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Friday, 28 January 2022


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In the Low Countries (Belgium & The Netherlands) “driebanden” is regarded the most prestigious form of cue sport. Snooker’s popularity is more recent. Maybe due to the rollout of cable television in the seventies (previous century), which gave people access to the BBC.

Btw: another - rather different - Belgian and Dutch obsession is cyclo-cross. The world championships will take place this week-end in Fayetteville, Arkansas (ladies tomorrow, gentlemen Sunday). Very photogenic!

At least it lives on in the immortal words of Professor Harold Hill:

"Why sure I'm a billiard player,
certainly mighty proud, I say I'm always mighty proud to say it!
I consider that the hours I spend with a cue in my hand are golden. Help you cultivate horse sense and a cool head and a keen eye.
Did ya ever take and try to give an iron-clad leave to yourself from a three-rail billiard shot?
But just as I say it takes judgement, brains, and maturity to score In a baulk line game,
I say that any boob can take and shove a ball in a pocket."

One of the subtly funny parts of the musical "The Music Man" is that Harold Hill works to generate fake outrage over the fact that the billiard hall has a pool table that has *pockets*!

Hill admits to being a billiard player ("helps you cultivate horse sense, and a cool head, and a keen eye" but the pockets "...mark the difference between a gentleman and a bum, with a capital B and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!"

Where have all the pool halls gone? Many SoCal bars used to have 6-8 tables—bowling alleys had pool rooms with lots of tables. Now pool tables are as hard to find as piano bars.

At one time Tower Records, on the Sunset Strip, was a big deal. Then one day they were gone without warning.

Time marches on.

From Wikipedia:
The object of the game is to carom the cue ball off both object balls and contact the rail cushions at least three times before the last object ball. A point is scored for each successful carom. In most shots the cue ball hits the object balls one time each, although hitting them any number of times is allowed as long as both are hit. The contacts between the cue ball and the cushions may happen before and/or after hitting the first object ball. The cue ball does not have to contact three different cushions as long as it has been in contact at least three times in total.

So that's easier than the way you describe it and more fun to watch. It is still very difficult though. Most people used to learn it in local pubs and restaurants that had a billiard table. Starting with libre, where you don't have to use any cushion at all.

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