This 25-year-old Wisconsin boy is truly an inspiration as a person and as a player. The qualities he possesses so naturally are very much rare in the world today. His genuine love for the game and the fire inside of him to never give up and work hard is no doubt why he is where he is today.
How it all began
It all began for me at 12 years old when my mother and father gave me 2 of Robert Byrnes VHS Tapes and that is how I learned the physics of the game. From then on, it was on! When you are young, you are fearless, aggressive, and carefree. The reality is that the older you get, the responsibilities that come and the battles everyone will face in life can easily make you forget what is possible. However, you have to want it bad enough and you do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality because you can.
What you leave behind in this world and the imprints you make in people’s lives are what it is all about. It really does start with you. I worked as most teenagers do in high school and the majority just do so to make some extra money and usually spend it immediately on things that don’t matter, go out and party, and aren’t even thinking about their dreams. I saved every penny I earned to be able to go out and play in tournaments. I got beat a lot but that didn’t stop me from going back again and again because I was determined to one day not have to go back to those jobs ever again. You have to know how it feels to lose in order to appreciate and experience how it feels to win because you earned it. Your hard work and sacrifices you made start to make sense.
Let’s talk about sacrifices
They always say you need balance in your life. Set aside time for friends, family, fun, and passion. Well, if you want to be #1, there are going be other areas of your life that will ultimately have to suffer. It really depends on how you look at it. For example, you can’t be the world’s greatest pool player and be the world’s greatest dad. You are going to have to miss out on a few baseball/football games. You may not be the #1 crazy friend at the party because you are working on making your #1 dream a reality.
I am sure there are others out there that can relate what it was like at a young age who if you were like me, you were involved in more than just one thing that took up your time. I tried to make both work, but it clicked for me one day. I played in a baseball game and knew I had a youth pool tournament that weekend. Unfortunately, I had a blister on my bridge hand, and it was so painful to play in the pool tournament, yet I still pushed through but couldn’t be the best I knew I could be and it showed on the table. I knew from that moment I had to make a decision and knew if I really wanted to pursue where my heart was leading me, I had to give up what was keeping me from doing so. I quit baseball my senior year in high school, so that I could pursue my dream. Guess what, I don’t regret ANYTHING!
What keeps you going?
I want to be a world champion. I want to do this for the rest of my life and failure is not an option for me. You work harder after every win and come back stronger after every loss. The hard work and sacrifices you make in life are worth it!
Did you stand or did you fall? Did you build a bridge or build a wall? Did you live your dreams or let them die? What did you choose? I will be remembered for the one who gave it all and will always do so and even more.
I want to be a role model. I want to be different because I am. I eat healthy. I am in the gym a lot. I practice on average 4 hours a day but there are days where I practice 6 hours.
New LEVELS New DEVILS
There are always challenges when you start to become better and better and of course there are many others out there that are trying to do the same. Many are either on the same level or higher and you know what is unfortunate, but reality is that not many pros want to offer helpful tips to other professional players. The world needs a little more humbleness because again what is it all worth if you don’t help others along the way. There are more interviews and sponsor opportunities.
I want to play pool for the rest of my life. As far as family, of course I would like to have a family one day but maybe in my late 30’s. I am gone 11/12 months out of the year. I am so grateful for the amazing support I have at home in Wisconsin. My family is incredible, and they have always believed in me and continue to forever support my dreams and my passion.
How do you continue to grow and get better at this game?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Work on your weaknesses in your game so you can get better at what you to put it bluntly “suck at”! When its time to go work, you need to be ready to work. Of course, it’s important to PRACTICE with PASSION, however what’s just as important if not more is PRACTICE with PURPOSE.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are my heroes. For those of you that haven’t watched the series “The Last Dance”, I suggest you watch it all the way through every episode.
Shane Van Boeing was a great role model for me. His lifestyle is clean cut, he is serious and professional, and a great person all around. I have always looked up to him.
Have you made someone’s dream come true?
I believe I have made my parents proud. My parents mean the world to me and to see how proud they are of me is worth so much more than you know. My younger brother and older sister are amazing young adults and to have had a part in helping them grow into who they are today is pretty awesome.
What would you like to see this sport in the years to come?
I would like to see more things happening with youth players. I want pool to get more recognition and be valued as the amazing sport it is. It’s hard to make a living but it’s the ones who are so passionate about the game that will continue. Snooker is huge in Europe and it should be given the respect it deserves. People that don’t play or understand how difficult this game really is and how much mental, physical, and intellectual aspects play a huge part in this sport.
With upcoming stars like Tyler Styer, the game of pool is in good hands!