GONZALES -- Sam Pizzillo sank the 14 ball in the corner pocket, circled the table and adjusted his cap before taking his final shot.
“There it is,” Roy Cassard said as the 8 ball dropped.
Pizzillo’s shot secured the 69-year-old, self-employed Gonzales resident the Gonzales Senior Center’s pool tournament title.
“He really wanted that case and he got it,” said Cassard, the undefeated winner of the center’s last tournament.
Pizzillo had to beat Orlando Dickson, 81, in two consecutive games to take the title and win a new pool cue case.
Pizzillo said the case was the “first one I ever had.”
Before winning the case, Pizzillo wrapped two of his granddaughter’s hair scrunchies around the pool cue to prevent damage.
After slipping his pool cue in the case, Pizzillo placed the two ponytail holders — which the other players called garters — around the case.
“Yeah, I’ve got to keep up my image,” Pizzillo said, laughing.
Pizzillo joined the center about five years ago after moving from Baton Rouge to Gonzales.
The center provides Pizzillo with a place to go for meals, pool games and “to hang out with a great bunch of guys,” he said.
Tournament organizer Chris Himel, a volunteer at the center, said more than 20 men took part in the tournament, which was held five consecutive Fridays.
The winners of the first four double-elimination tournaments faced off Friday for the championship title.
Cassard, who didn’t compete in this tournament, sat next to the pool table giving friendly words of advice and commenting on the games.
“I write the book, and y’all won’t read it,” Cassard said as Wayne Moran and Wally Turner faced off in the first game of the day.
Moran lost the first game when he prematurely sank the 8 ball.
“I put a little curve on it,” Moran said after losing his first game.
Next up was Pizzillo and Dickson. Dickson moved slowly around the table, looking for the perfect shot.
“Now that man can shoot some pool,” Cassard said as Pizzillo made several shots in a row. “Man, he wants that case bad.”
Eventually, Dickson won that game.
After several other games, Pizzillo and Dickson faced again off in the final two games.
As the men shot pool, one group of seniors played bingo and another group sang with a Karaoke machine.
Council on Aging Executive Director Darlene Schexnayder said the pool table is a popular spot in the Gonzales Center.
“They just love coming here to shoot pool and socialize,” Schexnayder said.
She said the pool players meet three times a week and host the tournaments in the spring and fall. “It keeps them active and that’s what we want to see here,” she said.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved