Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Snooker Dog is Dead

Sad news for snooker fans, dogs lovers and everyone who has a heart not made of stone. Blue, the snooker dog from Britian's Got Talent died from a tractor accident. To make it more tragic, the tractor was driven by Blue's owner...

In Blue's memory:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Play Snooker till your 100?

In a once in a life time coincidence I ran into two stories about two different men who share two things in common: both of them were born in June 1908 (which means they celebrated their 100th anniversary last month) and both of them share an active interest in snooker.

The younger one, Joe Auty of West Ardsley, England had quit playing snooker not so long ago, but he took his incredible potting skill outside, to the crown green bowling field, and stayed there. Fred Moore, of Oak Tree Courts, who has about a week fore on Joe Auty, still visits the local snooker club every Friday. As he said to the Hunts Post "They always say you silly fool you can't play snooker, but I'm okay once I get to the table...its just getting myself there."

Unbelievable. So what do you say? Just a coincidence or is there something in snooker that guarantees living longer than the average?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Does Office Pool pull away the Fun?

Today, the day after Euro 2008 final match, is pay day in may offices in Europe. This festive occasion made me think about the ritual called the office pool.

A recent study, taken by Professor Stephen Nowlis and Associate Professor Naomi Mandel of Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business, shows that even those who grabbed all the other employees dough underwent feelings of discomfort, emotional uncertainty and inability to enjoy the event. And if we are talking about a long event, such as the 16-weeks season of Survivor, we are talking about a never-ending misery…

In other words, the feeling of "anticipated regret" is a much more aching experience than simply not giving the correct prediction and loosing the pool. The research arrives to the conclusion that the only way to enjoy watching a reality show or a major sports event is by sinking into the succession of images on the TV screen, without trying to predict the winner.

What office pool has got to do with pool, as in pool game, you are probably wondering now. Well, pool game is a sports event you can wager on (and lose all the fun), isn't it?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pool and Gambling from the Duchess Eyes

Pool and gambling always have been associated with one another. Obviously, not everyone is happy with it; pool associations prefer the term billiard and pool players insist on being referred to as sportspeople. For women pool players the battle is double: they do not only have to prove that pool players are as hard workers as any other athletes, they also do it in a masculine, often hostile, environment.

Take Allison Fisher for example. The leading 9-ball pool player talked with R.A. Dyer, the righteously appraised billiards writer, about maintaining the classy image of pool in the action packed and testosterone filled air of pool tournaments such as the Derby City Classic.

The gambling association of pool especially harms the sports when major sponsorships are called for, says the Duchess of Doom in the interview, and notes that almost every pool movie ever produced was dealing with pool hustling in fishy pool halls instead of playing respectable tournaments. Pool tournaments, she adds, is a much safer place for a girl who wants to improve her pool skills, than a pool room full of sharks where once you win you've got to have a body guard watching your back on your way home.

Allison Fisher "The Duchess of Doom" at the 2007 US Open final

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pool Accessories

When you are playing pool off-line, does your bridge hand often get too sweaty to grip? Does your glasses frame disturb you from seeing the full picture? Lucky for you, greater minds have found solutions to these issues.

Pool Gloves

Wearing gloves while playing pool often feels awkward and makes it difficult on the bridge hand, on the other hand, pun not intended, bare hands tend to get too sweaty, and the result is a chain reaction that starts with the cue stick slide and ends with a miss. Nancy Cote special "ungloves" or "finger slides" were designed to prevent such occurrences. This unique pool accessory is made of breathable fabric and it covers only the part of the hand in touch with the cue at a closed or an open bridge, i.e. the middle and the index fingers, the web between them and the thumb. The pool finger slides come in 4 different sizes and 4 colors, and they are priced at 15$ a pair.

Pool Glasses

Being a bespectacled pool player is not easy: when aiming the glasses slip down your nose, when trying to peep at the cue ball above the lenses, a blurry image of the pool table appears in front of your eyes. So, if you don't want to wear contact lenses or look like Dennis Taylor, special billiard eyeglasses can solve this problem. There are several products designed especially to deal with short sighted pool players. Most of them offer more or less the same thing: undersized frame, large spectacles (usually start from the middle of the forehead all the way down to the middle of the nose), higher bridge and those handle extensions to protect the glasses from falling or moving out of place (as in children's glasses).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Billiard Players Mental Injuries

Though billiard is one of the safest sports, professional pool and snooker players are not 100% bullet proof. Not long ago I mentioned the Repetitive Strain Injury, known as RSI, the most common pool injury, which also attacks people with keyboard attached to their fingertips. And in an amazing coincidence I read about the mental injuries typical to snooker players.

The World Snooker Championship, which ended yesterday with the triumph of Ronnie "The Rocket" O'sullivan, drew millions of viewers mainly from the UK and China. So while the home viewers were fascinated to O'Sullivan, or whoever was playing at the moment clearing the table, his match opponent had to do the same thing. Or in the Telegraph's words: "…the mental strain of being forced to sit powerlessly through your opponent's century break can scarcely be underestimated. Protocol demands that you have to sit there and watch it… Plugging yourself into an iPod, or reading a newspaper, would probably be frowned upon…"

It is not surprising why top ranked snooker players (O'Sullivan among them) tend to suffer from clinical depression, while others develop drugs and alcohol dependency.

But that's nothing comparing to the comment committed by one Wilson, who witnessed, a rare but apparently true, snooker physical injury: "Playing a shot, on a rather old table, his hand ran along the side of the table and a large splinter of wood came off and was embeded between his thumb and forefinger. He did miss the pot."


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Billiard Balls Continue to Evolve...

If the first billiard balls were made of wood, elephants died to create their advanced color-proof variation and today's biliard balls are made of plastic, how will the next generation of billiard look like?
No kidding, scientists at the Royal Institute of Medford, UK found a way to grow hair on a billiard ball. And if billiard balls can entertain lice on their dreadlocks, even the most follicularly challenged dude can hide a comb in jeans' pocket.

(and thanks to the Spoof News for the inspiration and entertainment)