clash royale hack
HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
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.

• February 2018
• January 2018
• November 2017
• October 2017
• September 2017
• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
• May 2017
• April 2017
• March 2017
• February 2017
• January 2017
• December 2016
• November 2016
• October 2016
• September 2016
• August 2016
• July 2016
• June 2016
• May 2016
• Apr 2016
• Mar 2016
• Feb 2016
• Jan 2016
• Dec 2015
• Nov 2015
• Oct 2015
• Sept 2015
• August 2015
• July 2015
• June 2015
• May 2015
• April 2015
• March 2015
• February 2015
• January 2015
• October 2014
• August 2014
• May 2014
• March 2014
• February 2014
• September 2013
• June 2013
• May 2013
• April 2013
• March 2013
• February 2013
• January 2013
• December 2012
• November 2012
• October 2012
• September 2012
• August 2012
• July 2012
• June 2012
• May 2012
• April 2012
• March 2012
• February 2012
• January 2012
• December 2011
• November 2011
• October 2011
• September 2011
• August 2011
• July 2011
• June 2011
• May 2011
• April 2011
• March 2011
• February 2011
• January 2011
• December 2010
• November 2010
• October 2010
• September 2010
• August 2010
• July 2010
• June 2010
• May 2010
• April 2010
• March 2010
• February 2010
• January 2010
• December 2009
• November 2009
• October 2009
• September 2009
• August 2009
• July 2009
• June 2009
• May 2009
• April 2009
• March 2009
• February 2009
• January 2009
• October 2008
• September 2008
• August 2008
• July 2008
• June 2008
• May 2008
• April 2008
• March 2008
• February 2008
• January 2008
March: Sequels Are Never As Good
March 2018

I guess you can’t go home again after all.

There couldn’t have been too many pool fans out there more excited for Accu-Stats’ “Living Legends Challenge” than I was. The idea of Mike “Captain Hook” Sigel climbing into pool’s version of The Octagon — the Accu-Stats Arena at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, N.J. — against Earl “The Pearl” Strickland for six two-match sessions over three days evoked memories of some of the sport’s most epic battles three decades past.

The only way this could be better, I remembered thinking, was if Sigel and Strickland — two of the most prolific whiners and chirpers in the history of competitive sports — were mic’d.


I don’t recall exactly when Strickland and Sigel last faced off on a pool table. Sigel was out of the sport by the late 1980s, so it has been at least 30 years. But what wars they staged during the ’80s, when Sigel was arguably the best player in the world and Strickland, nine years younger, was establishing himself as the greatest, most powerful shot-making 9-ball player the game had ever seen. Oddly enough, they really didn’t meet in the title match of many big tournaments.

What made watching Sigel and Strickland most entertaining, however, wasn’t just the level of play they brought to the table. It was the sniping and moaning. Both were famous for randomly selecting a “cornerman” from the audience — someone with whom they could commiserate out loud about their misfortune from a bad roll, or about what their thought process was during a run out.

For some fans, the chatter was annoying. I found it fascinating. As a spectator, I always wondered what was going through the minds of the players during big matches. Were they nervous? Confident? Angry? Uncertain? With Sigel and Strickland there was little left to the imagination. Their unfiltered approach to competition was revealing. And for all their talent and accomplishments — 10 world titles and eight U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships between them — their running commentaries often spoke more to insecurity than anything else.

And now, the opportunity to see them in head-to-head action again!

Strickland, of course, was the heavy favorite. Even at 54, Earl is an amazing shot-maker and capable of winning tournaments — as he did in Germany earlier this year. Sigel is 65 and has played only sporadically in the past two decades. But he remains one of the smartest players to hold a cue. And when he slides into that lefty stance, his feet spread wide apart, you just know he’s the favorite to make whatever shot he’s aiming at.

And for a brief period, that delicious match-up delivered everything I had hoped for. Strickland, today more resembling Kevin Costner’s character in the movie “Tin Cup,” with his torso wrapped, wearing sunglasses with tape on the nose, his bridge hand fitted with finger extensions and sporting Timberland boots, was at his eccentric best.

Sigel, trim and tanned, was talking non-stop before they even fired up his microphone. While his game may have been a shade rusty, his words-per-inning average was still world class. “Set it up dead for me,” Sigel told referee Carson Ransom, who was respotting a ball during a one-pocket match.

“You’re like watching paint dry,” Strickland moaned, as Sigel surveyed the table, sharing his shot selection concerns with the crowd.

Strickland won each of the first five disciplines — 8-ball, banks, straight pool, one-pocket and 9-ball — before Sigel finally tallied a win in one-pocket.

Most of the commentary was harmless, but both players became more agitated over time — Sigel at his lack of luck and frequent mistakes, and Strickland at his opponent’s constant misery. “Tomorrow,” Strickland said, “I’m making myself deaf.”

It wasn’t until the pair slogged through their second straight-pool tilt in the last match on the second day that it became apparent that the vintage matchup may have scheduled one day too many. Both players took turns bickering and moaning between missed opportunities at the table. Sigel, seemingly on the verge of heart failure, won the match, 125-122, but the novelty of the event was gone.

On the final day, Strickland, with his bridge arm wrapped like someone training falcons, and wearing enormous noise-reduction headphones, kept his chatter and his missed shots to a minimum. For Sigel, missed chances repeated themselves. The final match score was 8-4.

“Does anyone remember one shot I got lucky on in three days?” Sigel asked to anyone who would listen.

I was listening, but at that point I was no longer hearing. The Living Legends was a great idea, and kudos to Accu-Stats’ Pat Fleming for bringing these two out of mothballs. The event had moments of great pool, great commentary and the occasional snappy remark. But it turns out you can’t pull old memories off the shelf and expect them to have the same effect they did the first time around.

I do hope that event producers encourage today’s players to open themselves up more during competition, because it makes the game — and the players — more interesting.

And if they’re looking for instructors...