BLOOMINGTON — Sarah Rousey has seen several momentous events occur in the world of pro billiards recently.
That’s one reason the 27-year-old from Bloomington is “shocked” to be on the cover of the January issue of Chicago-based Billiards Digest magazine, the sport’s oldest and most widely read publication.
“The USA won the Mosconi Cup, which is kind of like the Ryder Cup,” Rousey said. “We had a girl, Jasmin Ouschan, win three tournaments.”
Rousey, who is No. 17 in the Women’s Professional Billiards Association rankings, has never won a pro tournament, usually a prerequisite for cover story candidates.
“They sent me an e-mail about a week ago that said I was going to be on the cover,” she said. “That was pretty shocking.”
But when you consider Rousey’s blog on her website, www.sarahrousey.com, drew nearly 25,000 hits last year, her popularity makes her a fine cover story subject.
“When I go to tournaments or whatever, I try to talk to everybody,” said the fan-friendly Rousey. “I’m never going to turn down a conversation.
“I’m always going to try to remember names. I just like socializing with people and learning about different people. I think they appreciate it.
“Some people tend to get a little arrogant when they get good, but I like to keep it all the same. I’m pretty approachable in that way. Online, I answer all my e-mails and I do my blog.”
Brutal honesty in assessing her play has helped Rousey gain followers.
“I’ve been honest through good times and bad,” she said. “People tend to like to read about the truth rather than things that are sugarcoated.”
The Billiards Digest story about Rousey by Mike Geffner, which appears at www.billiardsdigest.com, details how she has coped with Type 1 diabetes since age 10 and how pool brought her out of the shell the disease put her in.
The cover photo — in reality a test shot for the camera — shows a smiling Rousey, cue at the ready, behind the headline: Why worry? Sarah Rousey learns to enjoy life as a WPBA star.
Rousey, nicknamed the Heartbreaker, was the WPBA Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has been ranked as high as No. 8. She took her talent around the world in 2009 to such places as Canada, China, Taiwan and the Philippines.
A highlight was placing ninth in the China Open. That trip opened Rousey’s eyes to how hard players train there.
“The girls in China are training non-stop,” she said. “They are like 14 to 18 years old and all they do is train eight hours a day. They are all secluded from their families and taken to a school to do that.
“When I see that, I’m thinking ‘well, I might practice eight hours a week so I better start playing and change things around a bit.’”