Monday, December 25, 2006

Dec 9-10 in Houston

The HOTT Tour had 22 women at their December 9-10 event at Bogies Billiards in Houston, Texas. I got a bye then played Courtney Peters and won 9-2. yikes! I was playing good - getting out when she missed. I noticed her game has a new arsenal - safeties. She already plays good, so now her game will go up even more.

So I have to play Belinda Campos Calhoun next (one of two pros in the tournament). I scratched on the break first game (I haven't scratch on a break in a long time). She wins with a 3-9 combo, after making the 1 and 2. She's breaks next, comes up dry. I have to roll out. She runs out the entire rack. Down 0-2. I thought, to myself, "oh shit." I do win the next rack with a tricky 2-9 combo. Then it's 3-3 somehow. I'm not playing bad at all! Then it's 4-4, then 5-5.

On one rack I run the from the 1 out. It was beautiful! Then it's 5-7 her. She's running out and gets really bad on the 8, but she didn't have a choice because of bad shape from the 7ball, but she just nails the long shot on the 8 ball! But, she has a trickier 9 ball shot... and she misses! Leaves me right in front of the side pocket. ;) So now it's 6-7 her. That was a big game. Instead of 8-5 it was 6-7.

So... I'm running out and get out of line, but still making balls and great shots in the next game. I make a thin cut on the 7 and have to take a tough shot on the 8 to get back on the 9. And I dogged it! I hit it too hard (whacked at it, instead of finessing it). ugh! She gets out so she's up on me 8-6 in a race to 9. I turn to my dear friend Natalie who is watching me play and I mouth to her (as I'm standing at the head of the table) "nine on the snap" and I make the 9 on the break. :)

8-7 her. The Belinda and I trade shots but she gets final control of the table. Easy out with only 4 balls left, but I still thought it would go hill hill, somehow. So, she's running out - EASY run. and she makes the ball before the 9 (i think the 6) and then all of a sudden she gets right on top of the 9 ball! So the cue and 9ball are like less than an inch apart! I grab my cue. I know I am gonna have a shot again.

We discuss if we need a ref and she says she's just going to thin it. The cue is to the left of the 9ball kind of near the spot on the table, but they are less than an inch apart. She puts right on the cue ball so it will go around to the top of the table and that would leave the 9 ball at the bottom of the table... so it leaves a lot of distance between the two balls. She hits it real hard and the cueball hits the 9 as it moves around the bottom rail and it KICKs the 9 IN!

Ugh!!!! It would have been hill-hill!!!!!

I was like, what the hell? I was behind her and couldn't see it. But Kyu and Helen moaned and Natalie was shocked, so I knew something weird had happened. Belinda turned to me and was disgusted herself that it ended that way.

So I played Kyu next. The winner would last until Sunday. It was for 9th place. I was up 2-0. and took a break at 2-1 and went pee. I was so relaxed after that, next thing you know, it's 5-2 HER.

I did miss a tricky 9 in the side and a really, really tough 7 ball and a tough 8 ball. So, that's three games there and I lost 5-9.

So.... second chance tournament. The room said on Sunday they would add $200 additional if 12 or more players played in it. Well, we only had 22 in the tournament and they brought back 8 for the main event. Anne Mayes said she would add $100 if they got 12 or more also. So, we were begging people to show up. Terry and Jillian were calling people Sunday morning. Terry said she would even have her daughter play! Hehe. Lisa Brannen convinced her friend to play and we had 11 girls. But, we only had 11 girls. ELEVEN. The room owner said, on the intercom, "I'll add $100 even if you don't get 12." Then Anne said, "and I'll still add $100, also." So, we all clapped and cheered and the ladies in the main event wanted to play in our little tournament. :)

But, I didn't know if that meant 100 from Anne AND 100 from the tour. Or was the 100 from Anne THE 100 from the tour? I didn't ask. Figured I'd asked later. I get a bye and play Annie Doyle first. Damn, i played good. I won 5-1. Although, the whole weekend I noticed it's the best I've seen her play – she was playing real good! Then I played Terry Petrosino. I had to wait for three matches to finally get to play her. So... as I'm hitting balls, I tell Annie she's beaten me the the last two times we played. She said, "well, you are playing well, just trust that. Trust yourself." So I play Terry and I make some mistakes and she's up like 2-0.

I then tell myself to "just play well" (because that's all I want to do and it helps me to focus again). "Trust yourself, Melinda." So I run the next two racks beautifully. But get relaxed again, like... "okay, I've played good now. Whew." So I try and bare down again. Somehow it's 3-3. I miss a shot on the next game and she started running out but misses a 6 ball. I get out from there and I'm up 4-3 in a race to 5. I get ball in hand on a tricky out with the 5 through 9 left in the next game, and I scratch to get shape on the 6 ball (with ball in hand!). Damnit. I am just exasperated! Not happy. She gets ball in hand, but she's not thinking ahead about the tricky out and she ends up real tough on the 8 and misses it. She doesn't make me the shoot the 8 or 9 (they were both hanging in the pocket). Final score, 5-3 me.

So I play Jillian next right away. She's cutting everything like a maniac! She's up 3-0. Then 3-1. It didn't help I missed a 9-ball when the cue was on the rail. I don't let it get to me - remembering Heather told me about her "heart" game after missing a 9-ball against Kim White. that really helped me.

So, then Jillian's up 4-2. I tell myself, "just play good. just focus on your preshot routine. “feel” playing good”… This is for the hot seat, too! I get out on a tough rack. 3-4 her. She tries for a cheap combo and doesn't get it (I would have gone for it, too) and I run out after a few more chances at the table. 4-4. We trade some shots and I get my opportunity and I run out. I won 5-4! Boy, that was a hard win!

So, I check the chart and...I have FOUR matches to wait on. It's like 430! I don't know what's going on - there's only a dozen people in the tournament! So, Annie beats a new girl. Annie gets beat by Anne Mayes. Anne Mayes gets beat by Jillian. Jillian gets beat by Kim Pierce. I had to wait so long, Jillian, Carter, and Julie and I went to Starbucks. So, I play Kim Pierce for the finals. It's a double elimination tournament so she needs to beat me two sets. Tony tells me, "just win the first set and get it over with - don't let it go two sets." It was the weirdest match ever! So, check this out:

We trade some shots in the first game and she scratches and leaves me the 7, 8, 9. I get out. A three ball run. Woo Hoo! I could tell I was very confident and playing good, but running three whole balls didn't really prove anything. ha!

Next game, she misses the 8, I get out.
Next game she misses the 8, I get out.

I shot a few times early in the rack of those two games, but didn't have a lot of opportunities at the beginning of the rack to run out.

Next game she's trying to get on the two ball for a 2-9 combo, but hooks herself and I get ball in had. The 7/8 are tied up, so I went for the combo and made it. I'm up 4-0. Ii break next, and I make the 9 on the break. 5-0! In like record time! It was SO weird.

At Starbucks, Jillian told me that they forgot to add Terry to the brackets so we really did have 12 girls! So I got $180 for 1st place!

My travelmate, Julie Stephenson, got 5th/6th and lasted on the winner's side until Sunday. On the way there, Julie is driving this time and she runs over a bucket right outside Houston (no damage). And she says, "this is maybe 100 yards from where we almost got hit by an 18 wheeler when we came down to Bogies in November." So we check in to the same hotel. We got the SAME room! So, I told her, "maybe I'll be in til Sunday again!" She says, "I hope I don't do the same as last time, I was out on Sunday." I said, "yeah, but you won the second chance tournament." So, Julie got 5th/6th the EXACT same way I did at Bogies last time and I won the second chance tournament just like she did last time. It was so weird!

I had a great tournament - it was fun all around!

Fast Eddies Tour in Nov

Well, this post is long overdue.

I hadn't practice like I wanted, so I went to the tournament on Saturday and practiced for hours on the nine foot table in the middle of the room. Tony played in the main event (men's division) and so did my friend, Cristina.

Here is the story:

Suffice it to say, I didn't place well. I got a bye and then played Terry Petrosino. I was running out beautifully the first game and didn't want to get on the rail for the 8ball. Well, I didn't get on the rail! Instead, I got straight in and needed to be on the other end of the table soon for the 9 ball. I completely hit it WAY too hard (instead of a smooth stroke) and missed the 8-ball. She ran out. After that, I remember just being frustrated that I wasn't playing well. I was very frustrated - upset my safes weren't good and also not making balls and pretty much selling out to someone who was capitalizing on all my mistakes. Terry did play very good. I lost 4-7.

My dear friend Sharon Davis played and I watched her next two matches. She's a doll!

I then played Michelle Ram. She had just lost a heartbreaker hill-hill match to Kyu Yi and then defeated my friend Sharon. ;( Michelle broke and ran the first rack on me! She was playing good. I don't know what happened after that, though, but I told myself to just play good. I wanted to play good. Then I won 5-1. I took my time more in that match, and I guess that helped.

I also played Michelle Abernathy. She was playing better than I've seen her play, but I was playing good and won 5-3, I think.

I then played Helen Hayes and she was capitalizing on my mistakes, and it felt like the first match with Terry - I was rushing, selling out, and not playing good, and extremely frustrated. Helen was playing good, though - she ended up in 3rd place. I think I got 9th? Out of 24 women maybe?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

2006 Season Finale

Last tournament of the Hunter Classics Tour season of 2006. We were at a new pool room, Bogies Billiards. I liked the location – north Houston, not south. Saved about an hours drive from Dallas; whew! At the last minute, another board member and I decided to stay together and go down together. I like Julie a lot – I always learn from her so I was looking forward to being around a positive influence. J

I got plenty of sleep, but there a few things I normally do for tournaments that I didn’t do, but I tried not to think about that. I had practiced the week before and knew I was still playing well, but I still had to ‘show up.’ The player’s meeting was really long because we had so much to say and announce. Monica ran it this time and did a wonderful job! She’s funny and that helps move it along.

I played in the first round (didn’t get a bye). I was able to give my camera to Jillian since I was playing – I like to make sure to get lots of photos of everyone and when I’m playing, that’s tough to do. I also was able to give it to my friend Shayla and she also was able to capture some great photos for the tour and website (actually over 500 were taken in all, but I paired them down to just under 400). I am camera happy, so I know I didn’t help keep the numbers down.

My Stats:

Saturday morning:

Tracie Voelkering. My teammate for Vegas, she had me down 4-1, then 6-3. Miraculously, I won 7-6. It was an amazing comeback. It took me a while to get going, but Tracie also was running out when I missed – whether late or early in the rack. She was playing good.

Sherri L. Smith. I won 7-1. We had too much fun during that match.

Belinda Lee. Had to wait a while to play since all the other board members were still playing in matches and we wanted a board member at the chart. When I finally played, I played good. I don’t think I missed a ball the first 4 games. I was up 4-1 or something and she came back and tied it 5-5 or maybe it was 5-4. A 9-ball on the break and another win sealed the match, 7-5. I felt so good because I played good. I wasn’t nervous, even though Belinda is a good player; it really could have gone either way.

Jennifer Kraber. Next up was my good friend Jennifer. She can win any match, but I wasn’t nervous. I was a little chatty at first and I think that bothered her, but I tried to play my game. It was close most of the way, and I made a few critical errors, but still won the match 7-5. I’m not sure how I did it, but all of a sudden from being down 0-4, then 3-6 in my first match and now I’m on the winner’s side on Sunday! I haven’t been on the winner’s side on Sunday in a long time!

I ate dinner with Julie – a nice quite dinner at Carrabbas. We didn’t stay out late - it was great for my next day.

Sunday morning.

Rachel Abbink. I felt good playing Rachel from Canada my first Sunday match. I ran the first rack, even though I was out of line a lot, including having to long rail bank the 9–ball. I felt confident, and nailed it. I was in awe of her game. She thinks so much about three ball shape and it was beautiful to see her work the table. I went for a two-way shot the next game and scratched and she got out. I then had an opportunity the third game, but didn’t get good shape for the 8 ball. I talked to Rachel about the shot and she mentioned I didn’t think of my other option – to bank the 8. It was an eye opening moment! But, I also then lost 2-7. The other game I won was because she had to jump a ball. I enjoyed the game and she said she enjoyed the match with me best so far – she liked my attitude.

Amanda Lampert. I then had to play my dear friend Amanda. On the drive down, I thought to myself I’d like to play her and show her that I’m playing good. Unfortunately, I didn’t show up. I had opportunities EVERY game and couldn’t capitalize. I wasn’t playing good at all. I’m not 100% sure what it was…. However, if it was the day before, I believe I would have won, but I just didn’t play good. I need to get in my mind early on that I want to play good, that always seems to help – wanting to just focus on my pre-shot routine, “feel” the shot, enjoy playing well. It has helped the last few tournaments, but I didn’t remember that in this match for some reason. Lost 7-2.

I placed 5th/6th out of 51 women. I am proud of my finish, but not how I finished. I did feel good, though, overall.

It was a great tournament, great event, for the Hunter Tour.

I have practiced once since then and I didn’t play well, but plan on practicing some more the day before my next tournament this weekend – hopefully my husband and I will be going to it - if he doesn’t get picked for jury duty.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hott Tour event in Killeen, Texas Oct 2006

I was so excited about this event! I didn't know how I would do because I hadn't practice in a couple of weeks and had been out of town for two weekends in a row before this weekend, and those travels were more than 5 hours away.

But, I decided to go because I could drive to the event in the morning and save a hotel's room expense for Friday night. I also wanted to compete! I have been playing well, and wanting to compete, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to play in a women's event close to home.

I left the house around 7am on Saturday morning and about 2 hours later, I arrived at the pool room. It was a long drive because I wanted to be there on time so I was a little nervous/anxious during the drive. Another reason it was a long drive was because I was tired. I have been reading in the forums on tips of what to do when you get tired during tournaments. I hadn't known what to do DURING matches, so I read the thread intently and there were some good advice. I went to bed early Friday night, but woke up around 1030pm and couldn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I was so pissed! But, I figured I would still be okay... even though the drive was tough because I was tired (and because I’m not a morning person).

The pool room was great - almost 20 nine-foot tables and a GREAT location! There were 14 women for the event and when I hit some balls before the tournament, I could tell I wasn't playing good. ugh!

I played my friend Heather Lloyd my first match and she won 9-4 I think. I just wasn't playing good and didn't know why, but could tell my 'good playing' wasn't with me. I then had a couple of hours to kill and went to KMART across the street and ate some nachos and looked for some clothes (found a great UT collared shirt for my husband!). While I walked around, I called a few friends, including Shayla who couldn’t make it – I updated her on Heather, Michelle, Jennifer and myself. I was hoping she'd change her mind and show up Saturday morning, but she didn't surprise me. :( I also called my friend Sherry and she kind of put me in my place with my thoughts and it really helped me out because she got me ready mentally for my matches. We have always talked about pool - including the mental side of pool, but we never talked about it right before a match, more so after tournaments or after practice sessions. She listened to my comments about my pool game and kind of picked apart my words and it really helped me see things well. Her advice for me to stop thinking about or saying, ‘I’m not playing well,’ to instead recall and remember how I CAN play well helped. She also reminded me to play my best every shot. Although that exact phrase is on my 'pool list' I carry in my poolcase, I don’t think about it when I walk up to the table.

I defeated Diana Cardona 9-3 and got my stroke back, just as Sherry and I had discussed. Then I played Kim Pierce next. I prevailed then also and won 9-4 I think. I was worried about playing her, because she has been improving, but she missed some balls and I was playing good. One of the things I read about being tired is to eat fruit because the natural sugars help you wake up. I noticed I was getting tired and losing focus toward the end of my match with Kim and I pulled out the blueberry fruit bar my husband gave me for my trip. I immediately felt better and washed it down with some cool water (not a caffeine drink) and decided to finish the bar because I knew I had another match coming up. It really helped! Although it wasn't fruit per se, it was natural and had no trans fat (it was from Whole Foods) and it seemed to wake me up.

Then I had to play my friend Cristina Dela Garza. It was close the first half of the match and I was playing good and staying focused. She got ahead but started to get tired (I think) and I moved ahead of her in the score, but she started to come back and so it made me a little "aware," but I kept my focus. The crowd was for her, but I played one ball at a time and stopped thinking of the future (like having to get a room, or having to drive home). I ended up winning 9-7. That meant I was staying overnight! My friend Heather and I decided to stay together and we found a close hotel at a good price. I like it that she needs 8 hours of sleep a night because I want to sleep, also! She has such a good heart and I enjoy being around her. I picked where we were going to eat (rude of me!) and we had a good time chatting at Texas Roadhouse, where I got roasted chicken and she got ribs!

If we both won in the morning, we would have to play each other and that would have been fabulous, but it didn't happen. :( I played Terry Pertosino on Sunday morning. Her game has come up but I was still playing good, but the first game I missed a 6 ball and then an on-the-rail 9-ball. It was 2-2 and I just wasn't playing good. She was getting out and playing good after a rough start. I was trying to talk to myself, "just play one ball at a time," “don't settle for 5th," “enjoy yourself,” etc. and then something finally kicked in. I just didn't want to lose with not playing well. I wanted to play well so badly and just remembered to play my best each shot and next thing you know after being down 7-2 I am up 8-7! I felt so confident; so wonderful; so happy that I started to play well. Even if I lost, I would be okay because I started to play good in the match. Terry got on the hill with me with a nice 2-9 carom shot. We both didn't have a lot of shots in the final game, but I was still confident and knew when I got to the table I would play well. After a miss by her on the 4 ball, I made the 4 and slid over for the 5, but the 9 was in my way and I got out of line. I played safe because my long rail shots weren't going in during practice and I didn't want to sell out. It was a good safe. I get her behind the 6 ball and she could barely see the 5 ball. She took forever, and decided to go for the 5 and she made it! It was beautiful! Then she had another tough cut, this time on the 6 ball with a bridge. She made it beautifully as well and got good on the 8 ball, then perfect on the 9 ball to win 9-8. A deserved win! Terry then defeated Heather next 9-8, also.

I got $190 for 5th/6th.

I LOVED the races to 9 and always love 9-foot tables. I felt good - again I played good, but the mental toughness Sherry gave me also helped. The mental part is so important! I was very happy I went to the tournament. Sherry said her words to me will help her as well. I hope to talk to her at her next tournament like she did with me.

I practiced twice since that tournament and played good; I feel good and can't wait for my next event this weekend at Bogies Billiards in Houston, Texas. It’s one of the ones I run and it should be a wonderful event for the ladies.

I saw The Prestige this weekend and it was depressing with all the obsessiveness, but a good movie.

I also got my eyes tested for possible Lasik surgey and I am in the 'grey' area. I went to a second doctor and they both agree I need to be out of my contacts for 14 days to get a more thorough test to see if I'm a candidate or not. I don't know if I want to even try, now. Ugh. I haven't decided.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I played pool - Amateur Nationals

Well, I can safely say I finally played pool! I have had a heck of a time with my consistency for the last several years, and now that I have started practicing more regularly, thinking more about pool, and being happy with my new sport, golf, I think my pool game is finally coming back. And what a great feeling it is!

I used to play real good - was even a threat and competitive to other players - but I stopped reading about the mental side of pool and more importantly, I stopped practicing. Therefore, competing was rough and I wasn't playing pool anymore anyway. I was going through the motions of attending tournaments, but I hadn't shown up in a long time. I was ranked 5th in Texas for several years, but have dropped way down the last 3 years. It's funny because the new people on the tours don't know I used to play well. Some people do, but those people didn't notice I wasn't playing well or finishing well anymore. So, only myself and few close friends know just how much this time in my life means to me.

I went to the Amateur Nationals in Tulsa, OK this past weekend. I knew it would be a good test of focusing on my preshot routine instead of worrying about who is watching and who I'm playing (advice from my friend Phil Capelle as I said before). I played Bonnie Plowman first on the front table, and I learned SO much in my match. I was playing really, really good and up 5-2. Then 6-4. Granted, I should have won 7-3, but because I lost, I learned so much more (just like Tracie Hines' husband told me years ago - the real winner is the loser). I had several chances to win, but started to think too much. I was thinking about which shot was best and why (to others), not just going with my instinct... what I knew I should do to win. I found myself trying to stay alive, instead of trying to win (I figured that out on the Monday after when I was describing my weekend to my friend Dianna during lunch). Which caused me to stop thinking during my match. It was kind of surreal, really. Bonnie went on to place 2nd in the tournament. She's a friend of mine - very funny and a joy to be around.

Here's me at the tournament! My fellow photographer (and friend) Roberta Case took this photo of me.

I have thought about the match a lot, and even though I lost, I learned a lot and it will make me better next time. I played so good. I called my husband and told him, "Guess what? I finally played pool!" He was so happy for me, also. I had been playing mental games instead of playing pool. I still need to focus on my preshot routine more - I need more conditioning, but it really did help.

I then played Lindsey Lewis next - almost 5 hours later - and I played even better than the first match. I won 7-1 and didn't make many mistakes. I called my husband again, "Guess what? I played pool!" He was so happy to hear I won my match and reminded me what a milestone it was since I won my first match in the Amateur Nationals with that win, and I had played 2 other times in this event. It may sound cruel, but I finally wasn't nervous.

Then I played Susan Wilbur and I wasn't the same. Tired, not playing as well, aware of my surroundings, getting out of line toward the end of the rack, missing two 9-balls with a bridge, etc. I was running out the first rack and felt good. I could tell she was tired, but when I got out of line on the 8-ball in the first game, she won that rack, made the 9 on the break next, and cheesed the 9 the next game. Down 0-3. I ended up losing 0-7...not even winning one game, but I still felt good overall about the tournament.

I used to play good, like I said, so this shouldn't be new to me, but playing good again isn't like trying to ride a bike again. It's all very interesting. I am playing the best pool of my life, even though I have more things to work on, but I feel so pumped about my game. I can't wait to practice again! I can't wait to compete again!

'Til next time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

August Hunter Tourney

Well, I thought I would update my blog more often, but that is obviously not the case!

I played in the Hunter Tour event in League City, Texas August 19-20. I went in to the tournament with no goal (1st mistake), and forgot to focus (2nd mistake) and let things into my mind (3rd mistake). All it takes is one mistake, and here are three! There are more, I'm sure, but those are the ones I can recall.

I had an incident occur during the player's meeting (the one I run). Nothing major that anyone would notice, just having an over-reactive day. So, I play my first match against Sandra Adams - a beautiful woman with a great game. I can't get out of my head my stupid thoughts from the player's meeting. I tried so hard to get rid of the feelings. I was ahead in the match, but wasn't playing good. The match lasted forever, my mind raced. It finally donned on me after probably an hour that what I went through was embarrassment. I was elated I figured out what the emotion was I was trying to get over! Once I figured it out, I tried to let go of the morning and focus back on the game, but a few key mistakes later and I lost the marathon match. It was a good learning experience, but I was so drained because I tried so hard mentally to stop thinking. ha! I scratched on two 9 balls because I wasn't paying attention to the speed of the table. I played a new lady next and she was real nice and we had a good time. I might have played another match, but I don't recall. I lost to Anne Mayes next - I tried too hard to focus again and was still drained from earlier. She capitalized on my mistakes, and deserved the win. I placed 17th and won $20.

I knew I had been playing well and so I knew I could win the second chance tournament on Sunday the following day. However, I ran into Holly Gilbert my first match who played lights out. Every mistake I made, she would get out from there. Then I played my good friend Natalie, who played well and also beat me. Out in two -so much for the win! I left early and was in a good frame of mind on the way home, though.

Since then, I have practiced straight pool a few times but didn't beat my high run of 16. Tony and I practiced straight pool a couple of Saturdays ago, and he beat me 100 to 40 and 100 to 47. I wanted play again, so he beat me 32 to 100! But he was still on a run so he continued over 100 and ran 68 balls! He doesn't practice, hasn't played straight pool but a few times but had a great run!

I decided to practice ten ball (one of my favorite practicing games) a few times before my tournament this weekend. I played lights out! I cannot ever remember playing this good before in my life. I'm worried about the chatter in my mind for the tournament this weekend, but I plan to concentrate on my pre-shot routine (advice from my friend Phil Capelle) and to focus on the table, not what's around me. My goal is to give every shot my best effort, which should help me focus. No other goals or expectations. However, I know in my heart I'm playing good enough to win the tournament.

I have also played golf a few times - loved every minute of it!! I can tell golf has helped me mentally stay upbeat and happy the whole rest of the week and I can't wait to play again!

'Til next time.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Round Rock, TX Hunter July Tournament

Well, my goal in this tournament was to focus again; it seemed to work last time. :) This is one of the tournaments I help run and it was a great event. No major hiccups... well there were a few, but for some reason I'm not letting upsetting things stay in my system as long as they used to... but I thought it really did go well. 45 ladies showed up. Always love it when more than 40 come to compete.

My Stats:

I played my friend and league teammate Tracie Voelkering first. I was a little worried- she has been playing better lately. I was up 3-1 and then it was tied 5-5. I tried so hard to focus and I really wanted to win. I finally did win 7-5 after going for a 1-ball combo on the 9-ball and made it.

Then I had to play my friend Audra Carter from San Antonio. She was struggling a little bit, but seemed to enjoy the match. I think I won 7-2.

I played Terry Petrosino from Houston next. She had just beaten two of the top ladies and then I had to play her. I commented to her about her entering the pro qualifier at the beginning of the match and next thing you know, I'm up 5-0. She seemed to be playing timid, but I tried to focus (even though my friend Monica was playing next to me and I would occasionally peer over at her and we would make faces to each other). Terry started to come back as I made a few crucial errors. I think I finally won 7-5. I couldn't believe it! I was nervous again and fighting that while trying to focus and bare down on my shots. I did make some major mistakes, but pool is all about learning.

I then played Cristina De La Garza from Austin. She is playing well and she was having a good tournament. No matter what happened in this match, we were both going to be playing on Sunday. I wanted to be on the winner's side, but my play didn't indicate that. She missed two 9-balls, but so did I. I also wasn't playing safe when I had long cut shots (seemed like the tough cuts were always on the 6-ball for some reason). I was proud of all the good shots I made; loved how good it felt to make them instead of miss so many like I had been the last 6 months. I also loved the 9-foot tables! We were tied at 5, but she prevailed 7-5. Finished for the night, but had a few matches I needed stay for since I help run these events.

Then I went to eat at Carrabbas in Austin for dinner. Even tho it was honestly too late to eat, I woke up rested Sunday morning, but something upset me before and at the beginning of my match with my friend Heather Lloyd. I tried so hard to get over it, and the only way was for me to spout off at my friend Monica during our match. It was the medicine I needed, but I felt bad for venting to her, and apologized afterwards. When this happened, I down like 5-1. I was happy I was able to start focusing after the vent, and even won a few more games, but Heather was playing way to good and she won 7-4. I really did enjoy our match after I was able to calm down and I even shot some really good shots again. The thing that upset me had to do with running the tournament, nothing related to my match. Figures.

I placed 9th-12th out of 45 ladies. I was very pleased! I am playing well again. And I lasted until Sunday, which is always so nice. Heather ended up winning the tournament -her first time to ever win on this tour. I was so happy for her, I cried.

I practiced straight pool a week later but I wasn't feeling well and knew I shouldn't have gone. I could only run 10 balls (twice) and was missing the shots I have a tendency to miss. I should have not gone to the pool room, but alas.... I thought it was best I at least try to practice.

'Til next time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Austin,Texas Fast Eddies Tournament July 2006

As I wrote in my previous blog, I noted/noticed I needed to work on focusing in my matches. Well, I had a tournament in Austin, Texas July 9th at Fast Eddie's Billiards. I had one goal for the tournament: focus in my matches. As I was walking to my first match, I ran into a friend of mine. I know that it's good to say goals out loud, so I took advantage of seeing him and told him of my goal to focus in my match. He said without batting an eye, skipping a beat, or even looking at me, "that's tough to do."

Then he told me what he does. He said he focuses in his matches by looking at on an object on the table, like a piece of chalk or a ball or a spot, etc. It sounded like a great suggestion! As I reflect back now, I realized I had a goal but hadn't thought through in my mind how I would try to accomplish that goal - which I forgot is a key part of setting goals! Well, my friend was able to help me out in that department and he also helped me remember to not only set goals, but to plan how I can reach those goals. So, off I went to my first match. I had no expectations - I hadn't practiced since my last tournament because I have been out of town a lot for work. But, I was extremely well rested, very happy and content about everything in my life for the first time in a long, long time, and was smiling, happy, and feeling good.

My stats:

Shayla Neris 7-2. I felt like I played pretty good, but still made some mental errors and also some shot selections were not the best (almost embarrassing). I did focus fairly well, but it is a lot of work and my mind did wander a few times instead of concentrating on the very ball I was suppose to be shooting. Shayla's game is beautiful... so it was a tough match for me.

Connie 7-3. I wasn't focused as much but then got back into the game and played well. She was listening to an ipod while we played and if I made a good shot, she would say "good shot," but because she had earphones on, she didn't know how loud she was saying things. It was kind of funny.

Helen Hayes 7-3. I was nervous in the beginning playing my friend Helen, but I really tried to focus and capitalized most of the time. When it was 5-2, I started to get nervous again. I told myself to stop being nervous and tried to just "play pool" and focus. I was already thinking ahead and couldn't believe I was about to win 3 matches in a row - and all on the winner's side! I was thinking to myself who could I hug? I felt the excitement building inside of me. It had been so long since I played well, placed well, or even had desire to play pool. It felt like a beautiful sunrise.

Amanda Lampert 3-7. I think I made her nervous at first because I played good in the beginning, but she plays really good and I made a few mistakes, which you can't do against her. I scratched on a safety, and lost my wind for some reason after that and she won 5 games in a row to put me on the one-loss side. Her game is so awesome!

Teedaa Clarke 4-5. I played good and really, really enjoyed the match with her. I made a few crucial errors (hit a 9-ball too hard and didn't even make contact with a 6-ball in the final game), but overall I felt good and it was a very memorable match for me that I will learn from.

I placed 5th/6th and earned $75, out of 26 women. I have another tournament in Austin this weekend coming up. My goal will be to focus again. It will be on 9-foot tables and today I practiced straight pool after work for about 2 hours on a 9-foot table. My highest run was 15 today. I didn't feel like I played well, but straight pool isn't an easy game for me right now.

'Til next time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dallas Hunter Tournament June 2006

I placed 25th-32nd. Didn't get in the money, but finally, finally played well after a 5 month dry spell of playing really bad. This is one of the tournaments I also run so it was a busy time. And we even held a surprise Birthday party for one of the other board members! It was a lot of fun. See Monica below:

My Stats:

Susan Atwell 7-3.
Michelle Ram 4-7. Down 4-0, won 3 in a row, but missed a 2 9-ball combo that could have tie the score 4-4. She played good.
Susan Petty 7-3. We had fun. I enjoyed the match with her.
Monica Anderson (the birthday girl). 5-7. She played good and I was not concentrating. I need to focus better - I noticed this in my May tournament as well.
Out of 44 girls, 25th place. Sounds terrible in the grand scheme of things, but not too bad considering I won two matches and finally felt good about playing. Although I'm the photographer for the tour, I had a friend of mine, Amanda, take some pictures of me. Here's one with my hair down: