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Pool tourney a monthly ball

Sports: Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center hosts competition every third Thursday for 55-and-older p

Posted: February 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Jose Jimenez, right, congratulates Nick Koulax for sinking the eight ball and winning the tournament.

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Competitive pool tournaments are held throughout the world, and it’s a sport that puts every player on an even playing field. For Chris Osif, the chance of winning a tournament is not based on size or gender, but skill.

Osif was the only woman participating in the recent tournament held at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. She also has two tournament championships.

“I feel like just one of the players. There’s no gender bias. I have a lot of fun, and I meet a lot of nice people. I’m here almost every day,” said Osif.

Osif plans to retire next week, which will free up more of her time, allowing her to come to the center and play more pool.

The SCV Senior Center’s most recent pool tournament featured both novice and veteran 55-and-older players. The tournament was run exclusively by seniors and allowed them to compete against one another in a friendly setting, with much fun and laughter.

The double-elimination-style tournament was directed by June Micu, a 12-year veteran of the game and 12-time tournament champion at the SCV Senior Center. He sees the tournament as a way of challenging himself and those around him.

“The laughter of the game makes you feel young,” Micu said. “The camaraderie you have for one another is what it is about. It’s also a game of strategy. I know, I’ve been playing here long enough to know everyone and how they play.”

The competitive spirit is also found in Nick Koulax. He’s been the director of the senior center’s pool hall for more than two years, as well as a two-time champion.

“I only started really playing five or six years ago. One day, I looked in here and some of the guys invited me in,” Koulax said. “That’s where I started. They gave me lessons and taught me how to shoot. I enjoy it; it’s a social thing.”

During the tournament, both Koulax and Micu had the opportunity to play against one another.

“I quit! I give up,” yelled a frustrated Koulax after being intentionally snookered, or blocked, by Micu. “No one can beat this guy — he’s the best.”

But in the end, Koulax would eventually overcome a last-minute rally by Micu and continue on to the finals where he eventually won the tournament.

Severo Aggarao finished second, and Don Zambory clinched third.

Koulax is also responsible for Osif joining the tournament two years ago.

“I’m walking in the hallway and not even thinking about the tournament,” Osif said. “And he asked if I was going to play in the tournament. I said I don’t have any money, so he paid my fee for me. I came in first place, after ultimately having to beat him.”

Each tournament sees players who bring their own unique story as to how they got involved in the game.

“I like pool. It’s fun, amusing and relaxing,” said Rod Saet. “It’s only my fourth time at this pool hall and my first time playing in the tournament. I can’t wait.”
The monthly pool tournament is held every third Thursday of the month at the SCV Senior Center’s pool hall. All those 55 and older are welcome and must contact June Micu at the Senior Center to sign up.
Each tournament requires a fee of between $2 to $8 depending on how many players participate on the day of the tournament. The Senior Center’s pool hall is open daily from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
The Santa Clarita Senior Center is located at 22900 Market St., Newhall and can be contacted directly at (661)255-1588.

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