Club members bond over billiards
Members of Radford University's Billiards Club are finding comradery and confidence in the strategic sport.
"There is a lot of school spirit and sportsmanship involved," said club advisor and Coordinator for Student Organizations Ben Litvak. "Our players aren't just sharpening their skills, they're forming lifelong friendships."
The Billiards Club was established in 2007 and has been under Litvak's leadership since 2012. Practice is held every Monday in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center game room from 5 to 7 p.m.
Litvak, an avid billiards enthusiast, said he has enjoyed playing the sport for more than a decade. His pool passion has spread to his players, who appreciate Litvak's guidance, friendship and expertise.
"He knows how to make you better," said Jessie Fitzgerald, a sophomore who joined the team this spring.
"He's a great cheerleader," agreed finance major Brad Degener.
When they're not in the classroom, club members can be found in the Bonnie's game room, cue sticks in hand.
"Weekly, it's almost like a full-time job," Fitzgerald joked.
The club members' level of skill varies. Beginners to more advanced players practice each week not only to hone their skills, but to "hang out and have a nice distraction" from class and coursework, Degener said.
"We learn from each other," he added.
Fitzgerald and Degener played football and other field and court sports in high school. Billiards, they agreed, is just as competitive.
"The strategy is there," Fitzgerald said. "Just no pads."
For the past several years, Radford University has hosted a pool tournament that invites players from different universities to compete. On March 24-25, the Radford club battled teams from West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, Penn State and Methodist University in North Carolina.
The annual event, Litvak said, is an opportunity for club members to connect and network with other students and, of course, check out the competition.
The tournament spanned over two days and was live-streamed on Facebook.
Although the Radford team didn't come out victorious, the ultimate goal of the club has always been within reach.
"We have fun," Fitzgerald said. "That's what matters."