EYES ON THE BALLS
ALEXANDRIA ENDRES (12), OF HAMILTON, REPRESENTS NEW ZEALAND PLAYING POOL
A dad and daughter duo take over the pool tables
It might seem strange to people that I’m a 12-year-old girl who plays competitive pool – but for me, it makes absolute sense.
I love winning, I love beating people older than me – and my dad [Bernie] runs a cue sports club, which probably explains a lot.
In just one year of playing, I qualified for the VNEA Junior Pool Championships in Erie, Pennsylvania. I represented
New Zealand and came fourth in my division.
It seems like I have a natural talent. I probably got it from my dad, although don’t tell him that. I think having me play pool seriously has made his competitive side come out.
My dad taught himself how to play as a kid and I’ve kind of followed in his footsteps. Every time I would go to his office after school, I would muck around on the pool table he had in his office just to pass the time.
He started me out with the basics – he bought me my own cue, showed me how to hold it and how to stand.
Then he hired a coach for the club and used me as a guinea pig to see how good the coach was. It turns out the coach is pretty good!
I went to the world champs with a team of 15 and was so surprised with my fourth place in the under-14 girls’ singles because some of the games were really intense.
Dad travelled with me and I think he was feeling the pressure and was more nervous than I was! But he did give me a few pep talks, and told me how to relax and have fun while competing, so it was probably good that I listened to that.
I was so happy! I won a trophy, got a pool cue and vouchers. Dad says he was extremely proud and he cried a little bit, but I’m probably not allowed to say that.
To get good you have to practise, of course. So I practise pretty much every day for about an hour after school. My dad has had to buy a pool table for the house, so I practise there. We’ve even got my mum [Virginia] into playing as well but I think it’s going to take her a while to catch up.
Playing pool is not really tiring. Physically, all you do is walk around the table, but it’s more about the thinking game. You have to have strategies and work out angles. But there are more and more kids getting into pool now, and we play in teams as well.
Apparently, we are making the adults quite nervous when they have to play us because of our talent!
I play people in their twenties, thirties and forties in a senior league on Monday nights. The oldest person I’ve played is 81.
That’s the great thing about pool – it doesn’t matter how old you are, or what size you are, you can all compete equally.
I think my dad is happy that we’ve found a sport we can compete in and go head-tohead. Because we both like winning, we can butt heads and give each other a hard time.
But I just always try to beat him, which I can do sometimes. He says he doesn’t get nervous playing me – well, not just yet.
At home, we also like playing video games together but he won’t let me play Call of Duty because it’s too violent.
I do also play hockey and enjoy running, but pool is what I’m best at. When I play pool with my dad, it’s a really good time for us to bond.
My friends think I’m really lucky because I get to travel and go to America, I’ve even
‘Dad says he was extremely proud and he cried a little bit, but I’m probably not allowed to say that!’
Alexandria enjoys playing pool with
her dad Bernie and always tries
to beat him.