SPRINGFIELD TWP. Five ball in the side pocket. Three ball in the left corner. For most people, college or young adulthood is usually when people wonder into a pool hall and play for fun.
But for Springfield High School sophomore Buddy Colson, pool is more than a hobby or something to play for fun – he is playing at amateur status looking someday to make pool a career. Like most kids searching for a sport, it all came about by coincidence.
"Buddy was bored one summer," said Dawn Ann Colson, Buddy’s mother. "He asked if he could go spend some time with his Uncle Chris in Louisiana. Chris shoots pool. That is how Buddy got interested in billiards. When he came home, he asked if we would take him to the bowling alley."
Her husband Randy took him once Buddy got home.
The bowling alley was not the right place for Buddy to hon his skills. But their brother-in-law James Silder, who owns Forever Fitness, has a friend, Chad Bowling, who owns King of Billiards. Bowling has taken Buddy under his wing and introduced him to the billiards world.
Since entering the billiards circuit, Buddy has met John Mora, Dennis Hatch and Roberto Gomez. And Buddy, who use to play soccer, but has been in billiards for just one year, is sponsored by Jacoby and he uses the company's sticks.
Success, which has come quickly for Buddy, is not without hard work. He placed 20th in the nation out of 64 players in the 9-ball junior nationals. To maintain his sponsorship with Jacoby, Buddy is responsible for complying with their rules.
"Buddy must get a 3.0 GPA," said Colson. " When we went to the national tournament in Las Vegas, we had to take his report card to show he had a 3.0. When playing in a tournament, he has to look a certain way – dress pants, dress shoes and a nice shirt."
Jacoby has also been impressed with Buddy.
"A Jacoby employee told us they have watched him more or less," said Colson. "He kept his composure whether he was winning or losing. He just sat there. They said that is what they are looking for in attitude and that is what they expect."
Colson said that Buddy practices pool 40 hours a week. She said he goes to practice right after school and added he helps out around the pool hall where he can - cleaning up, being a runner and emptying trash.
Before going to Las Vegas, King of Billiards held a fund raiser for Buddy, in which it raised $1,500 for his trip.
One year in, Buddy has lofty goals. Next year, the championships are New Orleans. To qualify for the championships, he has to finish in the Top 4 in the state of Ohio. But before he can get to New Orleans, he has a whole season of playing which started in September, when he will go to Grand Rapids, Mich., for his first tournament.
"The stigma of a pool hall is not what it was 30 years ago," said Colson. "They are not smoky any more. They are safe."
Billiards has also opened up a new world for Buddy.
"He use to think of going to the military after high school but now he is considering going to college. We learned the University of Akron has a billiards club."
Since Buddy has entered the circuit and playing in competitions all across the region and country, he has made friends in other states and enjoys seeing them at competitions.
Colson said he will enter and play tournaments until he turns 18, when by winning tournaments, he can qualify to turn professional.
"We cannot thank Chad (Bowling) and the patrons of King of Billiards enough for all they have done for Buddy," said Colson.