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A Week of Baker Nights with Jules Marino
Game Night fills Rec Room with fun, not smoke 

March 3, 2006
By Julia Marino

Game Nights
Tournaments: Thursdays, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Games: Fridays, Saturdays 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Rec Room, Baker University Center basement

Join student correspondent Jules Marino this week for Game Night in the Rec Room of Baker University Center. This is the second installment of a series.

When I think of pool, I envision a cloud of smoke hovering under a fluorescent lampshade; players puffing on Marlboros and sipping Coors as they feed more coins into a scratched velvet table. However, upon entering "Game Night" at the Rec Room in the Baker University Center basement Friday night, this image completely fizzled and was replaced with about 75 smiling faces; clean, fresh Baker air; and free, yes I said free, games.

A novice pool player, I braced myself in preparation for the pool sharks. I found multiple-tournament-winner Westley Puse of Perrysburg. He said he shot around when he was little, but didn't get serious about pool until two years ago. Puse then began competing weekly at Baker's game tournaments on Thursday nights, where he said he "pretty much wins every time." He now sports a black leather billiard glove

Photos by Julia MarinoDespite this intimidation, I quickly felt at ease in the relaxed atmosphere and tried out my rusty left-handed pool playing. The Rec Room staff member on duty, Chris Writhem of Amesville, who has played now for six years, showed me how to shoot with what is called an "English." Before that time I had only heard the term used to describe the language or the muffin. However, "English" in this usage of the term is a pool technique that creates a certain spin by hitting the cue ball off-center.

"Some guys get real competitive," said first-year student Mike Deas of Cleveland who also competes weekly.

Writhem said during the tournaments they use a system called "Race to Three," where the fastest player to win their first three games wins the tournament. And for the winners, the Baker University Center offers prizes. Last week's first-place prize was a coupon for two hours of free pool and the second-place prize was a free mug. Prizes are subject to change from week to week.

"College kids don't have a lot of money for pool," says Writhem. He said offering prizes gives students an incentive to play and come and practice.

"It's free Friday and Saturday, so that's fun," says Deas. "And it's nice to come here before we go out. The more people the better. We want to get a lot more people out here."

"It's like a perquisite, a benefit given by Ohio University," said Behlul Poonawalla, an electrical engineering/avionics major. "It's less smoke too."

Photos by Julia MarinoDan Xiao, a graduate student from China, and her husband, David Fleeman, a Web applications developer for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, come to Game Night every Friday and said that "as long as it's free, we'll be coming."

"We're pretty sad when the quarter ends because it closes," Xiao said. "We ask ourselves, 'Now what are we going to do on Friday nights?'"

In addition to pool, Baker University Center's Rec Room is the scene for some serious foosball, Ping-Pong and Euchre tournaments, raffle prizes and free pizza on Fridays and Saturdays. So if you are looking for a clean, smoke-free environment for your pool-playing activities, or just a fun atmosphere, I encourage you to check out Baker Night's Game Night in the Rec Room.

Julia Marino is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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Published: Mar 3, 2006 12:00:00 AM
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