LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - Johnathan Davis of Leesville recently returned from the experience of a lifetime competing in the 2018 American Pool Player's Association Championship in Las Vegas last month.
Johnathan Davis of Leesville placed third in the Wheelchair 8-ball category of the 2018 American Pool Player's Association Championship in Las Vegas last month. (KALB)
Davis placed third in the Wheelchair 8-Ball Championship where he faced 52 players.
Davis has been in a wheelchair for eleven years after he was thrown from a car in a wreck just after his 18th birthday.
"I felt like I had a choice to either give up and die or be sitting right here today," he said.
Davis had to give up his true passion for basketball but eventually found his peace on the pool table, taking a childhood hobby to the amateur level nearly two years ago.
"Moving with my father, he used to take me to what they call a hole in the wall where a lot of old heads get together and shoot pool," Davis said. "That's how I learned. I lost my dad four months after my car wreck and since he's the one who put the pool stick in my hand I thought 'why not?'"
Through dedication and encouragement from his Leesville pool family, Davis was invited to compete in the 2018 American Pool Player's Association Championship. The experience left him inspired.
"It gives me hope too because some days, even after eleven years, some days you still wake up down wondering why," Davis said. "But when you see other people who tell you their story, the life you're living today, you have to be thankful because it's always somebody who got it worse. It was just a blessing."
Life may have given Davis a bad "break" but he still nailed the pocket.
"That's my therapy," Davis said. "When I get mad I can come to a pool table, hit a couple balls in and go home, go to sleep and be wonderful. If you can push yourself to do this on the table that means you can push yourself in life. Pool is something you can't take away from me."
Davis doesn't have a pool table of his own so he plays at local bars. When he isn't playing pool, Davis said he watches YouTube videos about pool, always looking for ways to improve.
Rena Bush, a friend of Davis who also plays pool in Leesville accompanied him to the 2018 APA Championship where she competed in 9-ball singles.