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Death of the House Man (long post sorry)
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ForumGhost516
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Death of the House Man (long post sorry) - 04-30-2009, 08:04 PM

Death of the House Man

Perhaps itís just me, perhaps itís my generation that is starting the resurgence of pool in America. The internet telecasts, live streaming, information traveling at the speed of thought. With all of this new technology dawning on us every day we must also look back to our roots as pool players. Whether itís playing in our familyís basement, going to the local pool hall with friends, or knowing someone who played professionally our past really is important maybe more important than we realize.
One of the things I most fondly remember when I first decided to take our game seriously was the kind and knowledgeable houseman. Always good for a couple of games or a piece of advice, a bastion of knowledge and respect, maybe not the strongest player in the joint but everyone knew his name and took him seriously.

As pool continues on more and more I am finding that these once highly regarded watchmen of the felt are slowly fading away as if time itself is replacing them with younger less experienced counter help. Believe me friends there is a very large difference between being a counter person and being a house man.

In my own local pool room the lack of a house manís presence is quite noticeable. The current regime if you will is gruff and has grown bitter over the years. What once was a sprawling utopia of billiards is now simply just another pool hall. Tournaments used to bring in competitors from all over the country vying each for over ten thousand dollars and that was just the Calcutta money. Now tournaments bring in the same eight to ten regulars playing on the same tables every day for their ten dollars. Now there is nothing wrong with catering to these individuals because letís face it they help pay the bills and any business is good business but what happened to the good old days?

Tables are no longer vacuumed the way they should be, rails not wiped, trash not removed, and the bathrooms well letís just say the bathrooms are an acquired odor. Not one I would personally like to acquire but to each their own. Advice not given, games not played etc. etc. etc. the list goes on and on.

I hope dear reader that in your pool hall you at least have someone who takes pride in their work and does find it an honor to be the all important house man. Someone who makes you feel welcome and part of a club. I miss that feeling in our pool hall. I miss that feeling that what we were doing was somehow bigger than ourselves as kitchy as that sounds and Im sure it does.

I miss that feeling that when we were shooting and we had action that there was nothing else in the world going on. Time could literally stop outside and our own private party was going on strong inside. Hootin and hollerin, woofin, and of course some gentle trash talking. ďIll give you the six ball anytime for anythingĒ for example. Nothing too serious and nothing too expensive. Donít get me wrong we had action big action with one event coming to mind. A foot race between two portly gentleman from one end of the block to the other for five thousand dollars. I remember laughing as these two rotund gentleman waddled up the block huffing and puffing as my new found family and I laughed for hours after. This whole event started because of the house man. Stirring the pot and finding something anything to do, to bet on, to play for.

It wasnít always about money. It was for the pride of the room. Our room. Now unfortunately we solemnly await the final nail in our coffin, that fateful wind to blow the doors of our little piece of the billiard world closed as it has done so many others. Will the housemen of years past fade into memory like pool halls of yesterday or will they too in pool rise again. Will they take their rightful place as the historians, the wise ones, the voices of reason? Time will only tell and as the clock ticks on so do I in the hope that one day we will see the phenomena of the house men once again come into the light.

Charles M Eames


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04-30-2009, 08:51 PM

Ghost,

This is one great post!!!!!!!! Our room suffers from the malaise. One house guy tries hard. The rest may as well be working at Mickey D's. They could hardly care.

Lyn
  
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ForumGhost516
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04-30-2009, 09:17 PM

its so sad isn't it.


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04-30-2009, 09:30 PM

Sadly,I suspect it at its end.

rep for the powerful delivery.Well said and fine post.


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04-30-2009, 09:41 PM

thanks man it sucks because even though I am young i really do remember what it was like to have a few top notch house men who really cared about what they did.


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04-30-2009, 09:43 PM

I find that a lot of rooms aren't interested in hiring people who care about the game, which is interesting considering that it is the product they are selling. They are simply bartenders in the same way a sports bar hires bartenders.

A year and half ago the Canadian 9 ball tour made stop in my town. After watching for a while me and a buddy of mine wanted to see if there was any tables available not being used in the tournament. When we asked the girl at the counter said,

"All tables are being used, there's some pool competition thingy today, they seem kind of good"
  
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The House Man
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The House Man - 04-30-2009, 09:53 PM

Thats a good post, I do believe that the days of the 'Wise Ole House Man" have pretty much gone, sure is sad, sad indeed. Is it because of the Internet you think? I don't know, maybe.

I remember when pool tournament results would have a big write up in the sports section of the news papers and now they too are disappearing like the House Man.

I guess the Internet has been a blessing in so many ways but has really come to be disastrous in others.

Maybe in the big citys the House Man may hang on a little longer, I don't know, hope so.


David Harcrow


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04-30-2009, 10:01 PM

Im not saying that the internet is its downfall but the new age of counter help in my opinion is disgraceful.


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05-01-2009, 03:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForumGhost516 View Post
Death of the House Man...Time will only tell and as the clock ticks on so do I in the hope that one day we will see the phenomena of the house men once again come into the light.

Charles M Eames
Great, great read. I really enjoyed it, and it brought back good memories. I am somehow reminded of that pool room in The Hustler movie, where all the guys were hanging out, sweating the games on the rail.

I can actually remember the Rack Boys. WHen a game would end, one of the players would yell out "RACK," and a kid would run up and re-rack the balls for a quarter. He'd be wearing an apron with pockets to hold all his quarters he'd make during the day. Jackie Gleason used to be a rack boy in NYC, which is where he acquired his passion for pool.

Then there's my first taste of a neighborhood pool room where, during the day, they served up fresh tuna salad sandwiches, ALWAYS fresh coffee, homemade desserts, and some ambrosial beef stew and soup during the wintertime. By day, the regulars were generally the old timers, Chet Morris, Vinnie the Ballroom Dancer, et cetera. They'd be playing one-pocket every day with each other. By night, the action was in full bloom with players like Tom-Tom, Geese, Fat Mike, Ralph, Korean Lee, West Virginia Frank, et cetera. Daytime, nighttime, Saturday too, this place always had something going on.

Today, there is no pool room like that anymore. They are only memories in my mind, good memories. It was when pool was cool, and the American pool culture thought so too.


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05-01-2009, 05:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by catpool9 View Post
I guess the Internet has been a blessing in so many ways but has really come to be disastrous in others.David Harcrow
Dave,

Our "new" house people sit and watch their computer screens during their time "behind the counter". Most times you have to call them for either a beer or someone waiting at the counter to rent a table. I find it disgraceful! If the're not working their computer, the're playing on a table far from the counter. One even mumbles about being bothered when a customer wants smething and disturbs them! Really a sad situation for someone, like JAM, who remembers the "old" days. Sadly, the owner does not appear to care.

Lyn
  
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House man...
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House man... - 05-01-2009, 05:36 AM

Wow, I haven't been in a pool hall with a house man since back in the mid 90's out in N.C. My current place of leisure is run by and for a primarily college crowd and the counter "help" is all college kids with more interest in gettin' drunk, smokin' weed and blaring crappy music over the jukebox. Oh well, it's the only thing goin' so whatcha gonna do...

This game is a changin', but is it for the good? The House man...a diein' breed who will be missed...

I'm just a young man sittin' in an old man's bar...waitin' on my turn to die...

That line used to be depressing as hell to me, but today all I can think about is wanting to be that young man again surrounded by the knowledge and experience that came before me.
  
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05-01-2009, 05:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Waltz View Post
Wow, I haven't been in a pool hall with a house man since back in the mid 90's out in N.C. My current place of leisure is run by and for a primarily college crowd and the counter "help" is all college kids with more interest in gettin' drunk, smokin' weed and blaring crappy music over the jukebox. Oh well, it's the only thing goin' so whatcha gonna do...

This game is a changin', but is it for the good? The House man...a diein' breed who will be missed...

I'm just a young man sittin' in an old man's bar...waitin' on my turn to die...

That line used to be depressing as hell to me, but today all I can think about is wanting to be that young man again surrounded by the knowledge and experience that came before me.
I went to a funeral recently, and there were a handful of people in the gallery. There was a Catholic priest who expressed a few words of comfort. One thing he said, however, really bothered me. He stated that he recently had to pray at another funeral home for a recently deceased, and not one person came to the man's wake. How sad!


.
  
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05-01-2009, 05:52 AM

Another great article by the Ghost !


Sounds to me like 2 people who we both know should be hired !


Steve


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That's not the way I wanna go...
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Sam Waltz
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That's not the way I wanna go... - 05-01-2009, 06:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAM View Post
I went to a funeral recently, and there were a handful of people in the gallery. There was a Catholic priest who expressed a few words of comfort. One thing he said, however, really bothered me. He stated that he recently had to pray at another funeral home for a recently deceased, and not one person came to the man's wake. How sad!
A friend of mine died from a cerebral aneurism a few years ago. He was in his late 20's! He touched many lives in his short time on Earth and there was standing room only at his memorial service. He is in our hearts and memories everyday. He was a man of character, knowledge and humor.

Dieing alone is the epitome of an empty life or the tragedy of outliving all those you loved.
  
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05-01-2009, 06:14 AM

The world of pool has changed.


ďPool is geometry, in its most challenging form, the science of precise angles, and forces" - Quote from: A Game of Pool, The Twilight Zone 1961 Television Show.
  
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