clash royale hack gunpixel.com mobilelegendstool.us robloxtool.com clashroyaletool.info mrcoinsfifa.com besthomescapes.com
HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
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.


Archives
• December 2019
• November 2019
• September 2019
• August 2019
• July 2019
• June 2019
• May 2019
• April 2019
• March 2019
• February 2019
• January 2019
• December 2018
• November 2018
• October 2018
• September 2018
• August 2018
• July 2018
• June 2018
• May 2018
• April 2018
• March 2018
• February 2018
• January 2018
• November 2017
• October 2017
• September 2017
• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
• May 2017
• April 2017
• March 2017
• February 2017
• January 2017
• December 2016
• November 2016
• October 2016
• September 2016
• August 2016
• July 2016
• June 2016
• May 2016
• Apr 2016
• Mar 2016
• Feb 2016
• Jan 2016
• Dec 2015
• Nov 2015
• Oct 2015
• Sept 2015
• August 2015
• July 2015
• June 2015
• May 2015
• April 2015
• March 2015
• February 2015
• January 2015
• October 2014
• August 2014
• May 2014
• March 2014
• February 2014
• September 2013
• June 2013
• May 2013
• April 2013
• March 2013
• February 2013
• January 2013
• December 2012
• November 2012
• October 2012
• September 2012
• August 2012
• July 2012
• June 2012
• May 2012
• April 2012
• March 2012
• February 2012
• January 2012
• December 2011
• November 2011
• October 2011
• September 2011
• August 2011
• July 2011
• June 2011
• May 2011
• April 2011
• March 2011
• February 2011
• January 2011
• December 2010
• November 2010
• October 2010
• September 2010
• August 2010
• July 2010
• June 2010
• May 2010
• April 2010
• March 2010
• February 2010
• January 2010
• December 2009
• November 2009
• October 2009
• September 2009
• August 2009
• July 2009
• June 2009
• May 2009
• April 2009
• March 2009
• February 2009
• January 2009
• October 2008
• September 2008
• August 2008
• July 2008
• June 2008
• May 2008
• April 2008
• March 2008
• February 2008
• January 2008
 
October: In Dark Times
October 2019

Let me start by admitting that I know very little about suicide and will make no attempt to preach to the billiard community.

What I do want to share is my observation of the family that makes up our little corner of the world.

It is painfully apparent that Helena Thornfeldt was one of the most universally liked players in the game. Anyone who had the good fortune to meet her would likely immediately comment on 1.) her wide smile, 2.) her laugh, 3.) her delightfully round face and big cheeks, 4.) her little nose, and 5.) how authentic she was.

I loved to hear her laugh, which she did often and for almost any reason. But my favorite was listening to her throw out street-smart lingo with that adorable Swedish accent.

While Helena was not the oversized personality that took over a room when she entered, it took little more than a brief conversation with her to know that she was a person of grit, determination and, most of all, heart.

And, man, could she break the balls! A born straight-pool player (and one of the best women straight-pool players in the world), Helena got the hang of pounding a 9-ball rack pretty quickly. She possessed as much talent as anyone on the womenís tour but winning never came easy (or terribly often) for Helena. She admitted to having confidence issues when facing the likes of Allison Fisher and Karen Corr, both of whom were in their absolute primes at the same time Helena was. And she was known to stew during matches when things werenít going well.

Still, she put it all together for some big wins ó the WPBA U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship and the Gordonís 9-ball event for starters ó and was rarely out of the Classic Tourís top five. The WPBA put her in its hall of fame.

The opportunities for players and fans alike to see Helena waned over the past decade. Between the dearth of womenís tournaments in the U.S. and her involvement in a poolroom near her Atlanta-area home, Helena wasnít as visible as Iím sure many players and fans would have liked.

Still, it was like old-home days when she did travel to an event, attached at the hip to her best friend, Wisconsinís Bonnie Arnold. I doubt she entered a hotel lobby or tournament arena where people didnít light up at seeing her again.

Which, of course, is what makes her being gone so difficult for so many people to digest. There certainly was no shortage of people who loved Helena. And I truly believe that she did, indeed, know that she was loved by so many. But despair and hopelessness can reach levels most people just canít fathom, me included. And while I hope to better understand, I hope never to experience those levels.

Disbelief, guilt and hurt are normal reactions, Iím sure. Poolís corner of social media offered an incredible outpouring of sympathy. Stories of Helenaís wide-eyed grin and infectious laugh were attempts to soften the blow.

But more than just words, the billiard community mobilized, which isnít at all surprising. Pool players, while often categorized as self-serving mercenaries, have proven themselves time and again to be generous to a fault. Even Helenaís years in the U.S. are freckled with tours in other playersí homes. On her very first visit in the early í90s, she spent three weeks with in Wisconsin with Peg Ledman, a fellow player sheíd met only briefly in Germany some months before. She lived for several years with Jeanette Lee in southern California. Taking in fellow players is nothing new in the pool world.

And after news of Helenaís death spread, a GoFundMe campaign was launched on behalf of the WPBA by room owner/player Janet Atwell. The request was ambitious; $15,000 to cover legal and service costs necessary to get Helenaís remains back to her family in Sweden. More than 160 fans and friends barely hesitated, generating more than enough to cover those costs in three short weeks.

This is what pool players do for one another. It is a sisterhood and a brotherhood. It is a subculture in that each player has an understanding of their brethren that people outside the subculture just donít get.

It is what makes the pool world such a special place. It is also what makes loss cut deeper.

MORE VIDEO...