James Haslip from San Clemente, Calif., has been in the United States Marine Corps for 13 years. He’s been deployed to Iraq twice. In 2004, on his first tour in Iraq, James was hit by a roadside bomb. He was sent back home because of his leg injuries, but fought his way back to being healthy again. The second trip to Iraq fared better, as he made it home safely. He was unable to play pool during his first deployment, but enjoyed being able to play on the second trip.
“On my second deployment I was able to enjoy some pool with some of my fellow Marines in Kuwait on our way back to the U.S., and let me tell you it was a great feeling to get on a table again,” Haslip said. “It made me feel like I was back in the U.S. with my teammates and was a great taste of home. It made the last month of the deployment go by very smooth when waiting to get back to my son.”
James is a Gunnery Sergeant and has been stationed at Camp Pendleton in California for the past 13 years. There’s a place to play pool on base, but it’s a far drive because the base is so big, so James plays pool in the surrounding South Orange County, Calif., area. He first joined the APA about 5 years ago, but has been playing pool for about 20 years. Originally from Minnesota, James began playing pool in junior leagues at a young age. His father has been playing for about 30 years, and James would always watch him play. Eventually, he started teaching James the game.
In 2008, James competed in the APA National Team Championships in Las Vegas. He’s fighting to get back there again. Currently, James plays in the South Orange County APA League three nights a week. He most enjoys the atmosphere and competitiveness of League night. Some may say that he’s too serious about the game because of his Marine background, but he’ll disagree with that. That’s his dedication to the sport and discipline of the Marines in him.
“I support the APA in every way. I think it is an amazing experience for me and my friends to enjoy healthy competition,” Haslip said. “I would also like to mention my League Operators Liza Gazmen and Scot Burnell. They are excellent Operators and am going to miss them here in the near future when I get stationed in San Francisco, but will definitely still be playing in the APA up there!”