Lutheran Pool League Brings Friends Together

Frederick Giddy, left, and Harry Glatz look over the table during recent 8-ball pool action in the Lutheran Pool League. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Harry Glatz is 91 and a retired dentist. He lives in the Andrew Brostrom Hall Apartments at Edgewood Communities on Jamestown’s eastside, and he has a special friend who resides in the same building. His name is Frederick Giddy.

Fred is 97 and a retired chiropractor.

Two or three times a week, the two men walk cross Aldren Avenue to the basement of the Juliet J. Rosch Activities Center and join a group of their friends for a game of 8-ball pool. The guys range in age from 65 to 97.

To say that Fred “has game” would be an understatement. To confirm it, Harry pulls out an album filled with photographs of the Lutheran Pool League tournament champs dating back several years. Fred’s image appears on a number of pages, standing next to his partner, a pool cue in hand and a smile on his face.

Mention of Fred’s name makes Harry smile, too.

“He is such a gentleman and such a caring guy,” Harry said.

Born in Bideford, England, Fred moved with his family to the United States when he was 3 and lived on a small farm near Kennedy that had no electricity or indoor water. Growing up, he said that he “shoveled manure all day for 50 cents and a sandwich.”

It was pretty rough days for our parents,” Fred recalled, “but as far as I know I was a happy kid.”

A 1940 graduate of Falconer High School, Fred spent 3¢ years in the United States Air Force. Upon his discharge, he used the GI Bill to help him earn a degree from the Palmer College of Chiropractic. Upon his graduation in 1950, Fred began a practice that lasted 46 years, including opening an office in Falconer. A resident of Edgewood Communities for the last 10 years, Fred walks a mile a day, is careful about his diet, is an avid reader and is interested in politics.

Since his arrival on campus, Fred and his buddies meet in the basement of the Rosch Center several times a week for their friendly game of 8-ball. Tournaments are also held several times a year.

“The men have named a pool shot after Fred,” Harry said. “It’s called the ‘Giddy Shot.’ When several balls are gathered together in a tight formation, Fred will break up the formation and, more often than not, will sink one of his balls. We say he is accurate in his shooting, but he’s lucky as well.”

Fred said he was introduced to pool by Warren Nelson, another Edgewood resident, and is very happy that happened.

“Personally, I think it’s a great thing for me when I came here, because what are you going to do? You can walk (for exercise), but how long are you going to walk?”

Harry, who is the commissioner of the league, agreed that a game of pool is a “great way way to fill time.”

“You get to know guys on campus and then there’s the fellowship,” he said. “We do a lot of kidding of one another. We have a good time.”

And, occasionally, indelible memories are made.

Dave Larson, another Lutheran Pool League member, has two favorite memories, both courtesy of Fred.

“I remember on the first break he scratched the 8-ball,” Dave said, “and I also remember the time when someone else had broken, Fred was up next and he cleared the table. Both of those things are rather rare.”

Added Harry: “(Fred) still has a good game, very good. You have to be to win these things.”

Judging from the testimonies of his pool-loving contemporaries, however, Fred’s success with a cue in his hands is merely a bonus, because even though he has had his share of good fortune during their matches, the men he plays with are truly the lucky ones for having him as a friend.