View Full Version : To All Kids Who want to become a Pro

06-24-2002, 05:58 PM
| To Devon and all Kids that Dream of becoming a Pro
Posted By: thekoreandragon <charlie@koreandragon.net>
Date: June 24, 2002, at 12:01 p.m.

To Devon(& all other Juniors),

I understand what you are going through as I have went through the same scenarios in my life. It is not easy.

Coming up as a junior player can be tough because you will always have your critics and cynics. And there will always be jealousy out there against you because let's face it, there aren't too many sports out there where a young kid can compete with a full grown adult.

But professionals and supporters of pool cannot and should not deter young players from advancing in the game and becoming professionals. If we do that we are killing our own sport that we are trying to save.

My first year on tour, a well known player told me that joining the pro tour was a big mistake. I was horrified with his comment and very disturbed for a long time at what he said. But I didn't quit. And now years later I am very happy with my life and being a professional pool player.

No doubt, there are many obstacles to prevent your growth in pool. And there are many bad roads next to the straight and narrow one. Be careful of who you follow, hang around, and look up to. Drugs, alcohol, uncontrolled gambling, and poor money management are very common problems with pool players on the amateur and professional levels. Avoid these vices. Another very important step is to stay in school. Get your education, at least high school. College is ideal(even though I only went two years; but it doesn't guarantee you success or happiness)Examples of top players with college degrees are Nick Varner and Steve Mizerak. The more you know the better off in life you are.

I grew up playing in the BCA Junior Nationals(which you must be enrolled in school to compete) and competed against over a 100 different kids in my 5 years as a junior. These were all young local prodigies from where they were from and all expected to be would- be champions one day. But out of those 100 young prodigies, only 6 became touring professionals. And out of that 6, 4 have quit playing the tour.

Becoming a professional pool player is not just about playing great pool, it's about becoming somebody. You should be like a fine sword made from a strong blend of metals. Your attitude, lifestyle, habits,discipline, dedication to the sport along with your skills is what makes up a professional pool player.

And contrary to what many people might tell you, a good professional can make good money. of course we're not basketball stars, but I make a good living with my winnings, sponsors, and of course my tournament promoting. And none of those things could have happened without me dedicating myself as a player and following the footsteps of great professionals.

I travel around the world and have made friends in many countries. I've been almost to every US State and played in many different venues and place. I've played in jeans, dress shirts, and tuxedos. I've been on TV around the world and in many magazines. I bought a house, drive a new car every few years, and go out to eat every night. I make my own schedule and I am my own boss. And all of this came from pool.

I've met millionaires and very rich people, and they admire my lifestyle. When I tell them to retire and play pool full time because they can afford to, they can't because of their responsibilities to this and that. A lot of money comes with big responsiblities. In most situations I wouldn't trade my life for theirs(but there are exceptions!). I am truly happy, and happiness cannot always be measured in dollars.

Your role models should be the professionals that have made a great living on this game and have had great lasting power. Becoming a great player has led them to other avenues such as owning their own companies and businesses where they would not have to rely on pool tournaments for an income. Players such as Nick Varner, Steve Mizerak, Johnny Archer, Allen Hopkins, and Mike Sigel are some outstanding examples. But their success in business has all stemmed from their success as professional pool players.

If I could only give you one piece of advice it would be this: DON'T EVER QUIT PLAYING POOL

It's easy to quit and start again over and over, but tough to ride out the ups and downs. But you have to pay your dues. But be careful on what kind of player you want to be. Choose the road of the true professional and you'll make it through at the end with a successful and happy career.

Stay Focused,

Charlie Williams
Former BCA Junior National Champion

PS Myself, The UPA, and Predator Cues are all working on developing more Junior Events and a Junior program to raise future professionals