Saturday, December 31, 2011

Break Shot Patterns Vid Helped

As you prolly figured out, I haven't really played pool the last two months.

I have either just had non-pool things going on Nov/Dec during the weekends (when I would normally play in Fri/Sat night tourneys), or been staying in my cocoon, away from the real world, being a hermit.  The holidays were tough without my Mom.  But I also played more poker the last two months, which kept me away from pool.  I just didn't feel like playing pool - wasn't interested in being around certain people at the pool room, either.

But now that my Straight Pool Season starts in January, and I have 4 big pool tourneys coming up in Jan/Feb, I know have the pool bug back!

I decided to check out the new Video from Phil Capelle and watched almost 50 clips of straight pool break shot patterns before I headed to the Friday night weekly tourney. 

If you haven't heard yet from your friends or read in billiard magazines, Phil has a new book/video called Break Shot Patterns where he shows how the pros would run the last 5 balls in straight pool matches (via a book AND 110 video clips!).  As we all know and have heard, straight pool helps all your games - and so Phil's new DVD is no exception.

I don't know how Phil complied over 100 break shot patterns, as I can only imagine how long it took!  It's definitely a labor of lover, for sure, and we all get to reap the rewards of his efforts!


To watch so many awesome break shot patterns by the pros, was very inspirational.  I haven't even watched all the video clips yet, but just the 50 or more I saw only makes me eagerly want me to watch the rest of the DVD!  And REWATCH it!

I played in a 9ball tourney last night and wasn't sure how I would do with almost two months off from playing pool. 

To my surprise, I played pretty good!  I scratched too many times on freaky shots, but otherwise, I stayed down on my shots and looked a lot at the correct shape for the cue ball.

I kept in mind what I had just watched on the videos.  I noticed how the pros would take their time even on straight-in, simple shots.  I recalled this as I played and didn't take "easy" shots for granted.

I also noticed how the players would walk around the table a lot to ensure where they needed the cue ball.  It's very crucial to ensure you are on the correct side of some balls, so you can get to your next shot best. 

I *think* I assume a lot when I play, and last night (when I kept in mind what I had watched on the videos), I looked at my position more and didn't assume that I would be okay moving the cue ball to a certain "area" on the table.

So, watching the all those video clips Phil compiled, I'm convinced, helped me play decently in the tourney last night, and also enjoy the game.  I, more, than anyone was surprised when I got Last Lady and also third place!

Thank you, Phil Capelle!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moving to the Rio

I'm sure you've heard by now that the BCAPL will be moving their famous 8Ball Nationals tournament from the Riviera Casino to The Rio Casino in 2013.

 

While many people applaud this, I am one of the few who love The Riv, so I was actually a little disappointed with the news.

You see, I am a huge creature of habit and so I love all the little things everyone else prolly can't stand about The Riv.  I don't mind the rooms at all and plus, I get a good room rates because I have a Player's Card.  I also like the food at Kady's (even tho most people don't).  And the food court is nice and conveniently located.  It's also nice to already know where everything is in the casino, hotel, and convention area.  :)  Further, I like their table games and the dealers have always been nice and it's cool to see them again every year.

 

This news especially saddens me because the new owner has made so many awesome changes already, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in 2012! 

And.... most importantly.... I have a lot of casino gambling history with The Riv.  I do most of my gambling there so I can get good rates for the room the following year.  Staying there ten days, I'm always looking for deals!  My Riviera Player's Card (every casino has a frequent player's card program) has earned me free nights and comp meals.  So, I'm saddened my casino play at The Riv in 2012 wont help me get good rates at The Rio in 2013.  :-(

But then.... I noticed something awesome the other day!

As I was trying to find a good deal at a casino for the Mosconi Cup in Vegas with the two main player programs I have (M Life and Total Rewards)... guess what?  YEP - The Rio is under the Total Rewards players program!


I am so excited now!

That means I already have a a player history and that also means when I go to the associated casinos of the Total Rewards program, I will be able to use that play toward a cheaper room rate at The Rio! Woo-Woo!

BTW, in case you are interested, all these casinos below all have the same Player's program (Total Rewards) and what you earn can be used at any of these locations:

Horsehoe Casino
Caesars Palace
Planet Hollywood
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Harrah's Las Vegas
Paris Las Vegas
Flamingo Las Vegas
Bally's Las Vegas
Imperial Palace

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Similar Cues

I heard this awesome rumor about one of the one pocket players at one of the pool rooms I go to.  I told him I wanted to showcase his story on my blog.  The catch was... I needed to somehow figure out to show up when he had both his two cues with him.

I know, many people have more than one cue.  So, what's the big deal?

Well, how many have two cues like THIS?

He bought a Szamboti in 1978.  If you don't know what a Szamboti is, let's just say it's one of the most expensive and yearned-for cues by collectors and pool generations of its time.

After he bough the cue in 1978, he then bought Schon in 1987.

BUT!

He had the same exact inlays of the Szamboti put into in the butt sleeve and the forearm of the Schon.  He even put the inlays in himself.

So, the cues look very similar!

He uses both, but you never really know which one he's using that day when he spars in his one pocket games (unless you know what to look for).

Check out the pics of the two cues:  Pretty darn cool!

(click on images to enlarge)





Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorite Mosconi Cup 2011 Shot

During the Mosconi Cup in Vegas in December, when Chris Melling and Darren Appleton were playing doubles against Rodney Morris and Shawn Putnam, I saw my favorite (and most impressive) shot of the tourney!

The score was close:  Europe up overall 4-3 against USA (in a race to 11) but this match was tied 5-5 in a race to 6!  Very, very crucial hill-hill match.

Darren broke and... almost scratched!

Although the cueball didn't fall into the pocket for a dreaded scratch, instead, it nestled BEHIND two balls near the corner and Chris Melling was left with several options:  Push Out or try to hit the 3 ball.


As SOON as Chris walked to the table, I saw him motion for a third option:  Kick Safe.

I turned to Amanda and exclaimed, "no way!"

Darren and Chris asked for a time extension and added 60 seconds to their discussion.  Chris told Darren that's what he wanted to do and Darren checked it out and presumably said, "Go for it, Chris."

The announcers thought Chris was going to try and kick at the 3 ball to make another ball near the pocket, but I saw Chris's first inclination to the shot as he motioned the Kick Safe as soon as he walked up to the table.

Check out what happened via the video below:



 
 

What impressed me most was he executed exactly what he envisioned in his mind.  And further - the shot came immediately to him and he had a lot of confidence to pull it off!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Funny Straight Pool Moment!

One night I was playing in a straight pool match against a very serious player.  I was ahead by about 20 and on the verge of winning in a rack or two, so even though I was ahead, he could still win.

I left myself with the below:  I ensured that I could get by the rack to see the 6 ball as a break out ball.  He racked while I went to the bathroom.


When i got back, I grabbed my cue and chalk and walked up to the table to break and was dumbfounded!  OMG!  This is where I found myself:



I couldn't see the 6 ball after all!  I could have sworn I double checked I would be able to make the 6 from where I left the cueball!

I stood there speechless, and then my opponent walks up to the table and says, "just kidding, I racked it low to trick you.  Here, let me re-rack it right. HeHe"

LMAO!

Although what he did was super funny, I think I am more shocked that he did this during a kinda stressful match where he wasn't winning, and because normally he's so reserved and pensive.

I guess Mister Serious isn't that serious after all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Third One Pocket Video - Frozen Balls

I realized yesterday I hadn't yet posted Chapter Two of my One Pocket videos on my blog for you all.  Sorry about that! 

But first, a shout out to our video editor at PoolStudents.net (Steve) for helping us so much!

In this third video (which is Chapter Two for the One Pocket series over at PoolStudents.net), I talk about how to make frozen balls

I learned this from Phil Capelle (well, not personally, but from one of this books) and this helps me in ALL my games, but esp one pocket because balls are more congested in that game.


If you weren't aware of this, I hope it helps you as much as it has helped over the years!  Enjoy.  :)

btw.....

In case you are new to my blog, some background:  I am one of the contributors over at PoolStudents.net.  I am honored to have my very own little section!  And I focus on one pocket over in my little corner.

But the clever catch is, it's only via video!  The whole site smartly focuses on video - the dream of the originator of the site.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Press Release Back Fire - There is no I in Team

As I mentioned before the Mosconi Cup, there were several unhappy people that Charlie Williams was the team captain of the USA Team.

But then!

I shared with you that I heard during the Mosconi Cup that Charlie was the hardest working USA Team Captain they had ever seen. We all wouldn't know that, because it's behind the scenes, but that's what was told by one of the Matchroom guys.

I thought that was really nice to hear, because I know the USA Team Players felt like Charlie was a good captain, but to hear that other people recognized how hard he worked, truly reinforced it.

Further proof:  you can view a blog about the togetherness at this link (Captain's Log):  http://www.pro9.co.uk/html/article.php?sid=1816&mode=&order=0

But, imagine my surprise at the end of the Mosconi Cup when each team was asked to say a few words.  Captain Williams shocked the whole audience by saying, "...no discredit to the European team, but we really felt we got a little bit worse of the rolls sometimes."

What?  Who in the heck says something like THAT?

You can hear for yourself he got BOO'd from the crowd for saying such a thing (listen about the 7 minute mark):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL8CYhxa07w&list=UUZVCbGKNydmAIqpRQxKUZsQ&index=5&feature=plpp_video.

BTW, the Europeans had nothing ill to say and ONLY complimented the USA Team.

Captain Williams (finally) complimented the European Team but then tried to remove his foot from his mouth and added "don't take it the wrong way" (about his rolls comment).  But the damage was done.

Or was it?

Barry Berhman (for whatever reason) issued his thoughts on the Mosconi Cup and they were posted on AZB as a headline.  I wondered why he would say anything at all and was quite confused about why he would comment like that anyway?  Then I got miffed when he said, "To my two time U.S. Open Champion, Darren Appleton, you played great again this year. I am very proud of you and especially for being the gentleman and class act you are."

What?  

"My U.S. Open Champion?"  Isn't the U.S. Open really a tournament for the players?  I realize you may think I'm playing schematics, but not many people with proper etiquette walk around saying a tournament is theirs.  It's the players tournament.  Sure, he's been running it for years and handles everything, but that wording is SLAP in the face (imo).

But I digress...

(sorry)

Well, evidently his comment and fan comments from forums ruffled the feathers of the USA Team and therefore the USA Members decided to issue a press release.

/sarcasm on/

Yay, a Press Release!  How smart! 
/sarcasm off/

The Press Release completely backfired.  If they intended to explain themselves, it only did more harm than good.

Read for yourself.  I'll wait right here.

Back?

Okay.

So, 9 times "I" was used by the captain in his paragraph.  There is no I in Team.  And like others who are expressing themselves on the forums, I agree it seems to be a Press Release about excuses of why the USA lost.  Maybe they were trying to use the platform as a little sounding board, as most of the team seems a little upset (except for Johnny Archer who gave a great comment).  But, where is the Public Relations person for this team?

Did not one person think about the consequences of how the Press Release was worded?  Or were they too quick to want to (try) to defend themselves?

Even Charlie Sheen fired his Public Relations person... and shouldn't have. 


I'm not knocking the Captain's preparation of the team, the togetherness, or the team camaraderie.  But I admit I am disappointed in the speech and the Press Release (from Barry, also).

But, all this gives me something to express my opinion about, huh?  lol.

We all learn from all mistakes.  Just take these things as a learning experience, guy, and things will improve in the future.  Learning isn't a bad thing!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heat of the Battle - Mosconi Cup

On Day 2 of Mosconi Cup 2011, when Shawn Putnam and Rodney Morris were playing Scotch Doubles against Darren Appleton and Chris Melling from Europe, Rodney got visibly upset.  Being deep in the crowd, we couldn't hear what happened, what he was saying, or why he was upset.


However, being mic'd up, the entire TV audience could!  And boy, did they get an earful from Rodney.  Rodney was pissed!

Check it out for yourself:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP-p51EwWsM

The USA Captain (Charlie Williams) even went over to say something to Darren and Chris and altho I have no idea what he said to them, he must have been trying to calm everyone down.

 
While checking Facebook that night, I ran across this from Darren's FB wall:

"Here's the story as all sorts of stuff getting thrown around.. Rodney was been a little disrespectful first 4 racks of match and nonstop talking when at the table, the Europeans guys were drinking so they started to talk back at him and he eventually took the bait.. He said something to me about our fans ..I just told him you brought it all on yourself and then he offered me outside in the parking lot ..I just simply replied grow up and it all spilled over for a while.. Rodney actually thought I said something different which I didn't.. I don't know what he was saying after as I couldn't hear him maybe you guys did,, anyway later he apologized to me ..it's all heat of the battle .."

The psychological parts of handling pressure is interesting to me.  And we were lucky we were afforded the opportunity to get an explanation and to hear the different perspectives.  Emotions run high.  Things get carried away.  People see things from a different set of glasses being under the gun and upset. 

I hadn't seen the video above before reading what Darren wrote, but I thought it was nice of Darren and actually pretty cool of him to explain what happened, his version, that Rodney apologized, and he also offered the most important part:  "It's all heat of the battle."

Pretty smart thinking on Darren's part to understand why Rodney got upset (the fans and being under pressure).  I commend Darren for stepping up and explaining to the fans.  I also commend Rodney for apologizing.  Not easy to do sometimes, right?


(photos courtesy of Don Akerlow, of On The Break News magazine)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December PoolSynergy

Michael Reddick is this month's host of PoolSynergy.  You know - PoolSynergy!  Where billiard bloggers blog about a certain topic each month.  Michael gave us this topic for December:  How do you recharge your batteries?

Well, I recycle mine.  Wait.  What?

Michael explains: Based on personal experience, there are times when I overload on pool and I need a break.  Especially during the holiday season, there are other parts of our lives that can take priority...holiday celebrations that we want to attend (or are required to attend), visiting with friends and family, etc.  What I'd like to know from the writers is what they do when they are away from pool...specifically, how do they recharge their emotional or physical batteries so they can come back to the table feeling physically and mentally refreshed and ready to play?

For me this answer is easy. When I need to get back into a pool mind frame, because maybe I've taken a mental vacation due to life's' hiccups or responsibilities, I simply set goals.

I normally do this at the beginning of the year (I don't like resolutions at all, instead I'm a goal-setter), which helps me get back into playing pool and wanting to compete after all the holiday fuss.  But, other times I set goals after I realize my game may not be up to par because of the time off.

Most of my goals revolve around what I can do to improve my game. So, goals such as watching a certain number of videos a month or a goal to practice a certain amount of time each week, are best for me. These goals automatically get me back into the mind frame to play pool; to want to play pool.  Especially when I've had to take a break, which means less time at the table.

Also, as the famous saying goes, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" (by Eleanor Roosevelt), what I've experienced is being away from pool makes me anxious to play again.  Therefore, the anxiousness automatically pulls me right back in and that makes it easy to feel refreshed and ready to play!  :) 

Sometimes that anxiousness takes time to come back, but when it does, you will be ready (it's like magic!).  

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Mosconi Cup TidBits

The Mosconi Cup was a lot of fun again this year. To see this event in person is awesome! I highly recommend you add this as a must-see to your Bucket List.

Altho the European team outplayed the USA Team this year, it was still an exciting event and a wonderful life experience.

It was held at the MGM in Las Vegas again, like it was in 2009 when I saw it for the first time. This year Amanda and I went and we had a blast seeing friends and watching pool in person being broadcast live on tv!

Amanda and I
Here are a few trigger-gems from the event:

  • On Day 2 of this 4-day event, USA Team Member Shawn Putnam was faced with a jump shot after a safety by one of the European players. Shawn not only jumped the ball cleanly to make contact with this 3-ball, he also cut it right in the corner pocket! The crowd went crazy! Right afterwards, someone from the crowd said, "Who says white men can't jump?" lol 
  • I deemed Melanie Archer (Johnny Archer's wife) Head Cheerleader. She was awesome with her signs and cheering and getting the crowd to their feet throughout the event! She is a beautiful woman with a heart of gold. And their son and daughter made the whole crowd ooh and ahh with their comments, "Go Daddy!" or "USA" in their child-voices as they shouted out when Johnny was playing in his matches.  It was absolutely adorable!
Melanie Archer
Johnny Lee Archer and LeeAnne Archer at the end of the event.
  • Although Rodney Morris got quite upset during one of his matches, I noticed during his matches at the Mosconi Cup that he is actually a very funny guy! He showed his fun personality as he played each day and he would make the crowd laugh with funny facial expressions, funny comments, or fun antics. I had no idea he was quite a character!
  • Ken Schuman is a friend of mine and a top-notch ref, but he can also be very blunt when it comes to reffing and ensuring people follow the rules. So, altho he might have rubbed people the wrong way in the past by being a stickler, he was VERY professional at this event and did a FANTASTIC job refereeing! His co-ref was Michaela Tabb, who is a hottie and famous all around the pool world. She was gracious to take a pic with me.
  • Michaela Tabb and myself.
  • I have seen Shawn Putnam at another event and he mostly complained, so I was quite surprised to see him smiling and laughing and having a great time at the Mosconi Cup. I guess it does make sense to be in a great mood for this event, but I was happy to see him play well during Scotch Doubles and keep the crowd entertained.
  • Mike Dechaine and Chris Melling were rookies for this event and it's quite an honor to play in a Mosconi Cup! They both played well and I was impressed with their play on Friday. Mike didn't fair too well on Saturday, but the entire U.S. team had trouble with their breaks Saturday, unfortunately. But Mike played great Friday and I could see why he was on the team this year. He did get upset on Saturday, but emotions run high in this event. Chris Melling from Europe is a fantastic player and I am honored to call him my friend. He played so beautifully. Chris lost his Mom and I told him how proud she was of him. I just know my Mom is with his Mom and they watched the event from Heaven together.

Chris Melling and I
  • There was one very loud European but he was also funny as he yelled "Gooo EuuuurOOpe" deep from his belly about 1,000 times, lol. On Day 3 he wore a Santa suit from head to toe and during the first break he came to the bar and said, "Santa needs a drink, It's a long ways from the North Pole." lmao!  One of my friends told me they were impressed he hadn't got into a fight based the amount of alcohol he had consumed each day during the event, lol.

  • And altho I was one of the one's who didn't like the choice for USA Captain, I was told on Sunday that he was the hardest working USA team they had ever seen. We all wouldn't know that, because it's behind the scenes, but that's what I was told by one of the Matchroom guys.
Next year we go back to Europe and then in 2013 back to the USA. Hope it's in Vegas again - maybe I'll get to see it again!   Love running into friends at this event. I had a great time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stream Thoughts

Someone stated recently, "Streaming is the best thing to ever happen to pool."

I was like, "Huh?"

How is that??

Maybe I am biased, but I think some peeps will agree with me on some of these points. lol.

Streaming at first was huge and the big "thing" for sure.  And, it still is sometimes, but is it really that big anymore?

Streaming itself is HUGE, for sure.  I can watch sport events on my phone - pretty cool, huh?  Technology allows us to no longer be in our own living rooms and watch sports or other events.  Now we can be out having fun and also be able to watch our favorite programming at the same time.


And that is the key:  Favorite programming.

How many pool players are out there in the U.S.?

How many know there is even a stream on?

If pool was as huge a basketball or football, I could see the incentive to stream more events.  But pool is still not popular just because streaming came along

I can't even begin to tell you the last time I watched a pool event streamed.

I fully admit if my significant other was playing in a tournament, I would pay full price immediately to watch him on a stream.  But even free streams from local tours that showcase my friends in matches, I simply don't care to watch.  I'm just not interested anymore.  Huge money match-ups of big pro players?  Nope, them neither. 

The It Factor is gone for me for some reason.

The U.S. Open came and went.  I could buy the stream.  I didn't.

Even if the Mosconi Cup was streamed, I wouldn't buy it.  If it was free, I would prolly watch it because it's a fantastic event to see!  But otherwise, I'm just not interested anymore to watch regular pool tournaments on tv or streamed.

Maybe because my interests have changed or because I don't care anymore who does what in tournaments?  I'm not in awe of the pros - I know most of them personally.  I also am not home a lot anymore on weekends, so maybe that's a factor, too?

I dunno.

I'm just not completely sure why, to be honest.

I do know this:  I am more interested in improving my 14.1 knowledge via DVDs than watching 9-ball matches on tv.

So, if I am home (key point) and there is a straight pool tournament being streamed with great commentators, I would fork over the all-weekend stream pass in a heartbeat because I want to learn that game so much right now.  And I recognize that when I was enamored with one pocket a couple of years ago, I would watch streamed one pocket matches a lot more back then.

"But Melinda, what about being on the stream itself?"  Ahh, I do enjoy playing on streamed matches.  But for selfish reasons - so I can go back after the match to see how my mechanics are, and also for the experience of playing under pressure.  I do love to help streamers - so enjoy commentating and being a part of the production of a "show." 

But otherwise, what does streaming do for people?

People think streaming brings in sponsors.  Phooey.  I don't buy that.  Do you?   The people who put on streams have to go GET sponsors; the sponsors don't come running to them, knocking down their doors to be listed on a stream (imo).  The streamers are out there trying to make a living, working their tails off to provide streams, trying to find sponsors.

But for who?  The small fan base of pool players?  Yep.  Just little 'ole us.

And what does a tour get out of a stream?  Does a tour somehow magically get money from the people who watch their tour on a stream?  Sure, it *might* get a few more people interested in playing their event - but wouldn't a player already know about an event in order to know to watch it on a stream?  And I've even heard of people NOT driving to watch an event in person because they can sit in their pj's from the comfort of their home to watch a tournament being streamed.  This obviously leads to less money for the pool room.

And what does a sponsor get?  Do they sell more products?  Enough to offset the cost of being advertised on a stream? 

Some tours have stopped streaming their events.  And who complained?  Sponsors?  Fans?  Nope.  None.  Just the players who like the awe factor of the stream.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think streams hurt our sport, but I don't think it magically puts money in peoples pockets, nor magically increases our fan base (unfortunately).  And I definitely don't think streaming is the best thing to ever happen to pool.  I wish that WAS true. 

Just my opinion.

Maybe in the future something else amazing will come along and increase our fan base somehow.  I surely hope so! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo: Protecting A Pool Table!

At league a few weeks ago, a guy comes over to our side of the room and starts to cover one of the 7-foot pool tables with plastic bags.

Turns out he needed a pizza table!  

I love people that protect the proper things in life!

Room Size For a Pool Table?

Seems like once a year or more peeps ask via the AZB Forums what room size they should be looking for in a house to fit a pool table nicely.  Since I am currently wondering myself, thought I'd share what I found out.

I found many suggestions and links, and actually EVERY link had different suggested requirements!

Good rule of thumb that many agree with:  Add about 5 feet to each end of the table (no matter what size) and you will have enough space to play pool comfortably.


Just a quick note, if you only add 10 feet to the length and 10 feet to the width, people say you won't have space to stroke the ball if it is frozen to the rail. If you want to play and be completely comfortable without any problem, you really need about 15x20 for a 9 foot table. 

If you don't have exactly 5 feet on each side but close to that, then see what the very minimum space required needed for a particular table size:

Seven foot table: 3.5' x 7'
(Playing area: 38" x 76")
13' x 16'

Eight foot table: 4' x 8'
(Playing area: 44" x 88")
13' 6" x 17'

Oversize eight foot table: 4' x 8'
(Playing area: 46" x 92")

13' 6" x 17' 6"

Nine foot table: 4.5' x 9'
(Playing area: 50" x 100")

14' x 18'


P.S.  BTW, all measurements in this blog article are for standard 58" cues that most of us use daily.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mosconi Cup Coming Up

My bestest girlyfriend Amanda wanted a girl weekend so we decided to head to the Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas!  We'll be leaving Thursday to watch the festivities live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  It's gonna be fun!


The Mosconi Cup is like the Ryder Cup of pool - USA players against European players.  I was lucky enough to attend this event in Vegas two years ago (the venue swaps from the US to Europe every year) and I had fun watching a live broadcast of a huge pool event.

The made-for-tv room with one 9-foot pool table is surrounded by bleachers full of electric devotees and the audience is pumped up with the casino oxygen (just kidding) and the energy in the room is amazing, with clapping almost every shot, emotions from the players seen at every whisper, and banners showing support for their favorite team.

Just in case the tv camera catches a glimpse of me, I've got my hair done, botoxed my crows feet, tanned my bod, and my nails are finished (oh, who I am kidding - I do this before EVERY trip to Vegas, lol).  The only thing I didn't accomplish is the 5 pounds I wanted to lose, but since I'm going to stuff my face at my favorite buffets anyway, it would have been pointless, lmao.  Trust me, when it comes to good food, I savor it with all my might and take advantage (because life is short and to be enjoyed).  Good food, good friends, good times! 

This year, there is a lot of talk on the forums about the USA Captain.  While there are 5 players, there is also a non-playing captain.  The forums are lit up right now with their dislike and shock who was picked.  Not because of his talent, but more so they feel there are better suited captains, mostly because of the character of the newly-appointed Captain.

When I attended in 2009, Nick Varner captained the winning USA team!  It was awesome.  Dennis Hatch was voted in and easily became the most enthusiastic player, played with more heart than I've ever seen, and easily won MVP.  Too bad he wasn't chosen as Captain, or Nick Varner again.




Instead, the new Captain is currently playing in a World Mixed Doubles tournament in China (this week) - as he represents Korea.  Huh?

I personally think that his ties to his business got him voted in (which isn't politically correct, but that's politics, right?).   And that's just my opinion, btw.

Granted, I'm going to cheer on USA because I'm from the USA.  The team is FULL of talent and rock solid.  And I believe can win without a Captain --> Johnny Archer, Shane Van Boeing, Mike Dechaine, Rodney Morris, and Shawn Putnam can get the job done!



I can only imagine that if pool were as big as basketball / golf /football, that this new Captain would be addressing all the concerns being brought up about him, and possibly step down from "Captain."

But I'm goig to cheer on the USA!  USA!  USA!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Failed Test

Sunday afternoon we played a very good team who should be in the top 5 of our league (if they aren't already).  One of the teammates on this opposing team is the top player in our league.  And we have at least 100 people on this league, so that tells you how good he is (and how often he plays).

I approached him about mid-way through the team match and asked if he went to Vegas.  He said sometimes and I suggested if my boyfriend couldn't go, would he like to play scotch doubles?  He said yes, he would be interested if Plan A didn't work out with me.

Is it obvious I'm picky with my scotch doubles players?  LOL.  I want the best possible players - I wont "settle" in team events, and that includes scotch doubles. 

Cases in point: Last year I asked the top player in my other league if he could play with me in Vegas (we got 7th out of 385 teams).  Year before that I played with a pro (placed 13th in the Masters division).  Year before that - my scotch doubles partner and I placed 5th then 4th in consecutive years against about 400 other teams in Vegas!

My boyfriend and I play GREAT together and we do very well as a team.  However, because I'm very competitive, I want a backup plan just in case he can't get off of work and then I wont have anyone good to play with come May in Vegas.
 
So imagine my surprise when I started to take shots during league (hey, they were having $2 shot specials!) and I missed an 8ball and then a 3-ball out my last two games and the guy comes up to me afterwards and was like, "uh, I dunno now."  lmao!

He was picking on me, but it was pretty dang funny I preferenced my convo to him that I only play with good players and then I dog it!!


Reminds of me when I was being picky back in 2007 and I had to find an opponent at the last minute.  Someone suggested Royce Bunnell of OB Cues but I didn't know how he played, so I told him I'd have to make him try out.  He laughed and said he would, then I went to play a match and proceeded to dog two 9-balls!

He brings that story up to this day.  (and btw, that was my partner who we scored 5th and 4th scotch doubles places!)  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Do You Look at Last?

There is a "fun debate" going on over on the AZBilliards.com forums about what pool players look at last when they stroke.  The Object Ball (OB) or the CueBall (CB)?

Everyone is going back and forth.  And even other alternatives are being discussed (if you can imagine there are actually other things to look at last other than either the OB or the CB when you shoot a shot).

Some peeps are even sharing with us (in that discussion thread) which ball they think the pros look at last, too. 


Here's all I know:  when I started to look at the Object Ball last (about 1-2 years ago), my consistency in my pre-shot routine rose exponentially and I was able to stay down on my shots SO MUCH better (which obviously leads to less balls missed).

I don't know which is right or wrong, I'm just sharing what I now try to incorporate in my pre-shot routine and why it's been successful for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Season Finale Tourney

The final stop of the 2011 OB Cues Tour Season was held the weekend of Nov 5th in San Leon, Texas at Casper's Billiards.  I've already posted a cool video tour of this amazing pool room and also a neat video compilation of our road trip, but how did I do in the tourney?

After my first successful Texas State title win, how would I fair in my next big tourney?  More importantly, what did I find out about myself and this lovely game of pool during the weekend of the Season Finale?

After a couple of league nights and a couple of weekly tourneys since my "big" win, I had already figured out that after you win a big tourney, you don't magically win everything from that point on.  lmao.

And to top it off, the invisible pressure we put on ourselves is immense.  I felt I had all eyes on me.  "She just won a tourney, why isn't she getting out in this rack?" I envisioned my league mates and league opponents thinking.  LOL.  Invisible pressure is like a tightly wrapped invisible cloak - you are trapped in this blanket and can barely move yours arms properly anymore.  It sucks, lol.

I didn't feel like I had the "It Factor" the morning of the Season Finale.  The "It Factor" is me being numb to nerves or expectations.  Instead, I was a little leery how I would fair, which is already a bad sign for me.  I'm already "worried" or "concerned" and they hadn't even done the draw yet! 

I admit, I was surrounded by great players.  It was a very tough field.  And let's face it, I haven't yet placed better than 4th in any OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop (ever).

About 45 ladies were eligible for the Season Finale but only 27 showed up.  Members had to play in at least 2 stops during the year to be able to play in the Season Finale, where they added an additional $1,000 to the already guaranteed $2,000 event!

I am actually disheartened to realize I won the Oct tourney because I was in the zone.  Sure, skill had something to do with it - I have years of experience, vast knowledge of the game, and obviously good mechanics when I'm on auto-pilot (the zone).  But, it's kind of a somber/sober realization for me:  I might need to be in the zone to do super well again.

Because we all know how tough it is to get in the zone.  :(

What was reiterated loudly to me again at THIS particular tourney is if I have too much going through my brain, too much pressure on my shoulders, nerves filling my soul, and thinking ahead about possibilities, I cannot function well on the pool table.

And that my friends is the complete opposite of being "in the zone."

My arms get wobbly, my adrenaline races through my veins, my mind is full of so many different thoughts flying around at once, and therefore my pre-shot routine suffers and I miss shots under pressure.

Bottom line - I lost matches I could have won if I wasn't nervous or thinking too much.  And I won the matches where I felt no pressure. 

I finished in 13th place Saturday evening.

If I had a stronger mental attitude, I would have easily lasted until Sunday.

However, this "misfortune" then "granted" me the chance to play on Sunday in the Second Chance event.  With 14 players, I look around the room and feel pretty dang good about my chances.  I'm one of the better players in this field and so my confidence already starts to go up.

I won my first three matches pretty easy (and with one unlucky scratch by a competitor) to make it to the hotseat.  I lost that match only hill-hill (I didn't focus toward the end and it cost me the match).

I got to the finals with a 4-0 win and then proceeded to win the first set in the finals also by a score of 4-0.  But I lost the second set 2-4 because my opponent played better and because I didn't play as well.  I just got tired and didn't focus as much; let things get in my mind again.

Tourney Description: Frustrated


As I watched some of the main event matches on Sunday afternoon, it hit me hard that the 8 ladies I witnessed competing had their emotions and thoughts contained.  They were playing POOL.  Playing well.  Sure, they prolly felt a little nerves but the difference is they were able to contain their emotions to play properly.

I SO wish I was one of those girls playing on Sunday.  I have been there before, but my mental toughness sucks right now!  I hope it can get back where I know it can be.  Where it has been in the past.


I'm frustrated with this game right now.  It's so mental, and yet my mental game is mush right now.  

I tried all my tricks over this weekend to get over my nervousness, negative thoughts, agitation, wants and desires, etc.  I have so many tips I've learned through the years, but I just couldn't overcome my nerves and couldn't stop my brain from thinking too much.

In the tourney I won in Oct, I had no expectations and was just simply happy for every win, and didn't think ahead for wants or desires.  I became almost complacent in my brain and simply felt joy and blessings where I was - AT THAT moment. Whether it was winning the first match, playing for third, happy to be playing in the finals, etc.  No future thinking or pressure entered my mind.  I simply played pool.

And during my "rough" matches in the Season Finale tourney, I tried to get that same "attitude" by reversing what was going on in my head and stomach by using tips I have learned through the years.  I tried to tell myself:

  • Be happy you are even able to play pool
  • Breathe in long, deep breathes to slow my adrenaline
  • Enjoy my opponent (i.e. not be nervous against them)
  • Think of how many games I needed, not what my opponents' score was
  • Get on to myself - "Stop being nervous! Stop it!!"
  • Focus solely on my pre-shot routine.
  • Stop thinking ahead.  Stop "thinking" of the ramifications of a win/loss.

I tried it all; to no avail.

Ugh. 

Yet, I want to play in more tournaments.

But I admit - I am scared. 

I am scared of my nerves and the invisible pressure getting in the way of me playing good pool.  I'm scared of traveling all the way to Reno in Feb to only falter from mental mush.

People keep telling me to give myself some time.  It's not even been three months since my Mom's passing and I'm going through a lot.  Time heals and I suppose time is what I need to figure all this out.

That and MORE POOL!

But I will admit something else:  I am confused.  Why is this game so frustrating to me right now?  WTHeck is going on?  I've been playing pool for over 20 years?  Why all of a sudden am I so confused and frustrated!?  And where is my mental toughness dangit!  Who has it?  Give it back!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Thanks

As host for PoolSynergy this month, since it's November I choose the topic "Thankfulness."   Thanksgiving for the USA is in November, after all, so I thought the topic would be apropos.  :)

I asked the PoolSynergy bloggers to wrote about what they are thankful about in regards to pool.  Something they maybe learned, witnessed, experienced, etc.  They were given free rein to talk about anything in regards to pool and what they are thankful for.

Markus Hofstatter wrote about great moments he had around the world, practicing, and people who he is happy to have in his life. Check out his blog entry here.

Gail Glazebrook surprised me by her thankfulness, yet it makes perfect sense (and now I wish I would have said this!).  Read her thanks here.

Samm (Diep) Vidal talks about 10 wonderful things pool has brought into her life.  She's always amazing at giving, and now check out what she's thankful for.

Alison Fischer gives us a look into her many years of thankfulness and I'm so glad she shared!  She has a way with words I can only dream of. Read her article here.

Mike Fieldhammer also contributed this month and his thankfulness also surprised me.  Check out his thanks.

Johnny101 is most thankful for the support and guidance he's received from people he's never actually met!  Intriguing, huh?  Read his article here.

John Biddle shares many thankful pool reasons, from family to authors and also thanks to other players.  He's right on target, too.  Read the details.

Gary Frerking gives thanks to attention-to-detail, how his Dad pounded it into his head, and how it's useful now.  Check out his article.

And I (Melinda) wrote about Thanks, also.  I thought everyone would say the same thing (always glad to be proven wrong in these instances!), and here is what I am grateful for:  click here.

/pun on/ Thanks to all the bloggers for writing about Thanks!  /pun off/  :-)

Hope everyone has a great month of Thanks and check us (Poolsynergy) out next month when  Michael Reddick is our gracious host!

Thank Yous

This months topic is simply: Thank you.  What are we thankful for in regards to pool? 

For me this is easy:  I am thankful for pool because I have met amazing, wonderful, impactful people.

  • I met a woman in my mid 20s who helped me become more confident by taking an interest in my well being.
  • I have met so many wonderful, amazing women who have given me great advice during adverse times in my life.
  • I have met guys who became my boyfriends who captured many years of happiness.
  • I have best friends because I met them through the love we share with pool.

While co-workers and family may not understand why pool means so much to me, fellow pool players truly understand the passion.

They understand why pool makes me happy, challenged, and passionate. 

They understand why I travel across the country to play pool, why I cry after I win a tournament, why at other times I get so frustrated.

I found love because of pool. 

I have found heartbreak because of pool.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and everything in life makes us stronger, so I embrace all that happens, and for everyone that crosses my path. 

As many fellow OB Cues Ladies Tour Members have said: attending tour stops is not about pool, it's about friendship.  To get to see our friends, hang out with friends, getting our hugs, sharing our happiness, and getting consoled during life's hiccups.  It's a family.  Dysfunctional, fun, amazing family!

I truly have a family because of pool. 

And I have so many great friends and loved ones because I met them through pool. 

Who have helped me through so much in my life.  That I will never forget, ever.

I honestly don't know if I would have this many friends if it wasn't for the love of pool that brought us together.  And they help me through the tough times, share in laughter other times, and yes, I even am honored to offer advice or my experiences at times to help them.

Friends are my personal counselors through life.  They lift me up with their words, help me leave the house with encouragement, take memorable trips with me, and help me laugh!

This is all why I'm very thankful for pool!  What would I do without all my friends, and the love that fills my heart, and life experiences we share together?!

And don't forget to read ALL the Thank you PoolSynergy blogs by clicking here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video Tour of Caspers Billiards

Thought I'd show you all Casper's Billiards via ala video tour blog.  Casper's Billiards was home to the OB Cues Tour Season Finale held last weekend.  Spacious, gorgeous, waterfront, two-story pool room with lots of beautiful 9-foot tables.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So, Did I Accomplish No Tolerating?

On Friday I posted I was going to speak up more and "defend" myself.

Then I went out of town to the OB Cues Ladies Tour Season Finale that night for the weekend.  If you happened to wonder if I had any opportunities to speak up (when otherwise normally I wouldn't), the answer is:  Yes.

Four times I spoke up.  Four times!  When in the past I may not have said anything, this weekend I did.

(pats myself on the back)


I never felt bad, I never felt guilty (as I said I also wanted to work on).  I was kind, cordial, and simply spoke up because I felt it was necessary for my mental attitude.

(as we all know, pool is 90% mental)

I'll share 2 of the 4.  Two seemed "minor," but the two below that I'll share are significant compared to how I would have non-responded in the past:   


Situation:
On Saturday afternoon, a member was smoking near my match and she was only practicing on the next table and I asked her to move her cigarette.  This may seem minor, but not one other person was smoking near the matches at this end of the room and so her smoke was very obvious (and bothersome) and I wanted to focus on my match (we are a non-smoking tour). 

The Reaction:
She asked me if I was about to play on the table she was about to practice on.  I said no, "but I'm playing right next to you."  She moved her ashtray and cigarette to the other side of the table.  

Previously:
I wouldn't have spoke up and instead been perturbed about her smoke which meant I wouldn't be focused on my match. As you can imagine, a smoke-free area all of a sudden "invaded" with a smoker is extremely obvious. 


Situation:
Right before the finals of the Second Chance tournament, the TDs discussed moving the match downstairs.  I expressed that we shouldn't change equipment because we had been playing on these tables upstairs all day.  The tables downstairs were different and I thought a change in equipment should not occur right before the finals. 

The Reaction:
They said we could continue to play upstairs.  :)

Previously
I wouldn't have spoke up and been ticked as I played the finals match downstairs on different equipment.  Don't get me wrong - I can adjust quickly to tables, but I still would have been perturbed, which could have taken away focus from playing my best.


It all sounds so silly I know, but I'm proud of defending myself so I could focus on my matches.  Right now I need all the help I can get for my mental mush.  And let's face it - we all DESERVE to have great atmospheres to play our best and focus on the game we all love.  :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Video of Ming Ng Racking

Hope my friend Ming doesn't mind me sharing this video I captured of her.

Ming (former WPBA professional) is a very competitive player but also an awesome friend and fills the room with laughter!  She's a joy to have around because she enjoys life and has fun and also because I love to watch her compete because she's so talented and skilled at this lovely game.

But check this out!  Ming is a little "vertically challenged" and the tables we were playing on last weekend were kinda tall:




Video of the Magic Rack

Just in case you haven't used the Magic Rack, I did a little video to show how it works.

Enjoy!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Panoramic Pool View!

Wow! 

I would love to to be able to rent this for just a day and throw it up in the air in the middle of the Riviera Convention Center during the BCAPL Nationals!  I think this would be SO neat!



Friday, November 4, 2011

Not Tolerating Anymore

I have noticed when someone close passes away, that part of my personality changes.  Either by choice or not, I'm not sure.

I noticed it after my Dad passed away.  I was a "list" person.  I wrote a list for everything.  Had to have one.  Couldn't function without one.  After he passed, no more lists for me. 

After my Mom passed, a different, more honest person came about.  I don't mean I lied before.  I mean, I no longer am going to hold back when I should speak up.  I will still continue to be careful HOW I speak my words, but I instead of NOT saying something in fear of hurting others, I'm instead going to try and speak up.

I'll be honest:  I'm tired of not speaking up for myself.

I'm tired of being agitated by people and letting them get to me.

For instance, the other day I played poker at the casino and the guy next to me took up the space under the table with his lanky legs.  He took up too much space and was not considerate of others.  And it annoyed me.  When I do anything in life, I don't want to be annoyed.  I want to be happy.  Not distracted.  Not my mo-jo messed up.  Not my mind irritated and my forehead crinkly with dissatisfaction.

I mentioned it after-the-fact to my b/f and he says, "why didn't you ask him to move?"

Interesting concept.

I would rather not inconvenience the guy than say something.

One time a pool player's smoke bothered me while I ate.

They noticed and then finally said, "why didn't you just say something?"

I dunno.

Another time some friends made too much noise when I tried to sleep and they told me later, "why didn't you just say something?"

OMG... I don't know!


Why would I rather suffer than say something??

I just don't like to inconvenience people.  I'm just too nice, I guess.  I dunno.

I need to realize if I speak up it's not a bad thing and no one will be upset with me.  And even if they get upset with me, who cares, right?  I have a right to be in a happy place.  Right?

I witnessed so many instances in the past where people reacted badly to "suggestions" that maybe I'm nervous to speak up?

I dunno, doesn't sound like me.  I'm a pretty forward and confident woman.

And don't get me wrong - rile me up and I'll be the first to speak up (lol).

But, what I'm referring to that I want to work on is the atmosphere around my pool matches:  I'm tired of people talking to me when I play pool.

I'm tired of people trying to be funny when I'm in the middle of a straight pool match.

I'm tired to people interfering with my mental game.

I realize I'm "letting" things bother me, but I can have a say so in my environment at times, right?

Like I mentioned in my blog article the other day:  Some guy sat next to our straight pool match and made comments. I thought about asking him to leave.  Thought to myself, "this is the right thing to do.  It's okay to ask him to leave.  It will allow you to focus on your game."

But I never asked him to leave because he eventually kept quiet. Until... my opponent rallied almost 25 points to tie the score.  Then he thinks he's funny, "Let him catch up, huh?"

Omg......

Like I wasn't freakin' upset about it already?

I seriously don't understand people.  Well, to be fair, people don't understand sports and that it's best to just keep quiet.

I've decided (since my Mom's passing) that I wont and shouldn't put up with people like that anymore.  I am tired of letting things get to me.  So, I will speak up more.

Not rudely, of course.

But I need to look out for me.

The difficult part will be my common concern: to be able to ask peeps to be quiet without upsetting MYSELF.  Without making myself feel bad for saying something to them.

I don't know why, but I do feel bad for defending myself sometimes.  And guess what?  Yep, tired of that, too.

I've taken enough leadership classes to politely ask someone to STHU (lol).  I can do it.

I have enough experience with being careful with my words so I don't hurt others.  I do it all the time, actually.  But that's usually when I'm giving advice or when someone asks me for my thoughts.  I don't normally speak up for myself.  So, this is new for me.  Someones gotta stick up for me, right?

Let the practicing begin!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Headphones

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to play my best against The Talker is to try not to listen to him.  How the heck does one do that??  Lol.  The only idea I can think of is to use my headphones when I play against him. 

Hmmm....

Maybe that will work? 

Maybe. 

I decided I should "practice" using my headphones.  Not practice with my headphones, but practicing using my headphones. I just don't want to show up one day to play him and had never used them before in a straight pool match.

I wanted to get used to how it felt.  Make sure I feel comfortable.  Figure out which hip to hook my ipod; how to finagle the cords to the headphones through my shirt.

Even though I may not play him for months (the next season starts in Jan), I wanted to practice early.

So, in my last 5 straight pool matches, I used my ipod 2 1/2 times.

I have always felt a little semi-self-conscious when using headphones.  I feel it "looks" like I need a crutch to win.  When in reality, I don't NEED it to win, but it is legal and may help me focus.  May help me from being distracted. 


I tried the headphones an entire match against my friend, The Plumber, two Saturdays ago.  I thought I would feel awkward (self conscious) but I was surprised I felt pretty comfortable overall.  I liked listening to the music while I played.  While I'm not sure it helped me focus more, it was relaxing.

He smiled and laughed at the beginning of the match, "what, you don't want me to bother you?"  I no-responded and just laughed as I put the earbuds in my ears.

After the match I explained why I was using the headphones.  He laughed from his belly and shook his head because he's well aware of how much The Talker talks.

I then confided I was a little self conscious about them.  He is a good friend of mine and he shared back, "I think pool is fun. So I don't mind joking around. But if I'm gambling, don't talk to me."

In that moment, I was no longer self conscious.  Pool is fun to me, yes, but I want to be serious when I play my straight pool matches; I want to win.  I'm here to try to grab that first place spot to win the trophy. 

(for the record, I have no idea what the trophy looks like.  It could be as tall as my hand span for all I know, lmao).

I wore my headphones again in my very next match, that same day. My new opponent is a fun guy and enjoys the game SO much, even though he doesn't have a lot of "W's" by his name.

Every once in a while he would say something to me non-pool related and I would take one of my earbuds out and turn to him to listen.  He'd then be kinda embarrassed and wave me off (because he realized he forgot I had headphones on), "Oh never mind, never mind.  We'll talk after.  Sorry."

I explained to him after the match why I had them on and he also shook his head and laughed and shared The Talker has upset him in the past, too.

I think it's actually quite ludicrous I'm "testing out" wearing headphones for one person.  But in the same breath, it crossed my mind after those two matches that you know what?  I kinda think I WANT to be known as the player everyone expects to be serious.  I want to be known as the girl who wears headphones because she doesn't want to talk and rather focus on the match.  (Or at least I'll look serious wearing the headphones, lol.)

I tried to wear my headphones for my last 3 matches, but after a while in each of the 3 matches, I wasn't really listening to the music anymore and so eventually I just took off my ipod. 

And I admit, I missed being social and talking to my opponent when they might say funny things.  I don't mean the distracting type of convo, but the fun, this-is-what-pool-is-also-about, type of fun, cool convo.

Heck, I don't know what I'll do next season!  Wear my ipod every match.  Don't wear it every match.  Wear it only sometimes?  Ugh.  I dunno, lol. 

hmmm....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

End of Straight Pool Season - 5 Match Recap

Well, I somehow managed to fit the rest of my straight pool matches in with hardly any time to do it!

I played my last 5 matches in 4 days.

I played two last Saturday and won one, lost the other.  I came back in the first one, being down 87 to 58, I rallied to 81 points before losing 100 to 81.

In the next match, I dilly dallied for too long and let my opponent stay even with me til 65.  I finally told myself I better shape up and pay attention or else I might lose to an opponent I normally beat.  I ran 5, 12, 2 and 13 before finally winning.  He would tell me the next weekend that I embarrassed him.

"How so?" I asked.  "We were even til about 65 and we had a good match."

He confides as he laughs, "Because, we were tied at 65 and I never made another ball and lost 100 to 65!"

I laughed and said, "Well, just don't tell that part of the story and give the final score."  lol

On Friday I played Turtle #2 and somehow managed a win 100-79.  He has been playing so good, I was honestly surprised when I beat him.

I only got 3 hours of sleep Friday night and but still had a match scheduled for Saturday at 1pm and could not cancel or postpone b/c I only had one day left to play my other match.  I was so exhausted and I played like it!  But I reminded myself to push through as best I could and I won 100 to 78.  That match took forever!  And I played so badly.  I finally ran 14 and 10 at the end to finish off the set.

And as typical fashion, I didn't get sleep AGAIN that night, lol.  4 hours of sleep and a tough match at 2pm on Sunday.

But I surprised myself!  While a huge APA league was going on around us, I foul on the opening break and I start off -2!  Then my opponent "Tape Measure" runs 17.

OMG, really??

How would I handle that?  That's actually quite a bit of pressure.  How would I return?

I get to the table and run 15!  Holy crap!  I was so impressed with myself for not faltering.  And I was playing decent!

A few balls by both of us later, score is now 26 to 20 him.  And then I run 20!  EEeek!  I then run 9 after he misses and I'm up 49 to 26.

I was so happy with my play.  Not only was I making balls, I was playing smart - key ball to key ball and good break out shots.  Watching all these videos is really really helping me.

He then runs 7 and I run 9.

I notice I am up by 30 and then only 20.

And then it happens.

I start to not play as smart; start to miss; start to lose the momentum.

I try to forge through it, but I'm also dealing with a guy who is sitting near us making comments.  I lose my focus and am aware I am feeling pressure.  I'm recalling the two matches were I was down by 30 and then came back to win.

He's down only 65 to 55 then ties it 70 70.  The guy sitting near us says to me, "You let him catch up, huh?"

I really despise people trying to be funny during my matches. STHU.

I shoot back, "Really??  Just.  Don't say anything okay?  I'm in a match here."

I was already ticked at him and seriously considered earlier asking him to move because of the comments under his breath.  And should have asked him to leave 20 balls ago.


But, I lost because Tape Measure never gave up and I started to miss more.  I couldn't capitalize on his mistakes and wasn't playing as good.  I lost 100-92.  I never gave up, but I definitely gave the match away because I was thinking too much. 

But, I still played GREAT at the beginning of the match!  Put a little star by name for that, please  :)

The cool thing is I have had high runs of 20, 18, 18, 14, 14, 15, and 13 for these last 5 matches.  Sometimes I can run only 8 consistently in my matches.  So, these new numbers really excite me!  I can't wait to watch more videos and learn learn learn!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rumors

I played one of my final 3 straight pool matches of the season on Friday night.  I wasn't sure how I would fair, but to ruin the suspense, I won 100-79 against a good player whom I consider very talented.

We were neck and neck for most of the match and then at 68-65 him, I caught a gear and ran 9, 2, 6, 6, and 12 to win 100 to 79.  My high run for the match was 18 (which is pretty good for me!).

I wrote about my opponent before.  I nicknamed him Turtle #1.  Yes, he is a slow player but more so because he is deliberate and plays smart - so sometimes that means playing safes instead of risking shots.

As I mentioned in the two blog articles I wrote before, I don't mind him playing slow.  It's just how he plays.  I plan for a long match and I don't let it get to me.  However, this is also the same person who another league member asked to play faster and take more chances.  As I wrote before, a guy I nicknamed "The Talker" told me a few months ago that he was so annoyed with how slow Turtle #1 played, he told him to take more chances and speed up his game.  I was pretty appalled when he told me this (still am, actually).

Anyway, on Friday night, Turtle #1 and I talked about our match after it was over.

He said said I played good and that I won because I didn't miss as many shots as he did.  What I noticed was I missed earlier in the match and he missed later in the match.  I told him I tried to figure out why I was missing in the beginning and once I figured that out, I guess I played better.

I also told him, "You know, I have to say that it was a real treat to watch you play tonight.  I have been watching a lot of straight pool videos and at the beginning of our match, it was just like the videos!  You used the key balls perfectly and also used correct paths to get on your breakout shots.  It was a joy to witness."

He told me thank you and seemed surprised I would say that. 

Then he shared, "I was told my slow play bothers you so I tried to speed up my decision process."

Wait, what?

I was stunned.  I never meant for that to come out that way.

I told him the info was not at all accurate.  "Actually, I don't mind that you play slow.  And don't change your game for anyone!  I know you are deliberate and that's okay with me.  I have no problem with how you play and actually very much enjoy our matches."

He further explained that while he may play slow, he has figured out he doesn't need to spend so much time on certain decisions when only one choice is available.

I then expressed to him how appalled I was that The Talker asked him to speed up.

And Turtle #1 said, "What?  He never told me anything like that."

And I was so confused!

Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell. ~Shana Alexander

So, someone tells him his slow play bothers me (which is untrue) and then I hear that what The Talker told me was untrue, also.

Turtle #1 said The Talker never said any such thing.  "He did act upset at the beginning of our match and was mumbling about excuses, but not one time did he asked me to change my game or speed up.  If he said that, he's full of $hit." he said.

Rumors are an amazing thing!  And in one ten minute period, two were proven wrong.

I appreciate Turtle #1 sharing with me he heard I thought he played too slow.  Because then I was able to share with him that instead, I really appreciate our matches.  I wouldn't have been able to compliment him on his game otherwise.

So, thank you to whoever told him that wrong info. lol.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not All Videos Are the Same

The other night I went to get my hair highlighted with my fav stylist and as expected, because I don't like to sit around and do nothing (otherwise, I feel like I'm wasting time) I brought something to do for the next two hours from the salon chair.

Normally I take a pool-related book or read one of their magazines, but this time since I have three straight pool matches scheduled for this upcoming weekend, I decided to watch some straight pool!

I grabbed my light blue laptop my, my headphones, and three DVDs from my stash and ran out the door (as usual, I was running late).

 Getting my hair highlighted with my laptop and pool!

I put in a DVD I don't think I had watched before and because both Schmidt and Hohmann were in it, I was a little bit excited on what I was about to learn!

About 20-30 mins later, I couldn't stand it anymore.  I wasn't learning a thing!  I can't even give the excuse that the commentators were BSing.  They just weren't talking about options, choices, the best shots, etc.  They were more giving play by plays, instead of helpful advice.

So, I grabbed another DVD and hoped this one would be better.  It was Allen Hopkins versus Jim Rempe and I hadn't seen this one either.  And I was so excited when the commentator started talking - one of my favs!  Grady Matthews.  I just knew I'd learn from this video!

And sure enough, Grady and his cohort didn't let me down!  I think his side kick was named Jack (sorry, I forget his last name).

I learned much much more from this DVD than the other bland one that had no advice or instruction at all. 

It's amazing to me the difference between these two DVDs.  And the key is obviously the commentators.  Not just if they are knowledgeable, but what they say as the match goes on.  Why certain balls are made instead of another one; what English is used for the break shot; which is the key ball; why to leave certain shots; how to manufacture a breakout ball.

Obviously, because I want to learn more about straight pool, the match with the "instructional" commentating was what I aimed for.  If I wasn't trying to improve, I suppose the other match would have been fine to watch to see who would win. 

But I am of the opinion that watching pool videos is about learning.  I don't watch pool DVDs to just see the final score.  It's not a movie to me - it's a learning experience!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chalk Incident

I am enjoying going to league on Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays with my boyfriend as all I do is be the cheerleader along with being the score keeper. 

While I'm already a very observant person, I get to watch and notice even more than usual because I focus entirely on the matches, instead of also playing pool.

On Tuesday night, we went to a new bar.  Two little bar tables were in one area and that's where the two teams fought it out.

My boyfriend is playing his 4th match of the night and safety after safety occurs.  His opponent was able to kick in a ball and started to run out his last three balls. 

And then he did something very weird.  Almost disturbing, lol.

He was about to shoot the two ball into the side pocket and before he shot, he walked around the table slowly, and deliberately walked to where a piece of chalk was sitting on the table.  He picked up the chalk and I thought he was going to move it out of his line of sight (which I have seen a million times from other players). 

INSTEAD, he picked up the chalk and turned it UPSIDE DOWN on the table.

WTF?!

Really?

Now, you might be thinking to yourself maybe he is doing this b/c upside down chalk might annoy his opponent (which I ironically mentioned in another post that some people do deliberately as sharking techniques to distract their opponents). 

But this guy had a connect-the-dots out.  Three stop shots and he's out.  My b/f was not going to be back at the table, so this "action" to turn the chalk upside down was done deliberately - for himself.

For some odd reason, he would rather ensure the chalk was upside down before he shot! 

I then looked at the other two pieces of chalk on the table and sure enough they were both also upside down.

Wow.  Lol.

Image courtesy Samm (Diep) Vidal