Jan Timmreck picked up a cue stick for the first time about a year ago after moving to The View.
"I love it," Timmreck said of the game of pool, which she now plays as regularly as she can with the assisted living center's league.
Nearly 25 residents of The View in Minot play with the league. Each week the leagues pairs up a different male and female partner to create two-member teams that face off early in the week. The play-off games lead to a championship match on Thursdays. Presentation of the two traveling trophies to the winning team occurs on Fridays. The trophies, kept on display in the pool room, hold the name plates of the latest week's winners.
Gary Nelson, a pool instructor from Stanley, demonstrates a technique as Doc Olson looks on Jan. 12 at The View.
Pool isn't all about competition at The View, though.
"What I like about it is you get exercise walking around the pool table and you get exercise mentally," said league member Laura Skalicky. It's a social event, too.
"We have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs," Skalicky said.
Some of the laughs come from silly mistakes, but they are working on improving their games. On Jan. 12, certified pool instructor Gary Nelson, of Stanley, conducted a workshop at The View. Nelson, who taught pool at Minot State University, said pool incorporates physics and geometry. He explained by demonstrating the stop shot, back roll and top spin, which are techniques for getting the cue ball to behave in ways that facilitate certain shots. He also demonstrated ways to hold the cue stick and talked about how the characteristics of the table felt and cleanliness of the balls can affect shots.
Nelson, a senior national referee who worked international pool tournaments in Las Vegas for 12 years, also presented a few official rules for the common 8 ball game. However, he noted there's nothing wrong with having your own rules for informal play as long as people know what they are and you stick to them.
The game of choice at The View, where pool is popular because it can be played despite physical limitations, is 8 ball. Skalicky said The View league has a number of players who have vision restrictions or physical disabilities.
"But they still can shoot a good game of pool," she said.
The women tend to be newer to the game and most started playing since moving to The View. The men often have had previous experience in their youth.
A Westhope native, Calmer Overlee, remembers playing in the community's recreation center. The community had a competitive league but he just played for fun. He played a good deal in Arizona during the 18 years that he wintered there.
"I really enjoy it. It's my outlet," he said. "The social part is the big thing."
Clarence "Doc" Olson learned pool from a one-armed teacher in Powers Lake.
"He was a good teacher," he said. Olson used to play snooker pool and traveled to league tournaments around the region.
"The older players 80 to 90 years old were the best players," recalled Olson, who is past 90 himself these days and considered one of the more formidable players in The View's league. Olson said he didn't play much when working as a dentist in Mohall but once he retired, he played often at the senior citizens center.
"We had a group that would meet at 12 o'clock and we would play until 4 o'clock," he said.
Moving to The View when the June flood inundated his home, he's a frequent visitor to the pool room at the center. He's still perfecting his game. After taking in Nelson's demonstrations, Olson looked forward to trying out the playing tips.