I watched some of the One Pocket event today (Josh Roberts and Tony Chohan) and it got me to thinking (a dangerous thing). As I watched the match I couldn't help but see what was going on in the background. Lots of good players milling about and shooting on the surrounding tables. Some practicing and it looked like some were gambling on proposition shots and stuff like that. It reminded me of another time and another place where pool players gathered to compete, hang out, match shots and wits and generally have fun. Back then they were there to try to win the tournament and the money that went with it, and also gamble with each other and try to score some bucks that way. I went to many poolroom tournaments that were essentially just like this one, and most of the top players were there as well.
So in my mind the tradition that is the backbone of pro pool is still alive and well and beating in the hearts of this generation of pool players. Thanks to room owners of places like Skinny Bob's, Buffalo's, Big Tyme Billiards, Big Dog Billiards, Griffs and many more like them our sport has a continuum. No, it is not like professional golf or tennis, with their manicured greens and courts, huge prize funds and equally high ticket prices to get in. Pool is a blue collar sport, open to all, rich or poor, black or white! We are all equal under the watchful eyes of the Pool Gods! And I really like that!
No one will win a million dollars this week. But someone will win fifteen or maybe twenty thousand hard fought dollars. And several others will go away with fat wallets. In my book that's still good money (most of it tax free) that can be put to good use if the winners are smart (read that SVB smart). I know I'd like to make twenty grand this week. What we have today is not so much unlike what we had in the 1970's, 80's and beyond in pro pool. There is a tour, a tour of great poolrooms that are keeping our sport alive and kicking. Sprinkle in several big money tournaments a year and a good player can make a living if they can avoid the pitfalls of casinos or other vices.
There are many so called professional sports that do not have the backbone of tournaments like we have in all these poolroom events. The professionals in those sports would like to have these same opportunities to ply their trade and line their pockets. Yes, there are many sports where the "pros" make far less than the poolplayers. For me when I watch events like this the bottom line is that pro pool is alive and well. All these great players (and their fans) have a place to play and compete, and live life on their terms. Vive la pool!