Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stars in Vegas

So, Vegas isn't really Vegas unless you run into someone famous. Right? While at the Mosconi Cup, Cristina and I decided one night to venture from the MGM to have dinner at the Bellagio where the World Poker Tour were holding some poker satellite tournaments. Kevin, Wes and Holly joined, also.

As we stood at the Fountain Bar in the Bellagio waiting for our reservation time of 7pm at The Fix, we saw Chris Ferguson aka "Jesus" (if you don't know poker, you don't know who I am talking about) in the satellite room. I tried to take capture a shot of him playing poker, but he was too far away and I didn't want to use my flash and feel like a stalker! Plus, all these guys were playing poker and that would have been rude (lol!). Check out how close, but how far the poker players were:

You can't really tell - but Jesus is standing in this photo (he has long hair and is wearing a hat).

As we are drinking our drinks, Wes gets a little excited and points to the poker room saying, "Hey, there's Scotty Nguyen." We peek through the window of the bar and see him seated almost as far as Jesus. Again, if you don't know poker, you don't know who Scotty is, but he is a World Poker Tour Champion and he is know for always saying "yeah baby."

Wes is still animated about Scotty and he finally tells me that last year for Halloween he dressed up as Scotty Nguyen! How ironic that the guy he dressed up as is in the next room!

Well, low and behold, Mr. Scotty Nguyen starts to head OUT of the satellite room. I, being the person who I am (not shy at all and will interrupt almost anyone), stopped him as he stepped out of the room and I rambled, "Hey, Scotty! This guy dressed up as you for Halloween" as I pointed toward Wes. Scotty's reply was "yeah baby" (seriously!). I grabbed my camera and asked if I could get a pic of him and Wes and he nodded.

Here is Scotty and Wes

Then Holy, Cristina and I nuzzled in and we got a pic, too!

Scotty was awesome about the photos and said, "yeah baby" a few more times as he walked off into the Bellagio. Wes immediately texted his friends about meeting Scotty and getting a pic with him. Then he pulled up on his phone his Halloween photo as Scotty.

For the rest of the evening I would lean over to Wes and say, "hey, look at this," and show him the photo of him and Scotty! He would have the biggest smile on his face! It was awesome!

Oh yeah, baby - dinner! The Fix was a great steak place - here we all are at dinner:

Me, Cristina, Kevin, Wes and Holly

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out Marop

Justin hilariously wrote about Bill Maropulos (who I call Marop) and his VIP Passes. Well, I had a Matchroom Sport VIP Pass for the Mosconi Cup! Eat your heart out, Marop!

Justin cusses in his blogs, so I snipped out the part just about the VIP Passes for you here from his long blog entry (get ready to laugh!):

Galveston Big Tourney:

Friday finds me back in the bleachers with my main sweating buddy at this event Bill "If you don't play 14.1 you can kiss my a$$" Maropolis. Somehow the topic of total spectator capacity came up and we figured it to be about 1800 give or take. Then Bill went on to compare the events VIP spectator amenities to other events. You see Bill is the Efren Reyes of pool spectating. Its not even close. The rest of the world gets 9-7. Bill has a collection of VIP passes going back to the 70's. He has been to more events than Simonis 860. So he knows what a good VIP seating arrangement is supposed to be like.

He begins to pontificate on the situation: "Well the bleachers are pretty high to start with but the biggest problem is I don't have a table. How can it be VIP without a table? Where am I supposed to eat my chicken strips? Where am I supposed to set my Taco Bell?" all very valid and hilarious points. He then mentions that he feels a little silly for firing $200 at the "PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE" when there is often no one even looking at the passes to begin with. I agree with him that this would cause me some annoyance would I too have donked off a similar two bills. I joke that he was probably the only guy who sprung for the entire event PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE. I joked that he probably had number 001 on his badge. We laughed and then he said through the chuckles "You know what....when I went to pick up my badge at registration I told them my name and that I was here to pick up my PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE and they said "Oh..so you are the one. We have been waiting for you." I literally cried laughing.

So naturally I asked Bill to see this now mythical and certainly one of its kind credential. He pulled it out (I thought heard some faint noise in the background...almost like angels singing) and showed it to me. It was beautiful in all its majesty. Then I noticed something at the bottom. It was a number. That number? 101. I told him that I bet they started the numbers at 100 like checks. Bill agreed. We both cried laughing.

Some pics of Bill and the only known Galveston World Classic PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE in the known universe.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I lost three special people in my life in 2009 in the billiard community.

Kathryn Long lost a long battle - she had been sick for years. Kathryn was a very dear friend that meant so much to me. I enjoyed seeing her on the OB Cues Tour and at league. She and I had many things in common and I miss her dearly.


Ray O'Briant - left this world at too young of an age with a heart condition. He was a great friend to many people, and a good Dad. He was only in the mid 30s. Ray and I were on several league teams together and he was always in a good mood, enjoying the nights out.


Dan Freeman. I can't say enough about Dan. The man with the biggest heart in the world. Dan was from Houston and one of the nicest, most supportive guys I had the honor of meeting. He will be sorely missed. Even after his death, he still touched us. I was contacted a few months after he passed and earlier this year he contacted a friend to help him with something. He had set up through this friend to donate his cue and case to OB Cues Ladies Tour to help raise money after he passed. I am still touched by his generous heart.

Me, Dan and Amanda

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Last Tourney of 2009

I admit it - I didn't expect too much of me from the last tourney I would play in of 2009. I went to San Antonio again and hung out with my friends too late and didn't get enough sleep all weekend. The last time this happened (ironically in San Antonio, also) I knew I could easily be just as exhausted and not do well again. It was more a weekend to get away - a little mini vacation with my friends.

Yoko Joe and his coot cat hat! And Eric Aicinena got in the background!

Ash (Ashley) was my road partner for the trip and we had a lot of fun the whole weekend. Our first order of business was to stop at the Czech Bakery on the way down to San Antonio. She was right - it was packed! I didn't get anything, but she got some delicious-looking treats!


After Friday night of hanging out til the pool room closed, I was pretty tired Saturday morning. This time, however, I decided to do something to give myself a chance at not being so exhausted on Sunday. I took a nap Saturday afternoon. :) I stayed with my friend Sharon and she had a baby shower to go to during the day so it worked out well for a nice, quiet nap. I debated on whether to watch matches and practice at the pool room in lieu of the nap, but decided a nap would be good for me based on how exhausted I was in this same scenario before.

Yvette, Me and Ash Saturday night.

I showed up Sat early evening and the Open division still had a few matches left. I played a few games of one pocket and then watched a one pocket match, but I mostly hung out with friends again all night til the pool room closed. I know, not very smart for a tourney the next day, but like I said - I was there to take a break and enjoy the time.

I got up Sunday feeling actually very good. I felt rested, put on one of my favorite shirts, and off I went. Ash and I ordered a pizza for brunch that was delivered about noon to the pool room and we found a third peep to help us eat it, so it was the perfect amount of food - not too much not too little. That's the other thing I didn't do well last time - eat enough for fuel.

At the Player's Meeting for the ladies that Sunday morning, tournament director Lewis Jones of the Fast Eddies Tour announced we had a sponsor for the ladies event next year b/c of me. It was nice of him to thank me, but it's really James Barnett to thank b/c he will be adding the money for us next year. Thank you, James!

We ended up with 15 players for the ladies event and we need 16 for $350-added but Lewis added the money anyway and we were all very grateful.

I was called to my first match and I had to play the Player of the Year first, my dear friend Helen Hayes. I was SO happy for her that she won the Player of the Year! That is not an easy feat and kudos to you, girl!

I was apprehensive about playing Helen. Dejavue all over again - I played Helen first in the previous San Antonio tourney and it didn't end well then, lol. It started off the same, too - I played well the first few games and then I started to make mistakes and she started to play better.

This match, I missed two straight-in shots that led the score to be tied 2-2. She started to play better and got ahead 4-6. I then three-fouled her and then played well to win the next games to win 7-6! I was pretty happy I was able to overcome my mistakes and play good. During this match, I had some self-talk. I told myself to bear down, focus, and not think of the missed shots - just figure out why I missed them. I finally figured out I was thinking while down on my shots.

I then played a new girl who played super slow but had just beat a decent player so I knew I couldn't take her for granted. After we were tied 2-2. the pain of the how long the match was taking forced me to bear down even more (lol) and I won 7-3 after that.

I then played my good friend Jennifer Kraber. I was glad to see her there - she hadn't come to many tournaments in 2009 but the previous tourney in Nov she attended she had placed really high so I knew she was playing well. I was somehow able to get by her though and found myself waiting to play for the hotseat!

I realized as I waited that I all of a sudden felt super exhausted. I decided I needed some fuel so I ate some m&ms to help wake me up. I don't suggest m&m but I didn't have much choice at that time and needed something.

When we finally played for the hotseat, Lewis put us on a table that was actually in the background of the live stream, so that was cool. I played Julia Rapp in the hotseat. Her and I have met a few times this year and she has won every time I believe. In the hotseat match, it would be no different. I was down 0-6 when I finally won a few games (lol). I didn't let it get to me and even recall being aware of a really cool song from the jukebox (that is now my fav song, lol). I lost 3-7. I played badly. Not sure what happened except she played really, really well and I played really bad.

I then played Jennifer Kraber again. This would be a race to 5, for 3rd place. We moved to the stream table because the Open division had ended (Hillbilly and David G split it) but the stream had ended, too, lol. I played good in the semi-finals and won 5-3 or 5-2 I think. I recall feeling a little bit in the zone during this match and that always feels awesome.

Then the finals started. Hey, I was in the finals! I hadn't really thought too much about the tournament in that regard. I mean, I didn't think ahead for once - I didn't think I could win it; I didn't think I could get in the money; I didn't really look at the competition; I simply just played pool this day. But, even as I started the finals, I didn't really think too much about it. I think I was just happy to be there, even though I wasn't sure how I would play against Julia again.

The finals is true double elimination. One race to 7, and then if needed, one race to 5.

We started off the finals and we were both playing okay. She was playing better again and had me down 2-4. She was running out and I felt at that point I was going to lose, but I was okay with 2nd place. But then, all of a sudden she missed the 8 or the 9 and I got out. Instead of the score being 5-2, she was only up 4-3. I knew that was huge. After I won that game, it all changed. Completely. For some reason, I suddenly began playing better, felt real good, and was in the zone. The jukebox music was jamming with some techno dance songs and I was feeling good. I was getting great shape, making great shots, and getting out. I didn't let my good play get away from me, either - I didn't get over-confident (yay!) - I simply played well and contained it. It felt great!

Julia Rapp


Me

I found myself up 6-4 and then I played a bad safe. She got out and I told myself if she wins the tournament over that failed safe, then I will learn from it even more. But, I won the first set 7-5!

Me in the finals.

We played the second set right away and I was still playing really well and she wasn't playing like she was in the hotseat.

Editors Note: The next few paragraphs are very honest and show my true emotions of what I went through during the final match and afterwards.

While I was down on the 9-ball to go up 3-0 in the race to 5, I recall thinking about what was happening (i.e., I might win). I went to my chair while Julia was racking and leaned to my friend Viet My and his wife (Amanda) and said "don't think ahead" to them. I kinda needed to say it out loud because I was thinking ahead and needed NOT to. I was already thinking I might win. I got a little teary-eyed but remembered that it wasn't over yet and at any minute I could in reality lose, so I needed to stay in the moment.

(While this thought process may seem obvious - the ONLY reason I was able to stay in the moment was because I had been in the finals before. One time I lost because of thinking ahead, the others I was able to win because I stayed in the present.)

As I made the 4th 9-ball in the final set (now I'm up4-0), I again started to get emotional. Stop it, Melinda; Stay in the moment.

On the 5th game, she missed the 4 or 5 ball and I walked to the table. I noticed I could get out. "How would I finish off this rack with all these emotions?" I thought to myself. I got down on each ball, played like I had been playing, and when I made the final 9ball, the feeling was immediate that I had won the tournament. Immediate.

I shook Julia's hand and gave her a hug and then my true emotions came storming out of me! It just took over. I raised my cue with my left hand, raised my right arm, looked up at the ceiling and shouted out, "I just won my first Fast Eddies event!!" I then dropped to my knees and could not believe it.

Lewis came over to give me my envelope and gave me a hug and I lost it and started to cry. Then I hugged my road partner Ashley while I cried. My good friend Yvette was also watching me in the finals and she was already crying as we grabbed each other to hug. OMG!

I then hugged every person who was there who watched me in the finals: Frank Jr, Viet My and his wife, Bernard, Eric and I think I even hugged the manager who was there, too, lol. It meant a lot they were all watching me win my first 9ball tourney. I was ecstatic! I was elated! I could not stop smiling! I made a few phone calls to share the news before we hit the road and Yvette ran to the mic and announced to all the non-real pool players who were there at 11pm in the poolhall that I had won the tournament. If you can imagine, there's these people there playing on about ten tables max with their friends, not knowing a tournament was going on, and this girl announces some girl won some tournament. I was still flattered!!

The group after my win! Amanda, Viet My, Eric, Frank, Me, Yvette, Bernard, Ash and the Manager

Here's me - winner!

The drive home was really tough because it was late - Ash and I didn't arrive to our destination in North Texas until about 330am. Ugh. Luckily she has a lot of energy and kept me awake. :) As we started our drive, though, from San Antonio, she used my phone to text some friends about my win. Since it was so late, we didn't get to text many, but we contacted a few and it was awesome to share the news. :)

Tourney Description: OMG!

You might want to know how much I won. I don't know. It wasn't about the money, it was that I won the tournament. Finally - a 9ball tournament! Finally, a FE event! All these years playing in it and I finally won one. While I absolutely love the two 8ball tourneys on bar boxes that I won, this one meant a lot to me. It seems silly really, as I re-read over this blog entry for typos that I would be so emotional over the win. I have won several second chance tournaments on the OB Cues Ladies Tour and was never this emotional. But, I guess because this was a tournament of a TOUR - that's why it meant so much to me. I guess because I finally didn't let the mental game get me, overcame some mental toughness, and played pool, and actually won.

Seems one of my goals should be to win a tournament FROM the hotseat, lol. This is the third tournament I've won where I had to double dip or triple dip to win. Well, wait.... that does sound linda cool, too, though!

Yvette keeps reminding me I didn't just win a Fast Eddie's Tournament - I won the Season Finale of the Fast Eddie's Tour. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Am I the Only One?

Today I am curious (okay, a lot of days I am curious, lol). But today I am curious if I am the only one. I haven't taken an official poll of all my female friends, but most of my female friends want to play on the pro tour (the WPBA) and/or want to become a pro player.

The Regional Tour Championships (RTC) location and date are finally set. I am eligible to go b/c I am ranked 9th on the OB Cues Ladies Tour. Out of 64 players, if I finish in the top 9 at the RTC, I will get a spot on the WPBA tour next year.

However, I am not interested. I would only be going to the RTC to support my friends. If I happened to luck out to get in the top 9, I suppose I would go to the pro events, but why? I would be taking a spot of someone that REALLY wants a spot.

I truly wonder if I am one of the few female players out there who love pool so much that it is an integral part of their lives, but yet doesn't want to be a pro or even play on the pro tour? Pool is a passion for me, yet I don't want to be a pro. Isn't that kinda weird?
Curious cat, compliments of art.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Glass is Half Full - Racking

Is the glass half empty or half full? The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on one's point of view and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.
I pride myself in thinking positive about situations and seeing the best in things. But, I fully admit I have inner demons like everyone else and sometimes seeing things as the Glass Half Full takes work on my part. And, to be honest, thinking optimistic doesn't always come naturally for me.

I have come across a few enlightening moments in pool that have been "a-ha" moments for me - and they have helped remind me that I am looking pessimistic at things. I love realizing that I could have looked at a situation in a positive way because I love learning! Therefore, I decided to start a section in my blog about this. This will be the first contribution to this blog section: "The Glass is Half Full"

Racking:

I was sitting at the Mosconi Cup next to a very good friend of mine in the front row and it was the first day. At the Mosconi Cup, each match had a dedicated ref. Sounds pretty cool, huh? (it was!) :) They would rack for the player, they would ensure extensions were incorporated, and they would ensure no balls were touched (it was an all-ball foul tourney).


As I sat there, I noticed that some of the players would check the racks. What?! I was shocked. I mean, these are pro players who have played in a million tournaments and they should know that the refs would not give them a bad rack! The refs were seasoned, well-known refs, too! I was perturbed every time one of the players checked the rack.

I finally said something to my friend sitting next to me and she replied so non-chalantly and non-judgmentally: "they are probably checking the rack to figure out which side to break from."

I sat there, embarrassed. "What? OMG. Good point."

It then donned on me I forgot that some players check racks for little gaps so they can figure out which side to break from to have a better chance to make balls. So, the players weren't checking the rack for a bad rack. It made so much more sense, lol!

I love enlightening moments!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BCAPL Texas 9 Ball Tourney

This was the first BCAPL 9-Ball Texas State Championship. It was run by Bad Boy Billiard Productions and played on Diamond 7-foot Smart Tables in Harker Heights, Texas at the beginning of November (2009).

I decided to not play in the scotch doubles event at the last minute because I flew in on the red-eye the morning of that event (Thursday of the tourney) and decided I needed to try and catch up on sleep and also spend time with my Mom. I wasn't sure how I would do in this tournament, I even debated to go at all. But I love these type of tournaments and so I struggled with what I should do. Decisions, decisions....

I had been in Hawaii for work for ten days and so I wanted to spend some time with my Mom when I got back and I was also pretty tired from traveling (I hate stupid, long flights).

Me and my g/f Allison acting goofy in Hawaii!

While Hawaii may seem like a great place (it is), I was working 12-hour days and did not spend a lot of time sightseeing (except maybe the day the above photo was taken, lmao!).

Knowing I hadn't hit a ball (i.e. practiced) in ten days, I therefore decided to at least prepare some for this tournament in other ways. What a concept! I decided to go into this tournament with a goal (focusing on staying down) and I also decided to watch the player review DVD between Buddy Hall and Grady Matthews. It's my favorite DVD match to watch and I had a lot of time at the airport waiting to fly back to the "mainland." So, I found a little power outlet near a corner (they are actually hard to find in airports) and plopped down to watch the match to get me geared up. Buddy and Grady are excellent commentators and I learn something from that DVD each time I watch it.

The singles event started Friday night and then the 3-person team event started Saturday night. This meant if you were in the singles event late in the tournament, you would have to play between team events. It made for an interesting weekend to say the least!

My road partner, Juan.

I got a lucky bye Friday evening and then played Annie Doyle (won 5-1). On Saturday morning I then played Kelly Stanley (won 5-1) and in the afternoon, played Kim Pierce and lost a close one! (lost 4-5). Ouch. I played okay but one costly miss on a 3-ball still remains in my head. :(

Ashley - trying to prove to us she can put a bubble in a bubble. We waited for a long time and never saw it, though. But, I was camera-ready! lol

Me, killing time at Chilli's

Then the team event started Saturday evening so the singles matches were put on hold. I was playing for the first time in a team event with my friends Ashley and Connie. This would be a test for us - we will be playing together in Vegas in the BCAPL Championships in May and we wanted to see how our chemistry would be (we have two other team players for Vegas, but this tourney was a 3-person team and they didn't play this weekend). Connie and Ash have played together for years, but I haven't played on a team with them before.

We played well together and I think we were all impressed with each other's play, lol. We got a bye and then won our first match 10-9. Ashley played the best-out-of-three tie breaker and won that match for us 2-1. Whew!

Our next match was uncomfortable for me. We were playing my previous team. :( It was not easy for me and I actually let a lot of things get to me. They played well and won 6-9. They are wonderful women and good friends, so it's always tough to play peeps like that.

We then played our next match on the one-loss side on Sunday morning and we won 9-4. There were only 6 teams, so all of a sudden we are in the finals!

But, before that could happen, they had me play a singles match. I played Nancy French and somehow won 5-3. I do not know how I won, really. Then I was back up again and played Michelle Abernathy. I played good and won 5-0. She got a lot of bad roles. :(

Then I was told it was time to play the women's teams finals, even though I had the finals of the singles event left. But, I didn't mind. Tell me where and when to play. I'm ready!

I wasn't sure how the team finals would go. I think my teammates and I were simply just happy to be in the finals. We played my ex-teammates again. :( But, we played well the first set and won 9-5. We flipped right away and after a bathroom break, we played the second set. then we won that one 9-4. I couldn't believe it! I was SO surprised! I don't think any of us knew what really had just happened - we won the women's team event! We would say later to each other we thought maybe we could win the first set but we won the second set, also. We each played well and we also had fun together. I still am shocked as I type this almost two months later - it seemed to all happen so fast that Sunday afternoon!

Ashley, Me and Connie - First Place Women's Team!

After the photo-op with the trophies, then it was time for me to play the finals in the singles event. I played Kim Pierce again and we were ready to play!

I played really, really well in the first set and won 5-2! I was pretty excited! I went to the bathroom before the second set started and tried to remain calm.

When the second set came of the finals, I was making mistakes in the beginning. :( I was very aware I was in the finals; I was a little nervous. I get nervous when I play in "title" events; this was no exception.


Me, focusing!

Me, shooting.

As she pulled ahead, I told myself to focus on my game and focus on staying down. It worked again. I came back and tied it hill-hill!

In the last game, a failed safe by me led Kim back to the table but she hooked herself on the 3 and had to kick. I had an out and started my run. I had to stretch on the 5 ball, and instead of getting a bridge, I stretched for the shot, which therefore led to bad shape on the 7 ball. Ugh! I stayed down and focused on the shot though and made the tough 7 ball. WHEW! But..... I almost froze myself on the 8. OMG! I studied it for a long time because the cueball was super close to the 8ball. I figured if I played safe, she would just long rail bank the 8ball and so I went for the shot instead. I thinned it so thinly, that it barely moved (ooops!). The cueball came back down the table and left her a shot. She made it and then the 9ball. UGH!

I got 2nd place, and I felt great, though. I played well! I didn't feel bad at all for some reason. I guess I knew I gave it my all and played my best. :)

Afterwards, Kim told my friend Juan that I outplayed her and deserved the win. That really meant a lot to me.

I do feel if I would have got a bridge on the 5ball, I would have had better shape to get to the 8ball and the outcome would have bee different. I even stated to several people on the way out "I should have got a bridge on the 5ball!" lol

Kim and I (I feel) have an appreciation for each other's pool game and so we genuinely care for each other's finishes and don't pull crap on each other. I was proud she was my opponent in the finals. :)

Kim Pierce - First Place!

Here are all the brackets!!

My goal going into this event was to stay down. Follow through and stay down. When I would miss a ball, I would remind myself that is what I wanted to focus on. It was a great goal and it really helped me during this event. I FELT my body playing well, my head staying down, my follow through smooth. I am SO glad I made that little, but very important, goal. I was able to focus on that - which led to playing well (and finishing well).

Tournament description: Elated!

FE San Antonio in November

I am slacking in catching up on blog entries. I never thought I would have so much to write about, and now I am behind. Eeek!

I went to the Fast Eddie's Tour stop in November in San Antonio. I made the long drive down there by myself for some odd reason. I didn't get enough sleep each night because my friends kept me up drinking late Fri and Sat. lol.

Frank and Mickey, playin around.

Yvette, me, Helen and Barbara (bad influences, lol)

Grady, Yvette, Barbara and Frank.

That definitely played a part in my play on Sunday - lack of sleep. But, I admit I didn't go down there thinking of winning the tournament - I went to the tournament for a nice break.

I had to play my good friend first, Helen Hayes, and even though she got less sleep than I did (lol), and I felt "okay" going into the match, I made mistakes late in the match and she played very well the entire time and won 3-7. There were only 8 ladies in the tournament, but it was still a tournament that I could do well in.

I then played Maria Rodriguez - a really sweetheart of a girl who is always a joy to see - she always has a smile on her face and is always happy. I played good against her and won 5-2.

I then had to wait around for a VERY long time to play my next match. I swear it was more than a two hour wait. All the while I'm sitting there, I am getting more tired sitting around and am realizing just how exhausted I really am from lack of sleep and the thought of the 4 hour drive ahead of me was looking more difficult.

But, the exhaustion got to me. I played the adorable Yvette Reyes next (and dear friend) and although I played well in the beginning, I got too confident and made some careless errors. After being up 2-0, she started to not miss and came with great outs to beat me 3-5. She would end up getting 3rd and I was very happy for her.

I drove the long trek home but luckily stayed on the phone with my lovely friend Jacki who kept me awake for the long drive. :)

Tournament Description: Exhausted (but I had fun with friends!).

OB Ladies Tour Last Stop in Pictures

The Championship Stop of the OB Cues Ladies Tour was held at Legend's Billiards in League City in Nov 2009. After describing my tournament (I didn't place well), and talking about how I still made it in the top ten for the year (yay!) and after reflecting on one of my streamed matches of the event (woo-hoo), it's time to finally talk about another reason the tournaments are so much fun: FRIENDS!

Here is Samm Diep and I. She hadn't been to a one of the OB Stops in a while and it was SO great to see her again. Check out her website at: http://www.pooltipjar.com/

Here is a group toast to Lisa Marr's Birthday. Yea, she's kinda holding her beer like a trophy and we aren't sure why. LMAO!

Here is the toast of drinks! That's a plethora of drinks!

And our lovely and talented waitress! She takes care of me. I luv her!

Me and one of my best buds, Rebecca. She is awesome and we finally had a chance to hang out for once!

Another toast? Eeeek!

Me and Amanda - had to get our regular photo op in! She placed 2nd in the tourney - she's awesome!

My dear friend Ming Ng now lives in Houston so she was able to join us. It was so good to see her again!

Me and Lucille. She is a phenomenal woman who gives me great advice about my Mom. I miss seeing her around the tourneys.

Tara and I drove together and we had passengers ride with us in the back seat- the Most Improved Player trophy and the Tour Champion trophy. Lisa Henderson-Major won the MIP with my dear friend Ashley Nandrasy coming in a close second to getting it, Lisa Marr won the Tour Champion again. They all deserve the props!

It was a great year and another great season. Although this is the year I made the tough decision to retire from the board, it was still a memorable year full of fun times, good pool, learning experiences, and great friends!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Things I Didn't Expect

So, I mentioned in a previous blog entry that I won a Fast Eddie's Tour event (I know ...I know.... I promised the details... I will get to it soon). I admit I am still giddy that I won! It wasn't the first tournament I ever won, but it was my first 9ball tournament I won. Okay, okay.... I did win a little tournament not affiliated with a tour back in 2001 with 7 ladies in the event, but I never considered that a "win", lol.

I won two 8ball tournaments on Diamond bar tables in 2008. Those two wins meant the world to me! I finally reached my overarching goal (to win a tournament in my 30s) and I also love 8ball so the wins meant that much more. I also had to triple dip and then double dip the hotseat players to win those two tournaments, so they were extra special wins for me.

But this 9ball tournament win on 8foot tables meant a little more for some reason. I can't explain it well, and wont be able to. But, let me tell you a few things I have done that surprised even ME since I won that tournament just under two weeks ago as I write this:

I went to the Mosconi Cup last week in Vegas and met a lot of new people. Many would ask me if I played pool. I USED to reply, "yes." and leave it at that. If they asked if I played well, I might say, "a little bit." Well, I noticed my answer to the same question is now different. When people would ask me, "do you play?" I would reply, "yep, and I play pretty good too." I then would add with a smile that I had just won a tournament, lol. Yes, I was still giddy. :)


I also noticed that almost without thought, I changed my profile on my blog (see the little box to the bottom right). I decided after the win one day that I should change it; I kinda "deserved" it to myself to change it; I wanted to change it. Instead of "I'm a wanna-be pool player who lives in Texas," it now says "I'm a pool player who lives in Texas."

While these might seem like really small things.... for me, they are not small. I think it shows just how important that win was to me.

Mosconi Cup - A Typical Day - in Pictures

I tried to capture for those that could not attend or did not see this on tv or on the internet, the essence of how at typical day at the Mosconi Cup would go:

This is the introduction guy who started and ended each day for the tv viewers. Sometimes he would interview the tv announcer who would be in the booth, or he would interview a player or captain.


Here is what the arena looks like from where the TV cameras are.


Here is a view of the operations - the behind the scenes that makes it all work!


Here is the Director, counting down we are soon to be back from commercial.


This is the announcer (John McDonald) who would introduce the players. He had that "intro-boxer-type" voice. He was awesome! And funny!


After the team is announced, they walk by the crowd to their seats inside the arena. Here is Darren and Thorsten walking by fans.


Here is Dennis walking in after being announced, high-fiving the crowd. The atmosphere was electric!


Here is the roaming camera-guy. He would walk around and get extra shots of the crowd. He did a fantastic job!


There were flat screen tv's on each side for the crowd. they displayed what was being shown on tv. It also helped us in the crowd - lol - the camera work was awesome and we would be able to see the tight shots, also, on the screen. It was cool! I have to admit, it was kinda weird to have a front row seat, and yet sometimes be looking up at the screens to get a better look, lol.


There were two refs - they worked their butts off! They would each take turns reffing the matches - they never reffed two matches in a row.


Here is the other ref (it was her Birthday on Friday).


Here is the score screen AND also the shot clock. The players utilized this a lot. This screen also displayed the extensions. One 30-second extension was given to each team.


Here is what would be shown to the tv viewers - which players were up next, and the past scores of the day. The graphics were very clean and friendly.


After each match, this announcer would interview the winner(s) of that match.


Here is another view of the arena.


The players lag before each match - here is Corey Deuel and Mika Immonen.


Here is another view from the stands of the production crew in the background.


John, announcing another match.


Each team stayed on a certain side of the arena - here is the European side. Ralf and his wife, Niel's g/f and Thorsten's g/f, the team captain Alex Lely, and Darren Appleton.


Here is the USA side, right after we won a game. The captain (Nick Varner) is there, along with Shane Van Boening and also Melanie Archer (Johnny's wife).


Here is another shot of the USA side - in the hate is Shane's grandfather and Nick Varner (captain) on the left. Dennis Hatch and Shane also sitting there, including Johnny's son, Johnny Lee.


The players showed a lot of emotion after they would win a game or match! It was phenomenal to see the players so hyped-up and ecstatic!


The players would also celebrate among team members. Each team member supported each other tremendously. The excitement was contagious and bled over to the crowd.


During scotch doubles, the players were able to ask questions and help each other between shots. They mostly discussed how they would set up the next shot for their teammate. It was really cool to see them discussing their options.


Here is Johnny discussing options with Shane.


Cristina Dela Garza (my roommate for this event) conducted interviews at the end of each day. Here she is interviewing Michaela Tabb.

More photos and stories to come!