A plan to eradicate the lure of gangsterism for youngsters include cues, a felt table and 16 polished balls.
This is the aim of the Innovative Consistent Upliftment Pool Unit (ICUPU) who launched the first of many events in Heideveld on Saturday 24 October.
Noticing the power of the fairly unrecognised formal sporting code, Denver Pienaar founded the Intelligent Creative Unit (ICU) Pool Club in Matroosfontein with his son in mind.
After reaching out to other clubs in areas such as Ravensmead, Eureka Estate and Heideveld, Pienaar says they saw a common goal and established the union which they hope will be recognised in the sporting code.
Their first event was a junior pool tournament at the Peak Pool Club’s home base in Devil’s Peak Road, Heideveld.
Toyer Samuels of the Peak Pool Club says they started the club to keep children out of the grasp of gangsterism but, unfortunately, the lure is too great for some.
“In Heideveld, there is a lot of gangsterism. From young ages, children are swearing. You do not get the respect from them. This is something that changed that. It even changed our own home,” he says.
Losing children to gangsterism from pre-teen ages in Heideveld is common but Samuels is not about to let that happen to his young son.
When the opportunity to revive pool in Heideveld was presented by Pienaar, who suggested the tournament, Samuels joined the union.
“Through pool, we saw discipline. In pool, there is great respect. This is what we want to bring back to Heideveld. Get the children off the streets and playing pool, that their parents know where they are,” he says.
“Children today are not raised the way we grew up. They can do nothing without fighting but I believe this will bring a change. Everyone is excited and curious,” he says.
His siblings, Moosa and Mariam Samuels, all started playing with their brother Toyer and recall how the game brings children and families together.
Mariam says the benefits of the game are lost because it is not recognised as a formal sporting code at the same level of soccer and cricket, something they hope can change.
Pienaar says in many areas, the socio-economic problems with gangsterism and crime are the same and the benefits of establishing the pool union will appeal to all communities plagued by these ills.
“We realise our visions and goals are the same and this is the first of many events. What we are establishing here we will replicate in other communities,” he says.
The junior tournament was arranged in a few weeks with five clubs participating.
The clubs were ICU Pool Club, Vipers Pool Club u.18 1, Vipers Pool Club u.18 2, Bad Boys Pool Club u.18 and Peak Pool Club.
The tournament was won by ICU who beat Vipers 1 11 to 8.