Okinawa Slim – Professional Trick Shot Artist
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Okinawa Slim – Professional Trick Shot Artist

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It all started back in a musty old pool hall in Sanford, Florida. A skinny 7-year old boy stacked two soda crates atop each other so he could shoot his first game of pool. It was a game long-remembered by that skinny little boy, who is now a retired Marine after 20 years of service known by many as “”.Okinawa Slim

My father owned a Billiard Parlor, Restaurant and a Tavern, it was there my brothers and I used to imitate the styles of famous pool players. Combining and perfecting these first attempts at the game, Slim later refined and sharpened these bona fide styles into his own unique style. By spending so much time stooped over the felt-covered tables, Slim became quite proficient at the game. When I was 10, I played my first money game. Although that first game was performed for only a quarter, it was a quarter that slim won. I would beat players that came into my father’s Billiard Parlor that were twice my age. It was also the onset of a long series of winnings that would eventually reach a higher level 

As he reached his mid-teens, Slim had a hankering to travel. So he and his older brother set out. They traveled from town to town, from table to table, searching for their fame and fortune. To support their travels, Slim and his brother took jobs at the Oakland Recreation Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Several professionals frequented the center. They offered me pointers on how to improve my game. I learned a lot from them. He was labeled “Iceberg Slim” while he was associated with the center. His peers were awed that nothing could distract his concentration at the tables. 

The travel bug hit Slim again, but instead of rambling about the eastern seaboard, he considered another alternative. His brother, a Marine, dared him to join the Corps. At first I was going to join the Navy. But my brother said I ought to try the Corps—so I did. After completing boot camp, he was just called Slim. 

In May 1979, Slim was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. At first I was a bit homesick, so I played pool to keep myself busy and take my mind off of being away from the states. Slim spent most of his time playing at the Schilling Recreation Center, located at Kadena Air Force Base. In late December of that year, the center sponsored a pool tournament, which Slim eagerly entered. After four hours of stiff competition, Slim emerged champion, clutching a 1st place trophy for his pool playing expertise. Not only did he leave the competition with a 1st place trophy, but also with the title of “Okinawa Slim”. 

“Okinawa Slim” continued to repeat this feat throughout his tour, taking on military personnel as well as local nationals winning 16 consecutive pool tournaments between the ages of 21 & 22 on Okinawa.  At the age of 22, had the opportunity to travel and compete against players in Japan, Australia, Guam, Korea and Hawaii.  I also played in my first professional pool tournament in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. At the age of 23, competed against world champions such as Allen Hopkins, Lou Butera, Mike Massey and Little Al Romero.

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