Wareham's 'Dream Team' focused on Las Vegas after state championship win in billiards
For nearly a decade, pool players on The Dream Team have strengthened friendships and sunk shots in The Fan Club every Thursday night.
Now, the team is celebrating a state championship win, complete with a trip to Las Vegas where it will compete against the best players from the U.S., Canada and Japan. The winners will head home with $25,000 in prize money.
“It’s fun for us, but this is also a very competitive league,” said Team Captain Reanna Vazquez of Mashpee. “We’ve been going to the state championship for eight years and losing for eight years.”
But not this year.
At Straight Shooters in Fall River this June, the team rallied from a deficit, with help from Donna Richard of Wareham, who won each of her matches as a heavy underdog. The winning shot came courtesy of Jose “Zorro” Vazquez, Reanna’s husband, who sunk the eight ball during the team’s final match.
“There was a lot of pressure, but it was exciting,” said Jose. “My teammates say my head doesn’t need to get any bigger.”
He joined the team just last year, but has been playing for 30 years.
The World PoolPlayers Championship takes place Aug. 13 -19 at the Westgate Hotel and Casino. Individual players from the Dream Team have competed in 9-ball tournaments in the past with team members attending to cheer. But this is the first time the team earned a spot, said Reanna.
The team members, who are friends inside and outside the pool hall, are looking forward to competing together.
“This is a fun team to play for,” said Marc Barrows, who has competed before in the 9-ball tournament. “Even though we’re not related, you could say we’re like a family.”
Other team members include: Rich Farnham, Missy Leger, Rene Mijares and Mary Finney. The Dream Team is one of several that complete in American Poolplayers Association league nights held in the Fan Club, which is just one of a handful of pool halls in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Reanna noted the game is inclusive and everybody’s welcome to play.
“It’s really for everyone,” she said. “There’s not many sports where people 18 to 70 years old can play together and have a good time.”
She also credited her team for the win.
“I have the best team because even when we where down in points my team never gave up even when I did, and pulled together and got the points back in wins that we needed to win the state championship!” she said.
Fan Club owner Glenn Justice said he was glad to see earn a trip to Las Vegas.
“I wish them a luck they worked very hard for this,” said Justice. “I hope they have a lot of success and some fun. Well, I know having fun won’t be a problem for them.”
The American Poolplayers Association, based in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada. Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.