A group of Islanders enjoy Saturday night pool at Joyce and Ray Digouts in Spring Bay throughout the winter. Pictured are Phil Harper, John Szewczyk, Sally Miller, Cheyenne Migwans, Bill Doff, Rich Waters, Frank Langeman, Cecile Migwans, Rusty Auxier, Ken Richard, Joyce Digout, Doug Switzer, Rex Barker and Ray Digout.

SPRING BAY—Some people just want to have fun. Wintertime fun, that is. Every Saturday night from late October to May, 12 to 18 men and women gather at the Ray and Joyce Digout property in Spring Bay to shoot some pool in Mr. Digout’s ‘man cave.’

This is no ordinary man cave. It is a converted barn that can hold up to 48 people and has several milk cans on display as well as antique farming equipment and the useful implements Mr. Digout makes from horseshoes. It also has a large wood stove, two pool tables, a big screen TV for watching hockey games, a fridge, a long table and lots of chairs.

As the Digouts explained, they used to shoot pool at the Route 50 restaurant and bar in Mindemoya. When that closed, they moved on to B and J’s in M’Chigeeng. When that establishment closed too it was time to bring the outing home.

As Ms. Digout explained, “We have a great gang here. It’s an outing for people who love to shoot pool. It’s a gathering. The wives come too and once a month we have a meal. Each player plays five games every Saturday so you are not always playing the same person. You rotate. We have an open door policy. If you have friends visiting, come on over. We have hunters that come too. And we always have coffee, tea and hot chocolate on. We also have snacks and I usually bake something. We would welcome new players. We can accommodate 24 people.”

This pool league has a small fee to join and all the money goes to prizes. The Digouts host a barbecue in May after 25 weekly sessions and the playoffs are held then.

The Digouts are quick to point out that Rusty Auxier of M’Chigeeng and Rich Waters of Mindemoya are the ones looking after the pool while they provide the venue. As Mr. Auxier explained, “It’s an outing in the wintertime. I help by keeping track of who plays who, the statistics and everything.”

“We started the league,” Mr. Waters added. “First we played shuffleboard and then on to pool.”

Bill Doff of Spring Bay is one of the regulars at the pool sessions and, at age 87, is so good at the game that others have started calling him Sharkie. He told The Expositor that he particularly enjoys the friendship. “I made a lot of friends here,” he said, “and it gets you out of the house.”

Sally Miller, who lives in Providence Bay, also enjoys the outing. “It’s fun,” she said, “and you get to know other people. And everyone has a great sense of humour.”

“We have invited the Gore Bay players to participate in the playoffs,” Mr. Digout said. As he explained, several of these players came to the Digouts for pool before, but now have their own venue at the seniors centre in their home town. As Bill Baker of Gore Bay explained, all of Manitoulin’s West End seniors are invited to come to the new centre that has replaced the Western Manitoulin Drop In Centre, shoot some pool and interact with others. Mr. Baker can be reached for more information at whbaker@explornet.com

In Little Current, pool players gather at the Royal Canadian Legion and new players are always welcome for free games Tuesday through Saturday from 4 pm on.