Columbia senior citizens gather to play pool in the mornings

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 | 2:48 p.m. CDT; updated 9:27 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Senior citizens practice and compete in pool tournaments at the Columbia Senior Activity Center on Wednesday mornings. Most players bring their own pool equipment, and it costs $2 to play.

COLUMBIA — With his Red Seal chewing tobacco in a leather holder on his belt, Steve Rice traded shots with his father, Raymond Rice, in the pool room Tuesday morning. After the last game, Steve Rice unscrewed his pool cue and packed it in his case before leaving with his father.

“They sure left in a hurry,” Alan Murphy said, standing in front of a scoreboard with more than 20 tallies from the games Bob Wolfe, Harold Poettgen and Murphy had been playing. They had played all morning in rotating two-on-one 8-ball matches.

Seniors gather most mornings to play pool and practice for their weekly tournament at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Columbia Senior Activity Center on Business Loop 70 East.

The competition can be fierce — there's even a "crying towel" on the wall for "sore losers, snibblers and hurt feelings,” according to the sign that hangs above it.

But that doesn't keep the competitors from being friends. The seniors call out the names of each new player who enters the room, laugh and poke fun at one another as they blaze through game after game.  

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