From the Publisher
By Mike Panozzo
Mike became editor of Billiards Digest in 1980 and liked it so much that he bought the company. He has served on the Billiard Congress of America board of directors and as president of the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America.
October: Pool in the News
HOW OFTEN have I heard the statement, "What pool needs is another movie?"
Let's see, how often does the sun come up? How often do people post to Facebook? How often has "Gangnam Style" been viewed on YouTube?
Pool seems to benefit most when it reaches mainstream America through very non-pool channels.
That's why I was surprised that the game hasn't been able to generate more mileage out of the "Prince Harry Teaches The Finer Points of Playing Pool Naked" story that hit the press in late August.
I mean, really, why didn't this get more traction? The Ginger Prince went on a two-week bender with a few of his buds, partying on Richard Branson's private island and then hunkering down in a $5,000-a-night suite at Steve Wynn's Encore in Las Vegas. He partied in cabanas, hit the nightclubs and took late-night swims (in his clothes) with U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte.
Yet only when he engaged in "the devil's tool" did his exploits go viral.
That, my friends, is the power of pool.
But the industry could have milked so much more out of this news gem.
National Strip Pool Week? Seriously, why wasn't this considered?
And what was the game of choice between Harry and the trollops that coaxed their ways into his poolroom? 8-ball? 9-Ball? (One-pocket!)
Poolrooms across the nation should have been hosting Prince Harry Co-ed 8-Ball tournaments. Only red-heads can enter!
And shouldn't the table have been on eBay like five minutes later?
There was speculation as to the manufacturer of the table. In fact, Brunswick Billiards wondered on its Facebook page (replete with photograph) if the table was one of its own. (Wouldn't they know better than anyone?)
Truth of the matter is that the table in question is manufactured by Mitchell Custom Tables of Clearwater, Fla. The contemporary "Mirage" table was selected by Wynn for all 17 suites at the Encore when it was first opened. (Interesting that Wynn would choose a table called the Mirage, right?)
[Side note: Can't you just see Prince Harry promoting the Mirage? "This fine table comes with stainless steel aprons and pillars. I suggest wearing pants when playing, because the stainless still is a trifle cold when leaning against it naked!"]
Incredibly, nary an inquiry has been made to Mitchell offices. Tracy Mitchell is as surprised as I was.
"We really thought we'd get more press and inquiries from it," Mitchell said. "We put an image of the table in the suite on our website right after the incident. I even called (gossip site) TMZ and the local press, but we never heard back from any of them.
"It's kind of a shame," she added.
The furor has died down a bit (Harry's sister-in-law quickly trumped him by prancing around topless while on a vacation of her own), but there's still time to squeeze some mileage out of this for pool.
For starters, pool needs an honest-to-goodness gossip site. We can call it FBZ (fifteen-ball zone!), and we can start by having a Prince Harry look-a-like streak the Mosconi Cup in London in December. Given Harry's predisposition to the green felt, Fleet Street will eat it up!
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Pool can't miss opportunities like this.
But you know what pool really needs? Another movie.