Sharing The Light

Pool through the eyes of Christian players

Welcome to AZBilliards’ newest column!  Hang on because this one is going to be unique!  Some of you may find it to be very helpful.  Others may find it to be oddly interesting—even if not all that particularly helpful to you, personally.  Still others may find it not only less than helpful, they might consider it downright offensive (to them, anyway). 

As we all know, pool has always held something less than a squeaky-clean reputation.  No, that’s putting it too mildly.  Pool’s reputation is as tarnished as the brass spittoons that once adorned every pool hall in America.  However, it was that same tarnished reputation that first attracted many of us to the game.  We were not only mesmerized by the beauty of balls ricocheting off each other and shooting into small pockets, we were tantalized by the fanciful idea that we might someday spring into action and use our expertly-honed skills to relieve over-confident braggarts of their ill-gotten cash!  Yeah, we envisioned ourselves being like modern day gunfighters; only we would do our fighting with a pool cue.  At the very least, we wanted to feel like we could occasionally cross over to the proverbial “dark side” and still come out unscathed.  The prospect of it all held an allure similar to what one might feel if they thought they could pet a wild tiger and live to tell about it. 

That was it!  The life of a pool player!  What a life that would be!  No mundane job.  No boss pushing us around.  No limit on how much money we could make.  No rigid schedules to keep.   Nothing tying us down.  Nothing holding us back.  Yes, that would be the ideal life!  

But was it just a dream?  Maybe.  However, we were convinced it would be great fun to see just how far we could go in a game that was both seductive and ominous at the same time.  

And so we embarked on our journey to become…well…something.  However, it didn’t take long for many of us to realize that our quest for success in the world of pool was going to come at a pretty high price as we soon found ourselves living in an environment full of false promises, crooked propositions, bad partnerships, and broken relationships. We also found ourselves facing the reality of having to do the types of things many top players commonly do if we ever planned to reach the top with them—and those are the kind of things that can lead to addictions and dependencies that are almost always unhealthy and are even sometimes illegal. But alas, those are things that go with pool.

So then, after hours, weeks, months, and years of practice and play, we found ourselves reaching our full potential.  That “full potential” was different for each of us, as no two players are exactly alike.  One of the facts that we were forced to accept is that there can be only one “best”—and, due to the competitive nature of the game, that position is one that is never held by the same person for long.  

Another unwelcomed fact was that there was little financial reward to be gained—even at the professional level.  We found that although pool is a beautiful game when played by highly-skilled players, its beauty is not appreciated enough by viewing audiences to make it much of a marketable product. 

Faced with those two facts, we then had to weigh our options.  One was that we could try to tough it out and continue in our pursuit to play professionally.  The second was that we could settle for a life of competing in local amateur events such as leagues and tournaments—all the while working that day job we had hoped to avoid.  The third was that we could quit playing altogether.  But no matter which choice we decided on, we knew that nothing had, or ever would, deliver on the life of excitement and lasting satisfaction that we had originally dreamed of.

And through it all, many of us fell victim to some, if not all, of the dangerous temptations that had once seemed so seductively appealing.  But then not all who did fall victim were left to search alone for a life of peace and satisfaction.  On the contrary, quite a few not only found where they fit into the world of competitive pool, they have found a peace that they could have only previously dreamed of.  And what is the source of that peace?  Well, just ask any one of them and they will tell you His name is Jesus Christ.  That’s right, they are Christians—and He is their “secret” to success.                   

What we hope to achieve with this column is to provide you an opportunity to hear the stories of several pool players who have experienced some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the game before turning their lives over to Christ to find the smooth road.  If you have been around the game for a considerable length of time, these people will need no introduction as far as their playing goes.  They have been to the top.  They know what it takes to get there.  They also know the pitfalls that await anyone who intends to pursue a life of serious pool playing, as they have done.  And they are going to share it all with you right here at Sharing The Light.  

So come back again next month because we will be bringing you the testimony of the first player in our Christian lineup.  We will then bring you a new story each month until all of our subject players have been featured.  After that, we will begin posing questions to these players so that they can offer their perspective on each. 

See you next month! 

Other columns by Sharing the Light with Roger Long

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