Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dennis "The Hatchetman" Hatch at ACS Nationals

There were a couple of photos on facebook that included Dennis Hatch and I from the ACS National Championships.

I was very happy (and shocked, lol) that Dennis came to watch my team play, but the rumor mill is a funny thing, lol.

I finally figured out that not many people know that Dennis and I have known each other for years, but more so that Dennis lives IN Vegas now.  Some people thought he came all the way from New York (where he used to live) to watch.  No wonder people were intrigued, lol.

Dennis moved to Vegas for Bonus Ball and so he visited friends at the APA tourney the two weeks before, and then at ACS Nationals, as well.

He came to watch my women's team compete and he was SUPER supportive!  If you've seen Dennis in action, in tourneys, or at the Mosconi Cup, then you know he has more heart and cheer and support than any player, really.

Here are some photos from the Mosconi Cup in 2009 when he got MVP.  It was his first time on the USA team, but he cinched the MVP easily with his talent, play, and enthusiasm!  You can see his personality resonate in these photos:

The following years I went to the Mosconi Cup in the USA and again he was a team member.  And he again be the one to pump up not only his teammates, but the entire crowd!  He was awesome.

BTW, Dennis is a leftie in pool, but is right-handed, just like me.  :)

I should have known what a great impact he would have on my team.  But, although I've known him for years, we've never really hung out in this type of atmosphere before.

His was very down to earth and treated us like HE was a part of OUR team.  I was really impressed.  He would clap and cheer (not rudely, but enough for us to hear), and he was very complimentary to each and every one of my teammates.... at very crucial times during the matches.

When he first showed up, my teammates heard him cheer (he would use their name) and they were like, "he's someone important, right?"  lol.  It was really funny.

He watched our matches Wed evening, Thursday morning, and Thursday night.  Then he watched us win the Women's 9Ball Team division Friday morning:

He had to leave during the 8ball finals, but he sent me a message about the team and the dynamics, because he noticed something and wanted to help.  And he was right - we had more emotion and energy during the 9ball finals, just an hour before.

At that point, I tried to pump up my teammates - well, wake them up a a little bit more.

As captain, I had thought the previous night that if we win or lose the 9ball, the team would be "tired" from emotions and the 8ball finals would be kinda tough for us.

I then told my teammates all these tips to "wake up" and get more energized (we had just lost the first set in the finals). 

I told them:
  • drink COLD water,
  • eat a small snack,
  • jog to the bathroom (it was kinda far anyway),
  • take a shot if you need it, lol,
  • do jumping jacks in the bathroom to get energy,
  • put your hair up (it was warm in there),
  • suck on some mints, or
  • even use paper as a small fan

It was really warm in the room, also, and we needed ENERGY.  All the above can get the juices flowing in our body!

Besides the advice above, I told them what Dennis had said.  I noticed that they all already really appreciated Dennis and I knew they would listen to his words.

Sure enough, we each pepped up.  And we ended up winning the second set and won our second ACS Nationals title that day!  (8ball)

I, personally, was really appreciative that I was able to ask Dennis about my outs or shots after I was done with a game. Dennis either confirmed I made the correct out, or if he offered another solution, it was very positive and upbeat, never negative.  But to pick his brain was AWESOME.  

He also gave advice to one of my teammates (that I will share in another blog) and it was so smart the way he described the advice.  I will learn from it forever, actually.

He was very complimentary to each teammate.  It really helped our self confidence!

One of my teammates is a bartender and she heard that Mike Massey was scheduled to do an exhibition while she was in Vegas for ACS.  After a couple of days around Dennis, she confides, "I'm not even mad about not seeing Mike Massey anymore, I got to know Dennis and hang around him!"

I shared that with Dennis because it was cute and his response showcases his personality so well.  He said, "Wow, that's nice.  I like Mike Massey- he's a great guy, but that's cool she said that."

I witnessed over and over again players coming up to Dennis saying hi.  This is how EVERY convo went (I was VERY impressed):

"Hi Dennis, I'm Jack, nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too, Jack" (he shakes their hand).

"I saw you online, a footage from the Mosconi Cup.  You played great."

"Thanks, Jack - means a lot.  So, how is your team doing?"  As he leans his head toward Jack's team.

And Jack would respond.

Dennis was never about himself.  He made the player approaching him feel like a rock star and that he was really interested in how their team was doing.  It was very refreshing and really unselfish.

Then he would share how OUR team was doing.  "They're playing for the hotseat," for example.

For a top pro, he was very impressive, down to earth, and not selfish at all.  And he really cared about all the players there.

My entire team was very flattered he watched our matches and that he was genuinely interested.  I told him he was lucky we played well, because players that can't make balls are boring to watch, lol.  

Dennis is very smart when it comes to the mental part of the game.  He suggested we go to dinner on Thursday night, and he did it intentionally.  We had shots with him and his friend, and he did that to get our minds off the fact we would be playing two final matches tomorrow.  He told me, "this is good for them," and he was right - we had fun and were distracted.  Just what the Doctor ordered!

A BIG thank you to Dennis Hatch from Nina, Courtney, Janet and myself!!!

No comments: