Monday, December 30, 2013

Year End Joy

I hadn't written about this yet, was waiting for the article to come out, but hadn't seen one.  But, I wanted to write about this before the end of the year.

I have some amazing news to share, something I never in my wildest dreams thought I could do.

I finished the 2013 OB Cues Ladies Tour Season ranked SECOND (2nd)!  My highest ranking in the point standings EVER!

I know that some things fell in place for me to get that ranking, but I will take it!  Because I DID have a great year of high finishes that propelled me to this astonishing ranking.  :)

(I'm still in shock as I write this, even tho I've known about this since November 3rd!).

I finished second (2nd) place in the first two events of the year, and those were my highest finishes ever on the ladies tour.  And my bestie Amanda Lampert won those two tourneys.

 Amanda and I

But then I had to miss the 3rd stop due to a much needed garage-sale (that was a neighborhood garage sale). Further, I was real busy the weekend before, and was traveling for a week the very next weekend.  So I decided I should not drive all the way to Houston for the tournament, even though it was a tough decision

This year on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, there was only 6 stops total, so that miss I figured would be crucial (and hurt my rankings).  But, it was the right thing to do.

Here is a link to the 2013 rankings, even tho not all the stops are on there for some reason.

At the 4th stop, I managed a 7th place finish in Austin.   Whew!  At that tourney though, fellow players Natalie Mans and Tara Williams finished high and were on my tail feathers!

Amanda Lampert had won the 3 of the first 4 stops, so she was pretty much guaranteed First Place, but I was trying to keep that 2nd place ranking in tact!

At the 5th stop in Oklahoma City at Jamaica Joes, I finished 9th.  Tara didn't show and Natalie finished 3rd again (her second in two tournaments).

So when the final stop arrives, I'm a nervous wreck!  I want to so badly finish the year well and so of course I put a lot of pressure on myself.  But who wouldn't?!  I wanted to remain in this coveted ranking that I have never been seated in before!

You all have read that title tournaments freak me out and so of course this felt the same way to me!  My boyfriend just kept telling me to have fun, and I tried to focus on that... even though it was tough, lol!  But he was right.  Have fun and enjoy playing.

Tara didn't show up again for some reason, and she was a real threat.  But Natalie was also a threat to my points.  And of course, my very first match is against Natalie!  Wow! 

But I managed to keep it together and I WON!  I was SO ecstatic!  But I told myself it's not over and to keep going.  Nothing was over til Sunday - and so it was way early to start celebrating, there were still a lot of factors.

But, I ended up lasting until Sunday!  And then I finished higher than Natalie and I that secured my SECOND PLACE RANKING!!!! OMG!!!  I finished 7th in the tourney and had to go outside and CRY!!

I did it!  Second Place on the OB Cues Ladies Tour!  WOW!!  My highest ranking EVER!

I am still shocked, yet very happy and honored.  :)  And to win it along side my bff is icing on the cake!  Amanda Lampert so deserves Tour Champion title, as she won 5 of the 6 events!!  I am in great company!!

First and Second, Baby!!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Journey to the Mosconi Cup!

I have been going to Vegas (my favorite city) every year for 22 years straight.  Sometimes more than once a year!

I have never driven to Vegas, though.  Never really had the time (had to be there at a certain time to play in the BCAPL Nationals) or the trip didn't coincide with being able to take enough time off to play in Vegas AND drive.

Well, this year, for the Mosconi Cup, everything fell into place for me to drive to Vegas for the first time ever!

Usually the Mosconi Cup falls on a weekend, well this year the dates were December 2-5, A Monday through Thursday.  And with Thanksgiving the week before, I already had that date off.  So, the dates and weekends just fell into place for a longer-than-normal trip.

So, my b/f suggested we drive.

Really?

"Sure.  Have you seen the Grand Canyon?"

"Um no," I say with a little sparkle in my eye.

"Well, then we have to drive!  And I'll show you some other cool places, too!"

And the plan was set!  :)

I have to say it was the best road trip ever!  Sure, Vegas was fun and the Mosconi Cup is always a treat, but to drive and see all these cool places I had never been was THE BEST.

Here is my trip in pictures and words:

Day One (Wednesday, Nov 27th):

Drove from Dallas to Amarillo where we ate at the famous steak place, The Big Texan.  Home of the 27 ounce steak.  We were not impressed AT ALL with the steak we tried.  :(  But, I HAD to eat there - it's famous!

Then drove to Albuquerque.

Day Two:

Drove to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.  OMG that lake is BEAUTIFUL!  And we made a little fire by the lake!



Day Three:

Next day we drove to the Grand Canyon.  when they say you have to see it in person to appreciate it, they ain't lying!  These pics do NOT do it justice.  It was SO cool though because there was snow on the ground, too!

We also made a camp fire there in the campgrounds and even cooked steaks and had a really sweet dinner of beans, steaks and a salad.  Of course, it was in the 20s and we were COLD!  Our steaks had to be reheated b/c they kept cooling off, lol.






Day Four (Saturday, Nov 30th):

Drove to Lake Havasu, Arizona, in Lake Havasu City.

WOW!  It was in the low 70s and we got to walk around easier to see the water, sights, and amazing small city with breathtaking views!

This is also where we played in a little tourney that Sat night. and then later that week heard they looked me up, lol.




Day Five: (Sunday) Drove to Vegas, Baby!

We visited all the pool rooms in Vegas that most everyone frequents:  Pool Sharks, Best Billiards, and the Cue Club.  Mosconi Cup started Monday, so we walked the strip and did a little gambling before settling in.

Days Six- Eight:   Mosconi Cup.

USA didn't fair too well and lost to the Europeans by Day 3 (even tho there is 4 days slated for the tourney) FROWN.  However, it's still an awesome event to witness in person and I dare say a Bucket List item for pool players for sure!

Here are some pics from the event:


Fans getting autographs from the USA players during commercial break, and Jeanette Lee saying hi to Buddy Hall and Nick Varner.





 
 And me, drinking a Mai Tai during my breakfast at the Venetian. Hey, it's Vegas!!

Day Nine:

Drove to Tuscan, Arizona for some pool and spent the night there.

Day Ten:  
Drove to Midland/Odessa, Texas.

Day Eleven (Sunday, December 8):  
Drove back to Dallas/Fort Worth.  HOWEVER - the whole metroplex and 250 miles around it was ICED over.  It took us literally 10 hours to drive from Midland to Fort Worth, normally that would be 5 hours, but we had to drive SUPER slow on all that ice.  Honestly, we shouldn't have drove at all, but it wasn't about to thaw out any time soon so we risked it.  Eeeek!

I know the pictures don't do the trip justice, but I had such a great time seeing the USA like I had never seen it before!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Missing 8 Ball

I played on my Thursday ladies league last week at the other team's home bar.

The other team informed me as soon as I got there that the second table (we use two tables every time), was missing the eightball. Someone had stole it earlier in the week!

There is only two tables in this bar, so I stood there stunned, thinking, "Uh, we will be here ALL night trying to play all our matches on one table!"

I called one of my teammates and she had already left the house (she had a set of balls at her house, but was already half way away). 

Another option was to "borrow" an 8ball from another bar down the street.  They had already called and that was an option.

Then they said, "Well, we do have an extra ball.  It's just not an 8ball."

"You do?"

It's an extra 4 ball.  And we colored in the "4" with a black marker to indicate it's "the 8ball" not the 4 ball.

"Well heck, that will work!"



I admit it was tricky at times that night if you were solids, but not one person made the 4 (I mean 8 ball) out of turn. 

I love solutions!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from me to you and your families and loved ones!

How apropos lol



Friday, December 20, 2013

Team League Shirt

For some reason, and I honestly do not know why, one night on my women's team league night, one of the player's says, "Wear your shirt next week," to all the teammates.

I didn't really hear her or understand why she said that.  Maybe because after ACS State in October, since we didn't get a team pic that's why we were to wear it?

So, I wore it and sure enough we took a team pic with everyone in their cool blue team shirts!

However, over the next few weeks on Thursday night, my teammates kept wearing their blue team shirts.

Well, except me.

On this league, matching team shirts are not required on the nights we play league, and the last 3 years on the team, we never wore our shirts during the week, only at State and Nationals.

Of course every Thursday someone always says something, "Where is your shirt?"

Or the next week I would show up in my work clothes (black slacks and a nice top) and would say, "Damn I forgot again!" after I see my teammates walk in with their blue team shirts on.

I seriously would forget because I wasn't used to it!

We had our league Christmas party last Tuesday.  We all met for dinner and then exchanged our secret Santa gifts. 

Everyone was all dressed up nicely and some had Christmas themes going or super dressy.

I was THIS close to wearing the blue team shirt THAT night!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Maximum Coverage

Okay, "just" Maxim coverage but still, super cool to get this kind of publicity!

Maxim magazine is sought after - check out this video clip for their online mag!




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Does a Nickname Mean?

At the Jamaica Joe's tourney I went to back in November (in Oklahoma City), Stan Tourangeau was there from Seattle.  He's a real nice guy and a heck of a player!

I asked him on Saturday night how his last match went, as I didn't know who he played or how it went.

He said, "I won, but it was a real close match.  The guy played real good and it went hill-hill."

I said, "Oh, who did you play?"

"Hippie Dave.  He doesn't have a nickname for nothing, ya know."

lmao!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mis-Ranked or Not?

Because I run a handicap tour (the Omega Billiards Tour), when I play in league and weekly tournaments, I joke to the players all the time about their rankings.

So, let's say they make a really tough shot, I'll banter, "Well, I need to move you up to an 8 now," lol.  They always look at me funny, wondering if I'm joking or not, lmao.

Or if they miss an easy shot I may say, "Oh man, you are overrated," as they laugh with me.

So, it was funny the other day when I played an Omega player during league.

I had talked to him a couple of months ago about lowering his handicap from a 7 to a 6.  A 7 is kinda like an Advanced player, and he hadn't placed well so I talked to him about moving him down.  I saw a few of his matches on the Tour and he didn't play as good as I thought.  He said he wondered why he was a 7 but didn't want to complain.  I told him I had mis-ranked him and so we agreed together he should be moved down to a 6.

So, he was happy I brought it up to him.

But, during the league match I have against him a month or two later, he breaks and makes a ball.  He starts his run and makes a few more balls.

Then he makes a few more.

"Whoa!  Maybe this guy should be a 7 after all," I'm thinking to myself! 

He hadn't made a mistake yet and is about to run out - a definite sign of a 7-ranked player!

I'm already to joke with him after he runs out, "Yep, gonna have to move you back up, buddy."

He shoots another ball and gets perfect.  He only has two balls left and then the 8 ball.  He shoots and instead of having a shot on the two ball next, he HOOKS himself!

"Yep, you're a 6,"  I say to myself.  lol.

Monday, December 16, 2013

First Time For Everything... Getting the Line

At the small tourney I wrote about before that I went to out of state in late November, even though I signed up as "Melinda," my b/f would say out loud, "Nice shot, Trigger!" after some good shots.  People at the tourney were confused - was my name Melinda or Trigger?  lol.  But I shared that "Trigger" was just my nickname.

Anyway, the guy I played for 3rd said if his wife wasn't sick at home, that he and her would like to play scotch doubles with my boyfriend and I.

Wow, Really?  Bring it!

After how well I played in the tourney, I was surprised he would even offer that, lol, but that told me maybe his wife played well, also.  But, I also knew that we would still win.  lol.  How's that for confidence!?

We had to leave the next morning, so my b/f got their phone #.

My b/f contacted them during the week to coordinate the discussion and all of a sudden they guy tells us he and his wife won't play us after all.

What??

He says, "I was drunk when I said that."

So he counters, "well, then just play my girl some." 

"No, can't do that either."

"Why not?"

"We looked her up.  She plays good!  Trigger/Melinda/From Texas."

I couldn't believe it - my first time someone looked me up to get a line on me!!  LMAO.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Overcoming Nerves Encore

Every once in a while I get comments on my posts, and I thoroughly enjoy getting feedback!

Just this week, someone commented on a post from 2010!!

He said, "I play 8 ball in the UK and I have recently started to use some of the techniques that you suggested to control nerves. It seems to be helping me my game, so thank you very much for the good advice. Happy pool playing!"

This was the post he was referring to back from May 2010:  Overcoming Nerves.  I thought that it was really awesome he found the article he drew from, and so wanted to share it with folks again in case it helped others. 

Reminders are always good for me, too!

Enjoy!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Out of State Weekly Tourney

I drove to the Mosoni Cup that was held in Vegas, my first time to EVER drive there, and I have been going to Vegas for 1-3 times a year for about 20 years, lol.  I'll be sharing pics soon of my travel there because I stopped at a lot of cool places I had never seen before.  :)

On one night, my b/f and I went to a local $5 tourney in Arizona.  I wanted to play in it to see how I would do, to test out how I would play in front of strangers.  Normally my heart beats right out of my chest and I think too much in these type of situations.

However, although all eyes were on the out-of-towners, I still played really freaking sporty!  Every guy I played, people would tell me, "he's plays good" and then I would win 2-0, lol.  I was really coming with great banks and shots!

I even impressed myself, lol.

The tourney was on open bar tables at a bowling alley, and the players were really nice!

I ended up playing my b/f in the hotseat.  I broke and ran the first set and was about to win the 2nd, but instead of playing conservative, I got too cocky and wanted to show off a little, and instead of taking a long shot on the 8 ball, I tried to be fancy and move around the table and missed.  He got out and broke and ran the last game to win.  Ugh!  One shot cost me a seat in the finals!

I lost the next match 1-2 and got $21 for third place and $5 for last lady (which they paid me about an hour before, lol).

It was cool to play so well in front of strangers.  Everyone told both of us how well I played.  It was cool.  :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Horse Could Have Made That Shot

So, most people know that my nickname is AkaTrigger, or Trigger (click here to find out why).

If you are over a certain age, then you know that Trigger is a horse of cowboy star Roy Rogers.  If you are younger, you prolly never even heard of Roy Rogers.

When I was given the nickname, I didn't know who Roy Rogers was, lol.

So, I'm at the Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas in early December, and many of the people I know there who also came to watch the USA pros versus the European pros, know me from the AB forums as "Trigger."

So as I walk down the hallways in Vegas, people say, "Hey Trigger, how are you?" not "Hey Melinda, what's up?"

On the first day of the tourney, Mark Griffin (CEO of BCAPL and CSI) is sitting right behind me in the stands. 

One of the pro players misses a shot, and Mark says, "Even Trigger could have made that shot."

I laughed out loud and turn to look at him with amusement. 

And the guy next to him says, "Uh, you mean the horse?"

LMAO!!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Team Spirit

I mentioned that I switched teams and joined a Sunday league.  I picked this team for two main reasons:  they are fun and they play good.

Well, there is a third really cool bonus!

The team is SUPER supportive!  I mean, more than most that I have been on.

I do really well with affirmations, and when you make a good shot on this team, a few of the players are vocal about it, "good shot Melinda!"  Or "Nice one, Melinda."

So of course it make me speak up when they come with a great shot, too.  Feels wonderful to support each other.  This is what I crave during my women's team events, but they are usually quiet lol.

Even the wife of one of the players supports the players, including me, when we come with great shots.   We all really appreciate the good shots and say something about it after the shots and it really is awesome to hear!

It pumps me up, and further, I know they are watching and caring.

I really love this new team!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opportunity Missed

The other day during my Sunday league, somehow it came up that one of the other players on the other team would prolly gamble with me.

Really?

One of the guys would play a girl?

Normally it's tough for me to find a game.

I had already seen how they played and knew it was a good match-up so I was excited about the opportunity.

I won my first 4 games with excellent play, but faltered the last two games due to too many spirits, lol. My team had already won the match and most of my teammates were already feeling good, also, lol.

After the match, they asked the guy and he said yes.

He wanted to play last pocket 8 ball, though, and I told him no.  I don't feel comfy with something I haven't played before and I have heard it's not a real easy game.  So, I stood my ground and would not play it.

Then he left to go talk to his friends, and, then came back up to me and said, "Okay, I'll play, but BCA rules."

I said, "Sounds good.  I have to go get my boyfriend who is just down the street playing league because we carpooled.  I'll be right back."

He said, "Let's just play now, race to 3 for $100."

I wanted to, but I needed to pick him up; and I wanted him there when I played.

I stressed, "I'll be RIGHT back," as I flew out the door to my car.

As I got to my car, my boyfriend texted that he got a ride and was on his way.  I told him I might have a game and he told me to get back inside and play.

I walk swiftly back in, and, well, it was already too late.

He had talked to a couple of people about me even though I was only gone about 5 whole minutes, and found out I played better than he thought and so he wouldn't play.

He did ask to play last pocket 8ball though again, and again I stood my ground, "Sorry, regular 8ball."

Neither of us would budge.

But, the point is, I missed my opportunity.  I should have played right then!  My b/f said he obviously would have understood and would have rather me played.

Next time, I have to jump right then at the chance.  Even 5 minutes can cost a good game.

Dang....


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

League Ups and Downs

I played on my Sunday league yesterday and on this day, we play 6 games each.

I show up a little late, so my captain said, "I knew you were running a little late, so I put you in the hammer spot so you could settle down if you needed to."

Wait, I'm on an all-guys team and you put me in the hill-hill spot?  SAWEET!

I win my first two games and then it I notice it - the whole entire other team is watching me!  "The Girl Player That Plays Good."

Then it hits me, "Oh crap!  This is the place where I dogged a few games because I got embarrassed about a shot!"

And just like that, all the feelings came back.

Sh!t.

I recall distinctly I had been playing well another time at this exact location for league and people started to "notice my play" and then I missed an easy shot for another great out.  After that I was missing a lot of balls.  I finally figured out I was embarrassed about my miss and it affected me  several games later.

And guess what happened?  I over-hit a ball right after remembering that and miss shape, and lose that game!  Ugh.

In the next game, my opponent tells me "this should be an interesting match" because I overheard him talk about my play.  But I was still "nervous" and I missed a shot to avoid a scratch and then lost that game, too.  Dang it!

Now I'm 2-2 instead of 4-0!

Man I was disappointed.

I even texted a friend about it.  "I should be 4-0, but I messed up two games."

As I walk from that 4th game a teammate tells me, "we want you to win, Melinda" or something silly like that, lol.

I know!  haha  Me too!

As I play my 5th game, I'm sitting there minding my own business, trying to play and one of the guys on the other team says to a teammate within earshot, "She plays good."

His teammate replies, "yea, I know."

Then the guy tells her, "but she should have won the two games she lost."

Wait, what??

You are watching me THAT close that you know I lost two games?  AND you noticed also that I should have won?  Just like I felt?

WOW.

Really?

So, win my 5th match.  Whew!  And I figure I can beat the girl on their team next, so I should at least be 4-2 at the end of the day.

As I'm playing my last game, the guy who said that about my losses comes up to my table to get his case.  He sits down instead of just leaving.

"You know, you are the best female pool player I've ever seen."

He's about 50 so I doubt that, but it was still a nice compliment!  But, I bet there are only ten whole other girls on the league so I might be the best he's seen on the league.  Compared to girls in Texas, though, hardly!!

I said "thank you" and then shared back what he had said earlier to his teammate, "I should have won 2 of the games I lost."

"Yea, but that's okay, you still play stellar."

I missed about 4 more times at the table against the other female player (lol), but finally saw an out and ran out for the win to capture my lowly 4-2 score.  Whew, at least it wasn't worse!

And, we didn't even go close to a hill-hill match!





Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Envelope Please

On the Omega Billiards Tour, the tour that I run in the DFW-area, the main sponsor and I decided together we wanted to pay out 17-24th places.  It's not much, just $30, but we wanted to give eight additional players SOME money for their efforts.  We figured that some of the players that had a tougher time to get to 16th place and higher would appreciate "getting in the money."

Some players are VERY happy to get $30.  Other players could care less, because they wanted to do better.

It's dependent on the player, obviously, if they appreciate it or not.

At the October Omega event, one of the top players (Amos) had just lost a heart breaker hill-hill match on Saturday night.  He had literally just snapped off the previous stop (his 1st place finish on the tour) and now he is already out of the very next tournament on a Saturday night.

He is all the way across the room, but I grab his $30 little envelope and shyly walk all the way over to Amos.

He's putting up his cues and he's obviously disappointed.

I said, "Hey, I am embarrassed to give you this little amount, but you got in the money."

I felt SO badly because he had just won an event and now I feel like I am rubbing in his face he's only getting $30 and did poorly.

He replies, "I should have made that 8 ball, it's my fault."

I hand him the envelope and he says, "I didn't think I finished high enough to get any money back."

I say proudly, "well, we pay deeper in the field than most tourneys, so 17th -24th place gets a little something back."

He replies, "that's really cool," as he takes the envelope with the whole thirty dollars in it.

I walk away and go back to the tourney table.  He still stands over there, talking to a couple of friends.

One of my friends who is helping me with the tourney, Heather, notices that another player has finished.  She says, "we finally get to pay out the first envelope."

I declared, "well, we already did, I just paid Amos."

She replies, "You did?  Uh, is that right?"

I'm thinking, "well, yea!"

Then I look down at the chart and see I was completely wrong!  I should NOT have paid Amos!  OMG.  I read the chart wrong!


I was mortified as I walked BACK over to Amos.

I pulled him aside and said, "uh, now I REALLY feel bad."

He's just looking at me, "what?"

"I wasn't suppose to pay you, I made a mistake.  Can I have that $30 back?"

OMG....

He laughed and said, "yea, here you go.  I already tossed the envelope but here's the thirty dollars," as he hands me the cash from his pocket.

I felt SO bad - WOW!  So not only did I rub in his face he finished so badly he only got $30, I then had to go BACK and rub it in even more that he wasn't suppose to get ANYTHING.

OMG.... lol.




Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun League Team!

I decided to really put to the test that there is No "I" in Team.

I have mentioned I play on two different Monday night leagues.  One of them is with a men's team that I have been playing on for about two years.  I've come to really cherish the guys.  They are my friends and they have fun!

The name of that team is the Sofa Kings.  And they would joke with me that I was the Sofa Queen, lol.  I was there when they won ACS Texas State last year and helped them win the league playoffs last season.  :)

However, I decided I needed to quit the team.

Why?

To put the team first. 

A few of months ago I had a breakup, and my ex is on that team.  I decided a month or so after that breakup, that it was best for the team if I simply step down and make things easier on everyone else.

So I called the Captain (I felt he deserved a phone call, not a text) to explain my thoughts and difficult decision, and he said he completely understood. 

While I thought this was the right thing to do, not one of those teammates said one thing to me about it.  No one has reached out to me, or thanked for doing the right thing, or not even telling me it was the wrong thing.  I have heard nothing.

I don't need reassurance, but I thought they were my friends, so I admit I'm a little confused I haven't heard from anyone at all.

Anyway.

So, because I still want to qualify with a mixed league where I could possibly still play Scotch Doubles in Vegas for BCA or ACS (state and nationals), I needed to join another team.

I didn't want to play on Mondays - I didn't want to have to worry about where we were playing or who we were playing, so I called our league operator and asked if I could join a Sunday team instead.

And he said yes!

I had several choices for teams.  One team, I like the guys on the team, but one of the players said it wasn't a fun team anymore.

Well, I need to have fun when I play!

And I want to smile more again!!

So, I decided to ask a different team that I knew had fun guys on it.  But obviously, still play strong, lol.  I can't be playing with weak players, lmao.

(I'm serious!, lol)

So, I called one of the guys on that team and left a voicemail about perhaps joining their team, if they had room.  He calls me back and says, "Well, we would love to have you on our team, but we have already met our white person quota."

What? OMG!

Did I pick the right team or what??  They are hysterical!

They welcomed me with open arms and on the first Sunday I played, I had a rack and run and won more games than any of the other guys, lol.  ;)

Fun times AND good pool with a great group of guys!  And lots of smiling!  Love it. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jackie Gleason's Autograph

In my early teens, I wrote to Jackie Gleason for an autographed photo for my parents as a surprise because my Mom loved him so much in the Honeymooners.  Little did I know how full circle this would be when I would appreciate this so much more later in life when pool became an integral part of my life. 

Here is the autograph!


So cool!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Race To One

Last night I went to my FAV Mexican restaurant (Pappasitos) for a nice dinner (and LOTS of lunch left overs):


Then we decided to visit my friend Laura who was having a bad week.  She runs a little tourney in a small bar on Tuesday that holds two bar tables.

I didn't intend to play AT ALL, but at the last minute decided to.

It was 8-ball, except no ball in hand and you cannot play safe.

Oh, and race to ONE (1)!

One?!

I said, "Oh heck, okay, I'll still play, I feel like playing."

So, race to ONE is part of the story.  One?  Really?

Someone said, "it's like playing hill-hill every match!"  lmao.  Wait, that's a sobering point, lol!

But the other part of the story is no safes allowed.

That sounds pretty simple, til you start to play your first 8ball game and need to play safe... BUT CAN'T!

I already know the best part of 8 ball is playing good safes, but until you CANNOT play safe, you realize just how valuable of an arsenal it really is!

But, I figured out right away to call certain shots that I would miss, which would then cleverly turn into a safe.

I thought I was being smart, til I saw toward the end of the tourney I wasn't the only one was doing this.  lmao.  All the top players had figured this out.

BTW, I won!!!

Wow - race to one, no safe, no ball in hand 8-ball.  Sweetness!  Glad I went to hang with my friend Laura.  :)  And it was SO good to see her!


Different Cue Holder

Saw this cue holder at league on Sunday!

People come up with the unique things...


But, if someone steals it and tries to use it - busted!  Because not many people have this one lol!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Demeanor Take 3

A friend on my Monday night league told me he noticed that I don't show emotion when I lose a match, and that he respected that.

He asked me why.

Hmm, no one had ever asked me why.

Seriously.

I wrote in late October how I was a statue during a gambling match.  And earlier that month I wrote how people like my demeanor at the table.

But I never really said WHY.

No one ever asked; so I hadn't really thought about it, lol.

Why DO I do that? 

Well, I told him people look up to me and that's one reason.  Even though he laughed at that (gosh!), it was true (from what I've heard from others on the Ladies League I am on). 

Also, I am a representative of the Omega Billiards Tour, and before that the OB Cues Ladies Tour.  I think it's important to not be an ass if you run a business with sponsors for the players.  That's just me.

But honestly, the main reason is:  I see the way some people act when they lose, or miss a shot, or get a bad roll, and I just don't want to be that person or act that way:  childish or a sore loser.  I don't want to be that type of person at all when I play;  I want to show respect to my opponents.

Sure I show emotion at times, sure, but I wont throw tantrums or act disgusted or act childish.  It ain't me!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tourney Recaps Fall 2013

I realized the other day I haven't really posted about my recent finishes of the tourneys I've played in.

I am not sure if people like to read about my finishes or not, but since I use my blog as my personal pool diary, I need to post my recent finishes so have them written down.

As I am getting prepared to type my results here, I see I haven't posted about my finishes since July!!

WOW!

I have still written many blog articles, but not much on my results.

Okay, here we go:

LoneStar event 
at Hawley's Billiards (July):  Out in 2.  Played in the amateur division.  Played good my first match but got too tired the second match 8 hours later.

BCAPL Nationals Scotch Doubles 
Vegas (July):  65th out of 106 teams.  We played good but ran into a the slowest team in the entire world and their slow-as-molasses-piece-of-shit-play got to us.  We admit it got to us, and I admit I put them on the clock.

BCAPL Nationals Women's Open Singles event 
Vegas (July):  33rd out of 1330 players.  I played real good til my last two matches.  I fell apart.  I was thinking too much and not comfy.

BCAPL Nationals Women's Team 
Vegas (July):  1st place.  Wrote about this finish.  We won!

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Austin at Fast Eddie's (August):  7th place.   Lost my first match hill-hill, came all the way back to play for 7th and lost that match hill-hill.

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Oklahoma City at Jamaica Joe's (September): 9th place.  Played up and down.  Glad I was able to go tho!  And I won the Second Chance tourney on Sunday :)

ACS State Women's Singles 
in Killeen, TX (October): 17th place out of 60-ish players:  I played REALLY strong but because I race to 6 and everyone else 4, it was tough.  But I played REALLY well and felt fantastic!

ACS State Women's Team Event 
in Killeen, TX (October):  3rd place baby!  I think we could have made it to the finals but I lost steam our last match.  Still proud of my team!

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Arlington at Rusty's Billiards (November 2nd weekend):  7th place!!   Played SO good!  I felt wonderful, played great!  I could have won the two matches I lost (lost each only 5-7) but missed a few crucial shots, otherwise I am playing really well!

Feels great to be playing so good again.  I'm loving it!



















Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Running a Men's Tour

One of my dreams the last 5 years or so was to start a new Tour in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the players.  I always envisioned a Tour in North Texas FOR the players so they wouldn't have to drive so far for good competition to improve their game, make some money, and be able to play the game they love.

In the Fall of 2012, my dream came to fruition and the Omega Billiards Tour officially started

Twelve months later, our 64-player brackets are full to capacity with a 60+ person waiting list! 

This year we had 6 stops and the Finale is in December. 

Next year we will have 8 stops total and $1,500 added guaranteed, WITH the field increasing to 80 players!  It's awesome!

Everywhere I go, players ask me about the Omega Tour and it lights up my world to see so many people interested in the tournaments!

The Omega Billiards Tour is mostly a men's tour.  The OB Cues Ladies Tour is also in the area but that is only for women.  The Omega Billiards Tour was created for ALL players, but usually only 2-3 women play in it, so it's mostly male players.  They are very testosterone-laden events, lol.


I am the Tournament Director and have ran all 8 tournaments of the Omega Billiards Tour. 

And I figured something funny out the other day:  not many of the players know I play pool; esp good pool!  LOL.

One of the players of the Omega Billiards Tour met me at the OB Cues Ladies event last weekend to talk about sponsorship.  He arrived right when I was about play my third match. 

After I won 7-2, I walked up to him to chat and he said surprisingly, "I had no idea you played pool so well, or that you even played!  I was really impressed." 

I told him that that actually crossed my mind when I was playing - he isn't on my Facebook or the AZB forums, and doesn't play in the same league, so he wouldn't even know I played pool, lol.

Luckily I played real good that match, haha, but even the other night when I gambled, one of the Omega Tour players watched and afterwards he told me, "I didn't know you played pool, also.  I thought you just ran the tournaments.  You play good." 

"Thank you," I said shyly.

I guess that's the type of reaction I should expect since I don't play in the Omega tournaments myself.  Tough to run a tourney mostly by yourself, so I never played in it. 

But I sure am enjoying the reactions I've been getting lately because some people really had no idea I played sporty!  :)


Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Out of my Way

I wrote a few years ago how it used to tick me off a little when someone plays safe on me, and then they have to walk around the table before they go sit in their chair, and bend down little to check out if they hooked me or not.

I always think to myself, "Just get out of the way.  You'll know in a minute if I'm hooked or not by the way I shoot the ball."

I just don't get it.  I admit it used to get under my skin, but now I just laugh at it. 

I wonder what people think of what I do:  I play safe, and walk away WITHOUT seeing if I hooked you good or not.  Yep, confidence.  lol.

However, at ACS Texas State in October, something happened I hadn't see before and was pretty comically miffed.

I was in the team event and was playing a close game against a slow player.  I went for my last shot to get on the 8ball and I knew it was risky - I may not have a shot at all afterwards, but still took the chance.

I shoot the shot, make it.  And walk over to where the cueball is to see if I can see the 8ball through all her balls.

As I do this, she quickly walks up to the table and gets between me and the shot to see if I'm hooked!  She walks up so fast, she actually sees the shot before I do!

I stand there, looking at her dumbfounded.

I should have asked her, "uh, am I hooked?"  lol

Instead, I'm thinking to myself: "Why are getting our of your chair, Lady?  It's not your turn at the table.  If I am hooked, you will know it.  Go sit down and get out of my way."

She then looks at me and says, "Sorry, just looking" as she scoots away from the table and sits back down.


I got lucky I could see the 8 ball so clearly, as I really thought I was hooked behind her balls.  I then made the far 8ball beautifully.

It may not see like much, but her timing was bad and she didn't need to approach the table during my shot.

Sure, play safe, see if you "got me," but don't interrupt my turn at the table.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

People Surprise Me

I have seen a lot of creepy things in the pool world, but also a lot of great things as well.

The other day someone really, really surprised me.

A few times I backed my ex in some gambling matches, because he hadn't gotten paid yet but would have cash by the following Monday when his check came in.

However, a lot of people assumed I was forking over the money myself all the time.  I didn't appreciate this very much because people were making assumptions, and I don't think it looked good on either of us that people thought that.

But imagine my surprise the other day when I told someone we had broken up.  The guy got quiet and then told me a little story.

He said, "You know.  I could tell it was your money."

And I said, "well, not really - just until he got his paycheck."

"But still, it was your money.  Do you recall I stopped gambling with him?"

I recalled, yes.

He explained, "that's why I stopped.  Because I thought it was your money."

I was VERY taken aback about this for several reasons.

One.  Of all the guys we gambled with over the years, everyone kept coming back for more and didn't give TWO SHITS it was my money (even though it wasn't).

But here is this guy, making a decision to not to try to win money because he thought it was my money.

Was it because I was a girl?  The girlfriend?  I dunno exactly why.

But he showed me right there he has a heart.  And I will always look at him differently for telling me that, but more so, for not gambling with my ex anymore.

It makes me a little miffed that no one else stopped, but if I put things into perspective:  gambling is about trying to make money.  That's what everyone tries to do, NO MATTER who was backing or paying it off.  So, I can't be mad about that.  But, I CAN be appreciative of our friend stepping away and no longer gambling with us because it didn't feel right to him.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Showing the Love

I mentioned the other day that a friend of mine had decorated chalk for her teammates to match their team shirts, on her ladies team.

Well, it's not just females that do thoughtful things like this!

One of my friends, Juan, is on a team, The Hitmen, from the Dallas Fort Worth area.  Before the team event though, Juan played in the singles event on Friday of the ACS Texas State tourney and got 2nd place!  

However, he drove all the way back to Dallas that night (about 2am I think I heard?) to get back into town so he could join his Mom's Team MVP at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure that started Saturday morning!

His Mom is a 43-year 2-time survivor!  And although his team event had started Saturday morning, also, the walk was obviously very important for him to be a part of again.

I call his Mom, "Mom."  Every time I see her I give her a huge hug!  She has always been extremely kind to me and always had thoughtful words of encouragement about my Mom, so she holds a very special place in my heart.  And Mom is the perfect word for her!

Here are some photos of the Race for the Cure and Mom:

Here is Mom

The Parra family showing support for Mom! (click photo to enlarge)

The story doesn't end there.

After the walkathon, Juan and his girlfriend, Veronica, drove BACK down to Killeen to join the team in the team event.  That's a 3-hour drive TWICE in about 12 hours.

And when he showed up, "the guys surprised me with the pink bandanas in support of my Mom. She was "with us" during each game of every match."

I saw the guys all weekend with the pink bandanas and I would smile each time as I knew they were for Mom.

We don't know who's idea this was, but it was awesome and an amazing gesture!

BTW, The Hitmen WON the tournament!  They went hill-hill in the finals against another great DFW team, but came out on top and are now ACS State Champs!!

 Scott, Ross, Scott Sr, Larry, Juan, and Coy Lee

Congrat's, Guys!  And Love ya Mom!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Being The Clutch

I can recall distinctly a team event I was in at a State tourney in 2010 where I had only 3 balls left on the table.  And yet I was SO nervous!

We needed this win to move on.  Otherwise, it would be hill-hill and another teammate would have to play it for us and be put under the pressure.

I so desperately wanted to win, but I was SO nervous!  And I dogged the 8ball.  An easy cut, too.  I was mortified.  I jumped up and down and said out loud, "I was so nervous I spun the ball!"  I tried to explain why I missed it because I was so embarrassed. :( 

That was a pivotal point in my pool career.

Pivotal.

That shot has cropped into my mind a thousand times when I play my team events now.

I didn't stay down, I didn't breathe, I didn't take my time; I let the pressure get to me for sure.

But, I LEARNED from that mistake.

The very next year, same event, I had to play a hill-hill match in the team event and stated in that blog recap, "I am glad I played that nervous game last year full of anxiety and stress.  Because it allowed me to NOT let that happen in this clutch game.  :)"

And since then, I have come a LONG way.

A LONG WAY!

What I find interesting, is that I don't mind being the clutch at all.  I now welcome it and enjoy being the hill-hill person.  I think it's a combination of several things:  I'm playing better than I ever have, I have a lot of experience now in those situations, I don't mind being put in that position for the team, and I am fairly successful at it because I'm playing so well.
Clutch
n.
the crucial moment that comes between winning and losing

adj.
being able to perform under extreme pressure

Since 2012, I have probably played 15-20 hill-hill matches for my team in team events.  Most were in large tournaments on big stages:  ACS and BCAPL Texas State tourneys, and BCAPL and ACS National tourneys.

Just a couple of weeks ago my team had "the comeback of the year" (that's what they keep calling it, lol) at the ACS Texas State tournament.  We were down 1-5 in a race to 10, then 6-9.  But my teammates and I am kept fighting and we found ourselves still in it at hill-hill! 

"Melinda, you're up."

"Okay, cool.  Am I breaking?"

lol.  I knew I wasn't breaking, haha, we were the "visiting" team.  But I asked that for effect.  :)

After several innings and many safety battles, I ended up winning the hill-hill match for the team!!  High fives and hugging all around - it was awesome. :)

 (Click photo to Enlarge)

Just at Nationals in July I had to come with a great out hill-hill there too.  In May prolly 5 hill-hill matches for those team events.

It's amazing to me that that one single game in 2010 where I dogged it, has propelled me to being comfortable in this position for my teammates now.

But I learned SO much from it!

Do I still get nervous?  ABSOLUTELY!

Do I win every hill-hill match?  NO (but most of the them lol)

Do I wish I would have made that 8ball in 2010?  HECK NO.

Do I like being in this position?  I am comfortable taking the heat, YES.

Obviously, it has helped in my single matches, too.  Pretty much all pressure matches.  I now breathe better, stay down better, remember a smooth stroke, take more practice strokes, etc.

I'm not successful all the time, but I have such a MUCH better handle on my adrenaline and have the tools to tame it.

"Melinda, You're up."

:)


Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Statue

I mentioned earlier this month that people have told me they like my demeanor around the table and they appreciate that about my style of play.

I try to show no emotions - especially anger or upsetness. No negative body language or those "disgust" facial expressions we want to make when someone shits in a ball or something.

Well, I did this non-emotion A LOT the other night.

A LOT

I was a freaking statue!  

I was very proud of myself!

On Saturday night, I got a few hours of practice in on the 9 foot table and then was headed with some friends to a local hangout.  Right as we left the pool room, tho, we heard that "T" (the guy I gambled with back in April) was at another pool hall, so we all went over there to see if he wanted to play me some more.

Long story short, we played again! 

It was funny, because my friend asked him if he wanted to play me and he replies looking at me, "I've only been beat by one girl and I'm going to beat you.  You sure you want to play?" 

Yep, I do!

He didn't know I was the same girl!!  lol.

T was playing better this night, though, and he won the first set for $100.

Then I won the second set hill-hill for $100.

Even.

Whew.

T is the type of player who tries to cheese the 9ball a lot.  He would fire at the 9ball so many times and I would just be standing there solid, holding my cue, not even flinching when he went for them. 

As he fired at all those 9balls, I stood still:  like a statue.  I didn't move at all.  I just waited for my turn.

I didn't act like a child or throw my hands in the air in disgust, or shift my body, nothing.  Not even facial expressions.  You would have thought we were practicing, lol! 

I just let him fire at the 9ball. Most the time he would miss, but that 9ball would travel 3-5 rails and knock other balls in!  I just stood there non-affected, holding my cue, even tho he was getting "lucky." SO proud of myself for not showing emotions or making gestures.

BTW, we played a 3rd set for $300.  I was down 0-2, then up 6-3, then it was tied 6-6.  I was down 7-6, but then won 9-7 for the cash.  :)

Statue baby!





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Etiquette Foul

Last night I played in my Double Foul 9-Ball League and I had to play a new player first round.

She doesn't even know how to bridge her cue yet, but could make about every 3rd or 4th ball. 

She also didn't know the rules, so her Captain was helping her during our match (and subsequent matches).  No one minded - we were all newbies once.

Now granted, Double Foul 9ball is different than regular 9ball rules, so I can understand why her captain had to sit next to her and explain some of the rules of calling fouls on yourself and when to drop balls, etc.

However, one thing REALLY impressed me.

At one point, I was shooting the 7ball into the corner, and she was standing at the end of the table.  Not near the table at all, but in my line of site.  However, I didn't notice her (I try not to let things like that get to me), but more so she was far enough away AND not moving around so I was just on my little run, minding my own business.

As I'm stroking for the 7ball, he tells her, "move from out of her shot, that's considered a foul."

She apologized softly, "sorry" as she scooted out of the way.

I was thinking to myself, What?  Really?  NO WAY!

I am new to the league and so do not know ALL the rules yet, but if this really is a rule, man that would be an awesome "official" rule at so many other tourneys where this is an issue!!


New Captain

During the ACS Texas State tourney in mid October, my ladies team was playing our last match of the night on Saturday night against a fellow team from our area, also.

So, we all know each other really well.

And this was a great group of ladies, just like our team.

One of the ladies on the other team, I'll call her, "Hysterical," was very tipsy.  I honestly didn't know she drank!!

She was being very loud but very funny!  Making everyone laugh and just having fun!!

Her and I are about to play and as I'm racking the balls, she comes up to me and whispers with slurred words, "I don't like our new captain very much."

I looked up kinda surprised.  Her captain is like the sweetest woman on earth!

I asked her, "Why? Why don't you like her?"

As she's swaying a little, "Well..."

"Well what?"

"Well, she wants me to slow down on my drinking!"

I start laughing my ass off!

She says, "I just don't like that very much.  I mean, who does she think she is?" in this absolutely hysterical sarcastic slurry voice!

OMG it was classic!!




Monday, October 28, 2013

Not just Matching Team Shirts.....

I wrote earlier this year how a friend of mine "decorates" chalk

I have another friend who is doing the same thing - they both love being crafty!

And this other friend showed me what she did for her ladies team at ACS State!

They bought purple and gold team shirts, and she made each teammate a matching purple and gold decorated chalk!!


Yes, us females are kinda goofy.  But thoughtful and clever!!!



Sunday, October 27, 2013

What is Practice?

I have wondered like the rest of you who really practices and who doesn't.

We hear all the time that pros practice hours upon hours upon hours.

Then we might hear in reality, they don't.  They just "say that" for the interviews.

However, I know some pros that really do practice and others I know only say they do, so both are true, lol.  I've heard both my whole life.

I have a good friend who NEVER practices (I know this for a fact) and she is a top player in Texas (lucky beeeatch lol). 

Everyone is different. 

But I found it very interesting when a top gambler in the area told me he never practices.  I told him he was full of it, then he shared his story.

Thought I'd share with you.  :)

He said that he doesn't practice because he gets enough table time in by gambling.  Oh, and playing some tournaments.

I was like, REALLY? (in my sarcastic voice, head a little tilted)

He said he even lived with about 4 other pool players a couple of years ago in a house that had a 9 foot table and he never practiced on the tab;e.  They would ask him to hit balls with him all the time.  He ALWAYS turned them down.

ALWAYS.

They would finally get fed up with him, and offer to play cheap sets.

Which of course he would.

And he would win.

Every time.

Now, the roommates would win also because the would be sparring and learning from a player better than them!  But he would win their money, lol.

He said they would beg him to play for hours, but he never gave in.... until.... they put money on the line.

THAT was his practice while he lived in a house with a pool table.

Gambling.  Tournaments.  Only.  Never hitting balls alone for hours.

Now, he hits balls a little the morning before tourneys and gambling matches, but he doesn't hit balls for hours upon hours.

However, some other players HAVE to hit balls for hours to warm up.  Another top gambler in the area has to hit balls for hours by himself to feel comfortable about his game and in top form. 

I like it when people do what they need to do to be prepared.  Whatever works for them!

Everyone is different. 

Everyone has their own way of staying in stroke or getting in stroke.

And I like that!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Creating Bad Habits

I have been trying to explain this in other blog entries, but never really got my point across (yea, sometimes it takes me a while, lol).

However, I was talking to someone a few weeks ago at the Omega Billiards Tour stop about this and he described it perfectly, so I wanted to try and explain this one more time, lol, since I think this new explanation will help.

I have shared that I really don't like to just hit balls around socially with just anyone.  It brings my game down and hurts my fundamentals.

I also do not like to play pool when I've had too much to drink, because my fundamentals go out the window.  I've worked so hard on my fundamentals all these years, why would I ever consider playing pool while drinking too much or for fun if it will CREATE BAD HABITS?

If I am TRYING to practice with friends, then I will be fine, but otherwise, I do not play pool socially - I always have a goal or plan when I play. 


I honestly only try to play pool to better my game.

This means, I do not play unless I'm practicing and I don't like to just hit balls. 

Again, playing pool while drinking or just being social CREATES BAD HABITS! 

If you are okay with that, then it's super okay to have fun and play pool socially and/or drink!

My point it is for me, sure it's ok to socialize and have fun, but I take my game very serious and the last thing I want to do is create bad habits and weaken my fundamentals.

Randomly hitting balls around is not improving my game.  I have to be focused; sober, in the right frame of mind.  Otherwise, playing while drinking creates bad habits that I have tried to break all these years.  Staying down, follow through, looking at the object last, etc.   I can NOT do those things if I've had too much to drink!

Have I done this?  Sure.  Was I happy about it?  No not really.  But, I then get right back on the practice table and practice my pre-shot routine and fundamentals.  I don't want anything funny going on in tournaments or leagues!

I recommend to all my friends that want to improve your game, be careful how and when you play pool - don't create bad habits.  You want to at all times WORK on solidifying your fundamentals.

I'm not saying not to have fun, I'm just saying to keep this in the back of your mind.

:)


Friday, October 25, 2013

GiveAways!

Gotta love the OB Cues Ladies Tour!

They give away $5 scratch offs for Break and Runs, and $2 scratch offs for 9 on the snap!

So, I won this baby on Sunday at the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop in Austin in August.  No winner, but I FELT like a winner after I ran out and then got to choose this scratch-off ticket!


But check THESE out!  One of my bestie's Amanda Lampert won ALL of these in one weekend - the OB Cues Ladies stop at Jamaica Joe's in September!  Her and I LOVE Diamond Bar Table tourneys :)

Unfortunately, I think she had only one winning ticket for about $10, but not bad for a freebie!  And pretty freaking impressive she ran out this many times!

The other thing the OB Cues Ladies Tour does is give away prizes during the Players Meeting!  There is a little "Angel" who travels with the tour and buys gift cards, snacks, and treats for the players.  Boxes of Godiva, bowls of fruit, or cans of nuts are at our disposal.

This Angel used to buy Starbucks gift cards, but after the gas prices went up a few years, he instead started to buy Shell gas gift cards - at $50 a pop!  And he buys 4-6 for every stop!

Check me out at Jamaica Joe's:  I won a a $50 gift card in the free raffle!  It was was an AWESOME treat to get $50 in free gas the following Thursday!


A HUGE Thank You to the OB Cues Ladies Tour AND their Angel.  :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dibs

I don't know if others are like this, but thought I'd share my thoughts on travel mates and dibs.

When I travel to tournaments with others, whoever is doing best in the tournament at the end of the first day gets dips for Saturday night decisions.

I normally am very choosey where I go eat, but if they are still in the tourney and I am not, then they get dibs on where to eat.

They also get dibs on if we stay out late or not, or go somewhere other than straight to the hotel room.  They get dibs on if the tv can be left on or not, who gets what bed, who gets to sleep alone (if there are 3 people in the room for example).  You may think these are little things, but imo they are BIG things that can help them do well in the tourney the next day.

I think it's very important to get a good nights rest and have a GREAT night, esp the night before the final day of a tournament.  I want my roommie to have the best chance at doing well, so I want to make sure she has a good night so she feels great for the next day.


I have been with travel mates who are not doing as well as I am going into Sunday and there is nothing worse than being upset the night before the Sunday matches.  They may want to stay out late, or go to another bar, or whatever.

The point is, I want a nice, peaceful, restful night before my Sunday matches.  I don't want roommates coming in late, waking me up, OR keeping me out late if I am dependent on riding with them (for example).  I need sleep and I need to be in a good frame of mind.  If I am upset the night before at my travel mates, that's not a very good mindset to play good pool for the next day.  Makes for unnecessary distraction.  When... I should be focusing on pool.

I have been in this situation a lot in the past, so I am very cognizant of ensuring my travel mates get dibs if they are doing better than I!

If I happen to be doing better, then I will speak up and say nicely I need to get rest or need to get to the room sooner than everyone else.  In these situations, we MUST think of ourselves.  We are there to compete.  We must be prepared.

So, think of your travel mates, too!  Help them be in the best frame of mind to compete.  Be their little corner man!

DIBS!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Watch, Learn, Practice

I mentioned that I am a great observer of other peoples game.  Not only do I see things people can work on (if the opportunity arises for me to help them), but I also WATCH and LEARN for myself very well.

I have watched an entire Omega Tourney and if certain players play a lot of matches, my game will improve at least half a ball just by watching great fundamentals, staying down, and shot selections.

I'm not one to just WATCH, tho.  I also like to learn and practice with higher caliber players, too, like most players who crave improving like to do.

I am extremely lucky in that I learn quickly.  And I can learn a lot just by watching, and paying attention.

I practiced with one of the top players in the area 2-3 hours on the Saturday before the ACS Texas State 8Ball Tournament last weekend.

He had never even seen me play pool so had no idea what he was in for.

I think he was surprised how well I played, but he was also worried about telling me things in case it threw off my game while we practiced.  I told him I would rather talk about choices than run out, lol.

I asked a lot of questions - mostly: which way I should go for certain shape and why.  Or asked if I did something right or could it be done better?

This player is much more aggressive than I am (we were playing 8ball) and I was shocked how often he got out with his aggressive play.  Don't get me wrong, he got out every time, but if he got out of line, he recovered well by taking risks and shooting the correct shot - not just always ducking.  Ducking when needed, but breaking out balls where maybe I would play safe.

Many people know my game (I found out at the State tourney) because more than 3 people at the tournament said I was playing a little different.

Hmmm. I am?

Wait, you noticed that?

"Yea, you are playing different - kinda more aggressive.  But still real good of course."

I do tend to learn very fast and absorb things well, but I guess just those 2-3 hours really stuck with me.

I noticed I played REALLY well at the State tourney.  I was breaking out more clusters than usual (sometimes I'm too timid) and I was going for shots with A LOT more confidence.  I am already confident, but was more confident after seeing this top player play so well for 2-3 hours straight.

It definitely helped me game!

We are suppose to practice 9ball this weekend so I can get some good practice in before my next big tourney of the year.  #crossingfingers

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Observing Others

I mentioned about a year ago how I noticed a friend of mine had GREAT fundamentals, yet at certain times in a match, she would "whack at a ball."

I had a little practice session with her (one game) and pointed out she hits tough shots too hard, while she has a smooth stroke for all other shots.  And this little tipped improved her game immensely!

I don't seek out other peoples' games or what could help them, but I am a very observant person, in general.  So, because I have been playing pool for over 20 years and because I have learned a lot over the years, I see things in other peoples' games that maybe others don't recognize.

Like I said, I don't seek this out intentionally, I just see things.

Last year a good friend of mine and I were practicing and I got SOOOO frustrated with his game!  He played good, but wasn't even thinking about 3-ball shape (where you think three balls ahead to get on the correct side of the ball, for the next ball).

I was irritated so much, it affected my own game!

I finally threw my hands in the air with frustration and said something to him, because I couldn't stand it anymore.  Even though he might get mad at me, I just couldn't help it any more.

I explained how his game will increase ten-fold if he did this.  Walk around the table, see where you need to be, look 3 balls ahead.

Immediately his game improved.  (not ten-fold, but noticeably)

I just see things, because I have struggled with the game my whole life as well, and because others have helped me with mine.  I took a few lessons, absorbed tips from pros, read books, watch videos, watched SO many great matches in person, but mostly LISTENED to others when they would share tidbits or pointers.

I find it intriguing people want to practice with me; and learn from me.  I didn't realize how many people truly watch me play, like the way I play, and learn from my choices and decisions, and fundamentals.  So, lately a lot of people have said they want to practice with me.  They want little tips; some help.

I practiced with a friend of mine about 6 weeks ago and of course showing her a few things always  helps my game as well (bonus!!).  We talked about slowing down, 3-ball shape, taking your time, etc.  All of these are great reminders for myself (and I actually needed these reminders because I hadn't been playing all too well at that time).

Some people, I wont have any advice for - I usually can only help if someone already has some natural talent or ability.  If they are too rigid or aren't even a shot maker, I wont know how to even begin to help them, lol.

What I am best at (I have found out) is kinda perfecting certain aspects of others' games.  Do they have a little hiccup at the end of their stroke?  Do they whack at certain balls?  Do they shoot too fast?  Not walk around the table?  Go for breakouts too late?  Don't play safe when necessary?  Don't think 3 balls ahead?  Hit too hard, instead of a smoooth stroke on tough shots?

Things like that.

I LOVE helping people, but again, it feels weird people want to practice with me to improve their game.  But flattering nonetheless!