Seeing the Line

I was traveling for a week in 2015. Actually, I was a willing passenger on an adventure.

My son Spencer uncovered a talent for the 19th century game of pool and we were bound for St. Louise by invitation of the top Billiard coaches and his team.

He saw the line.

I'll explain what that means in a minute, but this post is for anyone who went kicking and screaming into something, only to realize it was a gift from the universe.

The world was opening up to him. Showing him a path to his life purpose, and it had everything to do with the game of billiards or pool.

He started playing just after we pulled him from public school. My son was bullied by a teacher. Spencer was emotionally low. He asked to be homeschooled and I didn’t think it would be good for our relationship until I realized it was worse for him to be in an environment that was crushing his spirit.

What looked like unfortunate circumstances turned out to be gifts from the universe. In actuality, it was the catalyst that set him, and myself as a parent, on his path.

I can say now, with calm and confidence, THANK YOU universe.

How he innocently stumbled across the game was nothing short of divine intervention.

After this unfortunate incident, we found ourselves enrolling him in the homeschool program run by an angel named Lori Peters with One Spark Academy (OSA).

This way of educating my son was new to me. OSA provided classes for homeschooled children in Jr High that wanted peer connections, and for parents like me, who didn’t want to teach their own children academics. OSA, a fledgling non-profit born out of necessity and need rented the local teen center during the day to house the kids and teach classes. After school, it became a hang out for kids 12 to 17. It was in this program, that on breaks, Spencer would play pool in the game room. A kind soul named Hacker, who worked for the teen center, encouraged Spencer to learn the fundamentals and play at the Friday Pool teen tournament. Spencer started to play and win. Vern, a sweet older gentleman that happened to be caring for his ailing wife, would come to the Senior Center (located next door to the Teen Center) to socialize and play pool. Vern was the best player Spencer knew and he asked Vern if he would teach him.

Vern accepted, and for months every Tuesday, Spencer, and Vern had a standing appointment to learn and play.

In a short time, Spencer was “placing” in top positions and often winning the weekly tournaments…… He craved more. As Spencer progressed he was focused and eager to learn. He reached out to local pool halls asking if he could play, but he was only 12 years old. One Saturday afternoon we were having a family hang-out day and Spencer said, “Mom, there’s a pool Hall 2.5 miles away called Stixx’s, can we swing by and check it out?”

Gulp, A pool hall was not my vision of where I wanted my pre-teen to be playing. After a few deep breaths, not wanting to break his spirit with my bias, I said, “maybe”.

Actually, I was thinking, “how can I get out of this...??”

I called ahead to ask if they were open, and more importantly, were minors allowed. I also asked if it was a place for very young players? Brian, the pool hall associate said, “why yes, we think of ourselves as a family establishment.”

“Yeah right”, I thought… but not wanting to disappoint Spencer I said, “let's go check it out, but I will go in first.”

We parked and I walked in alone, ready to find all the negatives and tell Spencer, “sorry, it's not cool.”

To my pleasant surprise, the people were kind and happy to have someone so young interested in the game of pool. They also loved that Spencer had his pool stick in the car. When I came back to the car I said to my husband Jim, “let's all go in and watch him play”. And that is what we did. On that day Spencer met Chris Robinson, a 16-year old that had placed in the National Tournament the prior year and then eventually went on to win Junior Nationals and become Spencer's best friend to this day.

This was the beginning of many trips to Stixx Billiards in Ventura, CA to practice and play with Chris and participate in this community.

And then he saw the line. Not everybody sees the line, but Spencer did.

The elusive, much coveted vision of the line. This is the line on the table that appears in a players mind's eye when he’s about to make the perfect shot.

This begs the question, do we see the energetic line between our adversity and where we are?

And there were other lines that were seen from one connection to another. Like the line that was crossed by a teacher who bullied Spencer. I can assuredly tell you that without that unfortunate situation, Spencer would have never found the game of pool.

The experience my son and I had was a stellar example of being open to accepting the gifts that present themselves, in unexpected ways from the universe.

Like the line that leads you to your true purpose regardless of the adversity it might have been packaged in.

*Pretty S. Martinez photo credit