Wade "Boom-Boom" Crane
A smooth talker from birth no doubt, Wade Crane definitely had a presence about him. Anytime he was in the room while I was shooting, I always felt myself getting a little nervous - I knew I was in the presence of greatness. I met him in 2006, when he was wandering around the Marietta Billiard Club. I remember him telling me about his successes on the pool table - claiming he was a world champion in playing opposite handed pool. I can't remember what title it was exactly, and it doesn't seem to be listed on his incredibly long record of achievements…but I know it was very important to him. I think that's what sparked our first conversation, since he noticed I'm a righty, but I shoot pool lefty. I remember him telling me that if I learned to shoot with my right hand, that I could be great like him.
He was an instructor, and we talked many times about him giving me lessons. Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity once. Fortunately, I did have the opportunity. He was incredibly soft-spoken and very patient. One thing I noticed about him - the cue was in my hand most of the time. He would occasionally take it from me to show me a shot here and there, but then he would give it back, and let me work with any shot for as long as I wanted to. The lesson lasted for three hours, and I was disappointed when it was time to leave. I would've played all night long - he made me WANT to play all night long.
I remember him telling me one thing to ensure that my stroke was straight was to take a coke bottle (not a can), and stroke into it, without looking, continuously - try to get as far back into the bottle without hitting the back. Another thing I remember him telling me was how much everything was so ingrained in our body through practice, that I could literally close my eyes and make the ball…and then I tried it, and made the ball (full table shot no less). And of course - there was the "Wade Crane Special", where a ball is straight in, and the next shot is all the way on the other side of the table, perhaps on the rail. You can draw it and get it part of the way, but if you draw it with reverse English, it shoots off the rail all the way down. I still see players get this wrong all the time. It definitely amazed me the first time I saw it…
I think I had it in my mind that we would work together in the future - I know I had an open invitation. I guess I always thought I had more time…and let the opportunity slip away. He was definitely a special person, a great player, and missed by many.