Inside America’s Pool Rooms

Sweet Melissa’s Chattanooga, Tennessee

By: Tracy Lerma

Have you ever been to a place that is your home away from home? Chattanooga Tennessee is that place for me. As I drive under that massive rust colored bridge with those majestic mountains in view, everything is larger than life with the explosion of green, gold, and red colors on this early Autumn weekend. Home of one of the best pool rooms in the area, Sweet Melissa’s located at 1966 Northpoint Blvd just north of Chattanooga is where you will find some of the best pool players in the city! Driving up to a spacious parking area, you see the infamous double doors to what is sure to bring all the big boys to the bar. Walking into this place you wouldn’t think this location would be as large as it is with a sea of sixteen seven foot Diamonds, two nine foot Diamonds with famous pool players’ portraits lining the venue watching like Greek Gods, a corner bar with several TVs sure to please any customer, golf video games when you need a break from the table and to your right a separate room which hosts an explosion of dart boards! Owner Lisa Smith has this place on point with having one of the best menus to date! Can you all say Hot Brownie Sundae? Yes, indulgence was in this hyperactive blonde’s future, this action-packed weekend. Great friends, beautiful mountains, and billiards. Who could ask more from a weekend? This “Cheers” like venue would not disappoint with major players coming from all over such as Mike DeLawder, Tim Miller, Raed Shabib, Billy Young, Tony Mogue and a list of great players and room owners.

Sweet Melissa’s        Photo by : Tracy Lerma

JJ Jarvis, Mike Laney, Dana Russell, Lisa,Smith       Photo by : Tracy Lerma

Tournament directors Dana Russell, Mike Laney and JJ Jarvis put together a smooth-running tournament as we settle in for this battle of the weekend. This strong field of over fifty players will not disappoint as Saturday ends with a Ten Ball Mini Tournament with its single elimination, two hundred dollar entry and eight player maximum which was split between Mike Laney and Raed Shabib, not a bad cash out to end the long day. Sunday brought back some tough competition as these players gear up to begin the last of this amazing tournament.  As the bracket closes in, we see Tim Miller, you recall Miller from a previous article out of Huntsville Alabama, and Lee Uhles to battle out for fourth place. Miller gives it his best but is defeated by Uhles which solidifies his fourth-place take. Lee Uhles moves over to face off with Billy Young for third place, with this match going hill-hill, showing no mercy; Young pockets the final ball, giving Lee his third-place win. There was no give up in Lee’s game. We will see him again soon.  We come down to the excitement of the day, Mike Delawder winning the hot seat against Young earlier makes it an interesting match. Delawder with his jovial demeanor, begins the lag for the break against Young who is ready for Mike, with this true double elimination final.

Mike was a challenge but not strong enough for Billy, who hails from Columbia, Tennessee with an extensive pool history, leaving DeLawder clutching the second-place position.  Applause, a handshake, some last photographs from the crowd and the room somehow seemed quiet except for the delivery of the envelopes, not to mention the bragging rights! Never a dull moment with pool players, fans, and a quirky columnist who loves her job. As I take my last step outside the doors of this amazing venue, I recall the past events.

Will Billy Young keep up his winning streak throughout the Volunteer State? Have we seen the last of Mike DeLawder and his jovial personality? Anything is possible in this pool world. Walking into the cool air, a breeze takes me back to the last venue covered and those players who appeared in this one, each with their own reasons of why they love the game.  Where will she be next time? Would she be willing to sit in your homeroom and take in the sights, partake the menu, and write about what makes it the best? Many questions and many answers to write about in my next column on Inside America’s Pool Rooms.

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Photos in starting order:  Billy Young, Mike Delawder, Lee Uhles.  Photos by : Tracy Lerma