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From the Publisher
By Mike Panozzo
Mike became editor of Billiards Digest in 1980 and liked it so much that he bought the company. He has served on the Billiard Congress of America board of directors and as president of the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America.

July: Mud & Guts
July 2012
WRITERS ARE well aware that story ideas are fickle. Sometimes they practically leap from your mind to the keyboard.

Other times, however, the ideas just don't come easily. You sit and stare at the computer, trying in vain to drum up a decent story line. You feel like well like you're stuck in mud!

In those instances it's always nice to have a can't-miss story drop in your lap!

Thank goodness for Barry Behrman!

The hyper-kinetic longtime poolroom owner and tournament promoter has always been fodder for columns. He's the promoter's version of Earl Strickland. Sometimes he just makes it too easy.

So, imagine the unbridled joy that came with the following website URL that popped up on Facebook several weeks ago:

The video is from Channel 13, the ABC-TV affiliate in Virginia Beach. It is a three-minute segment that aired as "Breaking News" at the top of the 6 p.m. news show on June 19.

The subject is, of course, pool's own Barry Behrman.

As reported on Channel 13 (slow news day, ya think?), Behrman had to be rescued from an area called Cutter Point on a remote inlet in Virginia Beach. Behrman had been out on his Sea-Doo jet ski with his omnipresent 8-year-old Yorkie/Dachshund mix, Buddy. (The jet ski's name? Lil' Buddy, of course.) On his way home from visiting his daughter, Shannon, whose home is on the water, Behrman took a wrong turn.

"The water was like glass, but I went the wrong way and realized I was heading into shallow water. I tried to turn the jet ski around, but it was too late."

Behrman attempted to use forward and reverse to free himself, but all that did was kick up mud and sink the back end of the jet ski deeper into the muck. He climbed off and made several attempts to free the jet ski, to no avail. Behrman, wearing nothing but his swim trunks, was covered in mud. He looked like William Holden in "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Finally, Behrman called his son-in-law, Jason, who then called the Coast Guard. Within minutes the Coast Guard contacted Behrman. Minutes after that a pair of Coast Guard helicopters were overhead. The Coast Guard offered to airlift Barry and Buddy, but Behrman opted to wait the three hours it would take for the tide to roll in and free his jet ski.

Shrewd move, it turns out. The extra time gave the local news stations ample time to gear up and head to Cutter Point. By the time Behrman was rescued by a Fire and Rescue worker in a kayak, all three local stations were waiting to hear his story.

And as only he can, Barry was soon basking in the glow of TV cameras and reporters' mikes. They even filmed him rinsing himself down with a garden hose.

"The Channel 13 anchor in the studio even referred to me as the 'promoter of the big pool tournament' in town," Behrman gushed.

After watching the video, it occurred to me that this seemingly harmless episode pretty much encapsulated Behrman's entire career. Wrong turns, like the gambling conviction that eventually landed him in jail for six months. Occasionally getting stuck in the mud, like the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships that failed to pay out on time. Then the triumphant rescue and return to the limelight.

Eventually, the tide always seems to rise for Barry Behrman.