Pool Shark Sighting in San Francisco

By Laura Behnke
|  Thursday, Jan 28, 2010  |  Updated 5:00 PM PDT
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Pool Shark Sighting in San Francisco

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It started as a way to earn a few extra bucks, evolved into a means to get out of doing household chores, and then settled into a way of life.

It is the game of billiards.

And they are the Rakin family.

Chances are most days you will find at least one of them putting on a show at Family Billiards in San Francisco, showing everyone how it's done. 

About ten years ago Daly City resident Redante Rakin took his five children to a pool hall for the first time, and they were instantly hooked.  Especially for his oldest and youngest daughters, Michelle and Mary.

"Playing pool was like being in the military," Michelle, 25, the eldest of the Rakin bunch said.  "We had drills every day."

That work paid off.  Over the next decade all of the Rakin children won a junior title, four were junior national champions, and one--Michelle--played on the pro tour.

"We would never have accomplished what we have without him," Mary Rakin, 21, said of her father.

The competitive spirit is alive and well in the entire Rakin family. It began when the kids used to play games of pool where the loser had to do chores around the house and now has expanded to tours and titles.

After six years as the champion of the Women's West Coast Tour, Michelle lost her crown back in November when a promising young talent took the title--her baby sister, Mary.

"I've always said if I could beat my older sister it will mean more than winning a world championship!" Mary said.

And while Michelle was disappointed in her performance, she was also happy to keep the title in the family.

"This is the best she's ever played," Michelle said of Mary.  "She definitely deserved that, but I'll be after her next year for sure."

As of right now pool has been set aside for Michelle as she works fulltime and prepares to go back to school for her masters degree, but after spending time on the pro tour she sees big things ahead for her sister.

"I can see her going a long way.  She fits in with the pro tour."

That may be true, but for now Mary is focused on earning her degree from San Francisco State where she is currently a junior.  Education has always been the first priority for the Rakins, with pool a distant second.

But pool is still important.  Which is why you will likely be hearing the name Rakin in billiards circles for years to come.

See Michelle and Mary's work this Sunday night, Jan. 31, on NBC Bay Area during Sports Sunday at 11:25.

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