The Surprising Benefits of BIlliards

10 Reasons Why Billiards Is More Than Just A Bar Game

Billiards: alcohol not required.

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Billiards, known also as pool, has been known as a bar or pub game for years alongside darts, foosball, table tennis bowling... Pretty much any game where you're encouraged to grab a cheap beer and hit things. To be fair, it's earned the right to be considered a bar game; after a quick "pool hall" Google search, eight of the ten results were bars—and one of the two that weren't bars belonged to the local college's games center. Because of this, people have begun viewing billiards a game to play only when at the bar.

But the truth is a bit different; just like darts and bowling, playing a game of pool can be as challenging (and rewarding) as you make it. Ranging from health benefits to daily pleasure, billiards is far more than just a bar game.

1. Stretching: vital to both the game and your daily life

Stretching is vital for flexibility, injury prevention, and mental health, but people nowadays rarely stretch enough. By stretching over the table and changing positions for different shots, an hour of pool can increase your flexibility and overall health.

2. Focusing on that one shot can help you focus on the bigger things as well

Ask anyone who's tried to win a game of nine ball: trying to focus solely on one ball is a challenge, especially if you're in a loud room or you don't have a straight shot. Distractions in pool often turn into botched shots, just like distractions in life can turn into big mistakes. By learning how to focus solely on your goal in pool, you can apply that knowledge to your daily life and learn how to reach your goals quickly and effectively.

3. Who doesn't want to improve their test scores?

While pool isn't as simple as people may think, it's not a mystical thing, either. In all reality, pool is just a game of physics and geometry. If you can successfully master one, the other will be much easier.

4. Stress becomes a thing of the past

There's no cure all for stress and anxiety, but many people, including myself, have found that exercises like billiards, golf, and bowling can help significantly reduce anxiety.

5. Lonely? Not anymore 

Pool isn't a one- or two-person activity as a general rule. Some people use billiards and billiards competitions to help alleviate and combat their social anxiety, while others use them as a way to meet new people.

6. Disrespect is a thing that's quickly taken care of

Contrary to popular belief, most people are very polite when playing. Players will often be called out if they don't follow the PBIA's etiquette code, so both professionals and new players can feel calm and respected during a game.

7. Unlike your standard sport, people of all ages can participate

Unfortunately, most people can't participate in professional sports into their forties and fifties because their bodies can't keep up. After all, when do you ever see a 99 year-old football player? Meanwhile, 99 year-old Wesley Walker was still competing (and winning) back in 2001!

8. For the elderly, billiards may be an excellent low-intensity exercise

Or rather, an excellent way to maintain "active aging." One study found that men ages 70 to 95 who bowled four times a week were healthier than their counterparts.

9. Whether you're a new player or a pro, billiards isn't hard to get into

Despite all the trick shots and illegal jump shots on television, you don't need a master's degree to get started. With a quick YouTube tutorial, friend, or even kind stranger's help, you can be playing in no time.

10. Whether you're nursing a whiskey or chugging a Juicy Juice, it's always enjoyable

Take it from the girl whose purse can easily be identified as the one next to the juice box: you don't need to be drunk to have fun playing pool.

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My Definitive Ranking Of Animal Crossing Games

I know what you're thinking, and no, they're all not the same game.
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The Animal Crossing franchise has been around since 2002 and has four main games in its collection: Animal Crossing (Gamecube), Animal Crossing: Wild Word (Nintendo DS), Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS). Each game expands and improves upon the last one, while keeping the same simple game plot in mind -- you move into a new town and must take care of it and its villagers.

That being said, not every game is perfect. Here is my definitive ranking of Animal Crossing games, from best to worst.


1. Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)

In my personal opinion, this is the best Animal Crossing game of the bunch. They added lots of little features, while keeping the point of the game simple. In this game you could create your own constellations, open a coffee shop in your museum and even plant money trees -- all perks the Gamecube game did not have. Also, this game was the first in the franchise to allow for online play. You could now visit other people's towns, to explore and play together. I also think the unique design of the Nintendo DS helped make this game great. You could write letters or create patterns with the stylus on the touch screen, you see both screens simultaneously while playing, which allowed for easier game play then the Gamecube version. This game, to me, really defined Animal Crossing.

2. Animal Crossing (Gamecube)

It's hard to beat the original. This is Animal Crossing, in its most basic, true form. You have a mortgage to pay, a town to take care of and villagers to attend to. There are certain features in this game that I loved and wished they wouldn't have dropped when moving forward in the franchise. One of my personal favorites is the statue Tom Nook would construct if you paid off your mortgage in full - it was gold, shiny, right in front of the train station and absolutely ridiculous. Another feature, while not exactly honest gameplay, was another great one - the cheat codes you could find online. If you told Tom Nook a certain combination of letters and numbers, he would give you all sorts of goodies -- 30,000 bells, rare items, furniture. It was a nice little perk to have.

3. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS)

This game is arguably the one with the most changes and new features. This game took the usual Animal Crossing plot line and flipped it on its head: Tortimer, the mayor of your town, has decided to retire and named you his replacement. As mayor, you have so much you can do to your town: create new town projects, set new town ordinances, kick villagers out. Plus, a new island is introduced. You take a boat to it and have a direct line to rare fish, bugs and fruit. On top of all that, Nintendo just introduced a new update recently utilizing their amiibos in gameplay. All in all, this game is a lot of fun because it gives you so much to do. It can get overwhelming at times since there is so much you want to accomplish as mayor, but it's most always an enjoyable experience.

4. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)

This game, to me, is the one I enjoyed the least. The game is pretty straight forward, like all other Animal Crossing games, but this particular one hyped up a city where you can shop from special stores or see shows. To be quite honest, the city never really impressed me. It was cool, but nothing that deserved all the hype it got. I also thought the controls for this game were a bit awkward -- you used both a Wii remote and a nunchuck, holding one in each hand. The nunchuck would control your movements and you would interact with tools, buildings or villagers with the Wii remote. It was something I could never get used to. This game wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to the other games in this family for me personally.

Cover Image Credit: Animal Crossing

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A Thank You To Odyssey

A tribute to the site that help me become the writer I am today.

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When I think back to how far I have come in my writing career, I never would have thought it would be where I am at today. Almost two years ago, I joined this amazing website, and it has truly changed my life for the better. Coming into it, I thought I would mostly use it as a way to talk about pop culture, things I found funny, and a way to rant about stupid things. But over time, the platform began to allow me to find my voice in issues that truly resonated with me.

When I first started writing, I thought Odyssey was a platform for just pop culture, something to write about "Top 10" lists and angry twitter mobs. I remember coming onto the platform fully excited to begin giving my piece of mind on what hot fashion topics and open letters I wanted to write. The first few months of writing were great. My creative juices were absolutely flowing, and I thought I was producing some of the best pieces of my time as a writer.

However, after a while, I found that the pop culture articles weren't all I thought they were. I found myself growing bored with the content I was writing. I needed something else to talk about. I felt my writing was strained and pushed. It didn't feel natural. The content I was creating wasn't me and wasn't the things that I was entirely interested in. They were things I thought would get views.

As I moved my time to a bi-weekly schedule, as things in college began to kick up, I decided to try a different approach to my writing. I began to write about politics. I began to take the things I was truly passionate about and make that the center of my writing. My writing kicked back up again, and I truly found my actual passion. I figured out what I wanted to do in my career. And I was finally back in my groove.

Odyssey inspired me to find my voice. Not just my writing voice but my voice in this world. It resonated with me in what I was good at talking about, and what I was good with mediating and talking to others. I was able to truly find the confidence to not be afraid to voice my opinions, and know that not everyone will always agree with you. I can't imagine where I'd be without Odyssey. Writing has helped me through the toughest times in my life, and having this outlet has been what I've needed.

To my amazing team - they've created such a loving and inclusive environment. Anyone with anything to say can come onto this platform and team and know they have a family of friends to back them up, agree or disagree. I don't know what my future holds with writing, but I hope it remains a constant, and I will always give credit to my time at Odyssey.

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