Pool Trick? No, Excellence.

Gerry Watson, now showing in Manila

By Frank A Hilario

The 3-time Canadian Open Pool Champion is scrambling out of his native Cornwall, Ontario, Canada and, across the globe, jumping into a billiard pocket called Manila, Philippines. This is a tricky shot by ‘The Pool Trick Guy,’ but he’s been living with tricky and difficult shots for at least the last 25 years.

He calls himself in his own website 'Canada's Premier Billiard Entertainer' (gerrywatson.com). Well, the show must go on! if it has to be in the Philippines.

Excellent choice, Manila! We Filipinos welcome Gerry Watson. We don’t mind another billiards champion moving in. After all, we’re used to having World Pool Champions around here, you know: Efren ‘The Magician’ Reyes, Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, Alex ‘The Lion’ Pagulayan, Jose ‘Amang’ Parica, Ronato ‘The Volcano’ Alcano.

So, let me introduce him to the Filipinos. At 12, Gerry Watson began playing pool at a neighbor’s home; at 15, he was the top player in Cornwall in both snooker and pool. He is a 3-time Canadian Open Champion in 8-Ball (1983), 9-Ball (1993 and 1996). In 1983, he began the Gerry Watson Pool Show; he has since done 3000 shows, where he does trick shots, difficult shots, and tell jokes. He has produced 3 home videos (VHS); his newest video is on DVD, ‘Graduation Class’ (internationalpooltour.com). He has a book titled 101 Big Pool Shots: The Pool Player’s Guide To Excellence (nextag.com). That book complements, according to Hotshots Canada, ‘Graduation Class,’ which is actually 2 DVDs in 1:

The Graduation Class portion of this DVD thoroughly explains and demonstrates solutions to common problems – stance, stroke, follow thru, power draw, position play, safety play, plus much more. Billiard’s ultimate workout will definitely refine and elevate your game.

The 101 Big Pool Shots portion of this DVD explains & demonstrates 60 critical shots that keep coming up game after game. By mastering these shots you will then be on the fast track to think and play like a professional.

Also called ‘The Ghost,’ he is flying out of Cornwall and landing in Manila, according to Todd Hambleton of The Cornwall Standard Freeholder (standard-freeholder.com). ‘The Ghost of the Philippines; Pool legend Watson making permanent move to Manila.’ Canada’s premier billiards showman is cleaning up his act and setting up camp in the tropical islands called Pilipinas. You don't believe it? His $8,000 Diamond pool table at his apartment is gone, and he too will soon be.

Why Manila?

It’s complicated, Gerry Watson says of his move. From what I can gather from Todd’s report, there are a few reasons for choosing Manila.

One, his older brother Pat, who lives in Manila, has been telling him about heaven, saying, ‘This is a heckuva pool area, you outta think about coming over here.’ So, finally, he is. I’m not getting any younger, he says.

Two, Gerry Watson believes in his heart that Manila is ‘the heart of the pool world.’ It is, Gerry, it is!

Three, he will be close to some billiard hotspots: Japan, China, Korea. Don’t miss out Singapore and Hong Kong.

Four, pool was consuming him and did not allow for personal growth. He hopes the new scenery will inspire new trick shots and another book. ‘It’s all geometry, and you never know when it’s going to come to you,’ he says.

Five, ‘the game is not on an upswing’ in North America. The geography is affecting the geometry badly.

I also notice that Todd’s paper itself, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, does not even list pool as a major sport along with hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, curling, lacrosse, bowling. That’s how much (less) Cornwallers value a champion in their midst. But don’t worry, Todd, we in Manila will lionize Gerry Watson. We Filipinos love a jolly good show even if it were not of our own.

Last month, Gerry Watson went back to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) at Oshawa, according to ANN (author not named) (uoit.ca). ANN reported:

Watson said anyone can learn the basic fundamentals of a discipline, but a high interest level and another person with the same passion are needed to become an expert.

At Conestoga College in 2004, he told his audience of students (conestogac.on.ca):

Remember, guys and girls, pool is like your studies. Sometimes it gets rough, but you have to persevere, try harder.

That is another sense in what Steph Baulk calls him, ‘billiards guru’ (conestogac.on.ca).

This teacher learning from Gerry Watson, guru, I say:
High interest level, perseverance, passion and a mentor will guide you to excellence. Even if it doesn’t happen to be in billiards.

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