clash royale hack gunpixel.com mobilelegendstool.us robloxtool.com clashroyaletool.info mrcoinsfifa.com besthomescapes.com
HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
Tips & shafts
By George Fels
Consulting Editor George Fels has been writing for Billiards Digest since 1980, and his "Tips & Shafts" column is usually our readers' first stop when they crack open the magazine. For better or worse, pool has been his only mistress for 40-plus years.


Archives
• September 2018
• July 2018
• July 2018
• June 2018
• May 2018
• April 2018
• March 2018
• 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
• December 2015
• November 2015
• October 2015
• September 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


Best of Fels
 
October: The Cop and I
October 2018

By George Fels
[Reprinted from October 1991]


I was raised in the kind of neighborhood that, sadly, has become all too rare in urban centers. You could send your kid out to play, fully confident that he/she would happily return home in fine health; there were no drugs and hardly any crime; what few gangs did exist were more properly called “clubs,’ and what very little fighting they did was done with fists.

All this meant that my neighborhood was a dream assignment for policemen, who had virtually no enemies except for ongoing boredom. So when the cop entered my first poolroom that day, we all assumed it was because he had nothing better to do. He could easily have turned up lots of underage illegals — Chicago law required a minimum age of 18 to be in a billiard room — but he really didn’t look like he gave a damn about that. This was a middle-aged officer tending toward plumpness. Maybe he was motivated by nothing more than boredom. No one knew quite what to make of it; no one considered that he might have merely felt like playing some pool. “Fels,” said one of my fellow smartasses, of whom there were many. “Go hustle that guy.” Obediently I swaggered forth, to the extend that a 140-pounder can swagger; my cue and I looked like a matched set back then. With less than a year’s experience around pool, I was not nearly sophisticated enough for the elitist challenge of, “Whachoo wanna do?”, but I held my own. I loftily lifted my pointy chin to indicate to the officer that it was indeed he I was favoring with attention, and smirked, “Shoot a game?”

“Yeah,” the cop said, “and he even seemed somewhat pleased. “I’d like to play.” At age 15½, I simply could not muster the stones to gamble; but my buddies didn’t have to know that. We made our terms in hushed tones that, from across the room, must have suggested either stakes or conspiracy or maybe both: 25 points of straight pool, loser pays the time. I could see all the grins sprouting all along the wall, and that was ample fulfillment for me. So I turned my attention to the business at hand.

It was obvious after an inning or two that I could have spotted the cop 15 points or more out of the 25 with no problem. But before I could embarrass him, somewhere within my quagmire of adolescent agonies there was a tiny peep of maturity that murmured, “You wouldn’t like it much if he did that to you.” Thus, instead of waxing the officer, as I easily could have, I carried him, and even gave him a few elementary pointers. He managed 17 or 18 by the time I got my 25; a grateful house, awash in visions of their license floating off to Never-Never Land, picked up the tab, for the first and only time in anyone’s memory.

Was a star born that day, under my Solomonic tutelage? Certainly not; this was the real world. The cop shot off an open thumb, and corresponded to what most of us think of as the average non-player. He could sink a ball or two now and then, maybe three in a row on a good day. With my help, he ran a six. Who among us has forgotten what it felt like the first time we did that? The next day — and this simply defies explanation — I was not at the poolroom. The Red Cross was immediately alerted, to avert further crisis. The nation’s flags dropped to half-staff.

Fast Georgie Fels missed a day at the poolroom. On the following day, I was back in place; the nation heaved a sigh of relief. One of my fellow smart-asses said, “The cop came back yesterday, Fels. He was looking for you. He wanted to play again.”

I waited for that policeman until I was half an hour late for dinner, thus incurring the worst of all punishments: a chewing out from my mother. And nobody ever saw that cop again. Now let’s consider this opus while imagining, for the sake of discussion, that I was employed by the poolroom. On the customer’s first visit, I did my job to the nines: I greeted him more or less appropriately; I provided suitable competition; I encouraged his enthusiasm and heightened his interest with helpful instruction.

On his second visit I did nothing.

He never came back for a third time.

All new-era poolroom owners, who have built your establishments in full expectation that the magic of this grand game alone — without your nurturing it somehow — is going to create standing-room-only business, at $10-plus per hour, should now have a much better understanding of why your tables are laying fallow. With all due apologies to Kevin Costner, if all you do is build it, they won’t come — not when the game is pool and you want them to come regularly. There’s a distinct limit on how long beginners will be willing to (1) miscue, (2) scratch, (3) miss the object ball, (4) miss easy shots, (5) laugh at one another’s mishaps…and then they will be all too happy to leave your fine new tables for dancing, drinking or TV. The ultimate joy of pool is in seeing object balls drop as planned; there are no substitutes for that. Help them to do that with any kind of consistency and you’re on the way to making them regulars; leave them to their own foibles and you’ve probably lost them. It’s your place, your investment, your livelihood; obviously, it’s up to you.

Whatever you spent for this issue is now fully justified.

Wise up fast.

MORE VIDEO...