Monday, October 06, 2008

Billiards: A Rich History

I must admit that I am a lousy pool player. Every time I play billiards, I embarrass myself with inept play and countless errors, kind of like the Chicago Cubs in the MLB postseason. I like to play; I'm just really bad. I found a web site the other day that dealt with the wonderful history of the sport in all its different forms. First off, if you did not already know it, there are three kinds of billiards. First, you have carom billiards, which is played on a table without pockets, including what they call balkline and straight rail, cushion caroms, three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards. (If you think straight billiards is tough, you have not tried carom billiards--it's even more difficult!) Second, you have pocket billiards, which is very popular in the United States and is generally played on a table with six pockets, including 8-ball, which is the world's most widely played form of billiards. Third, there's what is called Snooker. Snooker is technically pocket billiards and is classified as a completely different kind of game--one of the oldest and very popular in Europe. Mary Queen of Scots was buried wrapped in her billiard table cover in 1586. She must have really played a mean game of Snooker! Some of my favorite folks loved the game of billiards, including Mark Twain, Bob Hope, Babe Ruth, Jackie Gleason, Teddy Roosevelt, Lewis Carroll and W.C. Fields.

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