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"The billiard room? One of the best places to take a student's mind off his work, especially a Freshman's."
Such is the opinion of Benjamin "Ben" Laurio, who for twenty-two years has been taking care of the billiard room in the basement of the Freshman Union and who is well known to every Harvard alumnus since the class of 1919.
According to Laurie, the billiard room is one of the busiest places in the College. An average of 150 students come in every day to spend about twenty minutes a piece on either a pool or billiard game They are exceptionally careful with the equipment, which, Laurie claims, is the best he has ever seen.
The room has had a long and varied history. Designed for the express purpose of playing either pool or billiards, the room has its tables arranged far enough away from the windows so as to render harmless any change in temperature that might affect the cloth on the tables or the ivory billiard balls.
In this chamber Harvard and Yale once had a billiard match, which Harvard won, 1 to 0. And on the room's center table, table six, Schaefer and Cochrane played off the 1915 world pool championships.
Harvard men are "gentlemen and scholars," Laurie believes. He thinks pool and billiards are excellent "for the boys," when played in moderation, and likens billiards to mathematics as good examples of precision and accuracy.
As Laurie remembers it, the only argument he ever had with any student was over the respective merits of green and purple cloth for the tables.
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