Sharing The Light – Question 4 January 2022

We took a little break for the holidays but we are back with Question 4 of our ongoing series 

Question #4, January 2022: 

In your experience, did alcohol ever help, or hurt, your game?

Tom Rossman

Tom Rossman 

The last time I had any alcoholic drink was in my college days from 1967 – 1972. I do not remember it hurting or helping my game, probably because I never drank to excess.

I have however been helped in matches on a few occasions when my opponent drank to excess and his game went south very quickly — missing shots and playing position poorly.

I would rather experience any help that I gather from the game come from the “sport gift” of billiards that God has allowed me to play…accordingly to Psalms 33:3 — “Play Skillfully with a Shout of Joy”!!

When my focus is on what Jesus did for me (and everyone) on the Cross, I can truly enjoy the roll of the game with literal makes…or literal misses, which are simply “makes in disguise” (“new shots”) in the bigger spiritual picture of things.

The Holy Spirit working through me is the only guaranteed “help” I need!

Tommy Kennedy

Tommy Kennedy 

No, I never used alcohol in the sense of being an alcoholic. But on a rare occasion I have had a drink.. But now I don’t even want any. But if I feel bad sometimes I might have some to help with my stomach. Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for your stomach. But it wasn’t to the point of drunkenness which the bible forbids.I also don’t like the way it makes me feel. It makes me very tired and just makes me feel like I want to faint. And I think it is a bad testimony if you are a drinker. You will be setting a bad example for others who might be tempted to drink and then they fall into drunkenness because they can’t handle it like you can. So out of love for my weaker brothers and sisters I don’t want to be a drinker. Also what I drink now if I do is sangria. Usually from Carrabas. It is blackberry Sangria and it is awesome. But it has been over 2 years since I have even had a glass of it and I don’t plan on having some anytime soon.. To me it’s just not worth it. And lastly, the book of Proverbs says, “Woe unto him who gives his neighbor strong drink.” This verse is the reason I don’t own a pool room. People have wanted to put me in business in a pool room but they wanted to sell alcohol. So I would never own a pool room because of the alcohol in case anyone was wondering.  I could make lots of money but I would rather follow Christ and be poor and in His will than to be rich and out of His Will! And you can’t be a Christian and sell alcohol to people. It just is not compatible with true faith in The Lord Jesus Christ!         Tommy

Nick Mannino 

I never used alcohol.  Nick

Robin Dodson 

Using drugs in my teen years was never attached to the mindset that it would help my pool game. On the contrary, I could barely stand up let alone try and shoot a ball into a pocket. Alcohol was never an issue for me, I began my Christian walk at 20 years of age. I never did have an interest in alcohol. When I played on the Pro Tour I wanted all my faculties to be clear and focused! I Loved playing and enjoying the ZONE.  It’s all Natural!

Steve Lillis

Steve Lillis 

As a young upcoming professional pool player, I quickly learned how much alcohol was a part of the game and still is to a large extent.  I grew up in Northern New Jersey outside of New York City.  The laws on the books in most towns and cities where I lived in the 1960’s and 1970’s was that no alcohol was permitted with regulation 9-foot pool tables.  If you wanted to drink and play pool you had to go to a bar with pool tables and most bars back then in my area had 7-foot pool tables only.  Additionally, you had to be 16 years old to play in a pool room without alcohol with 9-foot regulation pool tables and 21 years old to go to a bar in New Jersey and 18 in New York to play on those 7-foot standard bar size pool tables.

I started playing pool on my home pool table starting at age 11.  By 13 years old I was running over 50 balls in straight pool and watching the Friday night match of the week on TV with such billiard stars as Irving Crane, Babe Cranfield, Joe Balsis, Luther Lassiter, and other future BCA Hall of Famers.  My dream was to become a professional pool player like them.  When I turned 16, I went to the local pool room and realize that I could win money playing pool so I began to gambol.  Then at age18, I went to the bars in New York and realized I could win even more money.  I began playing people for drinks and drank with them only to raise the bet.  The more I drank the more money I won.  This cycle continued and when I turned 21, I became a full-time bar room hustler by night and a professional pool player in the pool room by day.  

My dream of becoming the best pool player I could be expanded into playing in professional pool tournaments by age 22 in the New York New Jersey area with the very best players around including Allen Hopkins, Steve Mizerak, Ray Martin, Pete Margo, Jack Colavito, and many others all of who I have beaten on several occasions.  My main source of income at the time was my bar hustling which included a lot of drinking alcohol.  I did not use alcohol to play in the professional tournament because it was not allowed but I certainly drank heavy before and after my professional pool tournament matches.  

At 25 years old my world collapsed!  My alcohol abuse along with other drugs had severe consequences.  After a night in the bars sometimes hustling and now mostly drinking, I would experience blackouts and wake up in places in which I was not aware of how I got there.  My decisions in life became severely flawed as I eventually ended up divorced, lost a lot of money gamboling, and suffered a major emotional and physical breakdown.  But God rescued me from this destructive lifestyle!  At 26 years old after suffering for many months in seclusion feeling ashamed and defeated, I joined the U.S. Navy and became clean for the first time in almost a decade.  The rest of this story back to life and health can be found in my two books available on entitled “But You Must” and “What’s That in Your Hand.”  

In conclusion, alcohol not only destroyed my game temporarily but my life as well.  I have been clean from alcohol since 1976 for the last 45 years of my life I have been serving God and other people!  Jesus has forgiven me and I have been blessed with a wife, children, grandchildren, and a ministry called Gospel Trick Shot Ministries, Inc (}.  As an added bonus the Lord has given me the opportunity to continue to compete at the highest levels of pool competition with the very best players in the world at age 71.  To God be the glory great things He has done!