Wes Baldwin’s passion for pool has served as his “cue” to participate in the sport more often


Wes Baldwin

Wes Baldwin participates in a pool league weekly, and it has taught him many things about life.

Junior Wes Baldwin has always enjoyed the game of pool, even when he caught himself in the wake of a very angry middle-aged man who had lost to him.

Despite being young and having much less experience than his opponent, Wes was able to beat the man in a sweep. 

 “He was really angry,” Wes said of that interesting win. “He would miss a shot, and it would be a relatively easy shot to make, but he would give up the game entirely. I think I was getting a soda or something, and my dad told me that he saw the guy buy shots for his table and do a ‘cheers’ [against the game of pool].”

Wes has always enjoyed the game, often playing at his friends’ houses, but it hadn’t become a prominent piece of his life until he was in sixth grade. 

He had enjoyed it, but certainly not competitively. That is until he was invited to join a youth league. 

If I’ve learned anything [from pool], it’s that people with tattoos aren’t as scary as you think they are.

— Wes Baldwin

“My dad and I were at a pool hall, just the two of us,” Wes explained. “We were playing, and then my dad recognized someone he knew through work. They were making small talk, and she brought up the fact that she ran a youth pool league and asked me if I would be interested. That night, I went home and thought about it, and it just went on from there.”

Since then, he’s come a long way from the youth league. Wes is currently in an adult league with his dad every week, and it allows him to bond with him in a way that’s nice for both of them.

Considering the fact that his dad was ultimately the one to give him the segue into his passion for pool, one of Wes’s favorite parts about the sport is the time it allows him to spend with his dad. 

“[The league] is a great way for me to spend time with my dad and get closer to him,” Wes said. “I like talking in the car on the way there and back. He also gives me advice on dealing with people at bars, so I guess that’s helpful. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Along with being one of the more prominent members of FHC’s bowling team, Wes is able to use pool as an escape. It allows him to focus on one thing at a time, as well as to take his mind off of things if needed. 

All in all, pool may not be the most competitive sport on the roster, but it provides Wes with opportunities that some may not have, as well as simply being another way for him to remove some of the weight off of his shoulders. 

“[In pool], there isn’t a lot of competition,” Wes said. “You can go to some pretty cool tournaments from just winning a couple of games. I went to Vegas, and in that tournament, I only won two out of three games against people.”

Pool is a sport that doesn’t receive much attention from many corners of the world. For this reason, many people don’t know much about it. 

As with any activity, there are preconceived notions about pool, even if they’re not hugely stereotypical.

“Something that makes it interesting is how casual and laid-back leagues are,” Wes said. “When most people think of a league, they think of [the likes of] a soccer league. They think of a team that goes and competes and cheers, but pool isn’t all about that. It’s more about meeting up with some people that you’re friends with every week and having fun. It’s not really like a normal sport, it’s just a fun thing to do weekly.”

The commitment of any sport can be tiring, but it depends on one’s dedication and thoughts on the sport. Simply put, since Wes has good feelings associated with pool, he enjoys it.

However, it is common for participants of sports to have their opinions on certain aspects of said sport change over time, and this is something that Wes can very adamantly attest to.

“[My view on it] has definitely changed,” Wes said. “I used to have my league on Sunday afternoons. I would always be very sad because I would have lots of homework that I pushed off doing until Sunday night. I saw pool as something getting in my way—especially being on a weekend. Taking up one of the days that I’m supposed to have to myself was something I wasn’t a huge fan of. It got better when I switched to the adult league because it switched to Tuesdays, so I didn’t have that stress. I also used to be super competitive, and I’d get mad if I missed a shot. Now, I just laugh at it.”

Overall, pool has been a large source of calm in the storm for Wes, and he remains grateful for being given the opportunity to partake. He has learned many things throughout his pool journey, all of which can help him immensely in his present and future years. 

“I’ve played with some pretty cool people,” Wes said. “If I’ve learned anything [from pool], it’s that people with tattoos aren’t as scary as you think they are.”