View Full Version : Good Pool Article from Denver

03-13-2002, 05:12 PM
Check it out:


I can't seem to get the link to paste in properly so you may have to copy and paste it into you url window /ccboard/images/icons/frown.gif

03-13-2002, 05:58 PM
Thanks for the heads-up on the article, that's the kind of press our game needs. Joseph Sanchez is a good sports reporter and he proved it on that article.

03-13-2002, 06:57 PM
It is only slightly different from the ususal article that has been written every couple of months for the last 35 Years (and im not exaggerating)by 100 different writers

"gone are the smoke filled rooms full of unsavory characters...." Pool is now appealing to an upscale blah blah

Funny thing is-if you look, the unsavory characters are still there and the smoke is worse than ever, Anyone been in a smokier place than a poolroom? I havent.

03-13-2002, 07:00 PM
my local room is smoke free... I love it!

03-13-2002, 07:00 PM
By Joseph Sanchez
Denver Post Sports Writer

Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - There are no tobacco-spattered spittoons on the floor, no shady characters hanging out in dark corners.

Megan Smith of Lafayette, is a professional billiards player ranked 32nd.
The elegant woman with the cue in her hands is about to run the table on the overmatclocal men's champion.

Except for the heavy layer of cigarette smoke and the easy money hanging over every shot, the game that helped get America through the hard times and a couple of big wars has changed.

Shooting pool is an organized sport now. So organized it was just six months ago Jeanette Lee, "The Black Widow" on the Women's Professional Billiard Association tour, won the sport's first gold medal at the World Games in Akita, Japan. So organized the International Olympic Committee is considering sanctioning it for the Summer Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

If you know ESPN, you know Lee.

She's the one the producers can't keep the cameras away from whenever they telecast the final rounds of a WPBA event. A couple of months ago she was voted ESPN.com's third-sexiest women's athlete in the world, behind Anna Kournikova and Marion Jones.

"Not all the women are comfortable with it," Lee said about her sex appeal. "But I'll tell you what, I work with the Women's Sports Foundation, and they are the top women athletes in all the sports and they all have to fight with this. There are men and women out there that feel that in order to be a great champion, women shouldn't look like women. They should be what, chewing tobacco?

"It's amazing. I don't believe in people carrying themselves like trash. But being sexy? Michael Jordan's sexy. No one yells at him for being sexy while he's playing great basketball. But a woman? Goodness forbid, a woman look sexy. And I think that's a shame. I think women should be very proud to be women and celebrate their femininity, and that's something that I do. I'm very proud to be a woman. I want to be feminine and still be able to be great and hold myself with class and dignity, and that's what I try to do."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lee, 31, is a first generation Korean-American. When she was 13, she was diagnosed with scoliosis, curvature of the spine. She underwent eight surgeries during the next few years, one of which involved implanting a steel rod in her back.

Quick rise to top

An exceptional student, Lee was accepted by the prestigious Bronx High School of Science and planned to pursue a career in that field before she was captivated by the geometrics of round balls on rectangular tables. She turned pro in 1993, and within two years she was the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

Professional billiards player Melissa "the Viper" Little of Boulder, is ranked 23rd in the world.
Ranked third behind Karen Corr of Ireland and Allison Fisher of England, Lee was in Denver recently, conducting a clinic and adding a lot of glamour to the Canadian Club Sharpshooter Challenge Regional Championship at Shakespeare's Pub & Billiard Room. Tony Piazza won the eight-ball tournament, defeating Scott Tollefson and both got to challenge Lee. She beat Piazza but lost to Tollefson.

"No, I didn't let that guy beat me," Lee said. "Both those guys were good players. In a short (three-game) race like that, anybody who can run a rack can beat anybody." On the WPBA Tour they play nine-ball to nine games, 11 games in the major events.

There are 48 players on the WPBA Tour, including three Colorado women: Laura Smith of Boulder, Melissa Little of Boulder and Megan Smith (no relation) of Lafayette.

Old game, new look

Shakespeare's is no more the old American pool hall than Lee is the old American pool player.

The tables are still 41/2 by 9 feet with two side pockets and four in the corners, but just about everything else has changed.

"The game of pool is growing all the time. The WPBA is growing all the time," Lee said. "The level of play is unbelievable. If you ever watch it on ESPN, the women today play so much better than they did 10 years ago when I first began, it's unbelievable. When I first became No. 1, it was a whole lot easier than it is to be No. 1 right now. You've got to give these women a lot of credit. They work hard at it."

Laura Smith has been working hard at it off and on for the better part of two decades and is 12th in the world. Little is ranked 20th; Megan Smith is ranked 32nd.

"They're all good players," Lee said. "Laura has beaten me a couple of times over the years, and Melissa Little her nickname is "The Viper,' and she's a great young player. She's been on a nice run lately, and I really foresee her becoming one of our top players."

The WPBA opens its nine-event schedule for the 2002 season this weekend with the Cuetec Cues Players Championship in Pennsylvania. Little can hardly wait to chalk up her cue.

"I've only been playing on the tour for about a year and a half, so I'm just learning how to compete at this level," Little said. "I'm single, so the biggest priority in my life is to become the No. 1 player in the world like Jeanette did. She's the most famous pool player in the world right now, men or women. She's beautiful, she's elegant, and she plays really great, and I've lost to her 9-7 and 9-8 the only two times I played her, so she's going down the next time."

Little, who said she recently was diagnosed with a lesser case of scoliosis, holds up Lee as a role model.

"What she's overcome and what she's done for the game is just incredible when you think about it," Little said.

What Lee has done for the game, Laura Smith said, is drag it out of the gutter and take it up to the penthouse.

"Jeanette has been a very powerful spokesperson, not only for us but for women in all sports," Smith said. "And she's done a lot of it on legwork, promoting the sport and working on her game at the same time. When Jeanette started on the tour, we were still trying to get the sport out of the seedy, pool-room type thing.

She brought that sex appeal and a lot of class to the game.

"Now we've got all these nice pool rooms like this, all the players have really gotten to another level," she said. "It's more appropriate for women to go to pool rooms and go to pool rooms alone, and that's really helped us all improve our games."

Like Little and Megan Smith, Laura Smith never has won a tour event, "but I've had a lot of seconds and thirds and I was fifth in the last event last season, so I'm really looking forward to this season."

Small returns

With total tournament purses at about $80,000 and first-prize money between $7,500 to $15,000, there isn't a lot of money to be won on the tour, so for most players it's a part-time pursuit.

"I'm very fortunate to be somewhat marketable, and therefore I'm able to make money through sponsorships and things," Lee said. "But really, without sponsorship, it's very difficult to make a good living on the tour."

But as the game and its popularity grows, Lee said, that, too, should change.

"I really see it on the verge of breaking out," she said. "There are more and more participants. You see so many more billiard clubs like this with their waitresses and cappuccinos, and cigar bars more than ever before and those old pool halls of yesterday, are all going bankrupt. They can't survive anymore. It's too much of a family sport now."

If she didn't have some fight in her, Lee said, she wouldn't be where she is. She wouldn't be the national spokeswoman for the Scoliosis Association, which collected $1,000 from Canadian Club when she beat Piazza, her 25th $1,000 win in this series.

"I used to believe that if only I didn't have scoliosis and all those problems, I'd be so great," Lee said. "But I'll tell you what, going through things like this make you so tough so headstrong, and that's what it takes to win in anything you do in life.

"The game has done more for me than I've done for it," she said. "I just find it fascinating. I've always had physical disabilities, and this is something that I can compete in with both men and women at a very competitive level and be very good at it. It's so much a matter of mind and creativity. There's just so much heart and courage involved, and it's constantly challenging you. There's so much problem-solving. Every time you break the balls, it's a whole new set of problems. It's up to you to create your work of art, and I love that."

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Ralph S.
03-14-2002, 03:18 AM
Have I been in a place smokier than a poolroom? Yes, countless times. Are the descriptions in the article the same old thing? Yes, I think they are. I personally think it was an exceptional article though from the stand point that it is so hard for the billiards world to get any kind of positve press coverage. Just my opinion.
Ralph S.

03-14-2002, 10:14 AM
PR is PR! What might seem old hat to us (because who knows the story better than us?) is still a lift for our sport. Just maybe a few of the 1000's that don't follow billiards but read the article may now become fans. It seems obvious that this article (which was very well written) is definatley geared toward the unimformed.
Every bit of exposure pool gets is a GOOD thing!! From Jeanette's ESPN Sexiest Female 3rd place finish (personally I think this is a HUGE leap for us, having pool put into the same group with other mainstream sports, HUGE, HUGE!!!) to an article like this that will proabally be read by 1000's of non-pool players.
IMO-The bigger the sport gets the better for every one, whether you are a bar league player or even just a railbird. I am selfish, I want the WPBA to be around for ME, when I am ready to win my spot! And I came to the sport like many, after seeing the women playing on ESPN. The big boost of women entering the sport and it's exposure on TV is not a fluke.
It always amazes me the short sightedness I detect from those so quick to critisize, the nature of the beast I guess.
Thanks for pasting in the article Dr. D ;but if you go the sight you will also get to see a few photos.