EKU now has a club for anyone that enjoys playing pool.
The Billiards Club is brand new to campus and ready to help students get in on the action.
Initially, the group did not have the intention of starting up a club. It was just a group of guys that would get together and play for fun.
“I started getting together with Robert Kellems, our other Co-Founder, back in September of last semester just to shoot around.” Said Jake Bertke, co-founder and president of the club. “I guess you could say that’s when we really started this whole thing.”
Over time, the group began to grow as more and more people began to get involved. The club currently has 13 members.
“At first, Robert would ask some of his friends and I would ask some of mine.” Bertke said. “That is how we first grew from just two people to around six or seven.”
The group officially meets in Middle Powell at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, but also meets anytime during the week just to shoot around. Bertke said some members of the group will try to go in the morning before class.
“We’ll usually try meeting at around 9:00 a.m. and try to stay until about 11:30 a.m.” Bertke said. “We have a group message between us so we usually just communicate in that about when we’re going to meet up.”
As Powell is the Student Center for EKU, meeting there gives the group very good exposure to other students.
“I guess with Middle Powell having the only pool table on campus, we got kind of lucky.” Said Robert Kellems, Co-Founder of the club. “Students are strolling through Middle Powell every single day and it is also one of the more popular places on campus to relax as well so I guess you could say it definitely works to our advantage with people seeing us together almost every day.”
Even though it is the only table on campus, the group still seems to get it every day.
“There really isn’t anyone else ever playing there to be honest.” Bertke said. “But if there ever is we ask if we can play with them and sometimes ask them about joining the club.”
The group also plays one of the most famous types of games in 9-ball.
“A lot of people always ask me ‘What exactly are you guys playing?’” Bertke said. “We play 9-ball because that is the game needed to compete. Plus, it’s also one of the most fun games to play.”
9-ball is essentially played with nine balls in order from 1-9, plus the cue ball. The object of the game is to sink each ball in order from one to nine. However, if you pocket the nine ball, you win.
“It was a little hard to get used to since it’s not just solids and stripes.” Kellems said. “I love it though. It’s very competitive and fun, plus the games go by very fast so you’re not sitting there all day waiting for your turn to play.”
Bertke mentioned how he has played pool on and off for about ten years now, but started getting serious about it around two years ago.
“I started getting better and better.” Bertke said. “Once I realized that I started playing more and it just got a lot more enjoyable.”
Kellems also mentioned how he would pick up the stick every now and then, but didn’t get too serious about it until he and Bertke started getting together to play.
“We’re always so competitive with eachother,” Kellems said. “I guess that made it a lot easier to really start getting into the sport.”
Bertke also mentioned how there didn’t seem to be that many pool players on campus.
“Everyone enjoys playing pool,” Bertke said. “People just don’t want to buy their own sticks which I think is a big reason why not that many people play.”
Almost every player in the group carries their own.
“The sticks in Powell are old and worn down from being used so much.” Bertke said. “Having a good stick matters a lot as it will help to make your play better so I would say if you want to be serious and help the club, you need to get your own stick.”
The group is very easy to join, and just has a small fee of $40 that helps par or new equipment, and will also go toward traveling money for the next year.
“That’s a huge goal of the club is to travel and compete,” Kellems said. “We know we have some good players that will be able to make some noise in tournaments next year.”
Even though the club would love to potentially win a few tournaments here and there, its first goal is to qualify for nationals which take place in Las Vegas each summer after school has ended, the members said.
“I know we have some guys that can really compete for Nationals next year.” Bertie said. “Plus it’s a week in Vegas and who wouldn’t love that?”
Until they get to that point, the group will be practicing their craft and holding their own tournaments to get better.
Bertke also mentioned how being able to compete really prompted the group to become an actual club.
“It’s more of a club because we can participate in competitions and tournaments.” Bertie said. “We are also able to get sponsors to help us get revenue for the club which will help us out so much down the road.”
The mindset the group has is one that is ready to compete. The bond that they share with each other will definitely help them get to where they want to go.
“I love being around these group of guys.” Bertke said. “I look forward to it every week and I’m so glad we were finally able to get the ball rolling.”