I just had the most amazing night of my life. I was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame. My very good friend, Dr Donald Wardell gave the speech, had us all in tears! I had a friend record it so as soon as its ready, I’ll post it up on my website. It was so emotional because it was the very first time anyone, including myself, had talked in depth about what I’ve been through to get where I am. My husband, three of my daughters, my cousin and a few good friends traveled a long way just to be there. This award was so very special because it was with the people I have shared my journey with all these years. No one understands like my girls on the WPBA what it’s like to want to be the very best and the sacrifice it takes to get there…and stay there. I’m so grateful for them and everyone else that has been part of my life throughout. I really wish you all could’ve been there. I don’t have all that Don said in his intro but here is some of what I said.
I would like to express my appreciation, not just for this award, but for the hard work of everyone in this room and the ones before you who have put me in the position to stand before you today. We are only as good as those around us. I feel lucky to be surrounded by some of the most talented people in our industry. Thank you WPBA.
I want to take this moment to be thankful for my husband George’s most difficult accomplishment, putting up with me all these years. Not many people understand how our marriage works, with us being so different, but no one understands me the way you do. Thank you for giving me so much support, letting me shine when I need to and reminding me to park the Black Widow at the door when I get home. I love you!
To God, I praise you and Thank you. I know I fall WAAYYY short of what you had in mind as one of your children. Thank you for loving me anyway and having the patience to help me grow every day, to be a better person!
Mom, I know you couldn’t be here, but I’m finally learning what it means to be a mom. It’s not easy but you always made sure to tell me you love me. You are the woman who has pushed me and guided me to be the best I can be. Thank you for making me so very proud to be your daughter. Dad, thanks for your patience and love and caring for us all these years. I love you both.
My darling children, thank you for brightening my days with your smiles! Thank you little ones for your patience with mommy’s busy busy schedule, letting me practice pool even it is with you wrapped around my legs. Thank you for keeping me grounded with your messy faces, lost homework, chauffeur duty, skinned knees and all your little kisses and snuggles at bedtime!
Thanks to my big kids for your understanding and love! I’m so proud of you!
Gene Nagy for teaching me to play for the love of the game, to enjoy the journey, not just the wins. I wish you were here. I love you and I miss you.
Amsterdam Billiards for giving me so much support over the years from an amateur to a world champion, you’ve been there!
Gabe Vigorito of HBBC for giving me the nickname the Black Widow! I had NO idea it would become something I would love!
My first major sponsor, Imperial International for all those years that you were steady and true! All the sponsors that followed, I’ll always be grateful for your support.
Thanks to APA for seeing me through surgeries, babies, APA Black Widow Tour, and teaching me so much about marketing and caring so deeply about the future of our sport!
Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops, seeing the best in me, giving me the opportunity to become your friend while learning from one of the greatest, wisest, most giving men i know. Thanks for loving me and the game, your continued sponsorship and I look forward a long lasting friendship.
Tom George, my agent for the last fifteen years at Octagon for always having my best interest at heart in a tough tough business! For being a mentor, friend, and teaching me so much about sports marketing! I really don’t know what I would have done without you all those years!
Teddy Bloch and Mike Scherer, thank you for being great agents and even better friends. I trust and love you both. I’m just so fortunate that you’re in my life!
I learned so much from my coaches and I’m grateful to them all! I can’t say enough about how much I’ve learned but I especially want to thank Jerry Briesath for teaching me the importance of good fundamentals and the perfect swing and his protege, Mark Wilson, my constant reminder to have a winning attitude. Thank you, Bob Carman for teaching me how simplifying my life makes me a better champion and a happier person. I AM a slow learner though! Still working on that one.
Tony Robles, you have always and continue to teach me what it means to be proud to be an ambassador for our sport. Thank you for that and your true friendship.
Dianna, my glue that holds everything together, thanks for always going the extra mile, for your thoughtfulness and caring. I can talk to you about anything and never fear being judged. So I’ll thank you this one day for putting up with me the other 364 days a year!
Barbara, I met you before I ever became a pool addict and you’ve never missed a beat. You’ve been there through everything. You always took my side even when I was wrong and you wrote me over and over even when I was too busy to write back. You’re the one that convinced me I was stronger than I thought and what being brave really means.
Helena Thornfeldt for being my best friend on tour. I’m so grateful for having had you in my life throughout my career. We’ve had some great times, but you also let me cry on your shoulders and cooked Swedish food for me when there weren’t any words left. We all get distant a little when living so far apart, but you never let us get very far because you knew what was important! Thanks for not giving up on us! You really taught me so much and I love you.
Marlene, Marc, thank you for knowing who I am and reminding me when I forget. Thank you for genuinely caring about the outcome of my life. Thanks for giving me such loving support through all the surgeries, miscarriages, babies, all the ups and down of my career, and most of all, being someone I can trust in a world that I have often felt misunderstood.
I want to thank my Fans and friends out there that have given me so much encouragement. All fourteen of you have been amazing!! Just kidding! Hehe! I hope we can share many more years together!
Lastly, Don, for taking the time to make this the most special evening ever. Thank you for your kindness, caring, thoughtfulness, generosity, more importantly, for being one of the very very few people that might actually love straight pool as much as I do. Thank you for always being there when I needed you, all those positive affirmations and believing in me when I sometimes was too exhausted to believe in myself! I cherish our very special friendship and I hope I can express just how grateful I am for all you’ve been for me and my family!