Eleanor Callado is one of the best female pool players in the world—she was ranked No. 13 in 2016—but earns less than $5,000 a year in prize money. Still, the prospects for women in billiards generally seem to be on the upswing, according to a feature at Topic by Megan Greenwell, appropriately headlined "Ball Breakers." The main governing body, the Women's Professional Billiard Association, plans to host half a dozen tournaments this year and eight in 2019, up from just one in 2016. "These days, the reason women-only billiards tournaments exist is not because [female players] can't beat men," writes Greenwell. "It's because they can." Not that all the guys can believe it.
"Every serious female player has an arsenal of stories about less-skilled men disrespecting them, harassing them, and mansplaining the game," writes Greenwell. The story recounts how women's billiards rose in popularity in the 1990s when ESPN began televising tournaments—resulting in the sport's first celeb, Jeanette Lee, or the "Black Widow"—but suffered a blow when ESPN moved the tournaments off TV a decade ago. A slow resurgence has been taking place since, and Greenwell profiles some of the women competing in a women's-only tour in the Bay Area of California. Only $300 is at stake, but top finishers improve their rankings to qualify for bigger tournaments, including those run by the coed American Poolplayers Association. Click for the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)