In the last few weeks the hallways of the basement floor in the Anselm building have been much busier than normal. Is there a new movie playing? Could it be the new ABC network sitcoms? Have the students lost all hope in their school work and decided to just take an extended break? Or is it that all familiar billiards or in layman’s terms, pool?
On Sept. 29, 2014, the seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary kicked off their first ever pool table tournament. The tournament hosts 16 players, which include students, faculty, and monks, who will challenge one another to 120 rounds of one-on-one “8 ball” style pool. The pool tournament is taking place in the Anselm Commons of the dormitory and will end sometime in early December. The tournament will conclude with the top 8 players who will compete in a round robin to determine who the pool tournament champion will be.
The tournament was created by seminarian Stephen Cieslak of the Archdiocese of Portland. Cieslak is also the college athletics chair for the current year. Cieslak first had the idea of a pool tournament while playing a game of pool while home for the summer break. “It had been years since I last played pool, and when I played with my uncle and cousin this summer it brought back those memories and excitement that I once had” Cieslak said.
|Stephen Cieslak takes his turn in a game against Felipe Villalobos.|
Photo by Frank Villanueva.
|Felipe Villalobos lines up his shot. Photo by Frank Villanueva.|
Shortly after the school year started Cieslak noticed that many seminarians would spend their free time down in the Anselm Commons playing pool. “The role of the athletic chair is to provide for and to organize and set up and fund any [sports-related programs] that happen on the hilltop” Cieslak said. This interest was the fuel needed to start the pool tournament.
When asked about how the pool tournament fits in his formation, Cieslak said, “All sports play a role in our human, pastoral and spiritual formation.” He went on to describe how each of those pillars is shown through all the sports. “For the human pillar it [enables us] to interact with each player, allowing us to learn more about each other and the various backgrounds we come from. Pastorally it teaches me how to manage a project that involves more than just myself but others."
First-year college seminarian and tournament player Preston Castro of the Diocese of Honolulu also said, “Pool is an activity that helps seminarians bond [with each other].” Castro has a different reason for wanting to play pool. “I owned a pool table back home in Hawaii and played almost every weekend, and I hope this tournament will help me get better at the sport and build a stronger brotherhood with the other [players] involved” he said. When asked how this tournament helps in his formation, Castro said, “Playing pool will help me in my human and pastoral formation because it allows for opportunity to interact with people.”