Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 -- Greetings fellow pool players! Patrick Sampey here, and like the movie ‘Almost Famous’ where the writer follows the band, writing for Rolling Stone, I feel almost famous in pool. And it’s a thrill for me, just like it was for the young kid in the movie at 15, excited to cover his heroes of rock and roll -- mine being the Gods of pool in this case, you know, Strickland, Varner, Hall, Mosconi, Reyes, Van Boening, Filler, and so forth.
I’ve had the pleasure to interview many greats in the sport, write about my personal experiences in billiards, cover the game, report on tournaments since about 2014 when I wrote my first article for Garret Troop (CEO of Sneaky Pete Mafia) -- an opinion piece titled ‘The Greatest To Ever Wield A Cue,’ where I dubbed Reyes the GOAT (Greatest Of All Times) in pocket billiards, and I maintain that to this day, and I feel fortunate just to have lived to see it in my lifetime. Reyes, without a doubt is the best the game has ever seen at this juncture in space-time.
I’ve been covering the game for about the last 6 years on and off through Sneaky Pete Mafia (SPM), InsidePool Magazine, and submitted work to Billiards Digest, however, they have their own writers, and I respect that.
Covering pool teamed up with SPM has been a pleasure, and although writing is a labor of love, it really is satisfying to be working in conjunction with Troop and the SPM team; he champions the game and players as well, and has given his all to providing pool players consistent billiards news coverage from my perspective.
I wanted to take the time to thank all the followers of SPM, let you all know that I for one definitely appreciate all the support for my articles and other contributors herein. We each have a role to play, all the world is a stage, and we play the game -- turn the page, but don’t forget what you read, how someone made you feel, or that nice smoothness of a wooden shaft sanded with automotive 800 grit (Everyone has their cue secrets I’m sure, pool hall junkies like myself certainly.). I digress…
And while I always wrote throughout my life, signed up in the US Army for MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) 46Q (journalism) in 1992, wrote my first "book" in the third grade, always had dreams of being a writer since I was a little kid -- it all was a pursuit I lost sight of -- having been reclassified early in my training to 35E (Radio Repair), and ultimately becoming an electronics technician in the Army -- so as a result, I lost sight of the goal, life happened, and I worked much of my time in pursuit of an IT career. And while I did enjoy it, there was always something missing: writing.
I always was a reader, reading books, sometimes two or three a week -- though I haven't read many books in recent years, more focused on writing my own, and I've got a couple, one unpublished, one written with two other authors, for sale on Amazon. Got turned down by Austin Macaulay, though they did consider my unpublished book for a month for publication before letting me down easy, told me to send more, but that my work "wasn't suitable for publishing with them at this time," or something like that. But then that one article on Reyes with SPM got me back to it, and I've been working the craft ever since when I can. It all seems so much easier when you're younger.
I have to say, I love this alternative-dimensional-pool-persona of "almost famous" that I feel I've developed unwittingly when Troop advertised for articles, writers -- I took my shot, ran with it, and here we are 2021, COVID-19 and all.
It's a crazy world these days, always has been, just different eras bring different varieties of ludicrous, and Troop and I are obviously crazy about the game of billiards, and for me personally that means snooker, eight ball, nine ball, ten ball, bank pool, one pocket, even three cushion and Russian billiards -- any game with a cue stick and billiards balls is fine by me. Name your game. I'm ready to learn if I don't already know.
And when I first started to play, there was some pool on TV on ESPN every once and a while, then later, that went away. Then you had to watch Accu-stats VHS tapes with professional players in matches selling for about $20 each to follow pool. Loved Grady Matthews and Billy Incardona announcing those matches. Great commentary. Later came YouTube and pool videos there to watch. Now I have channel 623 on DirecTV, and they have billiards programming! I Can record and play them back, set to record when they play, and I am loving it! Pool appears to be doing well all things considered.
Meanwhile, outside on the back deck to the house here in sunny Florida, the wind is kicking up hard enough to snatch a kite string straight out of a kids hands -- and another storm is brewing, the Tallahassee Squirrel, AKA Patrick Sampey is coming, bringing pool articles in conjunction with SPM and Troop; and we're just getting started!
Play on players! The game is afoot!