The author tries for that perfect three-rail-into-the-corner-pocket shot.

The author tries for that perfect three-rail-into-the-corner-pocket shot.

There’s magic in the rifle-like crack of a solid break, or dropping the eight-ball on an impossible three rail shot with your peers watching. It’s kind of like swishing a three-pointer in basketball or winning a huge pot of cash in poker. But shooting pool’s even better, because it’s wheelchair friendly–and inexpensive. And a great social outlet. Just show up at any bar or pool hall, play a few games and you start to make friends. There are other benefits: Pool is easy on the joints and tendons, you can play at any age, and it’s not weather dependent. Shooting pool from a wheelchair also provides one of the most level playing fields in all of sport.

“Watch an able-bodied pool player. They have to lean over to get their chin near the table to line up a shot. The cool thing about playing from a chair is you’re in this position to begin with, so you have a slight advantage in lining up a good shot,” says Ken Force, CEO of the National Wheelchair Poolplayer Association. Force, 46, a T1 complete para from Garden Grove, Calif., has been playing pool most of his life and has played competitively for the past seven years.

Force explains that the rules for playing in a chair are the same as stand-up pool with a modification or two: Stand-up players must keep one foot on the floor when making a shot; wheeler-players must keep one butt cheek on their wheelchair cushion.