It’s a shame that the promoters of pool have yet to figure out an effective format to really emphasize just how exciting pool can be, it seems like the marketing ideas are stuck in the 1980s. Tournament directors are still requiring pool players to wear collar shirts, dress pants, and dress shoes. When I walk into a poolroom today rarely will I see people wearing clothing that they would wear to church unless it’s Sunday afternoon and they couldn’t wait to get to the poolroom. Most of the time I see people wearing comfortable clothing and comfortable shoes. People dress this way because pool can be hard to play in constricting clothing, pool is a sport and bending over and reaching across a table can be difficult to do with a collared shirt that is tightly tucked into your dress pants. It makes perfect sense to wear comfortable shoes instead of slippery dress shoes when you know you may be on your feet for hours and sometimes balancing on 1 foot to reach a shot. It would be really nice to see a company like Nike take notice of the pool world.
Maybe tournament directors are putting a dress code in place because they are thinking of pool as a respectable game instead of a competitive sport. If you have walked into a poolroom in the last 10 years you know that the look and feel of poolrooms has changed. Pool rooms have come a long way since the dark, dingy, thumb breaking pool rooms of the Hustler era. Today poolrooms are usually well-lit, comfortable and inviting to people from almost every walk of life. Rooms today are filled with great equipment, flat screen TVs, tables that are kept in good condition and wall to wall carpeting. Also they usually are often combined with a restaurant type setting which is excellent for players in tournaments who would like to grab a bite to eat in between matches. When a new room opens these days it looks like a lot of money has been spent to make sure that it is a nice place that will attract customers both serious and recreational.
Why aren’t promoters encouraging pool players to wear clothing that is more suitable to the game? I think one of the greatest things about pool is that it’s a sport defined by individuals. Is it because promoters are trying to copy England’s snooker players? Snooker draws much more sponsorship in England than pool does here but I would be really freaked out if I walked in the pool room and saw a bunch of people wearing black tuxedos to play a tournament! One of the best things we do in America is allowing people the freedom of expression. Wouldn’t it be more fun to allow players to express who they are, couldn’t this attract new sponsors and players alike? I do understand that it wouldn’t be good to have vulgar language on shirts and that some type of dress code would need to be in place but why have such strict guidelines.