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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.

April: The Game Remains the Same
April 2009
We spend the bulk of the pages in Billiards Digest bringing readers up to date on the lives and playing exploits of the game's top players, and offering instruction (unparalleled instruction, I might add!) to help our loyal subscribers improve their own game.

But this issue's cover story helps remind us all about one of pool's most important roles - that of the game's strength as a social magnet.

The value of the pool table in the home - along with its family gameroom brethren, like shuffleboard, foosball, table tennis, darts, etc. - is that the game helps break down virtually any social barrier. Virtually no one is too young or too old to play. Gender certainly doesn't come into play, nor does size. Education has little to do with who might or might not play the game well, and economic status only affects the size of the occasional wager!

But we already know all this, right? So why the sudden urge to write about the family gameroom?

The turbulent economy has many of us in bunker mode. Families aren't traveling as much as in the past. And they're certainly being careful with their money. Still, finding the need for enjoyment and social interaction, people are looking for affordable sources of entertainment.

For many Americans, the purchase of luxury items (like the pool table) have been put on the back burner. But as Jim Arehart points out in his article in this issue ("Gameroom Economic$," page 38), a home gameroom doesn't have to be a bank-breaker. A well-appointed gameroom can be pieced together for as little as $2,000.

And I say that's a manageable amount when you factor in all the benefits that can be derived from a home gameroom.

For starters, over time the gameroom becomes a very inexpensive source of entertainment. Let's face it, a $5,000 vacation may be a lot of fun, but after a week at Disney World what do you have to show but sore feet, sunburn and the obligatory Mickey Mouse ears?

A gameroom can be a source of entertainment and enjoyment for years.

And because families tend to spend more time together during economically challenging times, the gameroom can become one of the most important drivers of "quality time." Sure beats mindless hours in front of a computer or 65-inch flat screen TV!

Outfit your home with a gameroom and you can also assure yourself of more visits from the neighbors and friends. Has a more natural social magnet ever been invented than the pool table? In some homes, guests tend to matriculate toward the kitchen. But I've yet to be at a home with a pool table (or other games) where guests weren't immediately drawn to the gameroom.

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but I don't understand why billiard and home gameroom retailers are struggling so much. The way I see it, they've got the perfect products to help families bond, entertain and just generally enjoy themselves.

So, if you haven't already joined the ranks of the always-entertained home table owners, now is really not a bad time to dive in. Your subscription to this publication has already given you away as a lover of pool. And economy-be-damned, life's too short to not enjoy yourself!

Rack 'em!