Story Number: NNS140314-21Release Date: 3/14/2014 9:35:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brandon Shelander,
USS Frank Cable Public Affairs
SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Senior Chief Personnel Specialist Paul Smith, the executive department's leading chief petty officer for the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), was one of three people to challenge visiting world champion pool player Jeanette Lee 'The Black Widow', March 13.
The event was held at Molly McGee's Irish Pub on Naval Base Guam during her professional pool show.
"The atmosphere was awesome," said Smith. "They moved the pool table and made it look like you were actually at a professional pool tournament like they have on ESPN. I'm an avid pool player and she's definitely someone I have wanted to meet."
Smith and the other two challengers, Manny Alamonte and Mike Pierson, all won previous 8-Ball pool tournaments hosted by MWR Guam. The winner of each tournament earned the right to challenge 'The Black Widow'. For Lee, it's not about competition, it's about giving back.
"I've been doing events like these every year since 1994," said Lee. "It's easily the most rewarding thing I do. It's how I thank our service men and women for their contribution to our country and I'm happy to give them just a little bit of home."
The evening started out with an hour of Lee and her husband George Breedlove, who is also a professional pool player, demonstrating a host of trick shots while explaining the physics of pool and what techniques and forces are at play when the pros pull off the shots that leave most amazed.
Smith was able to try one of the shots himself when Breedlove set a shot glass at the end of the table and placed a quarter on the bumper. The task was simple in principle, but difficult for all who tried; hit a queue ball at just the right power, straight into the quarter to flip it up and into the glass. Smith tried twice, but came up short.
"It was amazing," said Smith. "Just watching the trick shots and how they can maneuver that queue ball and make different shots was fantastic."
Afterwards, they started the main event and Smith finally competed in a one-on-one match with Lee. Smith said everything was going in his favor at first, but he missed one of his final shots which gave Lee the opening she needed to clean the table.
"I don't feel like I have anything to prove," said Lee. "I came here to give them the best experience possible, but of course I don't let anyone win."
Lee is a former female number one world-ranked pool player and holds 15 Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) titles. She was ranked as the third most powerful person in the sport by Billiards Digest in 2003 and received the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America's Industry Service Award in 2002. She was also a gold medalist of the 2001 World Games.
According to her biography, Lee had to battle health issues throughout her career. Lee was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13 and has undergone a total of 11 surgeries to her back, neck and shoulder and has been the national spokesperson for the Scoliosis Association for almost two decades. Despite all of her medical problems, she continues to be a dominative competitor in the sport.
Smith said her personal story was inspiring.
"I think she's very humble, very down to earth. Her story that she talked about that evening, shows that just because she's at a high level and at the top of her game, she still has problems. She has an awesome story because it's a successful story. I think we can relate because we all have challenges to overcome and ultimately we've got successful stories regardless of whether we're playing professional pool or we're professionals in the Navy," said Smith.
Lee will continue her pool show at Anderson Air Force Base before returning back to the United States.
Frank Cable, forward-deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
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