In a sport of fierce competition, where names like "The Black Widow" and "The Duchess of Doom" are heralded, Ewa Mataya Laurance knows that her 25 years of professional pool-playing experience can give her an edge. The veteran is counting on her skill and coordination to guide her to the finals of the 2005 Cuetec Cues Florida Classic, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (One Seminole Way, Hollywood).
The nine-ball tournament is part of the Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) Tour. The semifinal and final matches will be taped for future broadcast on ESPN. A color commentator on the WPBA Tour for ESPN and ESPN2, Laurance is excited about the upcoming South Florida tournament and practices her technique daily. "A serious, competitive professional pool player devotes a tremendous amount of time to the sport," Laurance says. "I put in a solid eight hours a day practicing. You have to be dedicated and passionate about pool or you won't be successful."
One of the biggest success stories in the sport has been Jeanette Lee, a.k.a. "The Black Widow." She is known for her striking, black, leather-and-lace attire and deadly effect on competitors. Expect to see her there. Tickets cost $8 to $40. Call 954-327-ROCK. -- Jamie Aquino
With the baseball season heading toward the All-Star break, the National League East is as wide open as a dockside strumpet on payday. All five teams are hovering around .500, and even the perennial cellar-dweller, the Montreal Expos... er, Washington Nationals, look poised to stay in contention. With a lot of baseball left to play, this looks as if it could be the most hotly contested division race since 1988, when four AL East teams ended the season within two games of the title. The Fish return from their 12-game road trip to meet the Atlanta Braves for a four-game set starting Monday at Dolphins Stadium (2269 NW 199th St., Miami). Game one begins at 7:35 p.m. Call 305-623-6100. -- Paul A. Leone