“I want to let you know if you don’t already, you are a Champion!”
I don’t know what possessed him to write this letter, but it is dated 2/28/05. It was a time in my career when I was just starting to achieve success, and it seemed like everyone around me was breaking me down. We were on a 9 ball team together, and we ended up winning that season. At some point, he brought this letter to me. I think he saw the pain that all of the adversity was causing me, or maybe he saw my self-doubt (something I never, ever saw in him), but whatever it was, it meant the world to me. I carried it in my case for years until I became afraid of losing it. Very recently I told him how much it meant to me and he told me that a great player once wrote the same kind of letter to him.
“Don’t ever quit. Maybe you lose, but don’t ever just give up.”
I have so many memories with him: A road trip to Turning Stone, scotch doubles death matches, him watching me demolish a very good player and rooting me on the whole way, playing on nine ball teams together, listening to his crazy jokes, commentating the final rack of a tournament over the phone to him, practicing for hours, then going to eat, then back to practice…I really can’t believe my friend is gone. I’m just happy that he left me this little piece of himself.
“I want you to reread this letter. Words you might forget, but you’ll always have this letter to look back on.”
And I will Ginky. Thank you.