EAGLE – Ron Reynoldson has been playing pool for a long time.
So, he knows it’s not a just simple game of hitting a ball with a stick.
“You just don’t get up there and shoot,” he said. “You have to know what the ball is going to do after the shot and you also have to think about what you are going to do to keep the other guy from getting a shot from you.”
Reynoldson started playing pool when he was in junior high school. Now at 78, the man from Eagle is still playing, still enjoying the game and was recently inducted in the Midwest Pool Association Hall of Fame.
Reynoldson learned to play at the pool hall in Albion. Even though there was not alcohol at the pool hall, he said his mom didn’t like him going there.
“But, of course, my cousins and I still went there,” he recalled.
He liked the game and he was hooked. He said pool involves geometry and angles and has both self-discipline and competition.
“It’s competition,” he said. “You are playing for yourself, but at the same time you’ve got to watch the other guy.”
Reynoldson didn’t play seriously for a few years after sneaking to the pool halls.
In his early 20s, he picked up his pool cue again and played with friends. Those games didn’t last long, however.
“They didn’t want to play because I beat them all the time,” he said.
Looking for competition, he ventured over to the snooker tables, where he saw the older guys playing for money. They invited him to play and even gave him a spot, until Reynoldson’s game improved and he started beating them too.
“They wouldn’t spot me anymore because my game was getting better,” he said.
So, Reynoldson played any pool games he could find, eight-ball, nine-ball and snooker. Then when the pool halls closed, he hung up his sticks for a while.
He was already living in Eagle and ready for competition again when Pabst Blue Ribbon hosted a tournament in the 1980s.
“I got in it and I won it,” Reynoldson said.
The prize for the victory was a new pool cue and a trip to Columbus for a regional tournament. His son, Tony, still uses the pool cue and Reynoldson has made many trips since to regional and national tournaments, including one in Las Vegas where he has his name on a wall.
He said he hasn’t made that trip the last several years, but he does still play in weekly leagues in Lincoln over the winter months. He has shelves full of trophies, but it is his passion for the game that keeps him playing.
“I just enjoy playing. I enjoy the competition,” Reynoldson said.
He likes to share that enjoyment with others too. In addition to his son, Reynoldson also encouraged his nephew, Doug, to play pool and played with him on several teams.
Helping to promote the game is one of the qualifications for the Hall of Fame nomination. Reynoldson said it was an honor to be inducted into the hall of fame in April. The Midwest Pool Association draws players from five states.
Reynoldson said there is league play over the summer, but he is busy with other activities so won’t be playing now. When outdoor activities slow down, it’s a pretty sure bet that he will be back playing in the leagues.
Reynoldson will keep playing for the challenge and the competition.
“You’re hitting two round balls and you’ve got to hit them in the right spot to go someplace,” he said.