Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pool Synergy 8: How To Fix Pool

This month's PoolSynergy topic is "How to Fix Pool." Consider that our sport's top money winners would rank dismally low if they were playing golf of tennis, that TV coverage is rotten and that the tours are either non-existent or in disarray. So what to do about it?  We've got a number of excellent contributions this month.

About Pool Synergy
But first, a quick review. Pool Synergy is an online collaborative effort of pool bloggers, each of whom agrees to write about the same topic on the 15th of each month. This is the project's 10th edition. Previous Pool Synergies have covered playing tips, historic players and controversial issues such as gambling.  The topics are selected by the Pool Synergy host, a position that rotates each month. (This month, it's me.)  If you want to participate, contact John Biddle at the poolstudent.com,  or whoever happens to be the host that month. Also, feel free to opine on your own blog or Facebook page about a Pool Synergy topic. Anyone with an opinion should weigh in.  The idea is to get a general conversation going about issues important to our sport. And spread the word! Press the share button, or post a note on your own page.  

The Contributors
And now on to the essays. First up is one entitled "A Modest Proposal," from new contributor Maximus Snarkinous. Maxiumus (not his real name) is the sometimes controversial author of the Pool Cue News & Review blog. "The professional pool player cannot eek out a livable wage," he writes. "Billiards establishments are closing their doors throughout the country. Change is imperative." Go to his blog to read more. You can find his essay here.

Mark Finkelstein, a contributor with nycgrind.com, says pool needs is a face lift. "The 'problem' with pool is that no corporate sponsor that I know would want to fund a player called 'Kill 'em Dead Kid' wearing a backward baseball hat and playing cheap sets with a sucker," he writes. You can check out his full essay here.

Melinda, the author of the Pool Is A Journey blog, responds in a completely different way. She argues that our sport is not really in that bad of shape. "When I first read the topic my immediate reaction was, 'pool is broken? 'I can be an annoyingly optimistic person at times, though, and I completely admit that, so maybe that is why I have this attitude, what is there to fix?" Get Melinda's take on the question here.

The author of the p00lriah blog has a two-pronged approach for fixing pool. He calls it the "Texas Two-Step." But to learn the dance steps, you'll have to check out p00lriah's blog. You can find his essay here.
John Biddle, founder of the Pool Synergy project, believes that there's not much that can be done at the fan or player level. In order to fix pool, the promoters need to step up.  "As in all other successful (as a business) professional sports, the businessmen are the team/league owners and the players are just well paid employees," writes Biddle. His essay, entitled "Fixing Pool — An Outsider's View," can be found here.


Samm "Cherry Bomb" Diep takes the long view. She notes that The Hustler and The Color Of Money, two great pool movies, both sparked revivals. Now, 25 years later, is it time for another great pool movie? You can read Samm's essay at pooltipjar.com, her pool blog. Here's the link.

Gail Glazebrook, the 2010 BCAPL Women's Open National Champion and the woman behind the "Confessions of G Squared" blog,  writes that the environment, image and presentation of pool has to change. She also discusses the impact of her ongoing web series that follows her pool team, Kiss of Death. "Highlighting the personalities, blood, sweat, tears and DRAMA of pool.  ... We just have to put it on the menu," writes Glazebrook. Check out her essay here.

Billiard Coach Mike Fieldhammer offers us a three-step method: improving playing conditions, pool eduction and professionally run tournaments.  Fieldhammer is the man behind billiardcoach.com. He says he's been doing all he can to stop the downward spiral of pool. You can find his essay here.

Michael Reddick, the man behind the Angle of Reflection blog, notes that billiards is arguably the largest participation sport in America — bigger even than football or even baseball in that regard.  And yet pool players earn much less than players for other sports. "How do we change the billiard industry to increase revenues and support larger payouts (or salaries) for the upper echelon players?" asks Michael. You can read the rest here.


 As for me?  I posed the "How to Fix Pool" question to Hall of Famer Nick Varner, as well as Freddy "The Beard" Bentivegna. In the last several weeks others also have posted up great suggestions about fixing pool on my Pool History Facebook page, or have sent me emails. My essay this month focuses primarily on Varner's comments, but I'll be sure to loop back soon and write about many of the other suggestions I've received. You can find my essay here.

-- R.A. Dyer

1 comment:

gailglazebrook said...

Great Job this month Jake! Thanks for all your hard work!! :)