THE GREATEST SPECTACLE IN POOL
January 25, 2004
I watched nearly every minute of the 9-day Derby City Classic BCTV
live internet broadcast. It was almost better than being there.
I had a front-row seat and a close-up view of world-class pool and
world-class pool players. I had a better view than the spectators
jammed together trying to get horizontal glimpses of matches through
the shoulders of the crowd. I didn't have to put up with the smokers
who freely ignored the non-smoking policy promised by the organizers.
I was up close, right over the table, seeing the layout before, during,
and after every shot and seeing the expressions on the faces of the
players. I could adjust the sound to suit myself, and I could get
up to go to the bathroom without losing my seat.
Rob Sykora's Billiard Club BCTV video production was indeed a tour
de force. It was the first time the entire event was televised and
it was a record-breaking crowd, but there were remarkably few
hitches in the presentation. Commentator Mark Wilson has the
clear and pleasant voice of a professional announcer, and the
experience and knowledge of a professional pool player. His fellow
commentator Danny Diliberto, besides being a great pool teacher,
is a great storyteller. He is working on a book about his life. This
will be the book to have. These two commentators bounced
intelligent and humorous ideas off each other perfectly. And
occasional guest commentators helped alter the tempo and add
color and spice to the show.
Next year I hope they put a third person in the commentator booth
who must view and hear the entire show on the internet. He could
experience and respond to the same logon, connection, sound, or
video problems actually being encountered by viewers. He could
see that mikes were turned off when personal matters were being
discussed in the booth. He could tell the camera crew when a
camera was mis-aimed or not operating. He could make sure that
an explanation was shown in the black BCTV viewer window when
nothing was being transmitted.
The commentators mentioned the sponsors often, but one-minute
demonstrations in the pit could better educate viewers who are not
familiar with the features of products such as Predator, Accu-Stats,
Limbsaver, Quick-Clean, Sardo Rack, or Diamond Tables.
On the floor, Carmine Sardo tirelessly racked the balls for hundreds
of games while Scott Smith announced tournament matches. Scott
is ''Mister Tournament Director'' partly because of his experience
and friendly manner, and partly because his voice is crystal clear
when coming through even the worst sound systems. That voice
should be insured.
I liked the roving camera on the floor visiting matches in progress,
interviewing players, interviewing spectators, and panning through
the crowd. I would like more of that (more light,too). The casual
dress code adopted by the participants was fine with me, because
I think the individuality expressed by players and spectators adds
to the fun of the sport. If you ever saw Arkansas Calvin's stake
horse pulling huge wads of cash from the chest pocket of his bib
overalls then you have seen the dress code I like.
The special events were a visual feast. Not only the terrific ring
games, but also the occasional trick shot demonstrations, nine-year
old pool whiz Landon Shuffett, and the one-pocket action match
between John Mataya and Rachael Abbink.
Financially, it was a complete success for me. I saved the $1,600
it would have cost me to be there and I got about $5,000 worth of
free instruction from one of pooldom's greats, Danny Diliberto. While
I watched the champions from my perfect vantage point close to
the table and directly overhead, I made my own guesses at what
each player would do, then Danny told me what the player would
probably do and why. Plus, he told me alternate choices the player
had. When the player lined up to shoot, he would tell me if he
thought it was a bad shot selection, and why. I got to see the
shot executed, to watch the results, and to hear Danny discuss
what happened and why. Danny came back day after day to show
me more and to reinforce what I had already seen. These were
the best pool lessons I ever had. Thanks, Danny.
I am stoked. I hope this is the beginning of big things for our sport.
Best regards to all,
John E. Ardans Bothell Washington