The Coach Potato racks his balls for a new weekly gay pool league

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

FAST EATER FELSON | The author dives into the pool tourney. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Triangles play at the Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. Thursdays  at 7 p.m.


Thanks to some significant time in bars and living around my brother’s personal pool table, I’m not too shabby at sinking a ball in a corner pocket. Provided the angle is right and there are no balls in the way, I’d say I could guarantee it. Which made me wonder: Could I actually go from basement pastime to genuine shark in the new gay league.

“We’ll take anybody. We just wanna grow the division,” says founder Steven McFarland.

By the look of it, McFarland is a badass player. He’s currently second in the newly formed league’s rankings, just a few points shy of the top spot.  In another league, which is not gay, he ranks third. I knew he’d be the one to give me any extra tips before any kind of official playing. (The league follows official American Poolplayers Association rules.)

“You don’t even need to know how to play,” he says. “You can be taught along the way. It’s not difficult, but there are rules to follow.“

Hold up. I don’t even need to know how to play? Clearly I’m ahead of the game already. Not to mention that I’ve watched enough of The Hustler, The Baltimore Bullet and The Color of Money to throw down a few pool table challenges. Better yet, I don’t even have to run myself ragged to get into shape for billiards.  Basically, I can show up, order a Stella, maybe have a Cheeto and bust some balls — er, break them.

McFarland started the division, which has three teams representing three gay clubs — BJ’s NXS!, the Round-Up Saloon and Sue Ellen’s — in early June. The intention was to have an official league in the gay community and to spark a friendly competition among the bars in the ‘hood. The Dallas Triangles league has played at BJ’s but currently resides at the Round-Up every Thursday night. That is, until it grows.

“When we get to the point where it’s big enough, then we’ll play at multiple locations,” McFarland says. “We wanna look for sponsors.”

I could perhaps join one of the current teams, but I should probably start my own team of awesomeness. I just need at least four other people to join me for up to 14 weeks of play. The division winner can ultimately head to Las Vegas for a real-life pool tournament with money involved. ($25,000 here we come!) But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.  I still need to train a bit.

“You can head to the local website,” McFarland says. “There are videos there on tips to shoot. Plus, it’ll tell you what all the legal shots are.”

Did McFarland just ring a heavenly choir to mine ears? Watch videos to train? At home? I think a tear just fell onto my keyboard.

McFarland considers himself a competitive player, but ultimately, he really enjoys the social part of pool. He’s made new friends and business contacts and enjoys the fellowship of having a drink with like-minded enthusiasts. That doesn’t mean friendship will hold him back from beating you.

“Yeah, I’m that guy,” he says. “I can lose graciously, but I play to win.”


When he pours, he reigns

Let me tell you something: Judging cocktails is not the easy job it sounds like. Even dividing the responsibility between two judging teams of three

each, the 12 Tavern Guild bartenders who competed July 5 in a test of who was the best mixologist — winning not only cash, but a trip to Palm Springs to vie against bartenders from across the nation — still made up three drinks apiece. That’s a lot of booze.

I know. I was one of the judges.

There were some damn fine concoctions served up that night, but in the end, BJ’s NXS’s Dale Robertson, pictured — being adorable and shirtless didn’t hurt him — came in first place with his trio of the Palm Springs Tootsie Pop (a shot), the Sexual Chocolate Palm-tini (his Smirnoff martini) and his signature cocktail, the Poolside GameFace.

For those who want to mimic his success in the privacy of their own homes, here are the recipes:

Shot: Equal parts amaretto, Chambord and dark crème to cacao (or Godiva Dark).

Martini: 1 oz. vanilla vodka, ½ oz. each of Godiva White, Godiva Dark and Frangelico. Garnish glass with Hershey’s chocolate and top with a cherry.
Cocktail: ½ oz. each of Apple Pucker, Watermelon Pucker, vodka and Red Bull. Add a splash of cranberry and give a quick shake. Top with 151.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.