If there’s one word that describes Jason Martin of Troy, Texas, it’s perseverance. Jason stepped away from pool for about 7 years shortly after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was a difficult transition as he loved pool most of his life. Growing up, he used to watch his dad play pool often; his dad taught Jason how to play as soon as he was tall enough to see over the table. Jason played constantly with high school friends and loved the game more and more as he got older.
A few years after giving up the game, an old friend from school posted on Facebook that he needed someone to fill a spot on his 9-Ball team. Jason had never played in a pool league before, but jumped at the chance and was hooked again.
“It has taken me a little bit of time, but I have mostly regained my game and with it, a little bit of what I used to be,” Martin said. “Friends and pool gave me back a part of my life that I thought I had lost forever.”
He’s been playing in the APA since Fall Session of 2011. That friend that got Jason back into pool—Joe Hernandez III—has been helping him since day one. He, along with many of Jason’s teammates, has practiced with him to improve his game. Joe was also there with Jason at his first trip to Singles Regionals and traveled to Vegas with him for the National Singles Championships. In addition to Joe, Jason’s wife, Tiea, also made the trek to Vegas to support Jason in his quest for the championship. Tiea has been a huge inspiration to Jason in all aspects of his life and getting him where he is today.
Jason is competing in the 9-Ball Shootout White Tier. He’s most looking forward to playing with people from all over the country, and learning some things along the way. He says just being around so many people that enjoy the game should be a great experience.
“I’ve actually never been to Vegas before,” Martin said. “In fact, I’ve only been out of Texas once before, and this will be my first time on an airplane. I’m not sure if I’m more nervous to be participating in the tournament, or to be flying to Vegas!”