GUTS AND GRIT PLAYERS!! | A SPOTLIGHT SERIES
By Barbara Lee:
New Iberia Louisiana, the latest WPBA tour stop this June brought a bevy of brand new players into the fold! That said, what was discovered about one of these newbies is a testament to the STRENGTH one needs to not only ARRIVE here, but to also play your heart out!
I can attest to one of these remarkable women since I drew Kristie Bacon (the “Baconator”) in the first round where I broke dry and she ran the first rack of her FIRST WPBA attendance! But it was only AFTER I did an in-depth interview that I left with a gaping jaw and bugged out eyes!
Kristie began pool at the age of 6 when her Grandfather put a cue in her hand. She played quite steadily until the age of 26 where she let go of her pool passion for a desire to get back into an education which was stolen from her around age 16.
Her teenage years were fraught with some of the most major adversities a person could imagine. It began with being molested starting at a very young age, and then finally confiding in her Mother who then kept them away from the home for good, much to Kristie’s relief! But then, an entirely new and dramatic twist was lurking around the corner.
At age 16, her parents were in a terrible car crash which left her Mother literally paralyzed from the neck down with a doctor’s evaluation that she would “never walk again”. Shortly after this horrific accident, Kristie’s Father showed up at her school and dropped her out and told her they were leaving.
Her Father quickly whisked off to Tennessee and left the family behind. The family had no father, no money and only the roof over their heads and a Mother who could no longer work. Kristie was now left with having to tend full time to a Mother who needed 24/7 attendance and of course help with even the simplest of tasks. Additionally, she had to help provide for her family too!
Kristie started taking her Mother to a local swimming pool where she started to display some signs of recovery. Encouraged, Kristie continued her Mother’s “pool treatment” and as of this writing, her Mother is now WALKING thanks to the dedication and determination of her daughter! Additionally, her mother re-married and decided to move the family to Tennessee to be with her step-father.
In the aftermath of her tumultuous teens, she decided men were probably not for her, so she chose a course that would forever after not only change her life but strengthen her even more! Kristie does NOT like labels such as GAY, LESBIAN, or anything else, preferring to state, “I’m just me”. This life choice in the deep Bible Belt of the South in a small rural town did not bode well at all.
Shunned repeatedly by the small-town mentality, she forged on trying to get work and get back to school to continue what she had to give up. When the town’s commissioners decided that it was “Crimes Against Nature” to live or abide within the county (which was quickly overruled after hitting the media), Kristie decided to stand up for her rights. She is not and was not an activist at all and did not want to cause trouble, but she did feel that some kind of action should be taken, so she organized a PRIDE day in her community. The city would NOT allow the parade she wanted, but she gathered support from several neighboring states and pulled off a successful PRIDE day anyway at a local park.
What THAT got her was FIRED from work in her area. And THIS was the constant battle between her and her surroundings growing up. Back to square one!
Not only has she had to bear the brunt of an unapproving surround, she then added a TRIPLE THREAT to her life by marrying interracially with a 7-year-old child and took on full custody of another. She is still happily married with two children, now 14 and 4 yrs. old!
Determined to forge ahead with her education, she tested and scored one of the highest ever recorded (100%) on a GED test and thereafter got a degree in Information Technology – Network Security/Computer Forensics and is CURRENTLY now working towards her MASTERS! She works for a high-profile company and manages two teams that are involved in different contracts (government/commercial) in support of their IT needs!
One of Kristie’s desires is to help kids who have dropped out of school. When she hears them say how their lives are over, she lets them have it and assures them that they can accomplish anything they want to, and I have to say, SHE sure has!
So when did POOL get back into her life? Welllllll, her Grandfather passed away, leaving her nothing but billiards memories as he was indeed her father figure. She just KNEW he wanted her back into the game, so she jumped back in to the arena aiming to please not only herself but her late Grandfather, Earle W. Nichols.
At the end of our interview, she told me “Barbara, when we played that 1st match, I wasn’t playing YOU, I was playing my Grandfather!”
The WPBA welcomes you Kristie and you are a testament to the strength required to play at this level. We hope to see you at ALL the upcoming events!