Sharing The Light – Question 2 September 2021 Part One

This week we continue with our question and answer(s) program. This is part one of their replies for September. Watch next week for answers from Tommy Kennedy and Robin Dodson.

Question #2, September 2021:

What is the difference (from a moralistic standpoint) between matching up and playing tournaments?

Steve Lillis

Steve Lillis:

When you match up it becomes more personal.  When playing in a tournament you are playing the field and not a specific individual.  In my opinion a tournament with many players makes it more of a sport than having the appearance of gambling by “matching up.”  You could argue that this is simply a two-person tournament but again the appearance particularly to potential sponsors would be that it is gambling and as such limits potential sponsorship and consequently the sport itself.

Personally, I have another important reason for not “matching up.”  I have found through my 50 plus years of playing pool competitively that matching up usually leaves hard feelings especially for the loser and consequently having good relationships with other players is significantly more difficult.  As a Christian, I do not want walls to come between us so I do all I can to encourage people to get along and hopefully find the love of Jesus in the process.  Here is one of my Gospel Trick Shots featured in the AZ Billiards Buzz magazine back in March 2020 that demonstrates this principle.

Tom Rossman

Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman:

I believe that the “game of the heart” is the most important part of a player’s moral approach and overall fairness to our cue sport activity. In this regard one has to take a look at the motives, attitudes, and foundational guidelines for “matching up” versus “playing in tournaments”. Below I have listed some bullet points for your comparative consideration. I will refer to “matching up” as “A” and “playing in tournaments” as “B” to avoid repetitive wording.

  • “A” often focuses on some “staged / impure motive” approach prior to playing, while “B” is almost always done with one objective – to play one’s best game against an opponent while recognizing the challenge is done in fairness to each other WITHOUT any notion of “getting an advantage” in some subtle or deceptive manner just to win…prior to and/or during the actual match.  
  • “A” often has a pre-match set of rules that are tilted / slanted unfavorably to one player over another, even though both players THINK they “have the edge”. “B” assigns a high degree of fairness to each player in the competitive arena via official rules presented at a player’s meeting…vocally and/or in print established under the guidelines of the organization / promoter directing / running the event. These standards take the “hustling perception” and/or “moves” out of the equation that “A” often reflects. A foundational “mooring of the heart” (and mind) provides comfort within the tournament environment.  
  • “A” often is about the “taking” aspect of the money, while “B” has an “up front” established entry fee (“giving”) that must be paid to allow play in the event and under the fairness attached to it. Monies are set in place before play begins in both “A” and “B” however, “B” lends itself to more confidence that said monies will be paid as promised and not harbored “in the heart” unjustly, which can sometimes be the result of “A” matchups. The following verse relates to this point: II Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) – “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
  • “A” almost never has a referee / judge to monitor disputes between the players, but rather lends an open opportunity to friction on questionable shots…leading up to moral dilemmas on language used, demeanor actions not always reflective of “playing like a true champion”, and often ill will and long lasting indifference between the players involved. “B” has qualified referees and / or judges to observe / call questionable shots, enforce rules, and keep the play moving smoothly to assure the tournament players will leave friends and not disconnected. Demeanor and player image can be maintained at the highest moral and professional level in almost all “B” scenarios.       

As I noted in my prior feedback / comments to the first question on gambling from last month I believe one should: 


Ask and seek the Lord’s direction for the competitive opportunities in your own life – He will guide you!  I strive to maintain a main foundational (and primary Biblical approach) to competitive play whether “matching up” (WITHOUT money attachment) or “playing in tournaments” (WITH money attachment), and that simply is to: 

“Play Skillfully with a Shout of Joy” (Psalms 33:30 NKJV)

The beauty of God’s “sport gift” to us will become for you a masterpiece to behold when the Holy Spirit truly “guides your steps” both “on and off” the table.  Thank God we are free to “share the light” of Jesus and the moral values of the game, even when there is a divergence of opinion / perception when comparing “A” versus “B”. I leave you with the following words of wisdom from the Bible, which pretty much sums up my position on this topic.   

Romans 14:17-19 (ESV)

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Note: These verses are the key to “doing the right thing” (moralistic standpoint) and exhibiting a Holy Spirit focus and selfless walk.