Jessica Yorama, New Pool League Continues Successful First Semester

By Gus Bode

Bowling and Billiards with Results of New League

When Craig Schwabauer and Bowling and Billiards manager Bill Null developed the idea of a weekly pool league, they were not certain how students would respond or even if they would respond at all.

But within days, 16 people quickly helped them to confirm the fact that they had a good idea. Costing about $100, students could sign up for a new pool league, providing SIUC students not only with the opportunity to compete, but the chance to learn as well.

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Every Thursday for the past five weeks, these individuals have gathered in the Student Center’s Bowling and Billiards not only for the challenge, but also to learn from each other.

Because participants in the league are all on different levels, the tournament is based on a handicap system where more experienced players must win more games.

“It’s a good chance for people to see what the tournament experience is really like,” said Schwabauer who works with Special Programs and Center Events. “It also helps to teach the lesser players strategy.”

Edward Gardner, one of many participants who comes out during the week to practice for the competition, said that while he is not the best player in the tournament, he was happy with the opportunity to learn from superior players.

“[The tournament] is a good way to compete with your people on friendly terms,” said Gardner, a senior in biological sciences from Chicago. “It’s also a chance to get constant tips from better players. I’ve definitely learned more about how to control the balls when hitting from different angles.”

Last week Bowling and Billiards sponsored a doubles tournament, won by league participants Chris Moore and Eric Anderson. The tournament, which gave less experienced players the opportunity to team up with more experienced players, is one of many ideas sponsors have developed.

According to Schwauber, in addition to the pool league they plan to establish again next semester, Bowling and Billiards hopes to introduce a triathlon. In this competition, students would have the chance to demonstrate their talents not only in pool, but in darts and bowling as well.

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Null said the league has helped not only its participants, but also Bowling and Billiards as a whole.

“Some of the participants have bought other equipment from us,” said Null who said pool is a sport that has always been in his heart. “We’re also starting to get more regulars.”

As far as the pool league is concerned, Null said that the success of the league’s first year has encouraged them to make the league a semester event and a bigger event.

“The tournament has gone very well, better than we expected, in fact,” Null said. “We want to make [the pool league] bigger, but not so we can’t handle it.”

While only the top three players will receive trophies, all participants receive high-quality pool cues, as well as a valuable learning experience.

This way, as Schwabauer points out, “When the tournament is over, even if they haven’t improved greatly, at least they’ll look like they can play.”

Reporter Jessica Yorama can be reached [email protected]

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