A venerable and common proverb in Western society maintains that the family that plays together stays together. Over the years, the Edwards family of Washington has bonded over billiards, and the pool table often dominates their talk at the dinner table.

“It makes for good dinner conversation,” said Stephanie Edwards. “We talk about the future of our pool, and about different tournaments we want to play. It’s something we all like and we all have in common. Everybody has different interests, but this is one we all come together on.”

The family’s common affinity for pool tournaments began when then 6-year-old Shaun Edwards began taking lessons from his father. In his turn, Shaun taught his children to play. Today, Shaun and Stephanie play in American Pool Association tournaments, along with their sons Evan, 14, and Dylan, 16, and their daughter Taylor, 12. 

“My wife and I were playing in a league, and when our kids got older, they started joining leagues,” Shaun Edwards said. “In 2012, my wife and I won a Tazewell County championship. We were able to go play in Las Vegas in the world championship tournament. This year, we fell short and placed second in the county championships, so we didn’t get to go to the world championship.”

While the husband-and-wife team fell short of qualifying for this year’s APA world championship, 2018 has not been a year lacking in accolades for the Edwards family. Last week, Dylan competed in and won the APA Junior National Championship tournament in St. Louis.

“I’ve been playing for four years, and I’ve been playing in national championships for four years,” he said. “This was the year I won, and it was an amazing experience.”

Besides having a hobby in common, Shaun and Dylan are in accord as to their toughest opponent.

“Josh Franklin is a great player,” said Dylan. “He is very smart, and he knows what he’s doing. He’s an outstanding player.”

Obviously, parental encouragement and mentorship played a significant role in the development of the Edwards children as pool players. But they also give a large part of the credit to the coaching they have received at Famous City Billiards in Creve Coeur, which offers an APA junior program, as well as lessons learned from opponents.

“Famous City has done a lot for us,” Dylan said. “Every junior we’ve played against has made us what we are today. The parents bring their kids to league, help them out and make sure they know they’re here to become better players. Everyone has a different way of shooting, and sometimes I will learn from people who may not be elite players. There are times when I learn from people who don’t play the game.”

The Edwards family is not quite unanimous in their enthusiasm for competitive billiards. Eighteen-year-old Connor Edwards does not play in tournaments but has been known to play occasionally to share in his family’s enjoyment of the game.

“Connor will play a couple of games just to mess around with us,” said Dylan. “I’ve played him a couple of times, and he’s good enough that he could play in tournaments if he wanted to.”