Pool players association turns hobby into sport for students

Serena Molyneux, Correspondent

The loud talking, scuffling and laughter are drowned out by the sharp crack of a cue ball hitting the eight ball across the green velvet table, driving it into the pocket and ending an exciting game in the game room of the Student Union Building.

For some students this is only something that happens when there is time to kill, but for the students who are part of the Wilkes University Pool Players Association, this happens almost every day.

Wilkes University gains new clubs every semester, and one of the newest is the Wilkes University Pool club. The club started last fall, and is hoping to gain new members, new trophies and a new pool table in the future.

This all began when two Wilkes students decided they wanted to make playing pool more than just a hobby to fill their free time.

Adam Burt, a P2 Pharmacy major and president of the club co-founded the pool club along with Tim Cheung, Junior and Computer Information Systems major.

“We are group of pool enthusiasts who play regularly in the Wilkes SUB game room,” Burt says.

The duo wants the club to be open to everyone and teach other’s the love of the game that they both enjoy to play so much.

“It’s not just a game, it’s a sport,” says Burt.

Burt started playing pool at the early age of 13.

“My dad and I used to go to the local bar and get food, and we’d play pool for an hour or two,” Burt says.

This is where his love for playing pool began. Burt started going almost every Tuesday and Thursday to the bar when they offered free pool playing from 5-7 p.m. Burt even went when his father couldn’t, and although he was underage the bartenders never gave him a hard time for wanting to play pool.

“By the time I was 15 or 16, I was playing in pool halls more frequently and still visiting local bars, playing whenever I could,” Bart says.

Soon after Burt stopped playing pool to pursue other interests, but picked it up again during his freshman year here at Wilkes.

“I actually did the math, I spent more time playing pool my freshman year than I did attending all my classes combined,” Burt says. “I was, and still am usually found at the pool tables.”

After finding love for the game again, Burt realized that other people at Wilkes loved playing pool too. Burt wanted the solidarity of a team, instead of just playing for pleasure.

Since the club got started, the pool club has gotten involved in competing in tournaments. The tournaments are held weekly at Pepe’s Pizza located in Plymouth, Pa. Entry to play in the tournament is $5, and is run as a double elimination bracket. There are usually 10 to 20 people present at the tournaments according to Burt.

Pepe, the owner of Pepe’s Pizza, decided to get involved in pool tournaments to bring in more business. Although the tournaments have been going on for about a month, Pepe plans on continuing the tournaments. Pepe thinks it’s great the Wilkes University pool club is competing in the tournaments at his business. “There is a cash prize for players who take 1st and 2nd place” says Pepe. He believes this could be very helpful to the college students, because they may need money.

The tournament is a start-up one meaning the tournaments have been ongoing since Thanksgiving, and although it has only been held three times, Burt is certain that it will be continued and members will continue to compete.

When competing at Pepe’s, Wilkes pool club is the only club, or team present. The other competitors are locals and patrons at the bar.
Playing a 16 man double elimination bracket, Burt recently placed first at one of the tournaments and several other members of the club placed as well.

Not only does the pool club compete in tournaments at Pepe’s Pizza, they are in charge of running the Intramural Billiard Tournament, and will be running a variety of different tournaments next semester such as team tournaments, 8 ball, 9 ball, and mixed.

Burt and two other members of the club are looking to join a local American Poolplayer’s Association Team. The APA is the largest billiards league in the world and host-s the US Open in Las Vegas, one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Members not only want to join on the local level, but the national level as well.

With the club getting involved in more tournaments, it is always open to new players, and they welcome everyone from experienced players to people who have never played the game before. The club does not have any set practice times, but uses club hours when they can and many of the players spend much of their free time practicing. The club also offers one on one practice sessions for anyone who is interested. It currently has 10 to 20 active regular members. “We are open to anyone who wants to play, and we are willing to teach anyone” Cheung said.

The pool club has recently been looking into getting a new pool table for the game room so they have more room for practicing, and tournaments. Most pool tables cost thousands of dollars and the Pool club is only given $300 from Student Government. This means the pool club is going to be doing a lot of different fundraisers in the future in order to reach their goal of getting a new pool table.

The Wilkes University pool club is aware that not many people know a pool club even exists. This is another reason why the pool club is looking forward to doing fundraising and holding more tournaments and events. The club is also hoping that becoming more well-known will score them a sponsor. If the club could get a sponsor, this would help them with finding and transportation to tournaments while possibly allowing them to get more involved.

If interested in joining the Wilkes University pool club, or regarding more information you can contact [email protected] or [email protected].