Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Learning From Warren Kiamco

Warren Kiamco played in the last Omega Billiards Tour stop in late April (which he won btw) and I have to say that it was a joy to see him play but more so to watch how he handled himself in his matches.  I was so impressed how he handled people rooting against him or excessively for him, that I just had to ask him questions a few times throughout the tournament to learn from this Champion.

What I recognized most was how stoic he was.  He never showed any emotion and seemed to not let ANYTHING get to him.

I asked him how he handles all the different types of atmospheres he plays in and he shared:

I am on the road a lot, so I had to learn to deal with it.  I learned to ignore things around me and not let things get to me.

In the tournament on Sunday, he played a local player who was getting a lot of claps from the crowd and huge support.  You would have thought Warren had earplugs on.  I never saw him flinch or get upset or even show any emotion at all.  He sat stoic, waiting for his turn at the table.

He said he recognizes that people are rooting FOR his opponent and not against him, which is obviously very helpful for the mental part of the game.

At another time, I was calling a shot and the player at the table playing Warren actually said out loud, but under his breath, "I'm going to shoot this kick safe like this and then fcvk him."

I was mortified he said that and then felt SO badly Warren might have heard that.  He was a guest, and I was embarrassed.  Although the player was drunk and that's his way of being funny, if you didn't know him, it would /have/ to rattle or upset you, right?

I recall looking right at Warren after the player said that shitty comment, and Warren sat there stoic with no emotion or react to the words.  He was just calm, cool, and collected.

Afterwards I tried to apologize to Warren for the guys' actions and words and Warren tried to tell me not to worry about it and not to apologize at all.  He acted like he didn't hear the guy and just shooshed my apology away because he thought it was unnecessary and not needed.  Turns out he DID hear the player say that.  Warren told me, "it's okay Melinda.  I knew he was drunk and it's part of competing sometimes.  I just didn't let it bother me, and you shouldn't let it bother you."

There's a whole lot to that exchange.  He didn't want me to apologize, he was trying not to let me know he heard the guy (admirable), he just didn't let the player bother him, and he knows it's part of traveling to play pool sometimes. 

You'd think the words from the drunk player would have gotten to Warren, but instead he just ignored it and focused on playing pool.   Because as he shared, "if you let things like that get to you, it affects your game. "

I really was impressed.  I've seen many players handle situations in a match, but to see Warren be so stoic consistently throughout an entire event was awesome to witness.  I pride myself on being able to handle situations well while competing.  I've been complimented on how I handle myself during matches.  However, if something has upset me, inside I am torn and struggling getting past the issue, even though on the outside you may not see it in my body language or with emotions or facial expressions.  However, Warren really just does not let it bother him at all - even internally.  To be able to bend his ear, and he be open with his experience and knowledge was super cool.

I hope he gets to play again soon!

Here is a snapshot after Warren won the tournament:  Anthony Shea, myself, and Warren:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Learning to quickly put annoying input in the proper perspective is a huge part of playing competitive pool. I talk at some length about this in A Mind For Pool.