To all of you AZBilliards followers who enjoy the great game of Straight Pool.
In response to some questions that have been thrown my way ……...
I have taken the plunge and have become the new President / Executive Director of the 14and1.com League. Andy Walker had taken over the League from Kevin Vidal in the Fall of 2011, due to Kevin acquiring a work load that would not allow him the time to pursue the League’s development. What happens is, Andy ends up with some health issues, work related dilemmas and is not able to devote the time he had intended toward the league. When I saw that there were only six participants in this past year’s National Championship, it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to detect that things weren’t going well for the League.
After a couple of conversations with Andy, I made him an offer to take control of the League, which he accepted.
In doing so, I fully understand that I have opened myself up for debate and criticism on my ideas as to how this League can work. This is not new territory for me, as over my career as a player, pool room owner, tournament promoter & director, I have seen and heard it all. In fact, I have had to wear the hat of being a businessman, babysitter, family counselor, matchmaker, janitor, bouncer, loan shark, negotiator, debt collector, etc., while dealing with the pool players. But, above it all, I love the players and this Sport, especially when it comes to Straight Pool.
In 1997, I had developed a little known, but highly successful 9-Ball tour in the Mid-Atlantic Region called the Tim Scruggs Power 9-Ball Tour. With the cooperation of quite a few pool rooms in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey and my friend Tim Scruggs, the tour became the breeding ground for some players who are very well known today. Shaun Wilkie, Josh Brothers, Matt Krah, Eddie Abraham, Brandon Sluzalis, Mike Davis to name a few. Plus, it reinforced the legendary play of players like Dave Daya, Pat McNally, Andy Toth, JR Harris, Bob Maidhof and more. I gave this Tour away to Leon Mroz in 2003, for which he then sold it to Jose Burgos which now operates as the Mezz Tour. Anyone that participated on that Tour can relate as to how well it was managed and how popular it had been.
When I started producing the PA State Bar Box 8-Ball Championship, in 1995, I never dreamed it would annually draw 325 entries for the ten years of it’s existence.
So, in taking over the 14and1.com League, I believe I have a format that works for everyone. I believe the Handicap System is very simple and one that will be very fair to all that compete. I believe in this League and I believe it can give us Straight Pool Players an avenue to showcase the game we all enjoy under one System, under one umbrella of an organization of players who dream daily of that big run. I believe that with this System, players of all skill levels will be able to compete fairly against each other. I don’t believe that the System will encourage sandbagging because I don’t believe the sandbagger can win.
There are many Straight Pool Leagues running, now, across the Country and most of them are using a handicapping system which has been working for them for a long time. I am not asking anyone or any venue to fix something that is not broken.
I am asking for those operating or participating in Straight Pool Leagues to take a risk to try something new which may develop into a huge rewards. The rewards being not only a chance to make some cash, but to cultivate this great game in each and every pool room. The reward of Straight Pool comradery.
After all, 14.1 is big part of the grassroots to all other Pocket Billiard disciplines. And the only place it is played is in the pool room where the grassroots of the Sport is developed. And without the pool rooms, there is no Sport.
So, here I am. You can call me crazy and perhaps my efforts will be fruitless. But, I love and respect this game and the people involved with it.
To those who share a dream of big runs, National, State, Regional and Local Championships, I invite you to contact me by sending me your email address or phone number through private message and I will gladly respond to any questions or concerns.
Keep on Strokin'!!