Waterdog was a renown nickname for Donnie Edwards a famous pool table player. The American amateur grew to be one of the best in his times especially during his pick years. Though highly talented, Waterdog did not get maximum benefits from his skills as he led a life of struggle. Donnie would take 5 straight racks without missing a single ball and would only pay the board in the club.
Donnie’s case was made no better by his parents addiction. His father was a serial alcohol drunkard while his mother has heroin addiction. He left his family at Waterbury Connecticut and went to Cue and Cushion where he found some shelter. The experience outside home was rough on the 12 years old as he missed meals and got many illnesses ranging from asthma, bronchitis, iron deficiency among others. Amidst the challenges in his childhood he always prayed to God for a talent that he would excel in and have a better life.
He tried many sports but realized that pool came out naturally in him. Occasionally he would get a few dollars from the mother and he would go to cue and cushion to play with the experts. Luckily, the proprietor of cue and cushion noticed his talent and allowed him to play at the club for free.
By age 13, Donnie was confident enough and he started going to New York on weekends to play with the top players. He would find cheap hotel rooms or at times sleep on the pool table though this did not deter his ambition of becoming the world pool champion. He first found a mentor in Gene Nagy who was a New Jersey State Champion then. However, they fell off soon when Gene tried to charge him for some food.
Once back to Waterbury, Waterdog spent his time practicing pool. He would take five to ten hours a day playing and this took a toll on his school life. Soon the authorities came after him for skipping school and attaining very poor grades. On his part Donnie found pleasure in playing with the novices in town and making as much money as he could from the games. He accumulated a few hundred dollars and flew away from Waterbury to Norfolk.
Donnie started life in Norfork and quickly started playing pool in the clubs. He made a living by winning matches where players would bet with him for $20 to $40. By age 20 he realized that the big money in pool was not in Norfolk so he moved to California where they nick named him Waterdog.
As fate would have it, Donnie soon got hooked to Heroin that was prevalent in his neighborhood. It was a sorry state for a boy who was looking to be a world champion and by the end of his teenage all he was after was a few bucks to satisfy his Heroin addiction. He would make $30- $50 a day but all went to buy his drugs. He would go without meals for days just to buy the Heroin.
Few years later, Waterdog could not control his addiction. His skills suffered greatly, his muscles gave in too and his coordination got worse every day. He could barely win a match. The drugs stole away the destined pool champion. What a shame.
The curtains were closing, the methadone had clearly destroyed him from within. He suffered a broken ankle which did not make it any better. To some people, words from honest friends can change the course of life. But for Donnie with all his talent, he missed a single friend who would talk him out of his addiction. In August 2006, Waterdog passed away in a nursing home in Chicago.