Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pool Cue Massacre

Photos by Brendon Padilla


By Brendon Padilla

There are many recreational activities available for students at Saint Thomas Aquinas College. They can participate in a club sport, practice music in our various artistic clubs, or do something as simple as hang out with friends in the Romano Center. The issue with the Romano Center being an option for recreation is that fewer students are looking forward to going there. Why? If you would look at the condition of the pool cues and tables, you would understand. Someone or a group of someones have been destroying the pool room equipment in the Romano Center.

Tension amongst the students has been stirring for the majority of this semester. Dave Eng, the faculty member in charge of the recreational activities, purchased new pool cues for the tables and within a week, the majority of them were broken in half or broken into shards. Of all the questions that this raises, one thing is certain: STAC is running out of ideas.

One table itself has extensive damage. The felt is tearing off the table, the pockets are falling out of place, the wood is chipping and you can lift the entire side wall off of the table. Dave Eng came up with an alternative and decided to put one of the ping pong tables on top of the damaged pool table. All of the students were under the impression that this was a good idea. Ping pong has even become tremendously popular at the Romano Center. Until recently, when a student decided to rip off the rubber from the ping pong paddles. Some of the ping pong balls and paddles were even ripped in half.

Most of the students were under the impression that the pool tables were considered crossing a line. It turns out that a mysterious someone wanted to take his vandalism to the next level. Someone used a blunt object to make a hole in one of the walls by Dave Eng’s office. Students keep asking: when will the destruction end? What will happen if the objects are replaced? Will the same destructive pattern repeat itself?

Bryan Mannine, one of the freshman students, had an interesting opinion on the matter. I asked Bryan “How many pool cues did Dave Eng. purchase this year?” he responded “I think it was 12 or something along those lines; at least all of them have been broken in some way, whether it be the tips or in half.”  

I asked him “How do you feel about the fact that STAC has replaced the pool sticks so many times only to find them broken the next day?” He stated “I honestly hate the fact that people have no respect for things that aren't theirs, so they think it is okay to break them when it's not.”

“How often would you say that you go to the Romano Center to play pool?”  He stated “I’m almost always at the pool tables. People like me who commute love spending time in the Romano Center because there is no dorm for us to go and stay in while we wait for our classes to start. Pool helps pass the time and I really enjoy the game.”

Akiel Andrew, treasurer of Student Government, also had a strong opinion about the tables. “The pool tables are the first thing you see when you walk into the Romano Center. Their condition conveys to all of the students and the visitors what kind of stature we hold ourselves to.” I then said, “I never took that point of view into consideration. Do you have any advice to give the students who most frequently use the pool tables?” Akiel responded by saying “Take care of the pool sticks and the pool tables. If you’re at home, you would take care of your belongings. STAC is basically like your second home; so treat it as such.”

I asked Akiel if there were any other points that he would like to add to either students or faculty. He responded with this statement. “The Romano Center is one of the main places students can go to have fun; might as well fix it up a little bit.”

Both students and faculty members have been brainstorming for possible solutions that could solve this endeavor. This situation is actually becoming more serious than people are anticipating. For starters, whoever is doing this damage to the school is technically getting away with vandalism. When the culprit goes unpunished, we as a school give the impression that we don’t care.

The main objective is to prevent another pool cue massacre. Just like Akiel stated in the interview, STAC is our home. We grow as individuals here. Years from now, the students who are attending STAC will either be graduated, in grad school, or continuing the rest of their lives. What kind of impression do they leave behind when they choose to ignore what is going on in their own backyard?

Brandon Padilla is a junior studying Communication Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas College.


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