Are you tired of the usual run-of-the-mill story about the great names in billiards?
Well, I’m here to tell you the “other” story about one of the great artistic pool players of our time, Marty “The Farmer” Carey.
Sure, he’s had many accolades through the years (starting in the early 1990’s finishing first in many of the top tournaments on the East Coast, where he grew up, and one of his greatest recent accomplishments is being inducted into the New England Billiard Hall of Fame on March 1, 2013.) But the “other” story—the real story—transcends the obvious and moves into the heart of who Marty Carey really is as a person.
The year is 1990. Marty has been married for over 15 years with two beautiful daughters, Lindsey and Leslie, when suddenly Leslie was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Within eleven weeks, she had passed away at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. From that point forward, family life as he knew it disintegrated before his eyes and he was left alone and in misery.
Only days after his daughter’s death, his home was raided by the Federal Government. In the back shed, they found several hundred marijuana seedlings, each planted in its own small cup. Not having any statutes at that time regarding marijuana seedlings, the Feds categorized each cup as a “kilo” and he was sentenced based on 900 kilos of marijuana. The statute stated that anything over 100 plants is considered a Federal offense.
He was sentenced to ten years in a Federal prison.
As if things couldn’t get worse, during that time his wife divorced him and left with his beloved Lindsey, his home was seized by civil forfeiture, and all property was taken from him because the property facilitated the offense. He was left devastated and grieving, with no one to lean on when he needed it most.
Once out of prison it was difficult to face the memories and the community where his family lived, so he relocated to California to try to start a new life for himself.
Even though he changed the site of his grief, it didn’t change his sorrow — moving didn’t mend his broken heart.
He still carried the grief of loss with him and he needed to make a choice: would he continue on a self-destructive path of bitterness and loneliness, or would he choose to take a more positive path – and what would that path be?
He decided to pick up his cue and get his life back. He started playing pool at Fast Eddy’s Pool Hall in Santa Cruz County—a pool room that has been around for over 30 years and is known for its family atmosphere and a great place to socialize. A place where he would not be judged for his past, just for his great pool-playing abilities.
From that day forward Marty has built a new and grateful life full of great accomplishments in the billiard world.
Revival to Survival
“Pool saved my life,” Marty states. “Even though I suffer from ADHD and have been for my whole life, I have always had instinctive aiming skills and great visualization of angles and kick shots.”
Marty’s older brother who evidently knew his way around a pool hall, playing pool and gambling, would take Marty with him. Marty was only 12 years old and needed a note from his father to be there.
He loved the pool hall. While there, he studied the players with a critical eye. By the time he was 14 he was playing and winning against the experienced players. He was hooked
When ESPN started covering pool and billiards in the 80s, Marty’s hero was Allen Hopkins. After seeing Hopkins’ abilities, he started playing in all the big tournaments on the East Coast with the Miller World Series of Tavern Pool. While in Atlantic City, playing in the Last Call For 9-Ball tournament, he happened to find himself in the same elevator as Paul Newman while he was filming “The Color of Money.”
To escape his tumultuous past and move forward with his life, Marty joined the Artistic Professional Pool Tour.
He always had a great interest in trick shots and enjoyed the novelty of each shot, plus he was intrigued with the concept of english. He loved placing a crazy spin on the cue ball to make it twist and turn around the table.
During a Christmas Eve trick shot exhibition that he did for the Maine Boys and Girls club, he passed out the basic pamphlet of each shot to the children and the next year, when he returned, they were showing him the shots that he taught them.
This was an extremely rewarding event in his life—it gave him a sense of accomplishment, and that he was making a positive contribution to these young pool players.
I asked Marty how he got the handle “The Farmer,” and he proceeded to give me another fascinating take on his life.
His great friend and mentor in the 70s and 80s was Norm “Farmer” Webber… the original Farmer! Norm got that name because he would casually stumble into a pool room in coveralls, hay coming out of one cuff of his pants and mud on his boots. A real hayseed.
After a few games of messing around and losing a little money, he would then turn the tides and play like a pro – hence The Farmer.
Prior to Norm’s passing in 2013, he asked Marty to take his handle and continue the legacy of The Farmer. Of course he made sure that Norm’s family was aware of him passing the baton. He has been proud to represent his dear friend ever since.
One Jump Ahead
Today Marty is an accomplished pool player, trick shot artist, and New England Billiards Hall of Fame inductee.
But wait, there’s more!
He is also an innovator and creator of the new Marty Carey Jump Q. When I asked about how the idea for a new style of jump cue came to pass, he chuckled and said that the idea came from a conversation he had with a manufacturer who was unsuccessful at making a quality jump cue that can be used for extreme cue loft during the execution of trick shots.
He said this jump cue can make the cue ball jump over a light, if needed.
The cue is carbon fiber, with a solid wood core which strengthens the structure of the shaft. The energy transferred from the tip through the shaft produces a solid hit that maximizes the speed and accuracy of a shot. It has high strength composite fibers with an aluminum pin and uni-loc joint with a brass insert.
Sounds like a wicked combination for a custom-made jump cue.
Marty Carey’s story shows the resilience of an individual who has overcome great adversities. One of the most positive sides of the game of pool is that it pulls you in, it teaches you lessons.
It teaches you how to stay calm, how to steady your thinking, how to build upon what you already know.
Marty Carey’s “other” story is proof that billiards can give an individual a sense of fulfillment and a reason to move forward in life. Thank you, Marty, for sharing your story. I consider it a gift!
More information about Marty’s Jump Q can be found here, or by calling (844) MCJUMPCUEPeggy Mallen has been promoting the game of billiards for over 20 years as an avid player, a National League operator (TAP League), billiard retail store owner (G Cue Billiard Store) and billiard product manufacturer (Balabushka Cue Company).Photos: provided by author Editor: Hannah Blue