My Spot: The Broken Rack in Emeryville

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Chuck Goettsche, a 66-year-old carpenter, shoots pool on a recent afternoon at The Broken Rack, a pool hall in Emeryville. (Dorothy M. Atkins/KQED)

Our occasional series "My Spot" celebrates personal experiences with special places in California.

"Pros pocket balls so cleanly that you can almost hear it in the click of the balls," says Chuck Goettsche, a 66-year-old carpenter and regular pool player at The Broken Rack in Emeryville.

"It's a pool hall with a bar, as opposed to a bar with a pool table," Goettsche explains.

For Goettsche, playing pool is an art. He's able to apply his carpenter skills -- using  different angles to pocket balls, either through hitting a bank shot or using the physics of the interaction of the balls to move into an ideal position.


"It really is a canvas for one to express their creativity," he says.

Goettsche has a tremor disorder, which he inherited from his father. When he's at rest, he's steady, but when he shifts from gross motor activities to fine motor activities he has tremors. That happens when he bridges one hand on the table to support the tip of the shaft of the cue stick.

"It's very difficult for me," he explains. "My wife says, 'Why do you pursue a game that's so difficult for anyone to play and you have this disability?' I just really love it."