Monday, December 2, 2019

It's Our 20 Year Anniversary!

Mike Howerton, the brains and workhorse behind AzBilliards.com (the premier online billiards website and the longest-running) and I were chatting today.

You may remember that I interviewed Mike back in November of 2018 (here is the link in case you didn't have a chance yet to read it). In that interview, I mentioned how he and I became friends:
You asked me to become a partner with AzBilliards in the late 90s when you noticed I created a website for my boyfriend at the time, a top pro. Not many people were online then and websites were a new thing so you and I were pioneers (and there were very few of us). Any regrets? Haha, seriously, I have enjoyed helping AzB and while I don’t help out that much anymore, I have enjoyed seeing AzB grow, and also our friendship!
And then I asked him, "Did you worry about the risks asking someone to join you?"

He replied,
"For the longest time, I was the only one who worked on AzB. On top of that, I have been a micro-manager all of my life and have always struggled to ask for help on things. So while uncomfortable at first, asking you to partner up made perfect sense. You introduced me to a number of top players back then. You have also became a great friend over the years. "

The reason I'm bringing this up today is because it's been 20 years that Mike and I have been friends and started to work on AzB together. So, it's our Anniversary!

BTW, the modern gift for the 20th anniversary is platinum. So, we expect some beautiful platinum goodies in the mail soon.

Yes, really! (lol)

Mike has been in Arizona and we've remained long distance friends from when I worked in Florida to now Texas all these years.

While we were chatting about the next issue of Billiard Buzz today, he shared: "You know I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing right now, if it wasn't for us working together many, many years ago. "

I asked him what he meant. He explained:
"AzB wouldn't have gotten to where it is without your help way back when. I tell people that the success of AzB was equal parts working without a real goal and getting lucky with the timing. But you were a big part of the success when it was becoming a success. You brought that connection to the pros that the site didn't really have. 
And you reminded me that they are all just people."

I was shocked! I had no idea about this and it really warmed my heart!  I told him sincerely, "Thank you for the compliment. We made and make a great team! 20 years now."

He replies, "Absolutely."

I've always found it interesting how companies start out. This is another example of things coming together perfectly!

To 20 more years, Mike! 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

That Miss is a Teacher

One of the readers of my blog, that I've mentioned before (Dave), emailed me recently about a situation he had. He wondered what the lesson could be.

What's really cool about my friend is (who lives over 1,000 miles from me in Texas and has been emailing me updates for at least 5 years), he has said my blog posts have helped him with his mental game and his journey in pool. So, anytime he emails me, it brings me joy to hear of his improvements!

Here's his situation today:

Dave shared that he missed a 10 ball that would have made him go up 7 to 2 in a race to 11.  Eventually, he lost 11 to 9. He said he "didn't make disastrous mistakes," but the loss "gnawed at him."

He confided,
"Now if someone told me that the result would have been 11-9 in his favour, I would have thought I played well. He is at the next tier above me, but not impossibly far ahead. But at the end, the result gnawed at me. Certainly not in a poor sportsmanship way. But from my perspective I knew that the 11-9 loss felt different in the way I squandered the opportunity."
He asked me and the readers of my blog, what are his lessons?

This is going to sound really profound from me, LOL just kidding, but there is really a very good point I want to share.

We have all been in those same situations right? dammit LOL.

We think about the 10 ball, we think about that we should have won, we think about the opportunity lost, etc.  Even though we didn't play horribly, we still lost because of that stupid 10 ball, right?

I believe Dave will learn from this experience a hundred times more than someone that simply played the match with no self-reflection. Not only is Dave self-reflecting, which you all know I've talked about a lot (link here) and am a firm believer it will propel us (another link here), but him writing it down (even just to email me) is going to help him reflect deeper, and help him much further.

What I feel he is going to learn is:
  1. if you miss a shot, try not to let it bother you during the match 
  2. play your best every single shot (check out this link about this).

I know it sounds simple and I know there's a lot of emotions, thoughts, feelings that go on when you're competing in a match, but what's interesting to me is he talked about the 10 ball only.  He didn't mention any other miss! So, because that is what is sticking in his mind, that's probably what bothered him during that match, as well.

However, he may not even realize it affected him.  But if at any point he thought further about the miss, or thought about what the score 'should be,' then if affected his game.

You know the scenario!  We are winning and then all the sudden our opponents jump ahead of us, and all we can think about is, "What if I would have made that nine ball....?" (or 10 ball or 8 ball) "I would be up such and such, and I wouldn't be down such and such." It's very tough to not think that way, but it's very important to stay in the moment. The only thing that truly matters is the ball in front of you.

I know I sound like a broken record, but if you're thinking about the missed 10 ball, you're not thinking about the shot in front of you. If you're thinking about what the score should be, you're not thinking about the shot in front of you.

How can you possibly play your best with those distractions in your head?

Here's a link to something that proves that you cannot do more than one thing at once. Even though I claim to be a multitasker and can focus well, in reality it's very difficult to do.

But my long-winded response and my babbling on and on is really to say that his learning experience will sit with him because he's reflecting on it, and because he wrote it down.  He will now try to put more effort into staying in the moment and he will also work on playing his best every single shot, because he saw what that one miss can cost him.

You might think that this is a bad thing that he lost, but in reality (as I've also mentioned before), sometimes a dynamic loss is really the catapult you need in your game.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Words of Encouragement - Learning from The Cueist

The Cueist shared with me a couple of years ago (yes, still behind in my writings, sorry!) that a friend of his texted him throughout an end of season league tournament and told him to just have fun. 

This friend of his also texted him the same thing while The Cueist was playing in a Nationals tournament. His friend reminded him via text to have fun as he kept winning each match.

The Cueist also shared that similarly, another friend texted him right before a big match at a State tournament and told him something like, "Dude, you have earned this spot, it's what you have been putting all this practice in for."

What I found interesting was the way that The Cueist responded. He said that those texts were helpful! Almost even divinely received at the perfect times in those tournaments, that fueled him to be more confident for the match upon him.

I am so dang timid and shy and worry so much about how I don't want to add pressure to people, that I don't reach out to hardly anyone during tournaments. Hell, I don't even sometimes text my friends before a tournament.

I struggle so much with what to say, how to say it, when to say it, because I don't want to affect anyone's game negatively. But what I have to realize is: there's a lot more mentally strong people out there than I was during my pool journey, and maybe a text will actually help them! Like it clearly has for The Cueist.

I need to stop being timid and scared that I'm going to affect their game. That was always MY reaction to texts - I'm being pretty presumptuous about my affect on others, huh?  lol. I just know so many times I took words, advice, texts, etc WRONG or felt PRESSURE.  Again, that was my experience because I had a 'test anxiety' complex.

In reality, maybe I will help my friends, just like The Cueists' friends helped him during crucial moments.