Since I use this as my pool diary, it really is necessary. You can stop reading now if you aren't a detailed person.
Many people are surprised I can remember all these details, but somehow I do. :)
The Second Stop of the OB Cues Ladies Tour was at Jamaica Joe's in Oklahoma City on March 9-10th. Jamaica Joe's recently did a remodel and the place is absolutely beautiful!! With 16 Diamond Bar Tables and three 9-foot Diamond Tables, the pool room is the best within 200 miles!
First off, I want to state something that really helped me at this tourney: practicing on the Diamond Bar Tables the morning of each day. I normally don't feel the need to hit balls on tables for too long as I adapt very well (I'm lucky) but Diamond Bar Tables (DBT) are a different breed of tables and I NEEDED to hit balls on them to be prepared to have a good chance in the tournament.
- DBTs are extremely fast. You must get yourself acclimated to that before a tourney. I hit balls for 25-45 minutes each morning of the tourney.
- DBTs banks VERY different from all other tables. I would run several racks, but THEN practice a rack or two of banks. Esp short banks. This is key for all tourneys I play in with DBTs.
- The Break. For the first time in my life, I practiced the break. And for the first time (EVER), I broke from the side. I break really well for a girl, but I wanted more control and more assurance. So, I practiced my side break about 15-20 times til I felt comfy with the speed and ensuring I made a ball. I got really good at the break on Sunday - only after having more confidence watching Michelle Yim do it against me on Saturday. She controlled the cueball better than I. In the finals, Amanda and I both had our breaks working well and it was really cool!
I got out my Winning Ugly book by Brad Gilbert and only had a chance to review a few pages before heading to the tournament. I wrote down a few notes/reminders, that proved very helpful during the tournament. I really think those few pages helped me be mentally stronger in this tourney.
Here is a copy of my short notes:
Click photo to enlarge and excuse the handwriting.
The two points I wanted to remember most was to play like a boa constrictor and to stroke more if I get nervous. I didn't want to let up or get comfy at any time (boa constrictor) but I also needed some reminders of what to do if I get nervous - stroke more. BOTH helped immensely this tourney.
We only had 29 women so I was disappointed in that, but I played Bye first and won. Whew! I then played the Tour Champ and I was nervous but she was distracted and wasn't herself and I was able to win somehow 7-4.
In my next match I played Michelle Yim. I was also nervous against her. She has been playing really well lately and has had several major accomplishments the last couple of years, along with a new b/f who is a top player. I knew I would have my hands full. She played really, really smart and has a very beautiful stroke, but some flukey things happened in our match and I won 7-2. She got a lot of bad rolls and I felt bad for her, but I also had to play like a boa constrictor, so I tried to be mentally strong. Luckily I prevailed, altho I did feel bad as the outcome of the match was not indicative of how well she played.
Then I was informed I was in til Sunday. Wait? Already? Wait? On the winner's side again? SAWEET!
I could have got more sleep but still felt fairly good in the morning as my roadie (Courtney) and I got ready for our matches on Sunday. Courtney would end of winning the Second Chance tourney! Her first time to play in it and she steals the show. Congrat's!
Courtney and I
I practiced again Sunday morning and then played my first match against fellow teammate and Board Member, Tracie.
I felt real good the first game but missed a key safe and she got out. Then I was on the 9-ball in second game and got bumped by someone on another table. I was pretty ticked. I tried to regroup, but I missed the tricky side pocket shot. I was down 0-2.
I noticed my heart was racing and my blood flow was really fast. I wasn't sure if my breakfast hadn't settled yet or I was dehydrated. I stopped drinking my diet Pepsi (which has caffeine) and I got a cold water and drank half the bottle right away. The water helped and my heart stopped beating out of my chest (I have a little heart murmur, but not sure what was going on).
At this point, I simply told myself if she gets out and wins the match, so be it; I can't do anything about it. Not sure what happened, but I ended up winning 7 games in a row and found myself up 5-2! I could tell I was in the zone (yay!) and I was really playing super well (I thought). I didn't really give my opponnt too many chances for those 7 games.
I then noticed that Orietta lost, which would mean if I won, I would play a new girl Sherri from OK in the hotseat. I also noticed that if I lost, I would have to play Amanda. All of these future possibilities were on my mind and it felt like the game at 5-2 took FOREVER for some reason. I scratched on the 7ball but had a chance on the 9 but missed. A miss back led me to get on the hill. At this point I could tell she was more frustrated and I finally won the match 7-2.
OMG, was I really IN the hotseat again like last time!?!
My biggest fear this time was the match was going to be streamed. The last time at Jamaica Joe's I was put on the stream my first match and was so nervous I lost from nerves. I tried SO HARD not to think about the stream and JUST PLAY POOL. I did not want to lose again on the stream by dogging it. Thinking of that in itself is stupid pressure.
It took forever for us to finally play, as we were waiting on a match to finish before they would play us. I hit balls on the stream table to prepare myself and for some reason, I just didn't think anymore about the stream. Well, I didn't WORRY about being on the stream.
My opponent was a very good player from OK and she was having a fantastic tourney. She was already having a reputation for a great break, so I was prepared to not let that bother me and just accept it.
Sure enough, a few times she made 2 balls or more and even one 9ball on the snap.
I was a little nervous at first, but when I saw she was more nervous than I, I took advantage of that. I played better and got ahead 3-1. Then she made the 9ball on the break, but I didn't let it get to me. I faltered on a 9ball next but she scratched after she made it. I could have let the easy miss get to me, but I did NOT.
I overheard "Good shot, Sherri" a lot all around me, but I tried not to let the words get to me. I just played my game when I got to the table. I got up 4-2 but she countered with a 9ball combo. She kept right up with me! I couldn't shake her at all. I got on 5 and then she made a fantastic out to tie it up 5-5. Then she broke and made 3-4 balls! The out was a little tricky and I got a chance at the table and got out. Whew.
I was up 6-5 and she played safe on the 6ball and I was left was only 3 balls. I studied it for what seemed forever, and it finally dawned on my to play safe, lol. I nailed it so good, even her fans told me it was a good shot! (once Cuetable is back online, I post a diagram of it). I got ball in hand and ran out the three tough balls to WIN the hotseat match 7-5!!!
Did I just win another hotseat match?
I admit I was proud of myself for playing well and staying mentally strong. :)
Wait, this meant I was in the finals again!
Amanda Lampert played Sherri next and was up 5-1 and I could see our future: A repeat of the previous tourney where Amanda and I were in the finals together!
She defeated Sherri 7-2 I think and Amanda was ON FIRE - she was playing so, so good. In fact, she beat me the first set 7-1; I only had a few chances.
However, I countered the first set loss with opening the second set with a break and run! I even pulled ahead 4-3 at one point, that was short lived as I lost 5-7. BUT. I played so much better in this finals than the last one and I am definitely making progress in "positions" like this. :) I never even thought of the stream or felt pressure. I just waited for chances (which only arose in the second set), and I played pretty good.
I told my boyfriend after I placed 2nd before, that one of the reasons I was so upset about playing poorly in the finals in January was because I may never get in the finals again. He immediately told me I would be there again. And look at me! I swear he has more faith in my game than I.
So, placed 2nd again! I am so surprised! But, VERY glad I played well this time in the finals and didn't dog it, lol. :) Learning experiences all around me! I love it. :)