Resist the post-Thanksgiving urge to nap! Challenge your friends and family to a game of billiards instead – and wow them with your holiday billiards IQ:
- By the time the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation in 1621, people were familiar enough with billiards that William Shakespeare had even mentioned the game in one of his most famous works, Anthony and Cleopatra.
- While Samuel Adams was working on the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving (given by the Continental Congress in 1777), avid billiards player Marie Antoinette was regularly defeating her husband, King Louis XVI, during their many matches at Versailles.
- According to many claims, there was a billiards table in every state in the Union by 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise” to be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 26.
- During World War II, when Norman Rockwell painted his iconic work “Freedom From Want” (aka “The Thanksgiving Picture”), more than 13,000 billiard tables were installed at military and naval bases in the United States and overseas.
- Thanks to movies like the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise classic The Color of Money, billiards was enjoying a surge in popularity when George H.W. Bush made the presidential “pardon” of one turkey an official, annual tradition in 1989.