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The Student News Site of Landmark College




Battle of the Billiards

How the Billiards Club rose to popularity, and how the game has brought students together.
Students playing Billiards at Landmark College
Students playing Billiards at Landmark College

There has been a stir of activity circulating in the student center lately. During the late hours on a Sunday night, a large gathering of students descended the stairs to the game room to attend one the most popular student body clubs on campus, which has been seeing a record number of attendance in the past two semesters, with membership continuing to grow. One might be surprised to hear that out of all the student led clubs on campus, the Billiards club has become a convergence point for a growing number of people to compete and coexist.

The origins of the club can be traced to the fall semester of 2018, when Landmark College student Cullen Elwell initiated its formation. According to Cullen, the student body was interested in creating new programs which would provide students with opportunities to engage with one another in new activities–a hope which would culminate in the billiards club beginning under his supervision. The club was initially scheduled for Sunday nights, beginning at 8:30, offering lessons on how to play along with tournaments pitting students against each other. For the tournaments, a chalkboard was used to fill out brackets, yet would be later replaced with an online bracket on the website, Challenge.

This new club would face major challenges out of the gate, as Cullen would graduate the following year, leaving the club without a coordinator. Compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many discouraging signs that the club might not survive. However, the tides began to turn in the club’s favor, as new coordinators such as recent alum, Charlie Frost and current co-coordinator, Matt Snell took the position after students returned post-Covid. Cullen would eventually return to Landmark in the spring of 2022 and resume his position as co-coordinator–and directly following this, would see a steady rise in interest for the club. By the autumn of 2023, the club had recorded an average of 25 students participating weekly, with the mailing list consisting of 78 members of the student body.

Cullen Elwell commented on how this has impacted the atmosphere of not only the club, but the game room on Sunday nights: “There is always a crowd of students around the billiards tables. While many familiar faces show up, many new faces appear from time to time. There’s a fluctuation,” said Elwell.  With this evident increase in student attendance, new co-coordinators, Karina Alaniz and Josh Sampaio were added to the fold in order to manage and help with running the club.

Several factors can be attributed to this surge of popularity. Perhaps the most obvious allure of the club is that simple student desire to meet new people and to feel included in a group environment. Cullen Elwell expounded on this feeling during an interview for the article, stating, “The club has given students a ‘third place’. It is already a natural gravity well for students to congregate, relax and be themselves” According to Cullen, a “third place” is a term referring to a place that neither requires engagement of labor or a place where you live. Third places are common on many college campuses, including Landmark. Another factor is ease and entry level skills one can have when playing. After all, billiards is at its core, using a long stick to shoot colorful balls into reasonably sized pockets. Whether the participant is an amateur who enrolls just for the fun of playing, or a pro who enters with their own pool stick with a custom handle and pouch to store, there is an allowance to play and learn new techniques.

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