Friday, June 25, 2010

Manny Pacquiao & Dancing with The Stars

Manny Pacquiao to the Rescue
What's needed to fix pool? I posed that question to readers a few weeks back as part of the online Pool Synergy project. Now that I've read through all of the suggestions, I've noticed at least two common threads:  that pool could use a deep-pocketed benefactor — albeit one that's in it for the long haul — and that pool needs to associate itself with a big personality.

It also appears that our brethren in the Philippines have been grappling with the same frustrations — and may have come up with a solution that ties together both those threads. In this story from ANH Sports, it's reported that boxing legend Manny Pacquiao stands as the top candidate to head the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines. The news site also notes that the Pacman will host a big-dollar 10-ball event in that country this weekend. That's a video at the top of this post of Pacquiao making a trick shot at Hollywood Billiards, back in June 2007. The video was taken by pro Max Eberle.

Is gambling the answer?
Earlier, I posted up some ideas about how to fix pool from Hall of Famer Nick Varner and instructional book author Freddy Bentivegna. Both cited the success of professional poker in noting that pool could benefit from a greater association with organized gambling. There are naysayers, of course, and some mention the ever-present possibility of, well, pool fixing. For instance, snooker legend John Higgins is in hot water in England for allegedly agreeing to throw games. And dumping, of course, is nothing new in pool — especially in the world of hustling.

Poker + Dancing With Stars = Pool Bliss
Several readers have provided their own suggestions. Terry McDermot laments that pool halls are closing everywhere. "It's a shame," says Terry, a Massachusetts resident who reports having to travel 30 miles or more just to practice on a nine footer. He offers the following suggestion:

"I think we need to take the same direction as the poker world and combine it with a Dancing with the Stars format.  In other words, get the common man involved with a Pro on a television show.  If you took an amateur and paired them with a Pro over a period of instruction time (like Dancing with the Stars) and had the pair compete against other pairs in different games it might get more people interested.  Of course, you would have to have a wide variety of Pro personalities and some interesting amateurs.  Maybe you could even have special weeks where you match Pros with celebrities.  I know the IPT and the Game Show Network tried a form of this, but I think if you mix in the background stories with the pool, more people will be interested.  Maybe throwing in a story or two of the pool greats of the past would help also."
And Jen Bensen, writing on the Pool & Billiard History Facebook page, suggests an idea for a new video game:
"I know there's countless games, but I don't think there's any that are APA or BCA approved. Have actual professional players in the game with their likenesses and style of playing. As you get further in the tourney against real players, nicer gear gets unlocked, such as sticks and gloves. Also, make the game online capable so gamers can play against each other."

-- R.A. Dyer

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