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Why, why, why, Grandma?

 Why can’t pool be more like Quilting?

 I have listened, read, shouted, shoved, and bemused about the following pool situation in the United States.  I have read dozens of articles, some from last week and some from 20 or more years ago.  I have gotten into hostile arguments and near fisticuffs about it.  My friends have devised plans to overcome it.  And here I am adding another article to the long list of valiant attempts to influence its direction. 

 Namely, why isn’t pool bigger and richer than it is?

 But alas, I fear that the wrong soles (spelled this way for pool players) will read this and be out of position to act upon it. 

 Why, Grandma, isn’t pool more like quilting?

 For those of you who have just inspecting the website address to reassure yourself that you are indeed reading a pool/billiards related page, I can assure you that you are.  And no, I have not been smoking rope.

 I watched a segment on PBS about quilting.  Well, admittedly I was channel surfing and let up on the button just as this came flying through the airwaves and I caught a glimpse of a gigantic crowd pushing their way into a Houston trade center.

 “……. 50,000 visitors and competitors ………”

WOW!  50k bodies!  From all over the world! 

 So I guessed that I was going to watch the mini-Olympics, or at least WWF wrestling or something, but I could not believe my eyes/ears as it turned out to be quilting. 

You know.  The stuff where Grandma takes old rags and socks and stuff and makes a blanket thing that depicts you ancestral tree from Ugh-Ugh and Onk-Onk down to your Mother and cleverly leaving a spot in case that one-night tryst with the waitress in Canada ever comes knocking on your door saying “Aye, Aye, Daddy!”

50,000!   I am seriously impressed with BCA and VNEA amassing 7-9,000 ardent pool players every year, but 50,000 would be a scheduling nightmare and take a year’s production of Valley tables and all of the quarters in the Western Hemisphere.  Sheesh.

 I watched on.  And on.  And on.

 Man, some of those quilters are rabid dogs!  They are maniacal students and combatants of their sport.  They put in long hours.  They practice.  They plan. 

When they compete they pull out all the stops taking out booths that make Mueller’s booth at BCA/VNEA look “Under the budget.”  Special lighting.  Mood music.  Videos of the sewing effort.  They even have tributes to those who have lost their LIFE during the making of the quilt!

 Hollywood always depicts “Death-in-a-Pool-Hall” as normal daily life in a billiard establishment, when in reality writers and directors should focus their disdain on quilting bees.  I can see it now!

 The shot pans across the room, past the quilters (of all ages) wielding their ever-sharp quilting and chain stitching instruments to none other than Dirty Harry.  Harry looks tense, as he scans the room looking for the suspect, ever wary to watch his back.

Just then, a tattooed biker, masquerading as a quilter, dives out an open window, onto the fire escape, and the chase is on!  Quilters hit the deck as Harry’s 44 Magnum comes out of its holster!

The quilters are competing for money that makes BCA and most Pro Pool tournaments look less than tame.  Wow, am I jealous or what?

 During the judging, the contestants are on good behavior, don’t try to steal each other’s quilting needles when the winners are on stage collecting their prizes, and clap and hug each other, all the while shedding tears of joy.  What the hell, 1st prize is $50k.

 Now before any of you approach me to administer hugs (female players are exempt from this warning) you might be placing your life or limb in danger. 

 The point being is that the competitors recognize when someone else has done well, and they applaud their success.  I am sure that GrannyPoo and GrandMaMa are capable of tearing each other’s throats out but they have reached a level of conduct that rivals the Pro golfers and as such, sponsor money flow to the gathering.

Sewing machine companies, cloth makers, pattern makers, etc, know that the Grannies each goes through a few thousand clams a year in sewing-stuff which further affects the rest of her families opinions about quilting as an art form, etc.

The shows had gotten enormous, long, long, before any prize money arrived.  They played quilting for the pure love of the game, not for money.

Money always goes to the games that people love to play so much that when they can’t be playing them, they are willing to watch them.  Look at the size of the Porn industry!  Maybe that same logic holds there?

 Every golf champ and every quilting champ got to the top first and then absorbed the money that was offered.  Tiger Woods had a boodle full of amateur titles before the dump trucks filled with money started backing up to his doorstep to unload.

 As for the Camel series, the trade rags are reporting that R.J. Reynolds has taken a very strong control over the tournaments it is sponsoring and appears to be dictating strong rules and measures. 

Understandable, it is their money.  Well, maybe they are not convinced that they are getting the advertising bang they expected or that trying to control a bunch of pool players is like trying to herd 30 well-rested triple-sugared three-year-olds through a toy store and have them keep their hands in their pockets.

We all read about dedication to the sport, how it takes discipline, concentration, and a deep love of the game to succeed.

Well, the following photo depicts the true spirit of those that love the game.  These may just be onlookers who saw an opportunity for free table time. 

 I play for the love of the game.  Do you?  On the other hand, walking into a pool hall with 2000 pool tables and a gaggle of Grannies with money stuffed in their pocketbooks and cuesticks slung over their shoulders woofing at me with offers of the 6-out and 2 on-the-string certainly tickles MY fancy!  Besides, some of those “Grannies” look pretty dang good to me!  (I'm in my 50s.)

PS:  I am out of town on a business trip as I write this.  I wandered out from the depths of the hotel to a nearby billiard establishment by the name of “The Shark Club” in Costa Mesa, California.  Nice place!

The Shark Club has a giant tank with 3 sharks, two of the sleek sexy kind and one of the bottom sitting crusty nasty looking sneaky kind.  The tables are good (tan cloth not withstanding – grrrr – I’m a green traditionalist) and the environment classy.  They fed them live goldfish.  Uhh, I don’t ever want to be smaller than a shark.  Or near a shark, come to think of it.  Barbaric feeding at its finest.

Lo and behold, I walked in on a charity pool tournament with a huddle of Los Angeles RAMS as the celebrities to beat!  Now I would not want to have any of these athletes hunting for my head but as players they were complete gentlemen out for fun and to garner a few bucks for their charity for kids.

However, as pool players they make great football players. 

As an added treat, Chef Anton was running the tournament and doing a mini trick shot exhibition.  He is extremely entertaining and I learned a few small tricks by watching him closely and inspecting the table after the trick was complete for divots and dings.

HOW he stacks pool balls 2-hi on top of pool balls on a triangle rack on top of pool balls is a trick equaling the actual trick!  He is great!  He is also a magician at the Magic Castle in L.A.  He steals watches for fun, too, so leave the Rolex at home.

So I stomped over the L.A. RAMS, won their autographed football, and made my escape, never mentioning that I was from Dallas.

I just wonder if an autographed football of the L.A. RAMS is going to set off some kind of airport alarm when I return to Dallas?

I’ve heard that Jerry Jones has a lot of pull in Dallas and it never hurts to be cautious.  It should be OK with Jerry, though.  Those RAMS were the retired kind and no longer a threat to Jerry’s wallet or ego.

If those pool playing Grannies ever run into pool playing RAMS, my money is on the Grannies!


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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