Volume 93, Issue 6

Friday, June 18, 1999


Ti-Cats to claw their way to Grey

Alberta battle for West

Female sharks equal to men in pool

Millenium Moment

Female sharks equal to men in pool

I'll always have an attachment to the game of pool. Some of my fondest teenage memories took place at smoke-filled pool halls replete with characters of ill-repute who were mostly my friends. So naturally, every time a billiards game is on television, I can't help but admire the pros at work.

While I can understand why any sport would have divisions according to skill level – with billiards usually only showcasing the best talents – what I can't fathom is why games like 8-ball and 9-ball are split up into men's and women's divisions. It just doesn't make much sense.

In a game like pool, there is simply no advantage to be gained or lost by being a man or a woman. Advantage comes not by having a penis or breasts but rather with the countless hours one spends learning the ins and outs of the game – irrespective of gender.

In other words, the learning curve in the game of pool is the same for both men and women – it just so happens that men make up the majority of people who spend their time at seedy pool halls, enjoying the ancillary benefit of becoming pool pundits.

Gender places no constraints on how accurately or handily a pool player can sink the 8-ball. Why then do sporting events, such as pool tournaments, continue to create schisms between the sexes when they need not exist?

If anything, the rift created by having separate gender divisions in the game of pool creates an inability to get to the bottom of who's best at shooting stick.

Since the best male player cannot go cue-to-cue against the best female, we'll never know who truly takes the cake. The same goes for games like golf. Women golfers should be able to cross over into the traditionally male dominated sport to see how they fare.

For some reason I can't help but think it's the men who are a little weary of letting their female counterparts share the stage – perhaps fearful of shamelessly falling victim to a high-heeled assassin.

Our generation has made tremendous strides in the area of gender equality. Still, it's disheartening to think relatively small changes can't be made to ultimately raise the level of the game and its entertainment value.

Worse, it seems as though stereotypes still manage to pervasively creep their way right under the noses of the pool players and athletes who are not even vocal about bringing change in their sport.

Will we have to start seeing women dress in drag to play with men before the rules change? I hope not.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999