Pool play part of daily life for group of 20 at Heritage Pointe in Warren

Norm Hiser (back) gathers with (front row from left) Clarence Myers, Melvin Dooley and Carl Hubbart after Dooley “ran the table” during a pool game at Heritage Pointe in Warren.
Norm Hiser (back) gathers with (front row from left) Clarence Myers, Melvin Dooley and Carl Hubbart after Dooley “ran the table” during a pool game at Heritage Pointe in Warren. Photo provided.

Originally published Sept. 16, 2013.

"Clarence (Myers) is 90 and I am about 89, and we feel like we are able to get up there about every weekday," says Mel Dooley, Heritage Pointe resident and avid pool player.

He is part of a group of roughly 20 Heritage Pointe residents who are heavily involved in weekly pool tournaments held every Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Myers has been playing pool at Heritage Pointe for 15 years, and Dooley for 12.

They say that the men who play every Friday also play every day between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.

Or, almost every day, "First things first, I don't play pool if we need groceries," Dooley says with a smile.

He says anywhere from four to 10 residents show up for the daily games and estimates the youngest player is about 69 years old, while the eldest is 93.

"There's a lot more older ones than there are younger ones," adds Myers.

On Fridays, they explain, women join the men in contest, and the winner receives a gift certificate for a haircut or ice cream cone.

The Friday tournaments have been going on for about eight years, they say. Additionally, Dooley says, "We have an in-house tourney every April for men, and that's been going on for I don't know how long.

"Then in May we have a tourney with three other homes." He says women and men participate in the May tourney, and it has been running for 30 years.

Dooley says it has become more than just a game of pool, "We have a good time, we tell a lot of jokes."

Myers explains how the game has helped with resident rehabilitation.

"A couple years ago one of the players broke his hip... he gets up and hangs onto the table and moves around," he explains.

"Mentally he was kind of shot too," adds Dooley, "but he comes around and exercises and he does real good."

Others overcome hurdles to compete, they say. Last year a woman played in the four-home tourney in her wheelchair.

Myers remembers other Heritage Pointe residents breaking through disabilities, "There was one man who came in and he couldn't walk at all, and they built him a chair with rollers on it so he could play. Later they got him into therapy and now he can walk and goes out and plays golf."

"The first time I saw him he couldn't take two steps without his walker," adds Dooley, "and now he doesn't even use a walker. He has a lot of willpower."

Myers says some of the every day players use walkers during daily life, but give them up around the table.
Myers and Dooley have both won a few trophies at the yearly Heritage Pointe men's tournament and in the four-home tournament in May.

"He (Myers) is one of the better players," says Dooley. Recently, Dooley ran the table - sinking a striped and solid ball on the break and continuing to sink the remaining seven solids to beat his opponent.

"I was very lucky (to run the table)," he adds.

In the 15 years Myers has been playing he says himself, Dooley and fellow player Ralph Taylor are the only residents to ever accomplish the feat.

"We have a table we get around to and have coffee, and we might lie a little bit," jokes Dooley of recounting past games.

"Sometimes we have the argument, ‘Who won last year?'"
Competition can get heated, they say, and Myers says, "Somebody may say ‘Well, I am not coming back anymore.'
They come back the next day."

The pair says they can't keep track of everyone who has been involved over the years.

"I wouldn't have any idea because you have deaths and illness," says Dooley, "We're just thankful the home has got it for us."