I met Billy Johnson (right) online in June 2009 when he launched his new 42 players directory into cyberspace. It was a novel idea that allows 42 players worldwide to make their presence known by zip code to other 42 players. His site also has links to basic 42 resources that are useful and popular in the 42 community. And it is colorful with a Texas flavor. Getting Billy's story was a priority for me, and I invited him to contribute a commentary. Here it is. Thank you, Billy, for sharing your story with other 42 players.
- Paul Proft, webmaster, Texas42.net, 3 August 2009 

Commentary by Billy Johnson

Although I didn’t play my first game of 42 until I was in my early 40s, my recollection of the game goes back to when I was around five years old. The year was 1948; the place was Tyler, Texas where I was born. I was the youngest of ten children in a family where love was the key ingredient to survival. On Sundays after Church, we would often visit family or friends that lived nearby. We would eat dinner (that’s lunch in East Texas), then all the adults would play 42. I remember being just tall enough to look over the edge of the table at the dominoes lined up in front of all four players. What drew me to the table was the laughter and fun they were having. As I stood there watching and not being to still, my mother would remind me, “Billy, don’t you bump the table and knock the dominoes over.” Being smart enough to realize the best thing for me to do is go outside and play, I would get on my stick horse and ride off down the street to find one of my friends to play cowboys and Indians. Watching the adults play 42 was the extent of my exposure to the game as a child, but a seed was planted that has been growing ever since.

I was self-employed in various service oriented businesses over a 40 year span. My work requirements, and travel was not condusive for playing 42. However, there was a short period of time in the mid 80s that I played on a regular basis with friends and co-workers, but must admit my skill level was not something I could brag about. Anyone who has ever played the game realizes that once you start playing, the desire never goes away.

In 2007, I was browsing around the internet, when the 42 urge struck once again. I figured surely the internet, computer, and software technology was far enough advanced that a person could play 42 with other people over the internet. It took just a few key word searches to find just what I was looking for. During my search, I found 42-online.com, which offered the following:

• A low one time setup fee
• Tournaments you could play anytime you want
• The open tables would allow you to play with other players online
• You could play with bots (computer generated players) 24 hours a day
• There is also a feature that you could watch tournaments in play

I took advantage of the watch feature a lot to restore my confidence enough to play with and against other players.

Over the past two years, I have played 3900 plus games with 265 different partners and won 261 tournaments. I have kindled lifetime friendships with my online partners on which a value cannot be placed. However, there was still something lacking. The sound of laughter, fellowship and fun associated with live play was the missing ingredient. I then pursued an idea to develop a website which can, via a click of the mouse, enable 42 players, no matter where they live, to find other players near enough to each other to play live games. After lots of thought and consideration, I decided a 42 Players Directory would be the appropriate vehicle for the task at hand. Although it will take a long time to build a database of players where multiple players live in the same area, it is certainly achievable.

I am proud to introduce the first and only 42 Players Directory at www.42players.com. In just over four weeks, there are 159 members/players in the directory. The website also offers lots of resources related to 42. (2016 note: The players directory has moved to Facebook. -PP)

Texas 42 is a game deserving of being promoted for future generations to come. If my efforts of developing the directory can assist in accomplishing that, I will leave this world a better place. There have been three other individuals that donated their time and expertise to the directory, and I would like to take this time to thank them for their expertise and devotion to the game of 42.

Hub McNett and Linda Yarbrough - This professional developer/programmer/designer duo provided the database engine that makes 42players.com function smoothly. Many hours of their time and expertise were donated for 42 players all over the country. Their services can be found via the following websites by visiting themediamix.com and townhub.com.

Paul Proft - webmaster/developer of this website, Texas42.net, for donating his time and expertise by designing and maintaining the map at texas42.net/42playersmap.html that tracks the growth of The Directory.

Without these three individuals, 42players.com wouldn’t be what it has become. A place Texas 42 can and will thrive and grow.

Thank you Paul for inviting me to tell my 42 story.

Billy Johnson/Your Friend/A 42 Player

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