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Dear Jeanette
By Jeanette Lee
International billiard icon "The Black Widow" answers your questions about life, love, and everything else that happens in the poolhall.

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May: Tuning Out?
May 2009
Q. Call me an old codger, but it drives me bonkers when I play someone who is listening to an iPod. I can understand during practice, but isn't it common courtesy to be able to hear your opponent?
S. Zambrano; San Diego, Calif.

A. I have to agree with you. I think that during official match play, you shouldn't be listening an iPod, any more than you wouldn't talk on a cell phone. I completely understand when people want to listen to headphones during practice, but during a match? It is better for both competitors to be able to use all of their senses. Also, it is proper etiquette to be able to focus totally on your match and be able to hear your opponent say "push out" or "I'd like to ask a referee to watch this hit" without him having to wave at you since you can't hear. In general though, I find it rude to be listening to your headphones in anyone's company. I think that should be for time that you are by yourself - practicing, studying or working out. I have a son, and I do not allow him to listen to headphones in anyone's company. When we are together, I want to be able to talk with him and have a conversation. But for your situation, I would encourage you to talk to your tournament director or league operator. After all, it is up to them to address these issues.