Question #14, February 2023: Should Kids Be Encouraged To Become Competitive At Pool?

Steve Lillis

Steve Lillis

Competition can be positive or negative depending on your attitude and what you learn and experience. Pool should be no different than other individual sports like golf, tennis, and bowling.  Playing and competing to win in pool can bring out creativity, stamina, patience, and determination which can also be applied to other aspects of one’s life.

The skills and experience necessary to win in pool have many applications in other areas of life.  Most careers and occupations require time and energy to develop.  In pool a young player must not only gain the knowledge but also through practice and determination develop the necessary skills to win.  Without competition it would be difficult to measure one’s improvement.  In the work world holding a job, being paid a fair wage, and gathering the respect of fellow employees and the public is also a measurement of a person’s determination to be successful and productive for society.

Unfortunately, there is a negative side to competition just as there is in the workaday world of our society.  In pool, gamboling for example can lead to greed and all sorts of practices designed to get the money by any means necessary.  This also applies to society at large as people in the marketplace can charge unfair prices, mislead customers, and act only in their own self interests in order to succeed.  A young pool player can learn to win by getting angry, being unsportsmanlike like sharking or distracting their opponent, cheating, or hustling their opponent through deception.

In conclusion, a young player will hopefully learn to compete in a Godlier way.  As a Christian, Jesus is my example!  He did not receive justice but gave his life for us to redeem us and pay the price for our sins by dying on the cross.  He taught us to forgive and do good to them who hate you, pray for those who despitefully use you, and bless those who curse you.  He also said to not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.  Can you imagine a generation of young pool players displaying these attributes?  I think sponsors and fans would love to see players competing with these character traits.  Truly the love of the game and a love for people would be magnetic to bring our sport higher to the next level!

Tom Rossman

Tom Rossman

I see no problem with kids becoming competitive at pool, as long as the challenges they face offer wholesome and ambassador reflections of positive pocket billiards, while presenting high standards to “Play Skillfully with a Shout of JOY” (Psalms 33:3)!

Note: Well structured league and tournament formats provide a great exposure to the aforementioned traits of competition.

On the other side of the ledger, any back room association (gambling) when playing competitively can erode one’s joy and often create hurt, bitterness, and anger in not only his or her personal attachment to the game, but also (and often) in the “heart” of one’s opponent. I believe this type of competitive offering should be avoided at all costs.

The main encouragement to our youth should focus on the following three “games”:

1) Game “of” the heart…first and foremost (over all else)…playing with a heartfelt “victory source” in each situation, regardless of the final paper score,

2) Game “in” the mind…with disciplined mental concepts for progressive and productive practice and proper application to the myriad of situations than can arise during  competitive moments,

3) Game “on and off” the table… sharing stewardship principles that reflect the “sport gift” of billiards / pool in a positive way and with thanksgiving for what God has entrusted us to watch over.

In conclusion, young or “young at heart” should be encouraged in the theme, goal, and declaration of:

2 Timothy 4:7 — “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

Blessings to all…

Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman

Mike Massey

Mike Massey

Yes and no, depending on the motives.

As a Christian, and believing  that Jesus died for our sins, our main purpose in life should be to glorify God the Father and enjoy life by living the way Jesus teaches us through studying his word, which I believe is the Bible. And the Bible says that when you are born again by believing in Jesus and what he did for you, you are a new creation. All things are new, and you don’t have to be controlled by the old sinful nature.

In any sport you should try your best to win. You play at your best ability by playing by the rules, and if the game is pool, that means even calling fouls on yourself if you have fouled.

You should never shark (distract) your opponent while he or she is shooting. Win or lose, be nice and shake hands with him or her. You should try to play your best, but I also personally believe you should never wish bad rolls upon your opponent. I believe wishing bad things upon someone– for self-gain especially– is witchcraft; which is nothing more than works of the self-centered Adam nature.  We must realize that as a born-again Christian, the Adam nature is supposed to be dead, and it’s no longer you that lives, but Jesus. We were bought for a price–the precious blood of Jesus when he was crucified on the Cross for our sins.

We must also realize that if a young man or woman becomes good at pool and wants to become a professional that only a few are honestly making a living playing in tournaments. The sad part about it is that they usually end up playing in money matches–and that world can become very dangerous. I know many players who have ended up in prison, beat up, or even killed. And it all started as a result of them being a good pool player.

When I was living the life of a gambler, more than once I found myself looking down the barrel of a gun. I’ve been sucker punched, hit over the head with blood spurting out of it, and robbed several times. I’ve had my drink spiked with drugs–once being with LSD, which messed me up for years.

I’ve been arrested 5 or 6 times, and one of those times, the law even took my money. I could have been killed many times, but by the Grace of God I wasn’t destroyed. I hope that maybe I can help keep others from going down that road of destruction. No one is immune to these things if their ego gets out of control by wanting to be the best in their sport.


Like I said before, try your best, but that does not necessarily mean wanting to be “The Best,” but wanting to be your best. Enjoy every moment, but don’t get caught up in desiring to be THE BEST, because if you do, there will be much strife and heart ache. You might attain greatness for a while; however if you attain it without humbleness, your ego may be satisfied, but you will have no true joy. The Joy of the Lord is our strength, and through him we can do all things that strengthens us. But to attain that joy we must do it his way–and the Bible teaches us that.

I thank God for my talent of playing pool. It has taken me all over the world and I’ve had many experiences, some very good, and some very dangerous. My spirit wants to serve God and please him more than anything, because of what Jesus did for me. But my flesh (Adam nature) wants to serve his “Father” which is Satan. There’s a tug of war going on in my soul, which has already been won at the cross. So, I have to keep telling myself that, and walk after the Spirit instead of the flesh. The old me died at the cross, but the new me lives because of the cross. Walking after the Spirit is life, and walking after the flesh is death.

So, my answer is yes, and no.

Tommy Kennedy

Tommy Kennedy

I think it would be okay if the person wants to pursue playing and getting better. But I don’t think they should try to make it a living, unless they want to give their whole life to it. But for the game itself, then it would be a good thing. It is just like any other game or sport someone pursues. I personally don’t hang out in pool rooms anymore than I have to. To me it is just a waste of time to just be in pool rooms for other than witnessing and playing a tournament. I pray to God to show me another way to make a living if He has other plans for me. So I am trying to get away from it as much as I can. There are other things and better things in life to do than to waste your valuable time in a pool room. This is just how I feel. And until the players can make a substantial payday, it just isn’t worth it anymore. Pool hasn’t become a real sport in people’s minds and they don’t treat it as such. And only very few make a great living at it. So for now I will be praying for a way out of the pool scene. But until He takes me out of it, I will continue on.  

And lastly just to add a negative view point about most of these events, It has become mainly about the Calcutta and it has become for the most part a circus atmosphere and a gambling event under the guise of a tournament.  Look at the event that just happened about a month or so ago. It boasted of having over 200,000 in calcutta money or maybe even more. And also the Derby City Classic is a circus atmosphere and Gambling extravaganza. Where are the events that just have a tournament and no Calcutta and people enjoyed playing and seeing some good pool and good players play. The people really appreciated and respected the players and their accomplishments. It is really sad. I miss those days and I loved when the crowd was there just to appreciate the players and the tournament. It wasn’t all about the money back then. Those days are GONE!!!  

I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be negative, but honest, and it is a forgotten thing to love and respect the game and its players. There is more I can say, but for now I will leave it where it is. 

Thanks for listening everyone,