a pool cue) Also it was impossible to hit with controlled side,  top or bottom spin on the cue ball.  (English, draw or follow)

cue ball action

English, draw, follow - The Physics of Billiards

Best part of the afternoon was winning!  I actually ruled the table, (for a while) and it reminded me how important it is to be open to new ideas and fresh ways of doing things.  This applies at both work and play.

As a filmmaker, I am always looking for new ways to do tell a story or ideas for putting a creative twist on a old one.  The trick is often capturing that essence in an economical fashion.  For instance,  I wanted a long slow tracking shot that was extremely low to the ground but couldn’t afford a dolly or steady cam.  Solution:

  1. Mount the camera to a sturdy platform.
  2. Fasten the platform to an 8ft 2″x4″
  3. Suspend each end of the 2″x4″ with rope or bungee cords.
  4. An assistant on either end of the rig move forward in unison and you get the shot.

Cost: Free or Cheap!

Successful entrepreneurs have many common traits, among them are imagination and a willingness to try new things.

I wouldn’t recommend shooting pool with a 5 wood on a regular basis but it’s fun to try at least once.


  1. Al, When I was in was a kid we played football during recess and we had to make our own rules to make the game fair to both teams because of the limited recess time. We played by “Texas Rules”.
    Why Texas? I have no idea. Texas rules are as follows: Each team has 4 downs to get a touchdown.
    There is no punting on 4th. down, you must try to get a touchdown or the other team gets the ball at the last spot. No field goals, no time outs. No extra point after a touchdown, you must go for the 2 point conversion. After comes the only kicking in the game, kick off to the other team. I still play this version today with my friend James on Madden football on playstation and it is very different. It changes your strategy. Hope you are doing well and hope to see you some time soon. – James


    • James,
      Texan’s must be famous for changing the rules… We played “Texas” Golf in a tournament once where each member of a team plays the ball from the best shot.
      Glad to hear from you. Take care.


  2. Hey Alison,Ralph and I have played a few times with the 5 wood,when a cue has not been around.As you found out it is not as hard to shoot with the 5 wood than you think.Ralph and I are evenly matched in pool when we use a cue….Ralph has the edge when we use the 5 wood because he is the better golfer…lol.

    Take care…talk soon.



  3. Reblogged this on The Random Rant and commented:
    For this 168 Project season, (that’s right, you may hunt them) I’ll end up doing stuff like this. Simply because I can’t get three people to give up coffee for a year…. More about that at my site,


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