Pool sharks

Everybody’s a friend in the Wardroom. Chatting fervently, you drift toward the pool table and ask for a game, only to be met with some snarky advice like, “Sign the chalkboard … Bro.”

The plum doors of the Wardroom’s entrance lock-in a fragrance that might be called “eau de good times”. The stale-beer bouquet is enchanting and it’s not long before you surrender inhibition to the Wardroom’s conviviality.
Everybody’s a friend in here. Chatting fervently, you drift toward the pool table and ask for a game, only to be met with some snarky advice like, “Sign the chalkboard … Bro.”
Having submitted your devices for an expectedly warm social engagement, such a bitter reply provokes indignation. The chalkboard system is to blame.
“It’s been there as long as I can remember,” said fourth-year bartender Stephanie Duchon. This dusty mess of an organizational strategy produces efficiency on par with herding cats. Chalk sticks sitting near the board seem never to exceed a few centimeters in length. When you finally manage to print some skeleton of your name, the prospect of actually getting to play is bleaker than Harper’s environmental program.
“The most frustrating thing is that the chalkboard won’t allow you to play pool with your friends,” said veteran pool shark Oliver Nicol. Nicol is referring to the way the chalkboard system forces one to play the previous winner without any possibility of say, a doubles game, as this could anger those waiting in-line.
“I’ve never even seen a doubles game,” said second-year Wesley Thompson. “Certainly not on a night when there are actually people here.”
Rather than eliminating traffic, the chalkboard prevents the laissez-faire system of doubles from speeding things up. Congestion and confusion cascade when people must be sought after to play with nobody knowing who’s who. Friendly introductions are substituted with a ‘get in line and wait your turn’ attitude, and everyone remains strangers.
At Resolutes Club on Inglis Street, arguably one of Halifax’s best known pool hangouts, management recognizes this quintessential social element. Here, the friendly maritime vibes flow as freely as the draft from the taps. It should not be overlooked that the smallest of structural arrangements can have drastic social effects.
“The atmosphere of the Wardroom is amiable,” said David Salenieks, “But less so around the pool table.”
Life and the game of pool share striking parallels. Success in either requires an ability to focus on the task at hand while anticipating the next play. Enoyment is based on the pleasentry of everyday encounters. It is precisely these encounters which the chalkboard system obstructs.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

One reply on “Pool sharks”

What’s up with people win refuse to play doubles. It seems anti-social. It’s not a tournament and I’ve seen mainly really good players refusing to play doubles. If your partner loser it’s not on you. wow it’s just a game.

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