So did I ever tell you all about the time I beat a world champion pool player in 9 Ball pool? Well hold on to your britches you’re in for a treat.

Ok, let me set the scene. Those were the days when I was a high flying Fixed Income Research Analyst (bonds, basically I researched bonds and told investors whether to buy/sell or hold) at a Wall Street firm. I was on the Food, Beverage and Consumer Products team and each year there was this huge conference at different locations around the US. That year the conference was in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the highlight of the year. I mean, they fly you out somewhere, treat you like a bite up shilling, you get to sample new products before they hit the market….oh did I mention Food and Beverage included beer, wine and spirits companies as well. Yup, free Budweiser, Coors and Johnny Walker.

Anyway, so back to the story. So I’m at this conference, bored listening to presentations during the day and drinking with fellow analysts, investors and Fortune 500 company executives at night, acting all sophisticated before we head out to the “special club” when the responsible people go to bed, when I notice one night there’s a pool table and a commotion going on.

I wander over there and who am I to see sharing licks like peas, sharing hand like is a sou sou, sharing “watap!” like yuh mammy on your wet skin, none other than Jeanette Lee, the Black Widow. For those who don’t know, the Black Widow got her name for her typical black outfits and the ruthless way she would destroy people in billiards. From the look of the men’s faces and how fast they were returning to their seats I knew she was causing carnage and that I had to try my luck. I mean all those hours after CIC (big school, props to my homies) spent in a pool hall with questionable characters had to pay off right?

The game was 9 ball and as a gentleman I allowed her to break first (that’s pool terminology, get your mind out the gutter). So she breaked and started running off balls. I was just there, calm, chalking my cue waiting for my turn to play. Next thing I know she’s smiling at me and running off all the balls. Then I begin to realize I might never get a shot. I start to feel shame. I start thinking “look how I bring Miss Dorothy pool hall on the corner of Covigne Rd and Diego Martin Main Rd, opposite Rex Cinema into shame and disrepute”.

Then, the unthinkable happened. The Black Widow missed on the last ball. The ballroom went silent. She seemed more shocked than the crowd and I were. My eyes lit up. Now was my one and only chance. So your boy settled himself, despite her coming up in my face, batting her eyes, leaning over with her low cut top displaying her congeniality, trying to phase me, and sinked-it like a champ. I had to fight the urge to wine like a jammette and go down on the ground and “stick-it” as Saucy would say. The Black Widow got real mad as if she just reached the front of a KFC line after 30 mins and they told her they have no more chicken. Then she calmed down, composed herself and autographed a pic of herself for me.

I share this story not because I want to gloat about beating a World Champion pool player, (because I did and I’m a boss). No, recently I did some research on her and discovered that she had faced numerous physical challenges over her life including battling scoliosis. Her strength through it all is truly inspirational. Then yesterday it was disclosed that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

So this post is somewhat of a tribute (Tana style). I’ve had this autographed photo for years and every time I look at it I remember the time where through my tremendous skill (lol) and pure luck I was able to beat one of the best pool players on the planet. I wish her all the best in her battle and will always remember our game.

TANA

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