- it was a pro event that I could enter (some events are limited to just the top WPBA players),
- it was close to where I live (no travel expenses were needed except gas) and
- it would be a great experience for me.
Plus, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to play in a pro event like this. Most pro events are WPBA events and I am not ranked high enough to even get an invite. So, I was anxious about craving this rare experience.
This tournament would be even more enjoyable because the male pros were playing alongside the female pros. So I as walk into the arena to practice on the Diamond 9-foot tables before the 9pm Thursday night Player's Meeting, I'm among the top echelon of the pool world. I admit this blog entry would have more child-like, star-struck, "guess who I just met!" comments if I didn't know all the pros already. Alas, I already know all the male and female pros, so for me it was more like a cool family reunion than being in awe of my idols like some of my friends were (which was very cute to witness!).
But to name drop, I got to hug and say hi to: Johnny Archer, Darren Appleton, Rodney Morris, Donny Mills, Lee Brett, Krisit Carter, Monica Webb, Gail Glazebrook, Cristina Dela Garza, Angel Paglia, Alex Pagulayan, SVB, Kelly Fisher, etc. etc.
I felt special to be able to watch all the pros mingle and catch up Thursday night before they got to work beating each other up on the table. :) Even though they are out for blood, they are all friends off the table.
I got my badge, practiced, listened to the rules by TD Ken Shulman and then hung out with friends at my favorite jaunt - Vinos. I yearned for a relaxing evening before I played at noon the next day.
It's not official til you get your badge. ;)
Even though I knew my lack of competing over the last 6 months would do me no favors, I was surprised how calm I was. But, grateful that I was calm! And not overly nervous or full with anxiety. As Cristina Dela Garza has stated in her blog, you gotta get out there and play and put yourself in pressure situations. I truly believe deciding to play in the Women's US Open back in July helped me not be so nervous about this event.
I was excited when I found out my first match was against only Vivian Villarreal. ("only," lol). Seriously tho - she is a fun player and a friend of mine, and so there would be no embarrassing moments for me when I played her. I would be in a fun atmosphere with her and not be intimidated if I missed shots (which leads to stress and embarrassment). Instead, I was looking forward to the match.
Alas, I only won one game in a race to 7, but I still had fun and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her play so smart and well. She's always a treat to watch (I wish she would have won the tourney!). I joked with her afterwards: thanks for hooking yourself on that 8ball so I could win a game. lol. :)
That match was at noon on Friday and to utilize my next 6 hours well to still be prepared for my evening match), I watched matches and rested. Yea, I mingled with friends, too.
Me and my pal, Juan - his first Pro event!
My 10pm match was rescheduled to 8pm. Then about 7:45pm Tourney Director Ken points to me and then the stream table and states, "Hey Trigger, you and Sunny on the stream table at 8pm."
Oooohhhh! I was so excited! I immediately tell my boyfriend in front of a crowd, "I'm on the stream table. Woo-Hoo!" He's like, "really?" And I was all smiles as I walked briskly to grab my stuff from my practice table.
At this point. Nerves set it. I can feel my adrenaline rise exponentially. I walk by the tourney director's table and I overhear Sunny - she is stunned we will be on the stream table. She expressed to me she has been playing bad and the people on the chat will complain to see someone "banging balls into the rail and wasting their time."
I was surprised she told me ahead of time that she was not playing well. I wanted to take advantage of that inside knowledge because I knew that meant she would be more nervous on the stream. She is a dear friend of mine and she genuinely cares for me, and I for her. But I knew she was already apprehensive about how she was playing.
Me on the stream table
As the match started, I could see how nervous she was. Yet I was extremely comfortable - I knew I would have support from the chat room and I also felt comfortable on the Diamond tables. I had no fears or anxiety as the match started. I tried not to think of the stream and who might be watching. I knew those thoughts would only interfere with my game.
But as everyone knows - crazy things can happen in any match. I didn't let this get to me, but I got hooked - A LOT. At first it was from her misses, but then it was from her good safes. Every accidental miss that hooked me I tried smile off and not let it get to me. But if I didn't have to kick so much from missed shots early in the match, the outcome would have been different. The first two games I lost because I had to kick at a ball and left her a two-ball out. But, from experience I knew not to let it get to me.
However, I did falter at the speed of my draw shots. Two shots cost me a game - I drew the ball too much. I don't draw well, but Diamond tables do. So, I would over-draw at crucial times which caused me to have to play safe instead of running out.
I tied the score at 3-3 and was pleased I made a comeback from being down 0-2 (I think). At 3-3 I was scared of a tough 9ball sitting frozen on the long rail and hoped she would have to face it, not I, lol. But, I was allowed back at the table to face my fear. But I nailed it! I had just learned to use center, not top, on the long rail shots that I normally missed, so I was so pleased to see it fall nicely into the pocket! But, then .... I missed the 10ball! :(
In the next game I make another tough but strong shot on the 9ball. I had to cut the 10ball in and while stretching, I put some English on the cueball on my last stroke and threw the 10ball away from the pocket enough to miss it. :(
I was now down 5-3 in a race to 7 because of those two crucial misses.
My boyfriend was giving me the "you got this" look and "it's okay" as I sat tall, still filled with pride that I wasn't going anywhere yet!
Me and Brian - we clean up nice, huh? Brian played in his first pro event!
Sunny then got some extra confidence (I assume because of the score?) and she started to shoot much better. She then grabbed the next game to get on the hill first. I still wasn't worried. I was waiting for my opportunities and still felt I could win. Score 6-4 her.
While she was running out for the win, she got jacked up over the 10ball and missed the 9ball. I approached the tough shot left for me but hit the 9ball solidly to roll the cueball nicely around the table to the 10ball to grab another score. On the next game, I run out well and get within one. Score 6-5 her.
I use the bridge while on the 3ball in the next game because I lost cueball control after I hit the 2ball. I scraped the 8ball with the bridge just a tad and the all-ball foul rule led to her having ball in hand.
And I tell you what - she ran out GREAT! I was very impressed as she kept me in my seat the rest of the last game. She was even jacked up again on a tough shot but nailed it! She ran out beautifully. She won 7-5.
I was not sad or upset or mad. I should be disappointed with the two missed 10balls (obviously, that could have changed the whole outcome), but I really did give it my all and I played many, many great shots.
So, out in two.
But I am so thankful for another great experience and a good, personal tourney. I am very pleased and I had a fun time. Life is about living it to the fullest. Just being able to play in this tourney is a blessing.
I would link you to the stream of my match, but the link isn't up yet from InsidePool. Once it's up, I will post it in a new blog entry for ya.
I should also have some photos soon. Although *I* might know a lot of important people, the main photographers don't know me from Adam so they didn't capture photos of me. Being non-famous has it's downside - my second pro event and no photos to prove it, lol. Luckily tho - one of my friends photographed the whole event and he got some shots of me. I will post them when I receive them so you can all see I really did play in the event, lmao!
This is what I was going to wear on Saturday, but I didn't get to make it to day two (frown). Black halter top with rhinestones. In this event we were allowed to wear non collared shirts and so I took full advantage of my clothing plans! lmao. :)
IN dress code. lolhttp://youtu.be/q3VPaOeOgWY