Battle of the Sexes

By Jim Meador

Pool is the one sport where women should be equal to men. Make no mistake about it, there is no reason to assume that men have an edge, beyond sheer numbers. I don't even agree that men have an edge on the break when one considers that 30 miles per hour seems to be the upper limit for break speed, and technique is just as important as power to a good break.

As more women enter the sport, the gap that seems to exist now will close. In the future, women and men will participate in the same tournaments, and women will eventually win their share. No one has been able to give me any evidence that pool requires anything physical that women can't accomplish as well as men.

Pool is a game of precision in aiming and ball control. Although men may be able to stroke with more power, the additional power men have is of no value since I know of no shots, other than the break, that requires more power than the typical professional woman player can achieve. I have never seen a shot where a man strokes as hard as he can, or any harder than a woman can stroke.

I have heard arguments to the effect that men have an edge mentally. Get serious. There is nothing more intense than a woman with a purpose. In fact, I give the edge to women where mental control is concerned. They know how to focus, and as soon as they discover their superiority in this area, they will use it with a vengeance.

If I give the men an edge in any area at all, it would be the creative part of the game. Men do seem to think more creatively. Women, as in other aspects of their life, tend to be more serious and mature. Maturity is not necessarily an asset in the creative field. Creativity is enhanced by the ability to be child-like, which men seem to relish. There is always a little boy inside every man, while the little girl in most women is overcome by the inequities of life. Women simply have to work harder, and take life more seriously to overcome years of discrimination. Creativity suffers when the mind is imprisoned. But thankfully, that too is changing

People tend to achieve what they believe they can achieve. It is called confidence, and men are simply more confident as a gender than women. That is not to say all women lack confidence, or that all men have it. It is a question of numbers, and in pool male players overwhelmingly out number women. If it can be assumed that a given percentage of men from the total male pool will surface as top players, and the same percentage from among all women will also surface, the total number of top players will heavily favor men. It is academic.

When I see the only woman entered in a tournament finish near the top, it makes me wonder how many would have finished near the top if women had been competing in the same numbers as men for the past 50 years.

I don't believe equality is close at hand. We will probably need a couple more generations before the gals close the gap, but close it they will. Walk into a typical pool parlor, and you will see increasing numbers of women playing pool, and playing seriously. They are becoming more confident and more creative.

So, for those men who can't handle being bettered by women, you better get adjusted to it, because they definitely are.

Billiard World 1998 Edition

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