Jeanette Lee, at one time was the most famous pool player in the world. While the temptation for the ignorant will be to dismiss that as simply being attractive or having the ass-kicking nickname “The Black Widow,” most of it was due to her being one of the best players in the world. Her accolades stack from here to the ceiling, and she is one of a very few to even come close to mainstream notoriety. She even got her own “Sportscenter” ad.
Sadly, thanks to the constant buffoonery of the industry itself and its inability to organize itself in any meaningful way, she fell well short of the fame she should have had. But even worse, a crippling case of scoliosis has kept Lee from playing at all the past decade, which is simply heartbreaking. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this week she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her doctors are only giving her a year at best. The combination of the two have left her and her family vulnerable. There has been a GoFundMe set up for her three daughters.
Lee is only 49 years old.
I grew up, at least a little, in the billiards world. While I didn’t see as much of Lee play as I should have, she was a true artist. We talk constantly on these pages about players who simply age out of the game they have defined, and bemoan that natural phenomenon. Just last night it was Serena Williams. But Lee has had the game she brought to new levels stolen from her.
And now it appears her life might be right behind it.
There are no guarantees that life has to be fair. It just can be overly shitty at times.