PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — They don’t call her “Pink Dagger” for nothing.
That’s because Sofia Mast, 12, doesn’t seem to miss a shot when she’s playing pool.
“I just started playing at the practice table when my dad’s team was playing,” Mast said.
Mast, who is from Land O’ Lakes, has taken those skills across the country, competing in national tournaments. She recently won 1st place at the Junior International 9 Ball Tournament in Roanoke, VA.
“She’s dangerous man,” said Elliot Feeney, one of Sofia’s coaches. "You miss one shot and it’s over.”
Meet "Pink Dagger." That's what they call Sofia Mast, 12, from Land O' Lakes. She competes nationally in pool, and as you can see, she doesn't miss a lot!— Tim Wronka (@TimWronka) January 21, 2021
Sofia is part of a new local group called "Shooting For The Future," which teaches kids the game of pool for free. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/jouuYwolyz
When Sofia is not competing nationally, she’s spending time with a new group called “Shooting For The Future.”
The idea is for pool players to gather kids and teens in pool halls, like Mainstreet Billiards in Zephyrhills.
They show them how to play at no cost, while also offering some life lessons.
“Confidence is the biggest thing,” said Executive Director Brandon Butts. “Social skills. Sportsmanship. Being able to win and lose graciously.”
In addition to learning things like life skills and gaining confidence, it's all about finding angles — so math skills come into play as well.
“We’re teaching them geometry at the same time. They see their lines. They start figuring out mathematics,” said John Shelton, who is one of the coaches.
The program now works out of 7 locations across Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk Counties. They have 60 kids now enrolled and are looking to add more.
They also sponsor “Shooting Stars” like Sofia to compete in tournaments.
“I think it’s really cool because they’re encouraging kids to start playing. There’s a lot of girls here. There’s not a lot girls who play pool,” Sofia said.
For more information, visit shootingfuture.org.