Last Thursday, the Corner Pocket hosted a pool tournament for students, offering "fabulous prizes" to the winner. Thirty-two people entered the tournament, some for fun, some to figure out what the grand prize was, and others for pride. "I'm not doing it for the grand prize, I'm doing it for the bragging rights," said freshman Nick Gloumakoff before the tournament began.
Some people prepared for the tournament by adding pool practice to their already busy schedules, "I've come down to play more pool than usual to get ready for this," freshman Jose Santiago admitted. Others counted on whatever skill they had attained over the past semester by playing for fun. Before the tournament even began competitors were evaluating one another. "If someone has a pool glove and their own pool cue, they know something," Jeff Pyo noted.
At 7:30 p.m., the last minute practicing came to an end and the rules were announced. Just after, the balls were racked and the games began, five at a time. Before each game it was the responsibility of the individuals playing to establish specific rules of the game. Players competed until they lost, at which point they were out of the tournament.
Those who were eliminated left with the promise of returning to redeem their game. "I'll definitely do this tournament again," said freshman Ryan Blaney after his elimination. "I like to play pool, it's fun, even if I'm not the best at it." Others were more dramatic. Gloumakoff dominated the table throughout his game, but scratched when it came down to the eight ball. With his elimination, Gloumakoff made a loud promise to play again. "I could have won. I'm definitely coming back."
The number of competitors quickly narrowed, and Texas-born senior Tara Bush became a crowd favorite. She was the only female to enter the tournament, and she dominated her games. She sunk difficult shots and said "hitting the balls at angles" is the secret to her success at pool. As she continued to win, her competitors deemed her "Kryptonite."
Bush did better than she expected, making it to the championship game. "I worked in a lot of bars and would play pool sometimes, but I'm really surprised I made it this far." John Palmero, a freshman and self-proclaimed rookie, surprised himself as well by reaching the championship game. The game between Bush and Palermo was close, with fans on both sides, but in the end, Palmero won. "It feels good to win," he said moments later. "Hopefully I can play again and defend my title." He received a $20 gift certificate to the campus store for his victory. Bush won a free lunch at Mama Mia's for coming in second.
With tentative plans to hold similar pool tournaments every other Thursday, be sure to check the Corner Pocket for more information and to participate in future tournaments.