Sitting on my barstool at The Rack & Cue Monday evening after a grueling day of work at the Delta Democrat-Times, I was pondering what I would write for a column for our next edition.
Then a buddy of mine tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at a man playing billiards behind me.
“You know who he is, don’t you?,” he said. “That is Tony Chohan. He is the number one pool player in the world. They call him T-Rex.”
Interested but a little skeptical, I turned around and watched him play a game of nine-ball. He was making quick work against my friend named Zo, who everyone knows is one of the best players in Greenville.
I had never seen someone play the game of pool as well as Chohan. He was calm and confidant. Every shot he took he made. He made the easy shots look super easy, and the harder bank shots look like a walk in the park.
As the night wore on, T-Rex easily beat everyone who challenged him. Some players, who I believed were incredibly good, looked pedestrian compared to this guy.
I then did a quick Google search to find out more about him, and learned that he was indeed the real deal. It turns out he is a champion one-pocket billiards player. One-pocket is a game where a player has to make all his balls into the same pocket. There are hundreds of YouTube clips of Chohan winning tens of thousands of dollars in big game one-pocket tournaments.
After doing this, I had an idea for a column!
Why don’t I play the world champion and write about how it went?
So, I walked up to him and introduced myself, and he could not have been a nicer guy. He told me that he was born in California and is currently living in New Orleans as a house pro at a big time pool hall. He said he has been in Mississippi the last few days putting on billiards clinics and was in Greenville because he is friends with some people who work and frequent The Rack.
“But, why do they call you T-Rex?”
“Because I have short arms but long pockets.”
We decided to play nine-ball, and the first one to win two games would be declared the winner.
He allowed me to break the first game.
As I broke the balls, I was surprisingly not nervous at all. Even though I felt all the eyes in the poolroom on me, since I knew I stunk and everyone there new I stunk, I figured there was nothing to be nervous about.
Also surprisingly, I managed to sink a few shots before giving up my turn.
Predictably, once I missed I never had another shot in the game.
He then thoroughly trounced me the next game.
We shook hands and I thanked him for the experience.
If there is a lesson to be learned, it should be, I suppose, that we should never think that we are the best at anything. No matter how great you may think you are at something, there is, more than likely, someone even better than you at it.
Even though we should always strive for greatness and to be our best, we should always remain humble and not get too high on ourselves.
You never know when the next T-Rex is right behind the corner.
David W. Healy is the sports editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.