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INDOOR GAME: The recent wet weather has...

INDOOR GAME: The recent wet weather has sent local construction crews scrambling for a place to bide their time and wait for skies to clear. While this has put a dent in the workers’ pockets, Orange County billiard clubs say they welcome the damp days of winter with open arms. . . . Michael Colello, general manager of Plush Pocket Billiard Club in Lake Forest, says his 20 billiard tables are usually most active on rainy days. “When it rains, it always gets busy with construction workers and painters who can’t work outside.”

EVEN PLANE: Women have steadily discovered that billiards is one of those sports that puts them on an equal footing with their male counterparts. According to the Billiard Congress of America, a nonprofit organization established in 1948 to promote and govern the sport, 40,254,000 people were playing last year, including 13,907,000 women. That was an increase of 19% from 1987. Toni Montilla has been playing at Tustin’s Swinging Door three hours a day, seven days a week for the past three years. “You don’t need any height or weight to control the cue ball,” she says. “That’s the key to the game.”

TRAILBLAZER: Elma Flathers moved Beach Billiard Manufacturing and Supplies to Santa Ana 30 years ago after her father established the company in Los Angeles in 1922. The three-generation, family-operated store specializes in restoration and sale of antique and unique billiard tables, ranging from 80 to 125 years old, and Flathers is considered an industry pioneer. “I think I was the first lady in the manufacturing business,” she says. “I’ve forgotten more than others will ever learn.”

SELF-STARTER: For those who always wanted to own their own billiard club business but didn’t know where to start, Joe Fiscella knows how and where to get proprietors up and running. His company has set up, supplied and serviced successful Orange County establishments, such as Shark Club and Metropolis. Fiscella says he provides a choice of tables, sites for clubs, and prices, which average $2,000 a table. “A place the size of Shark Club takes about four days to set up the tables.”

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