I talked to Serena Black from her home in Decatur, Illinois; she is incredibly articulate, driven, and self-possessed.
Serena describes herself as “basically just your average small-town girl.” She spends a lot of time outdoors; she loves camping, four wheeling, and hunting. Serena’s family is very important to her, and says her brother is her best friend.
She loves animals (she has two dogs, and a chinchilla named Opi,) and she loves to read and write poetry. So, yes, basically just your average teenager. Until her dad brought home a pool table. She quickly became jealous of how well he played, and wanted to be better than him. For Christmas 2011 she got a cue, and then took MVP for her Junior APA league her very first year. Three and a half years ago Serena had never touched a cue. Now, at 16, she’s well on her way to being a force to contend with in the world of competitive billiards.
So, how large of a role does pool play in your life?
Lately, pool has made more of an impact than I had ever expected. I spend quite a bit of time practicing, up to an hour and a half a day when I’m able. Most of that time is, conveniently, bonding time with my family as well. I have met so many new people through the sport; Jeanette Lee gave me a shout out on her fan page because I wrote her a letter, and I got to meet her for the first time over the summer.
I actually have two little fans [of my own], believe it or not! I walked into the banquet hall for the Junior APA championships this summer, and eight year old twin girls from Davenport, IA, came running towards me and gave me a big hug, saying they were glad to see me there. They handed me an origami flower they had made, and I still have it with my trophies. They will never know how much their support means to me. I think pool has really shaped who I’ve become, I have changed so much in the last few years and I believe billiards is behind this!