Junior International Championship Player of the Month – Nathan Childress

Nathan Childress

The old adage is that every cloud has a silver lining, for our July Junior Player of the Month, that old adage is a good one. Nathan Childress has rode a family crisis of a house fire to a dominating pool game at the ripe old age of eighteen.

“Our house caught on fire when I was eight” said Childress. “And we moved to a new house that was within 10 minutes of Diamond Billiards”. That proximity to the pool room gave Childress the opportunity to take lessons from room owner Thomas Dorsey and he has never looked back.

On a visit to Diamond Billiards, Nathan and his older brother Noah saw Dorsey giving lessons to two youngsters, and decided they too wanted to learn how to play. “His brother was better than him at the time.” Dorsey recalled. “I focused on his brother. Nathan could barely concentrate on more than one thing. I kept having to bring him back to the table.“ he continued. Dorsey gives Childress credit for sticking to it though. “He showed up every week. When he started focusing, his brain switched so that he just wanted to play pool and get better.” he said.

It didn’t take long to discover that Childress had a natural ability to play the game. “He is naturally talented in pool. Some people, you show them something and they don’t get it. He gets it right away and applies it to his game. “

Before too long, Childress wanted to compete in Junior events, and the Super Billiards Expo offered many different junior divisions. “He was always interested in playing in any junior event, anywhere.” said Dorsey. “I don’t think he won a match in his first 12 & Under tournament, but he came back the next year and won the event. Then it was the 14 & Under division, and he won that too. He has been winning tournaments since he was 10.”

Nathan Childress

This tournament success has helped to forge a unique bond between Childress and his mother Michelle. “I started going to the tourneys with him, and they just became our thing. I think I have missed three tournaments in ten years. I don’t play the game, but I like watching high level tournaments.” said Michelle.

Those tournament trips eventually led to regional tours, and Childress has had the same level of success there. Action Pool Tour Director Tiger Baker commented “He has played in three events on our tour, and he has cashed in all three. He beat Chris Bruner, a defending champion, at his first event with us”. Childress also remembers that event. “I was a little under the radar back then. I really wanted to start taking the game serious. I ended up taking second and that really motivated me to keep going. “

Even with all of the success Childress has achieved at the table. He still looks at the game in the right light. “He is pretty level headed. I have instilled into him that he has to lose gracefully and he is not playing the opponent. He is playing the table. If his opponent gets the rolls today, he got them yesterday, so it all evens out.” said Mom. Baker commented on Childress’s winning attitude at the table. “If you have a son who wants to play pool, you want one with exactly this mentality. He doesn’t show any anger at the table even when things aren’t going right. He has been raised right and you can see it in his demeanor at the table“. JIC Tour Director Ra Hanna summed it up when he suggested Childress for the Player of the Month honor. “Nathan Childress is right now  the best player in the JIC. He checks all the boxes (attitude, demeanor and professionalism) and we are very proud to have him in our family!”

While Childress has one more year of high school in front of him. He hopes to build a career as a professional pool player. Mom is trying to make sure that he stays grounded. “I just ask him to have a back plan or maybe find a trade that travels so he can work while on the road.”. Childress seems to have taken that message to heart. “I would love to do real estate, so I can still focus on pool.” He said. Veterans of the game, who had watched Childress in action, think the sky is the limit. “I’ve been some incredible things from this kid and it’s going to get better and better. “ said Tiger Baker. Childress’s coach Dorsey agrees with that assessment. “I think for Nathan, it makes sense. No one puts in the time that Nathan does. He will shoot drills and look to match up against anyone, just to learn more and more. He definitely has the mindset for it. He is hungry and wants to do it.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2021 issue of the Billiards Buzz Online Publication.