Friday, August 28, 2015

No Love for Pool

Boy pool is definitely not mainstream like golf, tennis or basketball, is it?

Because pool is not on TV it's very easy for even pros to walk into a pool room or bar or even a league event and gamble with not many people recognizing them.

This could never happen with basketball players or golfers or even tennis stars.

Last year one of my friends, a pro, who actually played on the Mosconi Cup, was able to walk into an APA event in Vegas and gamble because not many people recognized him and knew who he was.  A couple of times some people would walk by and say, "hey, hi xxxxx!"  Even with players hearing his first name and seeing people be excited, they still didn't realize or recognize who they were playing or who they were watching.

Pool is very popular in Asia and Europe.   It's on TV more there and the players are even written up in local gossip magazines if they do something crazy or whatever, but here in the US the idea that pros can walk into a venue without anyone knowing or recognizing who they are and be able to gamble is really kind of sad.

I'm sure this happens with golfers on small courses or with semi- famous tennis players on some remote tennis court, but because this can happen with pro pool players at a national league event, really tells the state of the sport, imo.

I wonder if in my lifetime pool will be mainstream. I don't know if many of you know that pool used to be on ABC Wide World of Sports pretty regularly. I would love to be able to talk to someone at ABC and ask them why did y'all stop covering pool?  I'd be very interested to see what the reason was.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting Closer

Well, I had league again last night.  Still debating whether to play next season or not.

I broke and ran the first rack.  Again everyone was like, "You can't quit!  See?  You're playing great!"

Uh, that's not the point.

The loudest thing I'm hearing that is making me second guess this is this one fact:  After you step away, your game is never as good as it was if you come back.

But yet I don't want to come back.

At least right now I have no desire to come back to league play.

Then they say, "I thought I didn't want to either."  Or, "You may never know."

Well, deep in my heart, I know I would rather not pick up my cue ever again.

Someone said last night, "What, are you going to stay at home and make babies?"  Uh, no.

People seem to think I will be staying at home every single night if I don't play pool anymore.  How about doing more outdoor things?  How about taking classes?  Or reading (which I do NOT do at all).  Things that improve myself so I can be a better friend and coworker, and to be happier?  I WANT to come to work refreshed after a good nights' sleep.  Not up late b/c of league. 

I tried to express that there is too much drama in pool.  Someone pointed out, "Well, there's drama with the Omega Tour (that you run)."  Well, that is different.  That drama is not against me personally.  There is drama between players that I like to handle with my leadership skills.  That doesn't bother me and I welcome those challenges.

But drama on league, or in the pool room, or at tournaments, THAT I'm tired of.  And I simply feel like I don't have to be around it anymore.  It's a choice.  Just last night someone got mad at me for playing a safe.  Literally said something to me about it during the game and raised his voice at me because he was mad at me.  I want to be around people who make me feel good, who make me laugh, who provide me peace when I'm around them.  I'm not feeling that at tournaments anymore or in league, either.

I reached out to a friend of mine that I look up to as I noticed through facebook that she no longer plays pool.  She said, "I found that the unhealthier affects of competition on my personality were bringing me down and that I was sacrificing other parts of my life in pursuit of something that was no longer making me happy.  I also felt like most of the people in the competitive pool crowd weren't that upstanding to be around."

She understands.  And boy can I relate!  (And damn she has an amazing way with words!)

The bottom line for me is this:   I have been very successful the last few years and feel very proud to have accomplished all that I did in a short time period.  And, I feel very lucky and also very fulfilled!  It's now time to focus on other aspects of my life than a smokey pool room that I have lived in for 20-25 years.  Not one person has said to me, "I support you."  All I get is, "you can't step away"  or "don't go, you are playing too good," or "we need you on the team" or "you will be back."  So it was VERY refreshing when I reached out to my friend who has already gone through this "retirement" (successfully, I might add).  And I spoke with another friend today who said, "Of all of the reasons someone could have to step away from pool for a time, that sounds like the best one. "

Maybe I will or maybe I wont play again, but there is more to this life than to come home late smelling like smoke.  How about hiking?  Golfing?  Visiting new beautiful outdoor locations?  Going out to dinner and having a great convo with successful girlfriends?  Making those type of memories.  I am chalk full of GREAT pool memories, moments, trips, locations, and friends of pool that I will NEVER take for granted and will always appreciate.  AND I wouldn't change A THING!  But it's time to move on now.  And playing pool even twice a week limits doing other more productive and successful things in my life, currently.

My friend also said, "the last goal that I set was to hit the top 16 in the WPBA. I played a bit without a new goal and wasn't focused. I knew it was time to quit when I no longer had any desire to set new goals."  I hadn't really thought of the feelings I'm having about retiring related to my goals, but after reading her comments, she made me realize that indeed once I achieved my overarching goal for the last 11 years or so to win BCA Texas State (which I did last year), my heart seemed "fulfilled."  And then after winning ACS Nationals 9-ball Singles just a month later, I felt shocked.  And I didn't set any new goals or can even think of any I WANT to set.  Been a great ride!

I will be very honest and say it takes A LOT to have mental toughness and focus for an entire tournament.  It's also very emotional dealing with all that can come with competition.  Not competing all the time will provide more peace in my life.  I know I sound extremely selfish, but it's actually NOT easy to be selfish, so I hope others can appreciate that this really is not a very easy decision for me at all. 

As I said before I will still be around pool because of the Omega Tour.  And I will actually be writing more in the future (for other pool-related opportunities).  I will still find items to write about in my blog, too, which I dearly love - my little heart-to-heart online diary!

But it's time for a change - a positive change that brings more peace in my life!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thinking Ahead Can Cost You (video clip)

I have shared before that thinking ahead in a match can be costly. 

Well, this made the news just this week:

"BEIJING (AP) — They both lifted their arms to celebrate before the finish line."

But for Molly Huddle it was a different story. While slowing down and raising her hands, she had no idea her American teammate, Emily Infeld, was sprinting behind her. Infeld caught up, shouldered her way past Huddle and crossed the line in front of her to capture the bronze while Huddle was celebrating.

The correlation is do not start to celebrate before you make the last ball in a rack!  Don't assume you made the last short (or out) BEFORE you win. 

Do NOT think ahead. 

The lady above already slowed down and started to celebrate, yet she hadn't even made her last ball.  Don't find yourself in this position - cross that finish line first!

If you already think you won, that means you are not even thinking of the ball right in front of you.  Your mind need to be 100% on the table, not thoughts of "I'm about to win."  You haven't won yet!

Focus on every single shot with all your might.  It's the easiest shots that we take for granted.  Those are the ones we don't stay down for, or the ones we shoot too fast.  Treat every shot the same. 

Don't ruin a good run-out by missing a ball late in the rack because you are *almost* about to win or because the ball is easy.  Take your time.  Take your time with EACH shot - especially the easy ones. 

Don't celebrate too soon!  you haven't won til the last ball falls, and that comes with staying down and following through on every single short, even the "gimmes."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

All You Need Is Just One....

They say all you need is to just buy one ticket.

Well, I REALLY wanted to win a cue at BCAPL Nationals when I was there in July and here were my chances:

(yes, I bought more than one)

The raffle girls loved me!  Usually players turn away when they approach them, I would instead almost flag them down.  "Hey, I want to buy a ticket, come here!"

They would remember my name and say hello, too, because I would buy tickets from them more than once, lol.

But alas, I did NOT win a new cue!  Dang it...