Just about every pool hall participates in some sort of amateur league teams program that plays several nights a week. The group might be a local pool hall league, or a part of a national league setup (APA, BCA, ACS, etc.) The rules generally support good sportsmanship, but there is a lot of room for sharks to sneak in beneath the radar.
In addition to the many individual sharks which are basically one-on-one efforts, some teams develop their own sharks based on available talents. Two of the most common of these are listed here with the appropriate responses.
In any league, there are always a few captains who intentionally put a great amount of effort in establishing a group of team sharks. They even go so far as holding training sessions to teach members how and when to act. These captains also coach individual players on effective sharking tricks to use against opponents, including what tricks work best against which opponents.
Most captains prefer to maintain (and enforce) good sportsmanship. It’s simply a better moral position to maintain. If one of their members attempts to use sharking tricks, the captain comes down immediately (and hard) on the offender. When sportsmanship is discussed among team captains, these are the shining examples on how to properly compete.
The following two examples (with responses) are most commonly observed among league teams. When encouraged by a team captain, these can be quite effective in improving team scores – and can make the difference between a season win (or loss).
This is the member with the greatest amount of “team spirit”. He sits there, watching every shot of every game and is the single most vocal and active supporter of the team. Successful shots by his teammate are followed by loud exclamations of joy and support. Unsuccessful shots evoke exhortations to do better on the next inning.
On a miss by the opposing player, he whoops it up and challenges his team mate to do his best on his new turn at the table. On a game win, there seems to be no limit of his exuberance. He does not directly boo or hiss the opposing player, but he visually enjoys the opportunity to support his team mate. Occasionally, the team captain provides low-voiced suggestions on timing and enthusiasm levels. This may result in toning down his team member support and increasing joyfulness over opposing team player misses and mistakes.
Pay very close attention to the timing of the verbal support. On any situation where the cheerleader looks like he is pushing the edges of intruding on your teammate’s turn at the table, immediately jump in and get the opposing team captain to put a lid on his guy.
This is a team member with an irritating, loud, intruding, Jerry Lewis-like voice. It penetrates any jukebox music. It slices through conversations within 25 feet. It is unavoidable and a constant factor the whole night long. Added to that, the owner is outgoing, striking up conversations with everyone that comes near. Just being near the match table affects anyone not used to hearing such unpleasant audio vibrations.
His team buddies tune him out easily while playing a match. To your team, who are not acclimated to such a voice, it intrudes across every moment he is speaking. He doesn’t even have to be close by your match table. Any conversation within hearing distance disturbs your teammate’s analysis and shooting routine. Like the Cheerleader, the team captain is close by to provide timing guidance.
There is not much you can do until this person somehow steps over the boundaries of pool hall behavior. For example, get too loud, or say something wile your teammate is shooting – that is enough to claim foul to the opposing captain. If you need to ask twice, be very vehement. That should keep him under control.