New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - THIS WEEK IN... -

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.

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