Mark Wilson: Man of Honor & Ambassador of Billiards. ~ Patrick Sampey

Wilson: Changing the Game

Mark Wilson—the current 2014 team USA Mosconi Cup captain—is a class act in the game of pocket billiards. He is an individual who believes in ending the seedy counterculture and stigma the game currently maintains. He lives by a code of discipline, honor, dignity and respect. Always respect.

“We have set out to change the direction of the sport and the fortunes of the U.S. in the Mosconi Cup by building a proper culture surrounding the game and its image. Honor, integrity, and respect are our core components and these values, along with discipline, work ethic, and unity will be the essence of change for our sport…I am not concerned with my perception and status but my message is crucial,” Wilson said in a recent interview with me.

When asked about team Europe he said, “I think we should recognize and praise the efforts of Europe. We used to be a decade in front of them and now they are five years ahead of us.”

Honor. Respect. Integrity. Wilson doesn’t clamor for fame, fortune, or accolades of any kind. He is a man who lives by the principles he espouses. If anyone can return the game of pool to the more respectable status that it held back in the days of legends like Ralf Greenleaf it is Mark.

He also supports our military here in the U.S. From his web page, he writes of his experience visiting the BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL) training center:

“Coronado, California 04/07/09 Sunny 76 degrees…It is 5:30 a.m. and I am excited at the prospect of the day before me. Several weeks back I had contacted “Frogman 80,” whose real name is Amir Pishdad. Amir is a 53 year old retired Navy SEAL who is often called ”Pish” by his teammates. Through several communications, Pish agreed to get me an up close and personal BUD/S tour. Tours do exist for civilians, but they are usually reserved for special groups and are conducted by a public relations officer, not by your own personal real SEAL who grew up on this very base. His credentials are extensive and impressive; he is known throughout the SEAL community at least by his reputation. The Naval Special Warfare community is very small and an extremely tight family. Pish is friends with Marcus Luttrell, the “Lone Survivor” of Operation Redwing, and with Rudy Boesch (another famous SEAL who became popular with his appearance on the television reality show “Survivor”). World famous SEAL Dick Marcinko (also known as “Demo Dick” or “Rogue Warrior”) personally sought out Pish to serve in his unit.”

In a true-to-form fashion, Wilson gives an excellent description of exactly what Navy Seal training is like, and provides the reader with a well written account that at times has a sinewy poeticism that meanders along that river within my mind’s eye.

“I am so impressed and proud of what I was allowed to witness. Each one of these trainees represents the best of America, and I would be so proud to have each of them as my own son. Respectful, honorable, motivat