View Full Version : Giver her a break (article)

09-22-2004, 10:46 AM
September 22, 2004
Giver her a break
ISU sophomore's foes learn that she'll sink their best shots

By Ashley Freeman
Daily Correspondent

Imagine walking into a local pool hall or bar. After getting adjusted to the smoke-filled air and ordering your drink of choice, the last thing you expect to see is a petite woman hitting the eight ball in the pocket with a victorious grin.

Jessie James has been that woman time and time again.

"It's good for women to have class and represent the sport well," James said of billiards.

ISU Recreational Services noticed the increasing popularity of billiards and now offers an intramural nine-ball pool tournament for students and faculty. The tournament has three different skill levels: novice, intermediate and high skill.

ISU students also jumped on the bandwagon and now have a billiards club. James, sophomore in interior design, founded the club a year ago and is also the club vice president.

James is among the few women who have signed up to play in the intramural nine-ball pool tournament next week.

She said women who compete in a male-dominated sport need to be that much more professional in order to be taken seriously.

James said she feels she has an equal playing field when playing against her male counterparts.

"Pool is not a sport that requires strength," James said.

She said she thinks being a woman works to her advantage when she enters a pool hall, because some men don't seem to be bothered by playing against a woman.

"Pool is a game about putting the balls into the hole," said Tim Bancroft, graduate student in statistics. "Playing against a woman doesn't make a difference to me."

On the other hand, some male billiard players still think women have no place in a pool hall.

"Men think I'm a dame," James said. "They don't expect a challenge from a girl like me. Sometimes when I beat men at pool, they feel that since I'm a girl, it's no big deal."

James began her pool career at 16 when she played her first real pool game at the Greenroom in Illinois.

When she came to Iowa State, she met people in the Memorial Union game room who shared her interest in billiards.

"A night of playing pool is fun and relaxing," James said. "My friends are here too."

From there, she started the billiards club, which now has about 100 registered members. The club meets from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursdays in the Memorial Union basement, where the members give one another advice and strategy tips.

"I like trying to explain pool to people," James said. "I like teaching."

She said shooting pool is mostly about strategy.

"You should always look three balls ahead and look at the table as a whole," James said.

"Tuning out everything around you is important as well. Your stroke changes night to night. There are so many little things that people don't realize that effects their game."

Being tired and inhaling cigarette smoke are two examples James mentioned.

"There's also a certain amount of confidence you need to make your shot," James said. "You can't be over-confident."

James said she learned how to play billiards from Adrienne Viguera, the No. 5-ranked pool player in the world, who is an internationally recognized cue maker and billiard player from Mexico.

Jeanette Lee (also known as the Black Widow) is one of the most well-known professional pool players in the world, but James said she doesn't agree with how Lee dresses.

"She uses her body as an image to get publicity, and I don't approve of that," James said. "I'm a very modest person."

Instead, James said, she thinks Allison Fisher is a more appropriate billiards role model.

"She comes to the table with class and with modesty," James said.

Having the total package is the key for James, who said she likes to wear pink when shooting to look innocent.

"I'm a girlie girl," James said. "I do my hair and makeup and I dress nice. You have to have the brains to back up the pretty face."

James said she plans to win it all at the intramural 9-ball tournament next week.

The games will begin Mon. Sept. 27 and end Tuesday Sept. 28 and will be held in the Memorial Union basement at 6 p.m.


09-22-2004, 03:20 PM
Thanks, Nick.

Enojyed the article.


09-23-2004, 07:12 AM
I know this girl. We play in the same room, Green Room in Downers Grove, IL. She's not a bad player and Ive played her several times in handicapped 9 ball tourneys. She's hot too..... Didnt know she was tearing it up at ISU.... Will have to give her some heat when she comes back for the winter break... Way to go Jessie!!

09-23-2004, 08:14 AM
It is a bit funny and sad to me that still, in this day and age, the fact the a girl plays pool at all, is considered news worthy? Her comment about Jeanette, turned me off a bit as well. I am sure Jeanette would easily blow her away, even wearing a potatoe sack... However, I must say that is one of the best names for a pro player, ever, if she tries to take it that far....

09-23-2004, 08:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cuechick:</font><hr> ...that is one of the best names for a pro player, ever, .... <hr /></blockquote>

cuechick, I was thinking the same thing yesterday about Jennifer Barretta

09-23-2004, 08:31 AM
Hey Wally,

Good one ! I didn't pick up on that at all!

Bob &lt; looking for a player named Samantha Colt

09-23-2004, 11:07 AM
Thank you for the compliment on my name. I'll tell my dad. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I agree with you that in this day and age, a woman playing pool is hardly news worthy. But it was nice to have an article anyway, considering that pool has gained much popularity with a much wider audience in the past couple of years. I also agree with you that Jeanette could beat me any day and age. She is a wonderful pool player, that is why she has made such a dramatic improvement in the past year. But anyway, thank you to all for your comments. Both negative and positive are greatly appreciated.

Jessie James

09-23-2004, 11:20 AM
Hi Jessie,
I do think ANY publicity for this sport is good and it is very exciting that you were profiled. My comment/critizim is more directed at the writer, who still thinks a woman playing pool is a novelty. When we all know this is hardly the case anymore.
I also understand the point you made about Jeanette, I however, feel differently, anything a player can do to get herself and our sport exposure, I am all for. More than any other player, male or female, she has helped to make pool more prominent and that is a good thing for all of us.