Mark Wilson, St. Louis Shooter
It was oh so many years ago when I started playing pool, yet it does not seem so. I began playing pool armed with very limited ability, single minded focus, and unlimited optimism. I have always been and still am devoted to pool playing – I love the game as much now as then.
I grew up in Moline, Illinois along the banks of the Mississippi river and graduated high school in 1973 (on my first try, which is still quite a source of pride). Then I attended Blackhawk College to play baseball, but pool began demanding an increasingly large portion of my attention. My studies at school were filled with preparation for law school, until I decided to take a little time away from academic life and pursue pool playing. Needless to say my parents were mortified at the potential loss for the legal community, but I persisted despite their alarm.
I became a professional pool player in 1975. Training was my life and I purposefully spent everyday at the poolroom immersed in the joy of the sport. There were many ups and downs that occurred during those early years, but youth and exhuberance along with a healthy dose of sheer ignorance allowed for tremendous growth.
Without a pro tour in those days, a player could only earn money from the sport through gambling matches and regional tournaments. If you could excel, the reward would be a sub-poverty level income – so being young, single, and frugal were critical assets. That being said, I loved every minute and continued to improve my pool skills. While most people frittered away their youth pursuing things like working, obtaining a college degree, purchasing a home, finding a wife and having children, I applied myself to creating the happiest life anyone could imagine. I am deeply satisfied that somehow I managed to spend the best years of my life doing what I loved best.
This makes going to work to earn a living so much easier mentally, because you love what you do; rather than working at less pleasant things until you can retire and enjoy only whatever life is left. The trade-off for choosing pool is that you will not be able to provide for children, drive new cars, have health insurance, or generate a large amount of cash; but you will be very wealthy in life if you live for the joy of your work. The fact of the matter is that nothing that I do pays very well, but I do a lot of it. I suppose that this does not do much for humanity, but everyday I am cheerful and enthusiastic; and being really happy and positive is a great way to live.
I have been involved in pool matches in many corners of the earth. England, Iceland, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Philippines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, in addition to all of the major and most of the minor U.S. cities have played host to my passion.
This website is a tribute to all of those players who have guided, inspired, and supported my career, and to those who are serious and sincere about becoming great pool players.