Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why a Blog?

Many people ask me why I started a blog, so thought I would share that journey today.

I first had a journal that I used as a pool diary.  You know, what we used to write down on paper?  I kept the journal with me and would write in that after my tourneys.

Then I decided to move up in the (digital) world and started to journal my thoughts online.  However, it was a private blog and so no one even knew about it but me.

I did eventually tell a few close friends and they wanted access to it, why I do not know, but I gave them rights to view it.  Back in the day (10 years ago) I only really blogged the recaps of my tournaments - who I played, what happened, how I felt, etc. 

A few years later, I was getting such a great response from those friends, they suggested I open it to the free world!  It was quite the step for someone who was really only using it as an online diary of tournament recaps for myself.  I was extremely apprehensive.

When I finally had the guts to click that "not-private" button in my blog settings, it then "unlocked" all my past entries too, so I had to go back through past blog entries and either remove names or give players a nickname.  For instance, to Turtle 1 or Turtle 2.  Or how about the guy who kept a tape measure on his belt even while he played?  He was nicknamed 'Tape Measure Guy' in my blog, lol.

I would eventually learn that I was fine with using someone's name if it was something I would say directly to the player/friend/opponent in person.  I hardly ever talked bad about anyone, but the few times I vented or the few times I shared a tourney encounter, I would be cognizant of others and just not use names or even nicknames anymore.

About 5 years into writing on my online blog, I was working on an instructional website project with a friend I met through the AZB forums.  After awhile, he would say things like, "I read your blog entry today.  You allude that your Mom is sick.  What does she have?"

I shared with him that she had advanced emphysema.  Turns out his Mom had it as well.  And then he suggested I open up more in my blog and share the personal side of myself.  Make it more human.

Here is what he said, which really propelled my persona online:

"No one can tell anyone how to write. After getting the technical skills down everything else must come from within. I think you've progressed nicely on both counts.

Observation (not criticism) No. 1. My favorite post is the one about Lisa Marr's tattoos.  In many ways I feel I now know more about Lisa Marr than I know about you through your blog.

My definition of journey would encompass everything you see on the trip. Not just everything you see on the pool table.
With your blog you have a "hi, how are you, let's have a drink" type of relationship with your readers. Obviously people who know you know much more.  You definitely don't cross a certain line with your personal life.  That's a choice - there's nothing wrong with it.  But as your blog/discussion evolves, the next step really is to start tiptoeing across that line.  I think you wouldn't mind it, it just isn't something that comes natural right now.
I'm not saying you're not giving enough personal details.  It's not the details; it's how you're telling the story.  You're not telling it from your heart.  You're telling it from a safer (to you) place. "

I heard his words, but I was still extremely apprehensive for some reason.  But, he has a way with words and is quite compelling as you can see above lol.

Reading this now, makes me wonder why?  I talk about SO much now and really don't hold back anymore, and actually love that, so what the hell was I thinking back then lol.

But like with most things in life, it morphed through baby steps.  First I had my foot barely nudged in the door, letting out a few personal things I was going through. Then I pushed opened the door a little more and was telling every day stories I was witnessing in the pool halls, and also shared even more of my life.

I received a lot of positive feedback for showing all various aspects of my pool journey, and eventually the door flung open past it's hinges.

I actually strive to blog 12-15 times a month, which is quite unheard of.  I am pretty sure I'm the only pool blogger that keeps an up-to-date blog, which is the number one complaint about blogs. 

I have won a couple of awards for my blog which is SUPER cool and I never imagined that would or could happen (OR that there was that type of award).

But prolly the coolest is when someone tells me randomly that they enjoyed a certain entry, bring up my blog at a tourney, or more so, when someone shares with me that what I wrote helped them with their pool game or in a tourney.  That's one if the main reasons I keep blogging....to help others.

I now write about anything and everything.  Everything is up for discussion.  Whether tourney recaps, instances that occur in a tournament, something upsets me, things I learn from, something I read that relates to competing, tips I share, stories I hear, leadership aspects, personal reflections, etc.

People actually may find themselves written about in my blog.  Names withheld of course.  I hardly use names at all anymore.  It's the story behind the name, not who was involved in the lesson or turmoil or funny story.

One side note.  I think my blog actually helps me compete.  I write about so many tips (new and past learning experiences), that writing them down actually helps in my competitions.

Ironically, blogging is prolly the best part of my pool journey.  You see, I didn't start blogging after I won titles, but when I didn't even know what 3-ball shape was or could barely get "into the money" in tournaments.  Heck, my nickname back then was "one-out-of-the-money Melinda" for years.  Yet, I was still writing about my pathetic matches and wondering why I play this game lol.

So, to have written about my journey from day one into a "someone" in the pool world is pretty dang cool to me.  I'm so glad I finally opened up my private blog, then started to make it more personal, and then really let the flood gates open with all the different topics. 

One of my favorite joys in life is this blog.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Joys of Playing Badly

I played in The Omega Billiards Tour tournament yesterday. I haven't played in one in about six months or so.  But the heat of playing in such an event was intense for sure.

I need to play in four tournaments this year in order to be qualified for the$ 4,500 added season finale. So I needed to finally start that fulfillment, and decided this weekend was the time.

I admit I was more stressed than usual running this event for several reasons. And I don't know if that's why I played bad but I definitely didn't play like myself.

While I didn't really have a chance to win my first match I definitely had chances to win my second match. Instead I went 2 and out which was a lot of fun (absolutely not really).

I had moments of great shots, but just couldn't finish. Too much on my brain, and it wasn't all related to playing pool lol.

Of course someone tells me afterwards, "you should play more you, should get out more."

I knew that I was going to hear that from that person, but I still don't want to play a lot. I just wasn't fully into my game and that's what happens sometimes.

Not the end of the world; I just played badly.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Barking Gets Games

The other day, I heard about this player that was barking so much at another guy, it pissed him off so badly, he finally couldn't take it anymore and HAD to play the guy.

Normally he should get the 8ball, but he was so hot at all the barking that went on towards him for too long, his temper won and he gave in and just played even.

While the match ended up being close in the end, the player who /had/ to play because he was so riled up, ended up losing.

Days later I heard that the guy who was barking a lot told a friend of the situation.  He shared something like, "even tho I was prolly rude.... see?  He played; it works."

Interesting ploy.

There is so much to gambling and barking I don't understand, lol.

Friday, April 29, 2016

All Around Player

When you are deciding players for a team, talent only gets you so far.  Good players are only asked if they also have the demeanor and composure needed in a team dynamic.

Some great players are hot-heads or throw tempers or are mean or are not nice people in general.  No matter how good someone plays, we are looking for the complete package.  Sure, talent is the top reason, but if the player is a jackass or doesn't get along with others, then why ask them to be on a team?

Just like when choosing someone for a job, you are looking for someone who gets along with others.  Even if they are the top salesman, if they are a douche bag or don't have any people skills or fly off the handle at coworkers or customers a lot, you would probably pick someone else who gets along with their fellow employees and loyal customers instead.

Or what about relationships?   You would want the entire package for a significant other as well.  If they make great money, but have a bad temper all the time, what is that?  Or they are the hottest dude in school, but can't keep an intelligent conversation?

Same for team dynamics

We want a great shooter with a level head, gets along with others, drama-free, and maybe even one with humor who can make teammates laugh during adverse situations when competing. 

And what being dependable?  If you happen to nab the best player around but he won't show up on time for league or flakes committing for big team events, is it worth the stress and anxiety!?

It's not just talent.    

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stepping In

Because I've run big tours for over 14 years (9 years with OB Cues Ladies Tour and 5 years with Omega Billiards Tour), I really enjoy being able to relax and just focus completely on playing pool when I get a chance to play in a tourney I'm not running.

However, since I'm a perceptive person especially of things going on around me, I also can't help but notice if any fellow Tournament Directors (TD) need assistance.  Then my instinct to help naturally kicks in.

At a tournament in early April, I noticed the TD struggling trying to fill out the tournament chart at the same time trying to collect all the calcutta money.  I could NOT STAND IT.  I /had/ to help.  I could only wait impatiently for about 5 minutes and then wiggled my way through the crowd and went right up to the chart and started adding the players names to their appropriate spots, while the real TD was collecting money and being bombarded with players coming up to pay him.

I recognized the tourney would start so much later if someone didn't intervene, and so because I feel very comfortable in my role as fellow TD, I just kinda stepped right in.  He thanked me later for the help, and we both recognized that you need two people sometimes to get a tourney started timely.

I also help at another locations.  In Feb I was at a tourney and was helping make announcements, helping with decisions, and pulling numbers for the draw, kinda all automatically when I recognized the TD was stressing dealing with unappreciative players.

My leadership skills kinda kick in magically and I love to help a tourney run smoothly.

Kinda funny... I am happy to play in events where I can focus on pool, but also happy to be able to help!

Obviously I don't do this at every tourney,  but more so at events where I am friends with the fellow TD or they could use some help to move things a long or help smooth things along.

I recall as I walked to help the TD in early April, one of my ex teammates in the crowd quipped, "I was giving you about 5 minutes before you jumped in to save him," lol.

Just who I am.  A little helper.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Celebratory Apology

At the scotch doubles tourney I played in back in February, my partner and I had to race one extra game because I am listed as an Advanced player for BCAPL.

This meant that we were one of the teams "to beat."  Everyone had their eye on the "good team."

We were on the one-loss side and after winning several matches, we found ourselves in a tough little match, deep in the tourney.  It went hill-hill and we lost.

The female player of the team is a very good friend of mine that I adore and she actually told me WAY before I ever won a title that she was my biggest fan.  Which still to this day is surreal to think I would have a fan.

And her and I became good friends a couple of years after that and we really respect each other in life.

Fast forward to that match, and after her partner makes the 8-ball hill-hill, she kinda yells and claps with delight.  For a very split second I was a tad bothered, but in all honestly I was upset we lost, not that she showed a happy emotion.  And let's be honest, Greg (my partner) and I are such a great team, that I would also celebrate if I was in her shoes, too!  It was a GREAT win and they had to play well to defeat us and they did.

Greg and I never spoke about it, as we both knew it was just part of being the "team to beat" syndrome.  Didn't even think of it again, honestly.

Two days later, he and I receive this text: 
"Hi Melinda and Greg,

I wanted to message you to tell you something.  I want to apologize to the both of you.  I got way over excited Saturday and left that damn yell come out of my mouth when my partner dropped the final 8 Ball.  My emotions took over.  I normally never do that, it's rude and I think it is disrespectful to your opponent.  It shouldn't matter if I know you or not, but I am even more disappointed in myself that I did that playing against you two.  I respect both of y'all immensely, personally and as pool players and I'm honored to call you both friends.  So, I am sorry for that.  I will be better behaved in the future!  Hope you had a great Easter.  I hope to see either of you soon. "

When I read her text, I was completely floored.  She didn't have to do that at all.  But she is a "feeler" like I am and since it bothered her what she did, she really felt like she should apologize.

I was impressed.

I responded with:
"No worries at all!  You should have been excited!  :)  Sweet of you to think of apologizing, but no worries, babe :)  Love ya!"
She said,
" Ok. Thank you.  I just had to, though, it was out of character.   :-)."
 And I shared back,
"I know what you mean. Been there myself  :)  "

It was a great exchange among friends that admire each other.  I cherish her and her passion for the game and learning so much - and that experience and exchange is part of that journey!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Complaints As Blessings

A friend of mine was all up in arms on Friday.

I asked her why, then walked away from my computer for a meeting, and came back to all this venting in my chat window:

  • My dang Tuesday night league keeps blowing my phone up!  
  • I told them I was super busy with my side job and am preparing for a wedding tomorrow.  
  • I have so much to do!  
  • One of my teammates was like, "just shoot a few games and then leave."  
  • And I'm like really, WTF?  
  • Okay, let me drive 40 minutes away to shoot "a few" games and then drive back home and waste 2-3 hours of the time I need to prepare for this wedding.  
  • No, no I can't do both.  
  • I have to choose.  
  • These playoffs are just bad #%^!@# timing!
  • grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

So I reply with:

"Awwww, you're so wanted!"

And she replies:

"LMFAO!  I'm over here in this turmoil and that's what you find out of the convo!  I just ADORE you!"