Pool players, we’re an eccentric bunch of characters aren’t we?
Why is that? Why do we get so excited—so enthralled with a game—that for others can be about as boring as watching paint dry? What is it about this sport that causes us to get all giddy and excited over a big match or a new cue?
Of all the questions we are asked as pool players, this one in particular is not only the most frequent but probably the easiest and yet the hardest question to answer.
So, here it is.
Why do we love pool?
Some may answer this question quickly with little to no thought while others may take their time and actually attempt to give the inquisitor an educated answer that could bring another person into the folds of the billiards enthusiast group. Personally, I like to think about why I love the game so much and what drives me to feed these baser instincts of competition. I like to think about what drives myself to get better at a sport that most of main stream media (and hence the world) has all but forgotten.
Humans as a species are highly competitive by nature. No matter what we do, we generally strive to be the best we can be or will try no matter what to be better than we were yesterday. Whether in a competition or just within ourselves, we all strive to push ourselves past the envelope of mediocrity and into the realm of greatness. I am by no means a world champion or even a great player, but that one primal instinct of wanting to be better than I was yesterday, is a huge driving force in why I do what I do.
Now this philosophy can pertain to anything and everything we do in life, which is another aspect of pool I love so much. The game of pool has no exclusions really. There isn’t anybody out there that can’t come and play the game, whether you want to be the next Efren or Earl, or just want to have a night out with your friends.
The game of pool sees no color, has no religious affiliations, has no gender code, no monetary requirement (besides table time etc). We don’t have to be rich, drive the nicest car, have the nicest clothes, cues or equipment.
All that is required of us is to show up and play. There it is: the one and only stipulation to playing pool (as I see it).
So, now we move on to some of the other possibly less important, but equally fascinating aspects of the game.
Cues are just a stick of wood right? So why do most pool enthusiasts make such a big fuss over pool cues? Why would we, as logical beings, want to spend what could be rather large sums of money on a stick of wood? Who in their right mind would do that you may ask? Well, we would.
The amazing thing about pool cues, unlike most other forms of sports equipment, is that each and every one can be suited to one or more persons tastes and preferences. No single person has the exact same taste as another, which has led to many great improvements in pool cue technology over the years.
I may like a cue with all sorts of inlays, stickers or whatever and someone else may not. That’s the great thing about it. We all don’t need to like one design. There are thousands more out there just waiting for you to find them. So is it just a stick of wood? Or is it an extension of each person’s individuality and creativity? You decide.
People of the game:
As stated earlier, there are no standards when it comes to people who enjoy pool. You meet anyone and everyone from all different walks of life. That reason alone is good enough for people to try the game. Get out there and meet people.
Now, I know some of today’s youth are probably thinking, “well I can do that from my computer on FaceBook and on my Xbox.” While that may be true, that isn’t the point. The point is to get out of our comfort zones and actually having personal contact and interactions with others. This is a social game and should be approached as such.
Look at many of today’s top professionals. They are just regular people like you and me. When they aren’t in serious competition they want people to walk up and introduce themselves. They aren’t going to hurt anyone (off a pool table that is). I’ve sat down and had conversations with a few professionals at this past year’s Expo, and my one question I asked was “Do you guys want us (your fans) to attempt to talk to you? Or would you rather us keep your distance behind an imaginary red rope?”
Earl Strickland put it best when he answered me in a short and to the point way: “Am I human? Yes I want you to talk to me, otherwise why am I doing this at all?”
So you see, even the top-tier players see the point in social interaction and still love the game just as much as they did when they started.
So why do you love the game?
For me, there isn’t just one right or wrong answer—just many different and fascinating reasons why I love this game. Hopefully this article made you start thinking deeper into why you love the sport so much.
As for me, I’m going to keep finding reasons to love the sport and keep moving forward toward a bigger and better future for us all.