pool

Cordell Sheffield lines up a shot during a game of 8-ball. He’s one of many who turn out several days a week to play pool at the Lera B. Mitchell Clubhouse on South Green Street.

Herbert Ballard is an avid pool player.

He’s one of several who turn out up to four days a week to shoot pool at the Lera B. Mitchell Clubhouse on South Green Street. He typically plays 8-ball, but others who come enjoy games of 9-ball and bank.

On Monday, he was joined at the back pool table by Bobby Sullivan, Max Durham and Cordell Sheffield.

The guys often talk while shooting pool. Topics of discussion vary.

“We don’t get a chance to say much,” Ballard said. “Most of the time we just talk about shooting pool.”

But what about politics, do they ever discuss that issue?

“Noooo,” Ballard said.

The presidential election wasn’t even discussed.

“There was no need of it. I didn’t know who was going to win anyway,” he said.

Sometimes they lose track of whose turn it is when they attempt to talk while playing.

“See we get confused on who shot what,” Ballard said, adding that just makes the games more fun. “It keeps your mind stirred up all the time. It keeps you thinking.”

The number of people who turn out at the clubhouse varies from day to day.

“Sometimes anybody will come in and stay an hour, or maybe they will stay two or three hours to just pass the time and have something to do,” said Sheffield.

Sullivan stops by to shoot a few games on days when he comes to visit his wife in the nursing home.

“If she’s doing good, I make it a point to come Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then I come back on Sunday.”

He can’t shoot pool on Sundays because the clubhouse is only open Monday through Friday.

He usually arrives around 8 a.m. and plays until about 12:30 p.m., he said.

No day is any busier than any other at the clubhouse.

“Every day is pretty busy, generally between the time of 9 and 2 o’clock,” said Ronnie Bryant, who works for the Glasgow Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the management of the clubhouse.

The number of people who turn out to play pool each day ranges from 13 to 22, he said.

A person must be a member of the club to play pool there. The dues are $10 per year for those who are 55 and older.

Durham used to own a barber shop on Glasgow’s public square. Many of the guys who turn out to play pool at the clubhouse, he said, are his former customers.

He joked that some of them may have been his customers a little too long, because now they don’t have any hair.

Sometimes the games get heated.

“They challenge one another,” Bryant said.

The front table is where those who refer to themselves as the “better players” shoot pool.

“They play a lot of bank and 9-ball,” Bryant said. “On this table here they generally play 8-ball, two partner. It gets pretty exciting,” he said motioning toward the table where Ballard, Sullivan, Sheffield and Durham were playing.

Sullivan likes that there are specific rules the pool shooters must follow.

“We’re not supposed to have people who are hard losers,” he said. “We all try to be friendly, if we lose.”

A quick glance at all the men in the room would make a person think it was a men’s only club, but it isn’t.

“Ladies are allowed if they are a member,” Bryant said. “Ladies can come play pool also.”

And they do come.

“Not too often, but occasionally,” Bryant said.

The clubhouse was closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but some of the men said Monday they would find a way to get in a game during the holiday.

“I go to my brother-in-law’s and shoot pool at his house,” Ballard said. “I find some way to shoot pool.”

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