Council on Aging holds inaugural pool tournament for veterans

Jan 23, 2020

Balls were flying at the senior center on January 23 as eight local veterans brought friends and family to kick off the Council on Aging’s first-ever pool tournament.

Around thirty people attended as spectators, nibbling on sandwich wraps and meatballs provided by Fay’s and watching with bated breath as the veterans vied for cash prizes.

The Friends of the Elderly co-sponsored the event, which was dreamed up by Dartmouth Veterans Service Officer Matt Brouillette back in November.

“I saw in the newsletter a picture of the pool table and like ten guys just hanging out around the table, so I decided to do that,” he said with a smile. “My focus is really on creating an event for the veterans where they have fun and they want another one.”

Brouillette said that he and COA Activities Coordinator Nancy Miller hope to hold a tournament once every few months, and potentially open it up to more groups of people.

“It’s going really good,” he said of the inaugural event. “We’re getting a lot of support from the spectators, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

“The Council on Aging here in Dartmouth is anything but aging. It’s very active, and there’s always something going on,” he added. “I think this is the first time I actually got a parking spot.”

Brouillette also noted that the players were very good. “It’s insane,” he said. 

Joe Maranhas, who teaches pool at the center on Wednesdays, moderated the matches.

“There’s a lot of different people here today,” noted Council on Aging outreach worker Ellen Hull. “People we don’t often see in the center. It’s nice.”

Everyone seemed to be having a good time as they chatted, joked, and watched the proceedings on the center’s newly refurbished table.

“It’s fun,” said senior center custodian Bronson Collins, who was watching a couple of his colleagues play. 

Vietnam vet George Frias of Dartmouth came to see his friends play, but couldn’t sign up himself for the tournament because he had a doctor’s appointment. “I was late,” he said with a wry smile.

Prizes were donated by individual sponsors, and each winner chose between a cash prize or a brand-new pool cue.

New Bedford resident Marty Flinn ultimately took the top prize of $150, which he said he would donate to Buttonwood Park.

He had been nervous watching his competitor Armand Santos of Dartmouth beat Wayne Sweet in the semi-final.

“Armand’s really good. I’ve got my work cut out,” he said. Santos started playing pool 72 years ago, at the age of 15.

The two have known each other for years, having both worked at the same New Bedford post office.

“I was lucky to win,” said Flinn after the tournament. 

“I don’t mind losing to Marty at all,” stated Santos with a grin. “He’s a great friend, and a good shooter.”