One of the classic arguments on the topic of British sport revolves around whether darts, pool and snooker should be regarded as sports.
These men and women, who play their matches in front of television audiences of millions of people, have to cope with as much mental stress as any top-class athlete in any other athletic branch. The difficulty in these sports gaining acceptance is due to the sedentary nature of their activity. Often, these leading sportsmen do not look like athletes and many will not share the diets that are consumed by most world class sportsmen. The majority of these international ‘athletes’ have learned their skills in a pub. Most pubs in the UK will have a dart boards and they will boast of producing darts teams that play in local leagues. The leagues are made up of A, B, and C teams for both men and women. It is therefore of great benefit for pubs to host these fixtures, which are played in midweek – the quietest time of the week for pub owners. The same is true with billiard (or pool) being popular in most pubs. Few bars will have snooker tables because the cost of a new full-sized snooker table is high, and the damage can be quite costly. But the majority will cater to pool players and these leagues are almost as popularly attended as the darts ones.
Many pubs have separate game rooms and they offer many activities, such as table tennis, that can be counted as sports. However, there are other games that would never attempt to claim status as any type of sport. The game of pin ball emerged just after the war and was made famous in the 1975 film “Tommy”. There was a period when every pub had a pin ball machine, but today they have largely been replaced by computer games. Those games first emerged in the late 1970s and the first big success was a game called “Space invaders”. The game was actually built into a table, so the customers did not have to leave their chair to play the game.
With youngsters being keen to take advantage of the computer games, it is left to the more senior customers to partake in certain games that have been organized in pubs for centuries. The longevity of dominoes and different card games just proves that these simple forms of entertainments still hold man’s fascination for them. There are some games that attract all ages, and one is table football. Nowadays, the table is hidden away in the far corner of the game room, as the excitement coming from it is not welcomed by most modern-day landlords. Pubs also have slot machines. Licensing and gamble laws strictly regulate how much can be gambled in pubs, yet this does not stop the machines still thriving in pubs. The successful pub is generally a hive of activity as most customers like to be doing something while drinking their favorite beers.