A Breath of Fresh Air

I hear pool player’s all the time say,

…”I deserve this!” … …”I work so hard for nothing!”  …

…Why hasn’t pool gone anywhere?.. …”There’s no money in pool, and it’s so-in-so’s fault!!” …

rockstar So often it seems the pool world thinks it’s entitled to all the fame, glory, glitz and glam that other very popular sports have.  I too believe the top players deserve bigger rewards than they receive.  This game is REALLY hard and demands the same champion characteristics any other sport demands.

Yet, there’s a hypocrisy in many of the pool community’s desires.  They want to see a BIG change in America’s view of pool, but they aren’t willing to implement or accept any changes in the current presentation.  It seems they want AMERICA to change, not them. They want that magical moment when America WAKES UP and goes, “Oh BOY, Pool is Really EXCITING!!  Baseball?! ?!! No way, I’m watching Efren!!”

HA!  Don’t hold your breathe!

poolsynergy4 Do you really think 300 million Americans are just CRAZY for not loving pool, or are we pool players perhaps the “special” ones?  Given our UNIQUE love of the game and small numbers, perhaps we should consider conforming to America’s wants rather than waiting for the rest of America to get with it.

You gotta get your foot in the door before you can shout orders in the house.

Pool’s boring to the average Joe.  He doesn’t care about the game, the skill, or the history and never will unless you pull him in using alternative (and I’m suggesting very unconventional to the pool world) strategies….

Pool has to change.  The people have to change.  The environment.  The image and most importantly, the presentation.

JT filimgin I was a part of a web-series by NYCGrind.com recently that followed around my team, Kiss of Death.  To my face, people enjoyed the show.  Loved the diversity of the girls, the inter-workings of the team and quite simply that it was something DIFFERENT for the pool world.  It was a FRESH approach at promoting pool.

Pool needs to follow this concept of NEW THINKING!  Different!  Risky!  Out there.   I’m not saying the web-series will be the revolution of pool’s walk up the popularity mountain!  It’s the concept’s CREATIVE MARKETING that needs to be admired.  Highlighting the personalities, blood, sweat, tears and DRAMA of pool. America is a DRAMA CRACK ADDICT.  It’s what America is digesting daily.  We just have to put it on the menu.

We need more creative, adventurous attacks to mainstream America that focus on the PEOPLE of pool more than the Game.

Respect for the game will come AFTER we rope in America’s interest.

The personalities of pool are the game’s real entertainment hook. And pool’s got some great entertainers!  We are NOT going to get America interested in pool by showcasing the game’s skill requirements.  Sorry.  It’s like learning Algebra.  Only the math nerds get giddy about quadratic equations.  We pool nerds get giddy over 6-packs.  America thinks that’s beer.

I wrote an entry called Multiplying the Power of the Mosconi Cup in March the better highlighted the power of pool’s personalities.  This outlet could be our best hope for America’s PAUSE.

JT filimingAs I said, to my face, people loved the web-series.  I did however learn of many who weren’t so fond of this new wave of pool player spotlighting.  Some bitterly detested the instant access to us KOD AMATEURS and denounced the series as indulgent, boobilicious, pool diarrhea citing if anyone should be showcased in something like this, it should be the elite players of the sport, not us.

Fair enough, but let’s have a reality check.  How we doing with our current method of promoting pool and it’s elite? Cause, last time I checked, pool was at its lowest point ever in terms of sponsor dollars, pro tournament availability & professional pool player financial stability. Since the Color of Money faded into movie antiquity… we’ve seen a steady drop in pool’s popularity. Pool is dying yet we keep trying the same old, tired, stone-age ways to fix it.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

JBar Perhaps innovative ideas like a web-series should be praised more for it’s creative effort rather than blasted because you weren’t in it.  Seriously.

Do you really care about pool’s future popularity, or your own?

Here’s my gripe, when there’s a movement within the community to try something new in hopes of maybe opening these doors, there’s bitter ridicule of these pioneers that often muzzle the forward progression.  — It’s not fair.  It’s not the tradition.  What about me?  Why them?  Waaaah!  —-

Unfortunately, Ego often blocks progression.

We must cut the apron strings and start walking down a new, albeit, perhaps uncomfortable, path forward.

Pool will continue eating scraps if we don’t expand our comfort zone to the world in which we now live.  That world in techno-pop marketability.  Like it or not, today’s media saturated world is about technology, speed, glamour and innovation, thriving off of live updates, the latest invention, Facebook, attraction, drama, invasion of privacy and little time to digest it before you have your next dose of it. Pool’s presentation right now reeks of AGE!  It needs a breath of fresh air, it needs to be more attractive….

And when I say attractive, I mean the whole package attractive.  Well-groomed people, fun, hip, & entertaining.  Think of your TV stars, sports stars, reality stars, and TV hosts. Not necessarily MODELS, but just presentable. I’m not trying to be offensive, I’m being realistic.

You can look like a librarian, shoot one hell of a game of stick and crush your opponent and the pool players will LOVE you because they know to respect your talent. America doesn’t! And the rest of America changes the channel before you pocket the winning 9-ball.

AND, there went your sponsors.Borana-Andoni-cover

BUT, if you happen to look like Megan Fox or have the personality of Robin Williams, or the charm of George Clooney, or the explosion of John McEnroe (or say Jennifer Barretta or Rodney Morris, Dennis Hatch or Jeannette Lee, hmmm,) it makes a non-pool fan pause and say, who is that? Pause. She’s gorgeous!! Or He’s CRAZY!! Or She’s FUN!! PAUSE. They stop and watch because they are entertained.

An audience is born.

Sorry bookworm, the endorsements and movie will USUALLY go to Ms. Transformer & Mrs. Doubtfire.  Why?  Because they’ll sell their product better than you.  How?  Those endorsers want their product moved.  They’ll hire an athlete that will make people PAUSE and say, I wish I was like them.

Some pool players I see look like they just ransacked a barn yard when they come to a tournament and/or have the personality of oatmeal.  I know.

… “They don’t care how they look.” …   … “They are more focused on the game than anything.” … … “Looks aren’t everything you know!”  … “I’m a GREAT player!!”  ….

<That stench was America Yawning>

If you don’t look like you care or respect the game, why should anyone else?

Do you go to job interview dressed like a slob?  Why not?  Oh, you’re trying to impress someone.  You want to get the job so you dress nicely, speak intelligently & behave accordingly.  Hmmm….

Don’t cry about the sad state of pool or your lack of sponsors if you aren’t willing to do anything to make yourself a good buy.  A grungy, “Like-me-for-who-I-am-not-what-I-look-like,” may feed the diehard pool enthusiasts who understand you and your talent but the rest of America doesn’t understand and until you can GET their attention, they’ll never take the time to either.

YOU have to get their attention!  Or you can just keep living in the “I’m too cool to care bubble,” but it’ll never interest the pockets of sponsors, media outlets, & advertisement-hungry corporate bigwigs.

But again, Ego often blocks progression.

I hope test-trying new marketing concepts will lead pool and its top players to the stardom I feel they deserve.   However, there needs to be an honesty addressed.

Do you really want pool to be more admired by mainstream America?  Do you want more sponsorship dollars flowing into our tournaments and supporting our sport’s growth and the professionals who live, eat and breathe by those tournament olga & Iwinnings?   And are you willing to relinquish your current pool comfort to do it? Be honest. Perhaps some don’t want pool to lose it’s traditional quality or succumb to America’s media gluttony and I can respect that and agree these suggestions are not for those type of pool fans.  But for the pool fans who want pool in mainstream America, we must stop resisting change, walk away from the Stone Age and accept the world for the way it is …  or keep enjoying the taste of chalk dust!

(I miss you Olga! Safe travels!)

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~ by g2 on June 15, 2010.

9 Responses to “A Breath of Fresh Air”

  1. bingo. we gotta pay our dues before we start demanding all sorts of outlandish perks. sponsors won’t come if the sport is not profitable.

  2. Loved it!
    Success can be a lonely road. I love you for writing about it.

  3. Couldn’t have said it better.

    I’m not a player so I fall into that category of not being previously interested. After being introduced to K.O.D. and the web series, I was hooked. I was all into following the team and more about the pool community. I went to Go4Pool.net and watched a lot of the intreviews of the local players and even watched live play on the stream.

    Then I started to find out about the state that the sport of pool is in. Not good news.

    I hope it turns around for the sport. The people I have met and many others, deserve it.

  4. wow….. im not the only one saying this stuff anymore!!! Gail—-I knew when I met you you were different…. its nice to c that your different in the right way—-the way this sport needs people to be different—-TO BE REAL. when I read this it made me proud….not because it sounds like me—-but because it embodies what the truth is…..and what needs to be done.
    Cheers your beers girl….
    http://www.wherethebuffaloroam.info is another website blog that will allow yall to see what reallly goes on in this game—if it only through one persons eyes that is out here really living the life of Pool—-and growing the new mentality that isessential for this game to reach a true professional level with true professional money.
    thanks Gail
    one Love.

  5. Now this is Honesty!! I love the way you worded everything, and hope that all players will not only read, but get involved in attracting sponsors by asking, “What can we do for our sponsors?” versus, “What can the sponsors do for us?”

    You rock Gail, and I know how much you will miss Olga, but, i have a sneeky suspicion she wont be gone long 🙂 God love ya

    Dale

  6. Well said. I love pool, and I hope we can figure out how to get more sponsors. Compared to sponsoring other sporting events, a pool tournament would be cheap. But unless the tournament is being broadcast somehow the exposure would be very low. Major companies don’t want to waste the time if you tell them that 64 people will get to see their banner, which may equate to 1 or 2 sales.

    When I do see sponsors, they tend to be from the pool industry, and they can’t afford to give much.

    I do see pool as being very local right now when it comes to recognizing players. Even though champions are coming from every country now, most people can only recognize the top players at their home room.

    For some people it is all about winning, others enjoy the social aspect, and still others like the history of the game. Everywhere I play I meet fellow pool players with completely different backgrounds working in every type of industry. Underpaid, middle class and wealthy people. Pool is played seriously in almost every country around the world. What do all these people have in common that would appeal to a sponsor? (besides Natural Cures the drug companies don’t want you to know about)

  7. Another great post. From the heart and honest as the day is long. Until people realize that it’s all about the fans it won’t get better.

  8. I wrote an entry in my blog about the KOD series and how much I love it. I really think it’s projects like that which will help get the public’s attention. Like you said, America are drama-addicts, and pool has lots of drama to offer. I could see TLC doing a “Real Women of Pool” show or something like that. I can only imagine the mounds of negative opinions that would generate by the older “pool is meant for smokey, whiskey stained shadowy bars” crowd. But pool has a chance now with a new generation to reinvent itself and I strongly commend everyone involved with the KOD video series. I hope to see more projects like this in the future!

  9. Im in! I love this and I’ve been saying it to my friends for ages. Let me know if I can help.

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