A Maryland pre-teen has made headlines as one of the top pool players in his town. While most kids are gearing up for pool time summers, the 11-year-old is chalking the end of his cue stick.
D’Angelo Spain, whose nickname is Jawz, is the pool-playing youngster that is the pride and joy of Center Pocket billiards in Bowie. The shark that started his career at age of 4 was set up for greatness by his parents.
Jawz’s father shared with Fox 5 News how it all started and how he had to get his wife to buy into the vision.
Frank Spain II said, “One day we went out to go try to get a karaoke machine or something like that,” but De’Angelo wanted a pool table instead. “[My wife] was like where are we gonna put it at? I said we can make space.”
Angela Spain, his mother, commented about her son, “The only place we had to put it was in our living room, so we had to take our couches out, move them all out, and we did get a pool table.”
The family broke the mom down and she gave in, saying, “He did talk me into it.”
Jawz, who got his nickname from his dad, now competes in tournaments throughout the nation. So skilled at what he does, he enters into contests in big cities like New York and New Orleans, ranking as the number one pool player in the 13-and-under division (boys) in the Junior International Championships.
To continue his tournament experience, the family has started a GoFundMe for him and his kid sister, Franki Spain, to rack up some more titles.
The siblings have both played in multiple junior tournaments in the Junior International Championship (JIC) billiards circuit, where they compete against the best junior pool players in America
Little Franki is 9 and trying to follow in her big brother’s footsteps. She is currently ranked in seventh in the 13-and-under girls division in the Junior International Championships.
Being a master pool player is not the only way she models her brother. She’s also as an outstanding a student. Both Spain kids are honor roll students who balance their schoolwork schedules with their pool practice time.
“Their passion for pool has them spending hours practicing to perfect their craft,” his mother wrote in the plea section of the crowdfunding site.” When Jawz is not practicing, he is helping his dad coach billiard students.”
Jawz doesn’t only compete against kids his age. He is ranked 15th among boys 18 and under and hopes to contest in the International Open in Norfolk Virginia in November. But to qualify he needs to compete — he needs to travel and compete.
Out of the 8 states where JIC has scheduled competitions (and other states are expected to be added), five stops are remaining, and the Spain kids really want to go. The fundraiser will help them with travel, lodging, and tournament fees and set them up to snatch the coveted titles from kids almost twice their age.
Already, Jawz is scheduled to represent Maryland at the APA Junior Nationals in St. Louis in July, and while the competition is stiff, he is ready. And like most vets, when he wins he wants to rooster-strut his victory until his opponent is shamefaced — or at least he does when the opponent is Dad.
“When you lose to him one time you feel like you lost to him 100 times because he’s gonna talk trash,” Frank laughed. “He’s gonna rub it in. He’s gonna make you lose sleep over it.”
His dad should know. When asked about how Frank adds up on the table, Jawz told Black Business, “He’s good. However, not adequate.”