298-Spires-bigJames Spires from Bristol, Tenn., was in the United States Navy for three years. He joined at the age of 17 in 1965. James served three years aboard the USS Dewey DLG14 and spent six months in Vietnam. In 1966, they were pulled out of Vietnam and sent to North Korea. Unfortunately for the avid poolplayer, they were unable to have a pool table on the ship due to the 30-foot waves and the fact that it’s a bit difficult to hit moving balls.

“In the war zone you had six hours on and six hours off, and then your other duties,” Spires said. “So there wasn’t a lot of time for much else.”

James played a lot of pool while in port—he was under 21 and unable to drink with the other men, so he instead used his free time to improve his pool game. The ship’s home port was in Norfolk, Va.

298-Spires-ship-bigJames joined the APA in 2001, and recently reached 500 matches played! He’s also chairman of his local Board of Governors and plays in three divisions of the Tri-Cities APA. More than anything, James enjoys the friendship and challenge of the competition—it keeps his mind fresh. James says the League gives him a great outlet to meet new people. He’s currently a skill level 6 in both 8-Ball and 9-Ball.

“It’s a great way to have fun without spending a fortune,” Spires said. “I guess mostly I enjoy sharing my skills with the lower skilled players and being their coach. League play is like chess with athletic skills.”

He’s also been to Vegas four times for the National Team Championships and loved every minute of it. James said he’ll continue playing pool until god says, “no more, let the younger folks share what you have shared.”

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