A Person Who Put A Mark On So Many--He Never even knew
My name is Joseph Chaplow. I played pool from about the age of 14 to 18 years old. I quit playing, and went to college. I now have a B/S in Accounting, and a Master's Degree in Taxation--- waiting for my CPA license (I already sat for all four exams). I tell you this information to let you know a little about me, and to give a little credit to my post.
I remember the first time I watched Ginky play, like it was yesterday. He was playing in a McDermott tournament at Cue and Cushion Billiards in Newark Delaware. If I remember correctly, it was 1992 and I was 16 years old. I was totally amazed. The thing I remember most--- he had a stroke, a stroke that just was unreal. In my opinion, the only other person that has a comparable stroke is Cory Duel.
After watching him play, I got enough nerve to talk to him. I asked him how long he'd been playing for. So, he told me for about three years. I thought to myself, "What an arrogant jerk. I simply asked an innocent question, and he comes back with such a belittling answer. No one in this world could learn to play pool at the age of 18 and be that good. The great players all started at the age of 10. Furthermore, no one could play pool for 3 years--- and play like that.". Well, I learned later that day after asking everyone in the pool room (lol), that indeed he only played for about 3 years. I been playing for about 2 years, and I remember thinking "Damn, I should quit now". He was that good.
Throughout the weekend, I spoke to him a few times. I was so surprised--- He spoke to me like he was the average player who was just trying to learn the game like the next guy. If he passed by me, he'd be the first to say hello. He never realized what an impression he made on me (and many others).
The tournament was stacked with talent. Everyone was there--- Robles, Hernandez, Delaware Dogs, Lou Johnson, Fusco, Geese--- just to name a few. Ginky took the tournament on day two on table 18. I think it was him and Robles in the finals.
I never talked, nor seen Ginky again since that Sunday. Even though I quit playing, I never lost a passion for the game. Ginky made such an impression, I started following him online several years back to see where he was in the "pool world". I learned of his early retirement. That alone was a let down. I also heard of his comeback--- which was great news. Probably every six months, I googled him to see how he was playing.
Last night, was one of those google nights. I literally could not believe what I was reading. So strange--- a guy who I talked with for maybe six conversations over a two day period--- I truly felt sad. I felt like a friend of mine died. My point of this is just to show you how far his presence went. He will never know many people he "reached". One of a kind.
I want to make a donation in the amount of $50.
In closing, if after only a weekend of chatting with a person I have such a sad feeling inside reading of this tragedy, I can only imagine the pain people close to him are going through. That weekend, I also met Tony Robles. Incredible--- such a talented player and so respectful/professional. Out of all the pool players I have met, Robles and Ginky will always be the "Head of the Rack".
That weekend was 18 years ago now. I think it says a lot about a person-- if he is able to put a mark on someone's life after only a few chats. Charisma and Character.
Wherever people go after you leave this "game", I hope the place Ginky goes has 15 rocks and a piece of slate. He'll figure the rest out.
With much respect to my friend I never got to know,