I was on a shuttle bus hitching a free ride between Bally's and The Rio for the BCAPL National Championships tourney back in July (2015).
It was a little wait and there was a lot of people needing that free ride as well between the strip and The Rio.
Got to talking to a couple who saw my pool case and we swapped where we were from, and yes they were heading to watch friends play in matches at the Rio.
When I told them I was from Fort Worth, the females' face all of a sudden lit up with excitement! She was all smiles and excited to share this story with me:
She went to her first pool room as a child in Fort Worth at a pool room in Montgomery Plaza. This is what it looked like back then:
It has since been converted into a lot of restaurants, condos, and shops (that I happen to visit often):
As she told the story, I envisioned the grey Montgomery Wards building I had seen closing down 15 years ago (if you are old enough to remember those stores).
She said the pool room was near the Montgomery Wards and it was owed by a local mafia-type family, the Matranga Family.
But it was the way she described her "encounter" with the pool room that made me appreciate the affect it had on her.
She was only 4 years old, and this over over 60 years ago she said.
She visited the pool room at such a young age, that her Dad had to lift her above the railing to see the tables, and when he did that....
"all I saw was felt. And it was amazing!"
She paused and you could see her remembering the moment in her eyes:
"There was no music. No food. It was very, very quiet. They had seven tables. It was so beautiful, all that felt. And it was very serious, like church."
"And I've been hooked on the game ever since by what I saw that magical day," she shared.
How cool is that first encounter with a pool room she had at such a young age?!