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Am I A World-Class Pool Player Or What? (#MTT2K)

29 July 2012 6 Comments

[Please watch at least one of these videos first. Also, if you don't know about #MTT2K this post won't make much sense. This post is my take on Khan Academy and the hype surrounding it.]

As you can see from my videos, I’m obviously a world-class pool player. If you’re still not convinced, please consider the following:

Lots of people who have never even bothered watching any videos of me shooting pool think I’m a world-class pool player (C’mon, how world-class must I be for that to happen?)! These people really like the idea of me posting videos of my world-class pool playing for anyone to watch but otherwise have no deep understanding of what they’re supporting, and I appreciate their support.

Lots of people who have no idea what top-level professional pool looks like have watched my videos and think I’m great. If endless praise from the uninformed isn’t a sign of world-classiness, I don’t know what is.

Did you know that I also happen to be a certain billionaire’s favorite pool player? This billionaire doesn’t know a damn thing about professional pool, but who cares? He’s a billionaire! And if Robin Leach has taught us anything, it’s that if a billionaire likes something, it’s by definition world-class.

Recently some people who think they’re also world-class professional pool players have started criticizing my game. They say really nitpicky stuff like “He’s not controlling the cueball on the break. He’s not following through on a lot of his shots. He messes up his positional shots way more often than he should. His speed control is iffy.” Oh really? If these were truly fundamental problems, why haven’t the millions of novices who watch my videos pointed out these “deficiencies”? Most people don’t know anything about pool anyway, so I can probably just say the critics are wrong and get away with it. Besides, these critics are just jealous which means that their comments have no merit.

Let me make this clear to my loyal followers: I am nothing like these so-called “experts”. I will never conform to their warped expectations because I simply refuse to do any of the hard work or training that will threaten to turn me into “experts” like them. I will only continue to do what brought all of you to me in the first place: make videos that demonstrate what I can do with very little preparation or practice.

After all, isn’t that what being world-class is all about?

6 Comments »

  • Ginny said:

    I think you’re perfect. :-)

  • Mike Sporer said:

    The best pool players I’ve seen over the years don’t seem to get overly dramatic with english and cue movement. Somewhat like golf, after you learn the stroke ball and get good at the mechanics, it becomes about strategy and ball movement. Pool is about getting you head out of the way.

    In your case, you don’t move the ball much and you have a nice natural stroke. Good strategy as well. The so-called experts can run balls consistently; that consistency is why people call them experts. Stronger than normal mental focus is another trait…as with any sport I suppose.

    I like the way you play…the makings of “world class” if you chose to go that way. But I believe you are a born teacher because you get to the core of how people learn…then deliver that. I’ve watched your “Building a New Culture of Teaching and Learning” several times. That seems to be world class work! Thanks for sharing…………….

  • Dr. Tae (author) said:

    Mike, I should mention that this post isn’t really about my pool playing. It’s my weird way of contributing to the #mtt2k movement which criticizes the content and practices of Khan Academy. Those familiar with #mtt2k will understand this post in that context. To everyone else it probably sounds just plain delusional (which is part of the point).

  • Fawn Nguyen said:

    I thought I was getting tired of #mttk12 and all mentions of KA alike, but this is perfect. Love it.

  • Frank Lee said:

    THANK YOU DR. TAE! These videos are wayyy better than the pool players I had in high school. By that standard, you are qualified as “world class”! Those haters out there just wish they were the ones who started the revolution of flipped pool playing.

  • Neil said:

    Dr. Tae,

    I happen to like KA a lot! I started to search for KA criticisms after I noticed my attention going haywire while watching a chemistry video. Chemistry is a weak point for me and as an adult learner I need clear explanations that will work for me in the shortest time possible. I find that there are many videos that accomplish this task and that most of those videos authors are High School teachers! The Khan academy videos don’t do the trick for me when it comes to chemistry. I happen to know a thing or two about language pedagogy and have about five years experience as an ESL teacher, though I am a professional counselor.
    One mistake I made as a beginning teacher was over explaining grammar points another mistake I made was teaching concepts in a way that would serve to confuse students by setting them up to be grammatical failures. For example it is not a good idea to teach Japanese students how to construct sentences in the passive voice before teaching them about active voice. This mistake, enforced by the Japanese educational system, causes most Japanese students to create complicated sentences in English that are not understood by native speakers. Causing Japanese people to sound like this, “How do you do? I am called Masayuki, what are you called?” Its bad English BECAUSE it lays down patters that encourage students to speak ineffective English with non-pragmatic grammatical artifacts.
    The point is that I came to an understanding that I was doing students a great disservice by setting them up to be bad grammarians while destroying their ability to learn practical English. After some training I began to improve my pedagogical techniques, but at no point did I decide to share my teaching style with the world on Youtube, just because, hey, I’m an awesome guy. I think that in some of the KA videos there are natural unconscious pedagogical mistakes, which are then transmitted to thousands of students. In some ways teaching is a transmission and when the mistakes are transmitted to large numbers of people there is a massive received ignorance. This transmission of ignorance is a naturally occurring phenomena of all education, and is not evil unless it carried out as institutional or national policy, as in historical denial; Holocaust denial, Japanese denial of atrocities in Asia incurred during its military campaigns. The difference between teachers and the KA is that teachers, through their training, should at some point learn “reflexivity” and follow best pedagogical practices and should, in theory implement those practices into their lectures.
    I think Sal is fairly “humble”, in a self-deprecating kind of way. I do not, however discover an embodied reflexivity in his pedagogy. I think humility would be more evident if say one would admit that one cannot teach 10 – 15 different subjects well. Perhaps one should find a few more teachers to add to ones team. Shouldn’t one?