From my phone - pretty cool, huh?
I started off with a bye at 730 pm on Saturday - well, turned out to be a bye. It was a LONG process to get the forfeit because the score sheet disappeared! My opponent didn't have it - she was stuck in Houston - I didn't have it and it wasn't in the score sheet holder thingy. I guess I should have checked the lost and found? It was a nightmare getting this resolved, but eventually, my 730pm match was a forfeit at 815pm.
I played my next match at 9pm that night. I was feeling good going into the match, but as would be the norm for this trip, I was tired. In the very first game, I missed my very first shot - I opted for stripes and had to go for a very long first shot - and then she proceeds to take stripes and runs out super well to a tough 8ball (but missed it). I have THREE more chances at the run and I dog shape and the out... each time! She is up 0-1. My two friends watching left - I don't blame them, lol. I then decided I was going to P L A Y P O O L. I started to bear down, and really focus on a smooth stroke (which forces me to stay down well) and next thing you know, she plays safe on the 8 ball in the next game but leaves me a long rail bank - which I nailed nicely, confidently. :) She started to not get out, made bad choices on safes and shots, and I was playing better and better. I could feel that I had the mental edge - it is so very obvious and felt so good! I was more confident, she was struggling and missing shots. She even said to her friends, "I can't make my balls." I soon was up 3-1. Then, however, over-confidence took over my body and mind. :( I felt good running out on the hill game, but underhit the 8ball badly because I was thinking of my great play and about my English options all the while I was down on the shot. Stupid, I know.
She played safe a few times and got out. The next game I missed my outs - had to go for the wrong pattern due to bad shape. Then on the 8th game, I get ball in hand, but four balls are on the same rail - my worst fear came true as I have a bad leave on a combo. Instead of playing safe, I go for the backcut hero shot, and barely miss it. :( She gets out. Hill-Hill action. We go back and forth playing safe but I see her start a run but I know she can't get out. But she keeps picking off the stripes and picking them off - she's very good at barely moving the cue ball. She gets down to the last three balls - I still don't understand why she's making balls when she can't get out - and yet she makes each ball nicely and actually has a makeable, but tough shot on the 8ball in the side.... and she makes it. It was an impressive out. I shake her hand and promptly, quietly, walk the hall of shame without my score sheet. I check the bracket, put my pool cue up, and go play one of my favorite games in the casino called Let It Ride. :(
I then play Sunday at 6pm. I go to lunch with my buddy Rebecca Sunday afternoon and I am miserable, lol. I drank too much the night before, but she indulged me the previous day at the AWESOME Mirage Buffet and she wanted to go to the Bellagio Buffet this day so she could have their creme brulee. I needed to get back to take a nap, figured I would have enough time, but this is how the lunch went: no taxi, so had to start to walk; taxi finally caught down the street, but then traffic; line for the buffet: an HOUR wait! I was hung over, tired, miserable. lol. It took all I could not to bitch and moan (and for the record, I didn't at all and she wont know I was miserable until she reads this, lol), but I wanted to enjoy our time together - Rebecca is a good friend. We finally hit the dessert bar for her creme brulee and after looking around she finally says matter-of-factly, "well, I guess it was the Harrahs buffet that had the creme brulee." LMAO!
Here is Rebecca and I at the awesome Mirage Buffet!
I get back and only have a couple of hours to rest, but I know that is enough time. I ask her to check the chart for me - I assume I only have the 6pm match so if that's the case, I can manage one exhausted match and then continue play on Monday. Since she was checking on things in the tourney room, she graciously texted me, while I lay in bed, and it simply had these numbers: "6, 730, 9, 1030." Wow, Really? You may think I would be upset - instead I was GRATEFUL. Grateful to know this info. It's so much better to be aware of the possible schedule of a grueling night ahead. It allowed me to rest in a more effective way - preparing my mind and body for the long night ahead of me.
I deliberately walked by my mental coach, Joe Salazar, on the way to my first match. He has a cue booth near the front entrance of the convention room. We talked a little bit and I joked with him that I was disappointed with his advice from April - no secret, special tip to overcome being tired?! - lol. Instead, whoever has more heart and desire will win. I told him that is what I was going to do tonight, as I walked exhausted to my first match, but wide awake, if that makes sense.
I play super good and win 4-0. Yesss! Three matches more to go! I go into the bathroom to do some jumping jacks to get my blood flowing for my next match. I am shooting really well in the second match - staying down well, patterns so pretty and correct, but a few missed shots allowed my opponent to get ahead 3-1 in the still race to 4. Each of her wins is because of my missed shots. :( Amanda is watching me and she confirms I am shooting the correct shots (I love affirmation). I never give up. I continue to play and my desire to win is there and I feel HEART. I seal the score up 3-3. The last game is crazy! It was a safety battle from hell - I would not relinquish, though and played the chess match like it was the world cup. She had a few chances to break things up, but would miss the break out while making her balls. After 100 innings, I finally got ball in hand and broke out some balls, but of course they landed funny. I played a safe back but she missed the shot and I ran out for the win!
It felt so good to win that match - to come back full of heart - just like Joe and I talked about! Exhaustion!? Hmpf!
My opponent for my next match was watching that marathon match - and she came up to me right away and warns me, "we are on table 70." Ok. I go all the way over to the table and then tell her I have to wash my hands. Sorry - had to wash my hands! I also had do more jumping jacks. :) Still exhausted! The first game is real funny - she plays bad! She plays funny safes but kind of effective because I overestimate her ability AND at the same time I am not playing confident. I am all of a sudden second guessing my choices! WTH?! She is up on me 3-1 and yet I play so much better and smarter. I tell myself to hang in there - start to play confident; BE confident! She misses a simple shot on the hill and I run out. The next game I get out super well and she's only up 2-3. I win again to make it hill-hill. The guy watching, who needs the table next after we are finished, tells me "good out." Whew - I was playing well again! I never gave up, heart prevailed again. I win on the hill and she tells me, "you deserved that match." I didn't reply, but said in my head, "yea, I did!" I told the guy "sorry - I knew you two were waiting for the table, but I wasn't giving up even at 1-3" and he replied, "Good! And good luck in my next match."
I then play my FOURTH match of the night but it's way past the scheduled 10:00pm time - the matches are behind. I play real good though and win 4-1. :) There were many friends watching like Tina, Tyler, Amanda and Heather. I heard snapping behind me but wouldn't look to see who they were until the match was complete (another tidbit from Joe).
I did it - I won all four matches even while tired! I couldn't wait to tell Joe the net day! And, I was in the money, too. :)
When I saw Joe the next day, I simply declared as I walked by, "hey Joe, look, my cue is on my shoulders." He smiled at me and knew that meant I was still in and I told him I was winning more today!
I went to my 3pm Monday match, feeling again a little tired, but ready to play. The girl I played played very good safes, but she had a lot of unfortunate rolls - the whole match could have been different if she hadn't scratched those 2-3 times. I won 4-0, including one back long rail bank shot on the 7ball before the 8ball that was capture by NYC Grind and I may be able to show you on video some day! :) My new friend Jerry Tarantola of NYCGrind was taping. Him and his awesome girlfriend, Alison Fischer of the Kiss of Death team, turned out to be who I hung out with at times either at the bar in the Riv or club XS at Encore.
In my next match I was now on the big board! I played a girl who I had been noticing the last couple of days beside me that played really really well. I had some friends watching and was very cognisant of them. Oh, and her friends would all clap loudly when she won. I didn't let it get to me though, and being down 0-1, she missed a tough cut in the side and I got out super nicely to return the favor of tying the score 1-1. She even complimented me on my out. I felt good the rest of the match and had some opportunities, but a few times I didn't get good shape by literally less than an inch and it cost me dearly. Further, I wasn't staying down on my shots toward the end of the match. I lost 1-4, and felt badly b/c I had some chances to at least win a few more games and put more pressure on her, but I did place 49th out of 402 players! I won $200, too!
I was pretty proud when someone would ask how I did in the tourney, "49th out of 400" I would reply with a big smile on my face. :)
I am MOST proud of my learning experiences. Recognizing the mental game in the first match, feeling HEART all those matches on the second grueling night, and realizing that a little more heart and stronger fundamentals on Monday might have pushed me past that one really great player. I enjoyed the journey in the women's open singles division!
Tourney Description: Happy!
(sorry for the long, detailed post!)