I met Glenn Atwell in the early nineties and befriended him in the late nineties. During that period of time Glenn as a player figured something out while practicing and soon after began his legend. Glenns legend or story is constantly growing in my community of players . But Glenn, his legend and story has just begun. Some people have great achievements occur outside or without a title or a check attached to it. Glenn is more than a local player with skill. The bottom line is Glenn is our best player. By far. He also improved after 50 years of age. Remarkable.
Well not that remarkable if you know him. Glenn is dedicated. He wins on the road and is considered one of the best bar table players in the world. He actually plays all tables, and all games well. I haven’t witnessed many. Glenn’s moments that most would consider remarkable, like The Reno Bar Box two years ago. Or even any moments that may have meant a lot to him. But for me, like most pool player’s around here, Glenn gives us something to remember. Some particular Glenn’s events for me I would like to share.
The year 1994 ish. Shortly after winning the US Amateur National Championship a road player known as Mexican Johnny came through town barbecueing people one handed. Seriously . One handed. My turn closing and employed with keys to Sheehans Chalk and Roll I watched Glenn rob Johnny at nine ball while the Mexican Hustler robbed him back at one pocket. Both needed weight in the others game of choice. The weight either 9 to 7 playing one hole or the 7 and the breaks playing nine ball did not matter. Both were unbeatable in their field. Glenn offered the 6 at one point. Johnny refused. Johnny with his stakehorse kept going to their car for a” powder break” while Glenn who is drug free battled until early the next morning. They broke even. That’s when I learned about heart. Years later I understood how good Mexican Johnny was . He was great nine ball player. Glenn was better.
Other memorable moments have been noticing how other champions react to Glenn. 1998 ish An all time favorite pool moment cast a player with beautiful stroke , and amazing energy. This classy player named John Bear came to Portland and played in a tournament at Classic Billiards here in Portland. Bears complete focus was on Glenn after losing to Atwell. Everytime Glenn walked anywhere John Bear shook his cue towards Glenn playfully no matter how involved Bear was in a current match. It was as if he knew nobody was left to fear until they would meet again in the finals. As Bear skillfullly predicted it, it was Bear and Glenn again. It was Glenn who defeated the awesome personable John Bear. That weekend or moments kept me in pool when I considered quitting. I instead had incentive or a reason to take pool more seriously as a player. It was hard, it was exiting and most of all fun. I lightened up as a player, especially in tournaments. Quintessential moment without a doubt.
Fast forward now to 2001 ish. Paul Potier and Stan Torangeau were playing for the point at a tournament and arrived together after stepping out for food some where. They both rushed over together to read the loser bracket . I noticed and asked Stan what was up . Stan laughed and said “to see where Glenn is of course !” This moment taught me that the neighborhood local pool champion was someone formidable. To learn from as well as pay close attention too. It secured the notion that he’s the real deal. The next decade of success proved the same realization for the nation.
So Now ish. The little things. Every pool event in Portland has people mentioning Glenn in some way. Although winning is a priority Glenn is a welcome face to Portland tournament goers. We want to play him, be coached by him and earn his respect. Sometimes to be honest we want to send him home early. Which is unfair really since no matter the odds of him being beat in the finals of a small tournament, Glenn chooses to split the dough . A kind gesture as to say to the other finalist “Good job, you played well enough to win this tournament so you deserve it.” In case nobody ever says it ” Thanks for chopping Glenn. Your successes lately are amazing and we really want you to keep it up. Your our horse. Giddyup!! Thanks for all the advice and you know deep down in my heart, with respect. I hope to learn , and continue to admire your play . Oh and of course hopefully drill you soon. Paul