Thursday, November 29, 2007

Championship Stop

It's taken me a couple of weeks to write this tournament up... for three reasons: (1) I was working on Hunter Tour stuff after the event and (2) I am still sick and very exhausted and (3) my Mom has turned ill and I have been worrying about her. (I actually rushed down to San Antonio 5 days early because I was so concerned - I am still in San Antonio with her as I write this)

So, how do you think the expectations are when you place 2nd in the previous weekend? I know from seeing this happen to so many other players and from many comments of others, that to do well after a great finish is very difficult. So, I didn't have any expectations, but knew I would love to last until Sunday. I wanted to focus on staying down - boy that felt good the previous weekend! I didn't get to practice because I was with my Mom, but I was thinking about pool and how it "felt" so good to stay down. But, I had been in bed for most of the week... sleeping all day long and all night. I am not sure what I have, but my throat has been sore for four weeks now.

Julie and I eat at Waffle House in the morning - gosh I love that place! Monica asks me to run the player's meeting and it goes long, but we have so much to talk about and announce! But, the big surprise was the presents the board members received from the ladies. The star trophy was BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING! It took all I could not to cry!!

Helen, Lucille, Julie, Monica and Melinda

I play in the first round after a bye, playing Mindy Williams. As I start to play her, I realize she's actually playing well and getting out... but so am I, hehe. She wins the first game. I win the next. She wins the next, then I win. Tied 2-2. I'm consciously aware it's neck and neck and think to myself the lessons she took long ago she obviously still knows. She gets on 3, and then in my next run, I mess up and she capitalizes. Oops - no longer neck and neck. I'm down 4-2. I mess up again and she gets out - we played with the seven ball and she finally gets out. She's up 5-2. I don't get out again and she gets out and she's up 6-2. Any time a hint of pressure came into my body and mind, I just tried to focus on staying down and remaining calm. I was acutely aware she was the one who was under pressure - remembering when I was ahead against Helen 6-3 and she started coming back, that I was the one nervous. (seems backward, doesn't it?) As I was down, I thought to myself, "well, it's tough to do well in consecutive tournaments... so, it's okay." I knew I could still win and never gave up, though. But my thoughts remained calm. Heck I came back the previous weekend down 2-6... who knows? So, Mindy scratches on the 9. 3-6. The next game, she misses the 9. 4-6. The next three games she can't get out in the middle of the rack and I am starting to not miss many balls and next thing you know, I actually win 7-6! Oh my goodness!

I then play Tracie Voelkering next. I didn't think about her as an opponent or nervous, or anything. I just... played pool. I was near the tournament table and had to walk away a couple of times (don't remember now why), but would come back to the table and run out. Before I really knew what happened, I won 7-4. I was playing well - was probably in the zone because I don't remember much of the match. Or was it because I was sick?

I play Courtney Peters next. Harvey comes in from being with his wife Sharon all week in the heart hospital... we are suppose to go to the dog races that night. I felt so bad, exhausted... I didn't really want to go. But, I knew if I didn't go over there and find out if he still wanted to go to the races, it would be on my mind... it would be on my mind as WORRY, and I didn't want that to distract me in my game. So, I hugged him and said hello and yes, he still wanted to go. I just accepted it and told myself now I don't have to think about it.

I know Courtney has been working on her game and the last few times we have played, I have still won. Her safeties were better this time, as they should be - that part of her game she was working on and I knew eventually her safeties would be getting better. I don't remember the first part of the match, was I down or ahead or was it close the whole time? I just don't remember. I remember I played okay and one time I scratched on a fabulous cut shot on the 7. Ouch! But it was such a nice cut - very long, tough shot. I never would have thought I would have scratched. At this point I am aware of Harvey saying my name and rooting for me on the sidelines. As for the score, I do remember when it was 5-5, though! I was running out and had to come across the table on the 7 ball with reverse english - luckily, I am very good at these shots, but I hit it too hard and it didn't act like it should and I scratched. This gave her ball in hand with two balls left and for her to get on the hill first. Yikes! I didn't get nervous or worried, and I got out the next game. I was aware in this match that this winner would last on the winner's side until Sunday. I would love for that to be me, but if I was on the one-loss side and guaranteed 9th, that'd be okay, too. When it was hill-hill, I missed the two ball - maybe from a safety from her or a lucky roll that hooked me. I watched her run out, never really thinking I'd lose. I wonder if it was my sore throat that made me so numb. LOL. She eventually missed the 7 ball, and she was not pleased. I was able to make it nicely and get good shape, and nail the 8 ball and 9 ball for the win! Wow! I was guaranteed 5th on the winner's side on Sunday!

I broke the sad news to Harvey I just shouldn't go out to eat, especially when I found out Jennifer, Heather and Shayla would be going with him. I knew he needed some time away from Sharon and glad he was still going to do that. I got Taco Bell and a diet sprite and happily went to the room early, ate in bed, and fell asleep at a decent hour. Ah, the little things in life.

The next morning, I know I get to sleep in (I don't have to be there until 11am!) so I go to Waffle House again and sit next to a real nice lady.

As I start to play Leslie Anne Rogers... WOW. I am so exhausted and tired. I also couldn't believe how full I felt. I don't think I ever felt that full playing pool before. It was such a weird feeling; one I did not like at all. But, besides being full, I just had no energy. I think I was sicker than I realized. I lost 7-2, but she played much better than I did. I could have made it closer, but I was too tired. Not an excuse - it's the reason why I didn't play my best. No energy and too full.

I then play Terry Petrosino next. I tell Amanda before I play how sick I feel and she says to fake it and pretend I'm not sick. What? Hmm.... I have acted confident, acted not upset, acted happy, but never tried to act non-sick. As we started the match, I know how well she plays. I know how bad I feel. I think more about what Amanda said, but Terry wins the first two games playing great! She then hits the 9 ball too hard and it jumps back out of the pocket and I make it and get on the board. I hear some snaps behind me. I realize it's Amanda and Jennifer. Terry is running out well again but she leaves herself tough on the 9 ball. I don't think anything of it really - she nails so many 9 balls so well, I figured she'd just make it. She missed it. Wow. I made it and now it's tied 2-2. At this point, I do pretend I'm not sick. I start playing very well, very confident, staying down, seeing the patterns very easily for some reason. I am aware of the snaps, feeling a little bad that I didn't hear any for Terry. I found out later Amanda said they were snapping for her too, they just weren't as loud. But, I didn't feel pressure to play well with so many people watching, I just played. Playing P O O L felt great and I guess again I was in the zone. I can say I wasn't thinking too much... was actually concentrating on the game at hand - staying the in present, not thinking of stupid shit for once. LOL. Again - was it because I wasn't feeling well? Or was it because I was taming that wandering thinking beast I dreaded when it showed it's ugly head?

I won 7-4, I think. Wow! I didn't go out in two after being on the winner's side on Sunday! I had only done that one other time in a Hunter event, and that was years ago. I would eventually get 4th place - second time on the Hunter Tour.

I played Lisa Marr next and although I was playing well (I thought), she just out played me and played really good! But, I was still happy with my 4th place and playing well and not falling on my face was an added bonus. hehe

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bogies, Oct, 2007

This was one of the tournaments I help run, and we were also going to be having a charity benefit. I knew going into the weekend it could be a very long weekend and then I had plans to go to San Antonio to see my lovely Mom for a few days (before I have to be away from her for three weeks).

I met up with Julie Friday night and had dinner at Bob's Steak and Chop House in downtown Houston. It was delicious. I had a T-bone steak and two large (very delicious) fried shrimp. The bread was awesome and the steak tomatoes were perfect with their balsamic vinegarate.

I run the Player's Meeting for Monica and try and not make it go long, but at the same time make it funny. The board was dissapointed only 36 players showed up, but everyone sure had a blast! Houston usually gets more ladies, too. :(

I was called to play in the first round and didn't get to hit any balls before my match, but I felt confident anyway. I had to play Kim Pierce first and ran out nice the first game and felt pretty good. Then I missed a 9 ball, because I was thinking while down on the 8 ball, in addition to not taking two seconds to peek around the table to see the line for the 9ball. I got out of line and missed it. She gets out again after I miss an 8 (I think) and I'm consciously telling myself to not think about the missed 9 ball and to move on. She wins the next game and then I start to play well and get out very nicely on many games. I get out of line a few times, but I am playing well and really seeing the layouts. On the last run, I break and run and get out VERY nice to have to run the table. She is not happy, but I win 7-3.

Me, posing for Shayla

I then have to play Ricki Lee Casper. I love to watch her play - she has a lot of talent and is capable of winning a lot of matches in any tournament. I run the first game out beautifully and feel very confident. I then miss a 9ball, then an 8, then another 8. It gets worse, as she plays great - she has me down 5-2 and I am trying not to think about the earlier games and then I am not sure what happens but I tie it up 5-5. She takes a break and that helps me even more and I seal the win 7-5. Wow. What happened? I guess I did force those misses out of my mind and just played pool and took advantage of my opportunities.

I then play Kyu Yi next. I felt good and after she scratched on the 2 ball in the first game, I ran out beautifully! Up 1-0. Then things just didn't go well after that. I missed three kicks and she got out. I scratched another time and she got out. I did have two more really nice outs from early in the rack (including a nice draw shot!), but two more misses and a break and run from her caused me to lose 7-3. I was bummed, because I thought I was playing okay, but she got out beautifully most of the games.

Then a group of us went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Gosh I love that place! Several ducked out before we sat down because they wanted to get back to the 8pm charity tournament, but we still had 12 of us. I got the skewered shrimp for the first time and really enjoyed them - they are tasty. Then we all headed back to the tournament and I sat around and chatted with several people - Danny Lee, Lanny Herrin, Samm Diep and others. It was great to get out and be around people after the few weeks I have had. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching Ashley being herself and in her element - she was having a great time and it was a joy to see someone really enjoy life. Everyone was laughing and enjoying watching all the ladies beat up on the guys. I went back to the hotel before Julie and was sound asleep by the time she came in. I was a tired little girl.

I woke up the next morning and decided to wash my hair, which means I would be pushing getting to my Sunday main event match on time, but did it anyway. I felt good going into the match against the always tough Heather Lloyd. A great shot and safety by me in the first game led to her three fouling me for the first win. Ouch! I didn't let it affect me and played my game and tied it 1-1 after a very nice shot on the 7 ball when she missed shape. Cue ball was on the rail and it was a long shot with a difficult angle and I just told myself to focus solely on the shot and not worry about shape. I stayed down and nailed it. She got on 2 and then another miss by her and I got on 2. She then had a difficult out and we both went back and forth and then she went for a tough 9 and missed it and I nailed a tough cut instead of banking it. I tied it 3-3. I then had ball in hand with three balls left and wasn't sure how to get on the 8. I finally made my decision, made a nice shot on the tough 8 ball to get soft shape on the 9 in the side, but barely missed it. She was up 4-3. At that point, I missed in the middle of the rack or early and she would get out. She won easily 7-3. I am not sure what happened, but again, only a few misses cost me the match. I did notice she was playing slower - by that I mean she stroked the ball a few more times than she used to, and it really, really worked for her and she missed less than I have seen in the past. She ended up getting 2nd place and Kyu got 3rd. I shouldn't be upset for losing to them, but I think it's amazing that when you play certain players, a miss causes you to not get back to the table and it truly is costly. Like my friend Sherry says, make every ball count. At that stage in the tournament, the players play better, and are better at taking advantage of mistakes and running out and not getting out of line.

Close Up (just got my hair highlighted - I like it this time!)

I placed 9th, lasted until Sunday and just felt okay. Did I stay down like I wanted to? I doubt it. Although I felt like I played P O O L and didn't let things get to me, I still don't feel good about my loses... just a few mistakes, but they cost me the matches. It's funny, I wanted so desperately to play P O O L and I did, and yet I am still not happy. Is that because of grief? Because I have too much going on? Because winning the arm wrestling match with P O O L was not enough? I do not know right now; honestly. I have a long way to go... now doesn't seem the time to be able to get there... even playing P O O L didn't make me happy. Did I play my best? (this is from Mental Toughness Training for Sports). If not or if so, accept it and move on Melinda.

I stuck around only a few more hours. I so desperately wanted to see my Mom and left the party and drove home. It was so wonderful to see her! I have got a lot done around here, but my Mom fell in the tub Monday night and probably broke a rib. We were both feeling better about things and now this setback. She is so disappointed in herself for falling. I need to not think things are going okay - last time I let my guard down, my Mom went back in the hospital a week later in April. You think I would have learned.

I will be gone for three weeks from my Mom... but I am actually a little more worried than normal about my job. I'll be gone for the next two weeks out of the office for work, then I come back down here. I'll only be in the office for 4 days the next four weeks.

I am numb... I don't know why. I guess it doesn't matter how much I get done.... my Mom's pain doesn't go away. And I only check things off as I get things done around her house, and yet spend more time away from her trying to get those things done.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Before Bogies

On Monday I saw a movie. Didn't feel like it at first but figured, I have the day off, I need to do what I would normally do. So, I went to see a movie, practiced, and played in the Monday night tournament.

The movie made me cry. I thought The Brave One was about (don't read further if you don't want to know) a woman that was raped and got mad afterwards. Instead, the love of her life dies while they both get beat up one night (and then she gets mad). I cried and cried. Too close to home, too emotional, too raw still.

Then went to pool room to practice and instead wanted to gamble. Broke even - I haven't gambled in ten years probably. Saw Tracie at the pool room when I first got there and she made me cry - I held on to her tightly as we both hugged each other and thought of our parents. He parents passed away three weeks apart over a year ago. I never knew what she went through until now.

I then got Last Lady at the Monday night tournament. Thoroughly enjoyed myself with free hot dogs, great french fries and winning lots of matches. I won $75 for second (I let Tony have first place, AFTER I beat him in the hotseat and then he won another match to have the chance to play me again). We are both now qualified for the end of season tournament Nov 4th. Wow! Either a certain number of weeks need to be played, or you have to win the tournament. We accomplished both the same night (I got my 3rd week in).

I hope to think clear this weekend - remember to play P O O L. Remember to go in winning, to focus on the table, to focus on the process of playing pool. I am excited - it will be a great weekend running it, playing in it, and also helping with the Anne Mayes Cancer Benefit.

I am very excited to be having dinner tonight with Julie (who is my rommie for the weekend) at Bob's Steak and Chop House in downtown Houston!

I also can't wait to see my Mom on Sunday night. I'll be visiting her for a few days after the tournament.

I love you Mom and Dad.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

FE in CS Sept 30th

Fast Eddies Tour in College Station. Sept 30th.

I went down early - give my Mom some time away from me so we could try and see how we would be apart. I had been with her two weeks straight since my Dad passed. It was going to be an emotional weekend. Friday night the tournament directors surprise me and give me cards everyone had signed the weekend my Dad passed. It was SO moving. I had to walk off and I cried in the bathroom.

I came back Saturday and watched some matches and hung out with some friends. I then went to see a funny movie - but it turned out to be stupid.

22 women showed up Sunday and it was good to see friendly faces, even though it was so hard to not cry when I would get a hug from Jennifer, Heather, Tara, Kyu, and Amanda. I thanked several people (guys and gals) throughout the weekend for signing my card -it really did mean a lot.

I played Catherine Naes first and I play really good and won 7-0. I then played Sue Chong and after being down 0-2, I finally start playing okay again and won 7-4 I think. I then played Yvette Reyes - a cute little thing, and very nice. I am up 5-2 and playing well. Even had a GREAT safety - one I had recently been practicing and was so excited when it panned out well! I was jumping up a lot, though, and it took me a few games to finally finish off the match and I won 7-4.

I then have to play Amanda and I am not into the game at all. I capitalize on some of her mistakes and was down only 4-3 when a mistake on her part and a nice shot on mine set me up for a small run. I was so excited, I didn't take my time on the 9ball and missed it. It wasn't a tough shot, but I overstroked it, didn't stay down, wasn't thinking about making the ball or anything. Again, I wasn't playing pool. I was SO embarrassed with how badly I was playing. She missed the 9, also, but shit it in. Key game- instead of 4-4, it's now 5-3 her. I won the next game from her mistake but lost 7-5 or 7-4 because I just wasn't playing pool. My arms were wobbly, my mind wasn't into the game, I was thinking about stupid shit and just not playing P O O L. I would miss late in the rack and she would capitalize... I had lots of chances and just didn't play the game in front of me.

I had to wait a while to play Jennifer next and by the time I payed, I still wasn't over my embarrassment of my previous match. I looked around at the crowd a lot and wasn't into my game at all. I lost 5-1. I played terrible. I was again SO exhausted - I think physically from being so mentally drained? Got 5th and no money, either. It was a LONG drive home.

What did I learn? Learned I'm still not playing pool at times, but that I can play well if I set my mind to it. It's just been so tough lately, though. #!$^$&@ I'm so disappointed in myself for allowing me to NOT play pool. I need to look at the FLOOR, like Joe Salazar taught me. It really helped me with Catherine's match.

Hunter Dallas Tourney, Sept '07

45 women show up to The Billiard Den - our first time there. I really liked the place! The whole atmosphere is awesome, large room, and good food to boot. :)

Tony is running the tournament charts for us on Saturday and with only 12 tables to play on, it takes a while to get through the matches and the day gets long and Tony hears a lot of complaints.

Here are the brackets.

I played the adorable and friendly Amy Hall first. She has improved and has me down 2-0. Yikes. I find out the tables are a little fast but get to practice a lot of safeties I had been working on and was pleased. I finally win 7-3 and felt comfortable after the rough start.

I then played Helen Hayes next. OMG - I was playing lights out! I mean it - I was playing SO good. I felt good, she was missing early and I'd get out, and was feeling so great. When I was up 6-2, I was looking off to the right and not thinking about the game when she shot a shot after her break. She acted so upset after the shot, I just thought she missed and so I picked up the cueball. But, as soon as I did, I realized she must have rolled out. I asked her and she said yes, but I never heard her. I said it was her shot - I touched the cueball. I should have asked if she rolled out, but I simply picked up the cueball because of the way she reacted after she shot (like she was upset she didn't make the 9ball). I just wasn't thinking clear... -but she should have made sure I acknowledged the roll out... I didn't even hear her, but I wasn't paying attention anyway.

So, I give her ball in hand, she makes the 1-9 and she is down only 6-3. I probably thought since I was up so far, it shouldn't make a difference anyway. Well, she ended up coming back and she beat me 6-7. She was shooting better and I think I felt a little more pressure when she got on 5 and I missed some key shots and safeties. She just didn't miss anymore and got out.

I was kind of shocked - what happened? Wow - I was playing SO good, too. But, she started to outplay me.

I then had to play Bonita Bates and won 7-2. Then played well against Snowy Belt and won 7-2. I then had to play Michelle Ram and it was later in the afternoon and I was all of a sudden VERY exhausted. I couldn't make more than 4 balls at a time and was struggling so badly because I was so tired. She was checking my racks (why, I don't know) and playing a little slow, but deliberate. I lost 7-5 and was just SICK. I was in a bad mood already from being exhausted, from Hunter Tour things, from my parents, etc. It was just too much in my brain and I was in a such a sour mood - I hated to be in that mood. It wasn't pretty and I was just disgusted with my loss - why was I so exhausted?

I decided at the VERY last minute to go back on Sunday. I was glad I did - I saw Shayla get 4th in the main event! I was so proud of her.

Me on Sunday, playing Kim Pierce

I don't know if I can remember all my matches in the second chance tournament, but let me try:

Won 4-2 against Sandra Adams.
Lost 3-4 against Kim Pierce - played good, but got out of line some (but drew the ball several times!)
Won 3-1 against Michelle Ram
Won 3-1 against Terry Petrosino
Won 3-2 against Susan Petty
Lost 3-1 against Jillian Valles (I played badly)

Got 3rd place. Wow.

Texas State Open 2007

I went to this tournament to test my mental game. That's honestly the only reason why I went. I didn't plan on winning matches, just going to get more experience under my belt and testing my mental game at the same time.

I practiced for many hours on the tables Friday night with Mike, Amanda, and Mike. Eric and Michelle were also there. I felt comfortable - I got a bad headache, but some Aleve mad it go away and I was able to practice well again that night. I felt good.

They called the matches Saturday afternoon and low and behold I have to play my friend, the top pick, and last years' winner, Amanda Lampert. AND, they put us on the front table in front of everyone!

Here is what that front table looks like, in front of the crowd.

I didn't have any expectations. I just walked to the table, made sure I scuffed my tip, got some water, asked the guy next to me to move (he was too close for my comfort during a match - okay, I asked Lewis to ask him to move). I popped a Claritin and off I went. I was down 0-2 right off - missed in the middle of the rack and she got out. I wasn't nervous, I wasn't thinking about the crowd, I was trying not to think about the missed shots, I was just 'there.' I felt okay, but was losing. It's been over a month since the tournament, but I believe I was down 3-0 or something and when I got on the board, I was SO happy- I wasn't gonna get skunked! I was running out one rack and felt real good, but scratched on the 8 ball - someone walking by caught my eye and I couldn't stand up in time to readdress the shot. So, that was one game that was crucial. I was feeling pretty good, and actually playing pretty good (I thought). Then she started making some mistakes and I capitalized and I was all of a sudden up 5-4.

Here I am, playing Amanda.

For me to get on 5 first was key, but she recovered from her mistake and got out well to tie it at 5 and then got out again to get on the hill first (after a nice safety). She was running out well and I figured it was over but she hooked herself between the 9 and 7 and jumped it, hit it, but the cueball went off the table. I got ball in hand and got out. Hill-hill. The next game she makes a nice bank on the 5 ball and makes it, but down the road in that rack, she over cuts the 7 ball and misses. I can barely see the 7 ball and study it for a long time. I decide to hit above the pocket to make it so I don't hit the 8 ball (hopefully) and then I go for it and I didn't hit the 8 first (whew). I make it and then completely, ONLY and purposefully, focus on making the 8 ball so I don't miss the cut shot. I make it and the 9 for the win! OMG!

Another shot of me.

I then play Courtney Peters next. Her game has really improved, but she would miss late or in the middle of the rack an I would capitalize. I played some nice safeties, but also missed in the middle or late of the rack, but I capitalized more. I won 7-3. Wow - won my first two matches in the Texas Open!

Here are the brackets.

So, that night I updated the brackets for the men's side and watched some matches and just enjoyed the evening.

The next day, I play only one match. I play against Alicia Teskey, a good player, not one to take for granted, that's for sure. We both made lots of mistakes, though, and we each capitalized on them. I don't remember everything now (too long ago), but I was struggling so badly and so was she. One game toward the middle of the set, I had to play tough position on the 7 and got straight in on the 8, which would leave me a tough cut on the 9. I just accepted the tough shot - made the 8 and nailed the 9. Tied at 5-5, I caught an amazing gear and won the next two games and won 7-5. Maybe it was the tough out of that game that helped my confidence? I made a GREAT safety shot on the 6 ball to get ball in hand on the final game and got out. I have practiced those shots for many years, so was glad I executed it well.

I then played Kyu Yi for the hot seat on Monday morning. I played so bad. She got the first two games with a 2-9 combo and a 1-9 combo (due to my mistakes), and although I didn't let that get to me, I wasn't focused on playing pool. I am SO disappointed. I had a chance to get on the board after she missed an 8, but didn't draw back enough and missed a tough cut on the 9ball. I was struggling and struggling, and even though I would have chances, I wasn't playing pool and couldn't capitalize. I finally started playing, but it was too late. I got out and was only down 6-4 when a tricky shot came up. I knew if I combo-ed the shot I would be left with a touch shot, but didn't have a safety. I went for the shot and shot it soft to leave me a chance to play safe, but she played a better safe back, got ball in hand and got out for the win 7-4.

I then played Julia Rapp. She missed the 9 ball in the first rack and left me a very tough 9 ball shot and I nailed it! She then left me another 9, much easier. Then I broke and ran and was up 3-0. Broke and ran! But, the other games I won until I got on the hill - the next 4 games, were all won because she missed the 9 ball. Wow! Some matches go like that. She made a few outs and the score was 6-5 me when we both struggled to finally finish the next game; lots of misses on the 7 and 8 and then I finally made the 8 and 9 (somehow) to miraculously win 7-5.

I then play Cristina De La Garza next and she was at work. They called her and instead of forfeiting, she was able to come back and play. Even though we started later than we should have, we were still able to play.

I was playing bad at first, again not playing pool. I missed a 9 ball and thought to myself, "I hope this doesn't come back to bite me." I was down most of the time and then caught a gear and started to finally play pool and even got ahead 5-3 I think? She came back though and next thing I know we are both on the hill. I had a tough kick on the 2 ball and missed it and she got ball in hand. I had a feeling she would get out of line somewhere along the run, but she was in line for all the balls - except the 9 ball! She studied it and decided to bank it. She missed! But, it banked into the other side. Someone in the crowd clapped and yelled and it made me embarrassed, but Shayla snapped at them for me. Cristina was suppose to hit the shot hard, and if I wouldn't have missed that 9 ball much earlier, it wouldn't have got to that point. I placed 4th and won $175.

Not too bad for wanting to test my mental game! But, disappointed I didn't play pool on Monday.

I am VERY excited for my friends Jennifer who placed 2nd and Kyu who placed 1st! Congrat's!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hunter Tourney in Corpus

Well, it was going to be a low turn out, we knew that, but little did we know it would be the lowest yet. 19 women. I almost didn't make it myself. Tropical Storm Erin caused a lot of rain the week before, but by Friday, the weather was great for the drive down there for everyone.

However, my Dad was admitted into the hospital on Thursday, August 16th. I came down to San Antonio the night before to visit and help my parents before I went to the tournament in Corpus (only about 2 hours away) and instead I found myself trying to figure out what to do with this new situation, including, do I stay with my Dad overnight in the hospital or do I stay with my Mom who needs help as well? Her advanced emphysema has worsened, and it was tough for her to visit him in the hospital. I tried to get things done during the day and also visit him, but I stayed with my Mom at night. My Dad had complications with his advanced diabetes and the hospital stay was not a life or death situation, more that he needed help to get healed.

He said I could go to the tournament and although I was apprehensive, I went and the break was good. I stayed with Monica and used ear plugs for the first time and actually really like them! The tournament started off very well and things were running somewhat smoothly.

I played a new lady first, Elvi, who is very nice and sweet and if I hadn't paid more attention, I would have lost even though I should easily win. I then played Monica. Last time we played I lost and so I admit I was nervous. At the beginning of the match I was not playing well and it donned on me to be assertive (X games to win) instead of nervous. It was so comforting and almost exciting to know I could do that so early in the match (usually these things don't dawn on me until AFTER the match is over and I've lost, LOL). I guess thinking about how and why I mentally didn't do well at the tournament in Grapevine the week after the event (Aug 3-5) really did help out! So, I played better and next thing you know, when I am on 5 games, I run out from the 1, and then break and run the next game to win the match 7-3 or 7-4.

I then played Heather Lloyd and wasn't nervous. There was someone watching that was going to bother me, but ended up having to play so it worked out. I was running out the first match and missed an 8 ball and she got out. Then I missed a 5 ball and she got out. I finally got a game and then she won again. I don't recall what happened in the middle of the match but when I deliberately set up shape for a 3-9 combo, I got bad on it and decided to run out. I ended up having to play safe on the 5 ball and I didn't hide it enough and she hit it good and combo-ed the 9 ball in with a good shot. By this time, I was PISSED. I said out loud to her, in a snappy voice, "I should have made the 3-9 combo." I felt bad and realized I said that because I was upset, so I apologized to her before the next rack. She said it was okay and understood. What I was also going through was trying to get over my misses. I missed that 8 and 5 and was just sick. I tried to get it out of my head. I was going through a roller coaster ride during the match! Hehe. But, I overcame it and while I was running out one game, I saw the shape so well for the whole rack and instead of baby-ing for shape on the 5 ball, I hit the 4 ball with authority, honestly taking a risk, but knew the shape was perfect to make the out and I nailed it. Even after the run, Heather said, "nice out!" I then caught a gear and all of a sudden the match is tied 5-5. Wow!

I needed to wash my hands so the break she took at 5-5 was good for me, too. Then we got back to the table and I was running out and barely, I mean barely, missed the 8 ball after a fine run. I was even thinking at one point I was playing good, but I missed the 8 and she got out. I didn't sweat it and was running out the next rack when I saw ahead of time I'd have to set up a straight in draw shot on the 8 ball. I shook my head, but was confident in the practice I had put in for this exact situation. Well, I nailed the 8 ball!! I didn't miss it and even drew it back, but I over drew it and missed shape by almost a foot. LOL. I was excited I drew it back and also made the ball, but missed the tough back cut on the nine and lost 7-5. It's heartbreaking to know I had chances and should have been playing for the hot seat the next day, but everything happens for a reason. I did wonder why I missed late in the rack. Then I saw this thread on AZB and there are some pondering points in it that may help me for the future. That, and obviously I cared more about shape than making some of those last key balls?

I had to wait a little while and then played Terry Petrosino. I wanted to win so bad for the points, but had 5th/6th locked. But, I didn't play as well as my previous matches and she really nailed some tough nineball shots and I missed too many times or didn't play good enough safes. I'm not sure what happened that match (why I didn't play well), but I lost 4-7. Not too bad, 5th/6th $160. I felt overall okay, but knew I could have done better in the tournament.

I then played in the second chance tournament on Sunday and played fairly well overall (even a 5-2 win over Helen Hayes), but some key mistakes cost me a hill-hill loss to Monica who has been playing well. But, I felt pretty good. I then forfeited because my Dad called and they needed me back home. I was actually very upset at the call because of the miscommunication between my Mom, Dad and myself, but I shouldn't have played in the Second Chance tournament anyway. I left in a hurry, and looked more upset than I wanted anyone to see. But, sometimes I can't hide those emotions when I am upset with 'family' things. After the event, it was clear some things upset Monica and I, but we survived another tournament and hopefully everyone had a good time. We did hear the room owner wants us back and was impressed with our tour! What a compliment!

My Dad ended up getting out of the hospital on Wed and that was the most stressful day the whole week. I broke down several times that day, all the while trying to be there for my parents and trying to help them out.

I left Saturday and got home around 10pm.

Then on Sunday, to de-stress and to get ready for my tournament this weekend coming up, I played golf with Tony. I love to be outdoors, sweat, get exercise, feel the sun on my skin, absorb nature, and also playing golf helps my pool stroke.

Until Next Time.... hopefully I will have good news from Austin. Let's see, what should my goal be? Focus, stay down, don't move, be mentally strong, hmm.... I'll have to think about it. I haven't played in the Texas Open in a few years, but I am playing okay - but there may not be a lot of player's and the ones that play will be good. I am playing in it to test my mental game.

Weekly tournament 1

My friend Ryan convinced me to play in a weekly tournament that if I play enough in on Monday nights, I will qualify for a bi-yearly $$ tournament. Evidently, there is a lot of money in these biannual tournaments so I figured I try my hand at the weekly tournament.

I had played the day before at Rusty's and played REALLY good against Ryan. I had helped run a tournament the morning of and it was a great event, I thought, and really enjoyed helping my teammate Tracie out. I decided I HATED the way I let my mental game get to me at the Grapevine tournament so I had thought about it and when I practiced on Sunday, I really beared down and concentrated and honestly outplayed Ryan, which I should never do.

Also, the darn straight-in draw shot had killed a few chances to win again and one day I spent 2.5 hours straight on the straight-in draw shot and although guys at the pool room gave me hints, Curt helped me the most and although I wouldn't know how it would affect me in the future, I did feel more comfortable. I lowered the back end of my cue at the same time I shortened my bridge.

Anyhow, anytime I show up at a tournament I hardly know anyone I get nervous and I was. I knew three people, Ryan, Dennis, and Ashley. Ashley is so sweet and cute. But, I initially felt uncomfortable and was glad when Ryan FINALLY showed up. They had a calcutta and I went for $100! Did I hear that right? OMG. CRAZY.

I won my first match 2-1. Whew. Squeaked by that one. Then felt more confident and knew I could win the next one and the guy beat me 0-2! I should have won, but in 8 ball, race tot 2, anything can happen and he made some shots to get out. It was then a race to 1! Last lady was looking bleak as there were two other ladies still left in the tournament. But, somehow, I won one, then two, then three, then four and five races to 1 to meet Ashley in the finals. I won the first set 2-0 and was playing really well. Going down one game, race to 1, I felt I was about to win and didn't play as well and missed three balls while she made two great shots to get out and placed 2nd. I ended up getting last lady because I beat her the first set, didn't buy half myself in the calcutta and ladies don't pay an entry fee. The guy that bought me, and nicknamed me Trigger and would yell it out as I would win my matches, gave me part of the calcutta money and 2nd place money and all of a sudden I had $90! A few more Monday nights and I should qualify for that tournament Nov 6th.

I play tomorrow night... I wonder how I will do. Will I overproject myself? Will I stay down, remain solid? I hope so and I also hope to have fun. It's a great test!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

TOT August '07, Grapevine

Tony and I played Scotch Doubles and although we breezed through the first match 4-1, I played terrible against players we should beat and we lost 2-4 the next match. We won a few more matches after that but lost against what I consider good players 4-3 or 4-2. I missed some shape and left Tony bad on several shots and lost the match for us. We placed 13th and got one-out-of the money.

But, I knew this would get me ready for the singles and I was right. I love 8ball and the 7 foot diamond tables.

I played Kathy Knuth first and was playing well and won 5-2. then I played Ashley next, a local girl that has been wanting to play against other females. I was nervous at first which caused the score to be lopsided in her favor. I tied it up 4-4 and she missed an out under the pressure but after I safely made the 8ball, I didn't consider the side pocket scratch and she won. She would end up winning the tournament and it was definitely her time to win. I was very proud and happy for her!

I then had a little while to wait and I was EXHAUSTED. Stayed up too late, got up too early the two nights before and it had an effect on me for sure. It caught up to me BAD. I played Snowy Belt and was down 3-1 and then won 5-3. I started off slow but caught a gear and somehow won, even with being so tired I could barely breathe. Then played Tara ? next and again found myself down 3-1 and won 5-3. She started to finally miss late in the rack, where at the beginning of the match her confidence was more evident. I knew if I won I could finally go to sleep and knew I could sleep close by, too, which was an incentive.

The next morning, I am running late and come flying down the hill, running with purse, banana, pool cue as I fly into the room. I swiftly walked to my table and ask my opponent if I can go to the bathroom. She graciously said yes and I was able to catch my breath. I was SO nervous I was gonna be forfeited. I got there a little after 9am.

I ran into two people that told me I could beat my opponent, Nina Stillwell. Well, the first game she played F!@#$%ing GOOD! She was, honestly, the smartest 8ball player I ran into. She won the first game and was about to be up 3-1 when she missed a shot and I got out (finally had a shot on the 5 ball) and tied it 2-2. Crucial game/miss. I was actually playing very well and was very confident and playing good. I ended up winning 5-3 I think. She had a great, contagious laugh and fun attitude and I'll never forget her. Although she played VERY smart, I just happened to be playing well.

I then played Gerry Gooden and played well again and won 5-1.

I then played Camille Madison. I think I am the better player but the better player that match was her. She told many people before the match I used to be a master player, so she brought her A-game against me and she played so well. Smart. Getting out methodically, etc. I lost my pep, and noticed I wasn't thinking so clear and my head was clogged with "exhaustion." The lack of sleep was getting to me again. Maybe I should have run down the hill before THIS match to wake up again! lol I was disappointed, but not too much because I wasn't into the match.

I placed 5th out of 44. Doesn't sound bad, really. But, pissed the mental game got me. Didn't play pool on Saturday and it cost me that crucial loss.

I practiced 2.5 hours of straight-in draw shots on Tuesday. I want to work on that part of my game. Straight in shots and draw shots are killing me and costing me. I got some tips from many at the pool room, but think the last "helper" might have found what will help me.

I'm actually very frustrated right now and need to read some mental tips from the AZB forums I have printed out and from Phil Capelle to get me ready for future matches.

I am concerned about the next tournament. I'll be going to my parent's house two/three days before the tournament and hope things go well so I will be mentally strong to be a competitor. LOL.

Until next time....

Hunter in Tulsa, July 2007

Wow. What a weekend! This is one of the events I run, so it's a busy time but I love going to Tulsa.

Took Fri and Mon off and Julie and I (another board member) headed out a little late Friday afternoon as we got in town in time (about a 5 hour drive) to meet up with a lot of friends to have dinner at the Japanese Steak House. We had to wait so long and I don't eat a lot anymore, so I was able to have leftovers for breakfast and it was PERFECT! It's probably my favorite Jap Steak House, but it really did take WAY too long and kind if ruined the whole effect.

I just got my hair done.... here is Samm and I at the JST... see how our hair is the same?

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Host unlimited photos at for FREE!

And here we are at the table... they had to split us up:
Host unlimited photos at for FREE!

On Saturday morning, 36 ladies would come to compete. Here are the brackets:

I would get a bye and then play Kelly Stanley first. I won 7-1, but I wasn't playing up to par. Before I played Helen Hayes next, I became nervous. Even though I won against her in June, I thought she was playing good and finished well two weeks earlier in Austin. I psyched myself before I even played her and play SO BADLY. I couldn't even get out correctly with ball in hand TWO times with only 3 balls left. I wasn't playing pool again. I also missed an out hill-hill because I didn't draw the 5 ball back enough, which left a straight in shot on the six ball, which I didn't make or draw back. I was sick. S I C K.

I then was called to play Jennifer Kraber right away and was just not playing well. Again, the loss of my match with Helen was still on my shoulders, consumed in my mind, and my whole face was tight with disgusted emotions. I was down 6-2 and at that point, I was finally, for whatever reason, able to let go of the previous match. Little to my surprise, I came back and won 7-6. Wow! I did miss badly on the last game and accidentally combo'd a ball, but still won.

I then had to play Monica Anderson next and really wanted to win because I would last until Sunday and gain more points for the rankings. But, I didn't try hard enough, was still jumping up, and even missed two 9-balls. She did play VERY well and deserved the win. I didn't let the loss get to me ... I just didn't play well... and I was actually very happy for Monica because she played so good and it was nice to see.

Then a group of us went to Carrabbas before heading to the casino. Dinner was a bust. People complaining and I was getting so frustrated. Life is so short, my friends! Too much bitching in life and not enough "experiencing." Also, the food was blah. Not like any other Carrabbas and that was dissapointing. I lost only $100 at the casino and was proud of myself for not playing more. :) Ran into Tara and Helen but missed Jennifer. :(

After Julie and I left, Monica hit $1,000 jackpot! Hey, I gave her a ride, where's my cut?

Second chance tournament.... defeated Debbie Watson 5-0, lost to Snowy Belt 3-5 and then lost to a Samm Diep 3-5. Snowy played very well against me. I under estimated her and/but I again wasn't playing well. Samm played GREAT. I hadn't played her before and I really like her game. She plays good and it was a joy to watch.

Julie and I then hung around until the tournament almost ended and I was able to work on some websites and was very content to get things done. Very happy! Then, Shayla graciously let us leave while she stayed for the finals and thank goodness!

So, although there were some downer moments (hypocrisies, complaining, miscommunications, etc), it was a nice mini-me vacation and I don't think I realized just how much it was needed.

Some tips from the tournament. This guy told me a very interesting story while I was walking out of the pool room on Saturday night. He told me this story of Roger Staubach (a famous quarterback for us ladies who may not know) and when a reporter asked him why he thought he was a great quarterback he paused and then replied, "I think it's because I have horrible short term memory."

OMG! Isn't that amazing?! And so true. Wouldn't we all do so much better if we could forget what just happened and therefore move on quicker?!

Another learning experience... Julia Gabriel gave me some GREAT advice when I sought her out for help. She told me to be cognizant of how I felt IN my chair because when I got to the table, I would want to be in a good frame of mind to be able to play well. GREAT advice.

Until Next Time....

Fast Eddies Tour in Austin July 2007

Went into this weekend thinking I was playing good. By Saturday night, watching so many people miss, my confidence went down. LOL. Before my first match on Sunday, I spoke with a guy , Tom, who I am sure I have seen but hadn't spoke to before. We started to talk about the mental game of pool and we shared experiences. He was talking about how we think about "status" when we play pool and we need to stay in the moment to not let that get to us.

He also said how he likes to have an opponent that plays well. Welcomes it in his mind and wants that competition.

I play my first match against Cristina Dela Garza and even though she hasn't been playing, she ran the first rack beautifully! I wasn't nervous at all, though, and knew in my heart, based on past experience, that running racks would not continue for 7 more games. I didn't really play all that good, but she missed a couple of nineballs or scratched/missed late in the rack and I was able to capitalize. However, I decided before this event I would wear my ipod, because I wanted to try it and because some of the other tours don't allow it. Instead of meshing with the music, though, I instead found myself thinking that other people were thinking I had to use it to focus. By the 3rd game, I took it off and just played pool.

I then played Heather Lloyd next. I saw in the stand a person who *I think* judges me so when I played Heather, I wasn't playing pool. Heather was missing late in the rack and playing unlike herself - thinking a lot and playing slower than I was used to. She gathered some strength and tied it 3-3 after giving me the first three games. Then she missed a nineball and although I was straight in I was thinking too much about, "I don't want to win this way." I missed the ball; probably didn't stay down, hit it too hard, etc. I have a tough time with straight in shots anyway, but I wasn't thinking about pool anyway. She was then up on me and then led the way in the match. At 6-5 or 6-4, she missed a nineball and although it was a tough leave (deliberate tough leave from a missed bank - good shot, Heather!), I missed it even though I breathed deeply as I stroked and "thought" I was thinking positive. I missed it, and left her an easy shot and she won.

I get called immediately to play my next match and I'm still affected by the previous match. I play Jennifer Kraber and I know she hasn't been playing much but she's still a threat. She is wearing an ipod, so I grab mine and we are both just zoning. I miss an out the first game and she gets out. I can feel the last match still on my shoulders - pissed I let the mental game get to me. I win the next game and in the short race to 5, I am starting to play well and take advantage of opportunities. I am up 4-2 but she gets two more games and we are hill-hill. Several misses by both of us leave me with a tricky shot on the 7 ball and I am down on the shot still trying to decide what is best to do when I pull the trigger and shoot, and don't hit a rail. LOL! She gets ball in hand and gets out. 17th place out of 34 or so.

The drive home was terrible. I was sick I let the mental game get to me in my match with Heather. Just simply sick.

However, Shayla played in the men's event and lasted a round on Sunday in the men's event!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

College Station Tournament - June 2007

Wow! It was so cool to visit College Station - the birthplace of the drinking Melinda. I went to college at Texas A&M - boy, this city has grown!

I was able to meet up with my beautiful College roommate, Nancy and it was great to see her again and catch up. I hope we have a stop every year there so her and I can hang out again!

Only 34 ladies showed up - disappointing, but I think everyone had fun. Everyone knew each other, so it was a different event than usual - almost like a family gathering (but we all got along, LOL).

Here are the results:

Here are the photos:

Here's me:

My Sunday outfit. :)

I got a bye and then played Heather Lloyd. I wasn't sure how I would play... I wasn't sure what to expect.

I missed a shot on the first two games and she got out beautifully. She was playing well. Then she missed a 9ball and things seemed to change. I played a little better, she gave me chances and before I knew it, I was up 6-5. I still do not know how, really. I wasn't playing all that good, but held in there. When I was on the hill first, I had ball in hand, noticed a draw shot from the 8 to 9 that would be coming up, but still played it (no other way out of it, or else I wouldn't have planned it up that way). As is my weakness, I didn't stay down, jumped up, hit it too hard and missed the 8 ball and my chance to win 7-5. She got out and after some safeties on the 6 ball in the last game, I played a nice one-pocket shot on the 6 and was running out, but got tough on the 8, then 9 and barely missed the 9. Still, not sad... more surprised I was able to keep it so close.

I then had a bye on the one-loss side and played Tina Lehrmann next. I played SO bad, but she missed some key shots and I was able to pull it out 7-5. I then played Monica Anderson next and played good and won 7-4. Then I played my friend Shayla and I was hoping it wouldn't be like our last meeting where we both played so terribly. I played good at first, then faltered and she started to play well and was coming back strong and playing great until an unfortunate scratch allowed me to win the last game for the 7-5 win.

On Sunday morning, I faced Helen Hayes. I knew she wasn't a morning person and she missed early in the rack on the first game but I screwed up the next two games and decided I needed to bare down. I did and played really quite well and won 7-3. Even had a break and run and a 9 on the break in that match.

The next match was just plain unbelievable. I had the upper hand - more experience in tournaments than her (Michelle Abernathy), but I started off playing SO bad. Again, the mental game got to me... I should have taken a break after the first game. Ugh. In the first game, ball in hand with only the 8 and 9 left and I couldn't get out. Ugh! She made a few mistakes and I was able to get back into the match, even after she got out amazingly for many games. She really was getting out well, banking a lot and making shots usually others don't make. But, she also missed some crucial times - late in the rack after she was up 4-2 then 5-3. At one point, I was feeling better and shooting okay when I thought too much while down on the 5 ball and instead of coming around the table nicely, I hooked myself on the 9ball! This would have been a ball in hand situation for her with 4 balls on the table and then her up 6-4. I couldn't believe it. I grabbed the bridge and it didn't feel comfortable at all. I tried to line up several ways but couldn't reach it left handed. I took my time and had to simply line up right handed and then I hit the 6 ball! She said nice hit, someone else said wow, it was amazing... I surprised myself. She ended up not getting out and it was 5-5. What a crucial shot! What a learning experience! I then really had confidence and ran out very nicely the next game and was up 6-5 when she took a break. I was running on adrenaline and it was a smart decision on her part, but I was finally playing like myself and ran out the next game very well for the win. I don't know how I won that match. I played so bad until the very end.

I then played Tara and she defeated me 7-3. Simply put - she played lights out! She was running out and playing REAL good. I only had three other chances than the three wins I managed to get from unforced errors on her part.

So, I placed 5th and was surprised and very happy!

Til next time.

Vegas, Baby

Well, it's the first day of July... 'bout time I update my blog... especially since my favorite tournament is now over (since mid-May!).

I LOVE Las Vegas and LOVE the BCA 8 Ball Championships even more. After reading Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool, I have appreciated the game of 8Ball so much more. After reading his Play Your Best 8 Ball book this year, I appreciate the game even MORE! So, to say the least, I was very excited going into this tournament.

I ended up with a scotch doubles partner that was not my husband. His name is Royce Bunnell and he is the co-owner of the OB-1 Cue Shaft. I happen to be his webmaster, but we found ourselves scotch doubles partner really by accident. Tony couldn't go at the last minute and I scrambled to find someone and there we were - each without a partner willing to give it a shot. I went into the tournament knowing I knew 8ball and didn't have any expectations. Turns out he knows 8ball, too! Boy, did we ever mesh! We sailed through the day Friday, playing 8 matches - from 9am until about 1030pm. I was exhausted, but knew ahead of time the day would be like that (the Friday of this tournament is VERY long if you remain in the tournament - back to back matches all day long).

Here are our scores:


I played brilliantly more than not and so did Royce. We made an exceptional team! The last game, we lost because of stupid errors on my part. I think I was getting tired and maybe embarrassed by the way I was playing? All I know is is it wasn't the same feeling as the whole day... and we ended up losing and we shouldn't have! But, we were guaranteed 5th place and $1,400. WOW!

When we finally played again on Tuesday evening (yes, count 'em, 4 days later), after waiting all day to find out when we played, we were up 1-0 in a race to only THREE (ugh) when the girl on the other team knocked the 8ball in out of turn. We ran out the next rack to go up 2-0 but Royce missed the 8ball - but, we ran out SO well! Royce felt so bad he missed the ball... and unfortunately they ran out and tied it 1-1. Then the next game, we each missed a shot... one I shouldn't have shot (wrong shot selection) and instead should have gone with my instincts (it was a tough shot for me, to top it off), then they got out. Then Royce accidentally scratched on the break (cueball off the table) and they ran out. They won 1-3.

I was SO nervous before the match and Royce calmed me down by saying for us to JUST HAVE FUN! I have to admit I was afraid I was gonna fall on my face, but I played good and was happy with how I played. Not many people knew we were playing because they kept moving our match time, so there wasn't a huge audience, even though I know everyone wanted to watch us. Several times throughout the day Friday many of our friends saw us play many matches well and that was really cool - we have great friends and it was awesome to talk about shots after the matches.

I am fearful of playing with him again - how do you do this well again? But, some friends have told me that we meshed so well together, that we should play again. And, Royce says his goal would be to have fun again and that keeps me calm, so maybe I will consider playing with him again.

In my singles, I went out in two. It was just plain embarrassing. I played terrible. I played like a newbie. It was like I hadn't played pool before. Even in the second chance tournament, I fell apart. I know what it is and I will work on it.... but I simply didn't play pool and let the mental game get to me. I played poker on one of the last nights in Vegas and Mr. Paul Pottier was sitting next to me and I asked him about the problem I was having. He said it was a problem many of his players have (he's a big-time instructor) and offered some advice. Afterwards, he joked, "that'll be $600... $1,000 if you use the advice." He's actually very funny and oh so knowledgeable... I wish he didn't have to go to dinner so soon that night. Someone else at the table made a comment and it was also helpful. Although I'm not being specific about my problem and the advice Paul gave me (I'm embarrassed, what can I say?)... but this girl did say that sometimes she looks at each shot as a confidence booster. I hadn't heard that before... not like that. She said, when she is struggling, she pumps herself up with little shots, little successes. A stop shot, following through, etc. Just little steps that she uses to build back her confidence. I appreciated her candor - it's not easy to talk about this stuff at a poker table in front of ten other people!

In the team event, the pressure to do well was lifted as I was not the top player on our team (Tara was the Master player) and that allowed me to just play pool. I won 14 out of 18 games... and that included two 8 balls out of turn. Wow! I was impressed when I saw those stats after we got home.

I have played a few team events before in Vegas and the experiences were horrible. This time around, it was phenomenal. My teammates were so awesome and played pool and had fun. There was no drama, no negativity, just having fun... and it made all the difference in the world and I hope to experience this again because it was such an amazing time that I will never forget. It is now a beautiful, cherished memory.

We placed 25th. :)

My dear teammates were Monica Anderson, Susan Petty, Tracie Voelkering, Kathy Knuth, Tara McCracken, Snowy Belt and myself.

So, overall, the trip was AWESOME! I was able to get to know better some new friends, had a great roommate (Heather Lloyd), spent time with dear friends, and had a fabulous time getting away from the real world for ten days. My parents didn't call too many times with issues I had to help with and it was a much needed break from everything.

This trip to Vegas will be hard to beat in the future - it was very memorable.

I LOVE 8 BALL!!! OMG, it's such an amazing game that has truly mesmerized me. I absolutely love playing it. Thanks to Phil for helping me love this amazing, intricate game.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bogies tournament, April 2007

I went into this tournament not knowing how I would play. I have had a lot on my mind lately (my Mom and Dad) and not enough time to practice diligently like I had been every Monday since August. I did practice 8 ball with Tony on the Thursday night before - if that was any thermometer, I was in big trouble! Even tho I had one break and run, I wasn't playing all that well.

I asked Monica to stay with me - we had Hunter Classics Tour things to talk about and I didn't think I needed to be alone this weekend anyway so it was perfect.

We left for the pool room early on Saturday morning and I was able to hit some balls. I hit them okay! Wow.

After the player's meeting and getting the tournament started, I had to play my friend Susan Petty first. Susan's sister was there and their Dad would show up later - it was so beautiful to see them together. Susan's Mom just recently passed away and I was glad Susan came to the tournament so she could try and escape, yet also see her family (her Dad lives in Houston and she is from the Dallas area). I played good, so did she. I got a groove though and really played well and saw the racks from a big-picture type of view for some reason. I almost saw the table as 8 ball - could it be run? duck instead of trying for low percentage shots, etc. I won 7-4.

I felt really good about my play and a little shocked! I then played my friend Tara and I had a lot of weird things happen - fouled a lot and scratched a lot. I didn't realize I wasn't mentally strong during the match until much later, but I bet that's why I lost, also.

Then I played Monica Anderson and won 7-3. I thought I played good. Then defeated Michelle Yim 7-4. I then played Rebecca Redumis and it was a rough match. I got so many rolls - every time I missed, I would accidentally hook her. It was so brutal! I told her sorry a million times; she was a good sport about it. She has been playing well, so I was sad the rolls kept me from seeing that. Then some time went by and eventually had to play my next match - against my good friend Shayla. WOW! I played terrible! My mental game was definitely out to lunch! I was thinking WAY too much and it sure hurt. I wanted to last until Sunday to make up for points lost by not going to Tulsa, but it was not meant to be.

I realized after the match though, that I have a strong mental game! I am very proud to say that! Although it wasn't there in that match because of all that I am going through... it donned on me that otherwise, I have a very advanced mental game and am very happy to have figure it out. I guess before, it just never crossed my mind if my mental game was good or not. But, now I know I do. I don't know when it will come back, but what I also figured out is that since I have so much going on with my parents, my brain is so full and mentally taxed, that I am having a difficult time using parts of my brain.

I thought I would be okay at the tournament and even looked forward to stepping away from the hardship I was going through, but I was not okay and it was extremely tough for me accept that I was not okay after all. I don't have the mental capacity to even do my things around my own house because I am doing everything for my parents. So, to help at the tournament was really rough. I don't know how I got through it all, to be honest. Even in the second chance tournament, I was out in 2. I played bad. Maybe my previous match was still carrying over? Knowing I had no mental energy/toughness? Amanda stated it looked like I didn't care and I was not staying down, etc.

Since the tournament, I have practiced 8 ball three times with Tracie and saw my parents over the weekend. I played better and better each time we played and feel confident right now. I leave for Vegas tomorrow! I am SO excited! Also, seeing my parents was good/bad. Again I am physically and mentally exhausted. I did so much for them over the weekend at their house and running errands, that I feel like I have been hit by a truck. However, my Mom is doing better, but my Dad is getting worse. :( I did spend quality time with each of them on Saturday, but I also had a 'talkin with them on Sunday morning about trying to listen more to each other and quit taking everything wrong; to say thank you to each other more; and to try and enjoy these last few years without arguing so much. I told them how much their yelling bothered me, and I was 5 hours away! So, it must really be bothering them.

Coming down to visit them, as I walk in the door they cry and say, "Smallperson to the rescue! Our new parent is here." (my Dad calls me Smallperson) However cute that may sound, however fun and ironic it may sound, being the parent, I am finding out, can be very taxing. LOL.

I love my Parents.

Vegas or Bust.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dallas Tournament or Bust

My billiards league had a singles, doubles and team tournament - a Thursday through Sunday event in Dallas, Texas this year.

I reserved a hotel room close by to save Tony and I some time from driving a lot (I played in it last year and remembered how long the days are).

I was ranked a B+ and in the singles, I had to race to 6. I was the only person who raced to 6 and placed mostly C's, who raced to 3. Ouch! What a difference. I hit some balls and was hitting them well. I played Dee Dee Holloway first and won 6-1. I played good. I then played Sherry Hickman and won 6-1 again. Then I played a nervous Denise Wilson and won 6-2. She almost won! I was in until Friday. But, on Thursday night, scotch doubles started and Tony and I played together and our first match was against a team that had to race to 4, us 6. The girl was not a C player, though, and they beat us pretty bad. Then we won one more match later that night and luckily then got a forfeit for our midnight match so we could get some sleep for our 9am singles matches the next day (Tony was still in the tournament in his A division). I played Christy Powell (a strong B player who had to go to 5) Friday morning and had her 4-1, but finally won 6-3 or 6-4. I then played Lou Earl later in the afternoon and won 6-1. I should have lost that match, but won it and that was for the winner's bracket!

During the tournament, I heard Susan Petty's Mom had passed away. I called her a week and a half ago to talk about our Mom's - I heard hers was sick, also, and thought a call with each other would be helpful. To hear she passed so suddenly (it wasn't expected) was heartbreaking. I kept my distance, but felt so much pain for her.

Tony and I played a few more scotch doubles matches and really ran through the other teams. We played well together. Then we had to start the team event. We had the best players playing, yet we lost. It didn't help Tony and I didn't win any of our games, even though we both played good. As we walked to the car to get some rest at the hotel because the team didn't play for a couple of hours (at midnight), I checked my voicemails and had 12 new messages! It turns out my mom was coughing up blood and they called 911 and she was in the ER again.

Tony and I were headed to pick up some dinner, but I lost my appetite immediately. I talked to my Mom and Dad and they told me not to come down and to win the tournament for them. What I didn't know then, was because there were so many team's there wasn't enough tables to play the singles or scotch doubles matches under Sunday, even though we heard they might have been played that Friday night after midnight.

We went back to the tournament room (in the Marriott seminar room in Dallas) and I found my captain and cried to her in a corner that I shouldn't play. She told me to leave, but my parent's didn't want me to go down right then - they wanted to see what was going on, even though my Dad had no way home and no way to get back and from from the hospital to their home (he rode in the ambulance with her).

Our captain had another A player and put him in for Tony and they let us leave before the team even began to play. It was a godsend, even though I didn't get to sleep that much. As I fell asleep in what now was a cold and lonely hotel room, I knew in my heart I was driving down the next morning and tossed and turned knowing that I'd see my Mom soon. We woke early that morning and we started to pack to go back home before my Dad even called at 7am ti suggest I come down. I was sick to my stomach. I felt so numb, more numb it seemed than last time. Coughing up blood? Oh my God, was she dying?!

I had to go to work first and get all the paperwork I had kept there from the last trip because I had to make copies. Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, etc. We had them prepared when I was down there a week ago. Was that only a week ago? Wow.

I had Tony call Monica and Francee and tell them if I can come back in time, I will play in the finals... otherwise I'd have to forfeit the scotch doubles tournament and the singles event if she wasn't discharged out of the hospital.

As I drove down there Saturday morning by myself, I cried and cried. What was happening? What was going on?

As for the tournament, I did forfeit the finals - I did not make it back at all that weekend. I had Tony look over the chart, and there were 24 women who entered the tournament. 1st was to pay $184 and 2nd $151. Tony asked the tournament director to ask Lisa (who defeated Lou Earl) in the semi finals if we could split the first and second money and both Lisa and the tournament director (Robert Tabor) agreed. So, I got $167 for 2nd. And, Tony told me a I got a plaque!! It's brutal to forfeit the finals, but it's all good.

I also found out Tony and I just slipped into the money on scotch doubles with our last win and we got $75 for 7th/8th place.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

2007 BCA Texas State Tournament

51 women total entered the BCA Texas State Tournament in Corpus Christi during Spring Break. I was the favorite going in (I found out from a couple of people before and after, lol), but I put more pressure on myself: I knew I could possibly when this tournament, wanted to have two BCA State Champs in the house (Tony won it in 2002), plus, I prepared for this tournament more than most... practiced 8 ball, went to an 8ball weekly tourney, played extra league nights and read the entire Play Your Best 8 Ball book by Phil Capelle. I definitely know 8-ball a lot better! I had read certain parts of that book and the entire 8ball section of Play Your Best Pool, but Play Your Best 8 Ball is truly worthwhile to improve your 8ball understanding.

Tracie Voelkering rode down with me for the almost 6 hour ride and we stopped at the Golden Phoenix for some Chinese food in San Antonio (my favorite Chinese buffet). The drive went smooth and actually quite fast.

The tables weren't set up to practice when we got there in the afternoon of the mostly sunny Wednesday, so I took my ipod and camera to the water. I am trying to get calm and content for the tournament. Nature helps me do this. :) Here are two photos I took:

Hotel where I stayed at is on the left, hotel that held tournament is on the right (both are the Omni).

Here's a whole row of different type of birds!

The night before the tournament someone calls me to try and have his friend take my bye. I was torn (I'm a nice person) but it wasn't my fault her captain didn't send in her entry fee, so I finally said no after some hemhawing. It was a interesting start to the event.

So, I get a bye my first match and have to play Lisa Dawson first, around 1pm. She's always been a nice person to me and I knew going into the match she was a talker and she was, but i didn't let it get to me. I was up 4-2 and let up a little and it got tied hill-hill (4-4). I had been nervous the whole match - first match of a this big tournament, I guess was the reason. I missed a shot in my run in the hill-hill game and she got to the table and started to run out but failed to pocket the second ball before the 8ball. It looked like she was already mentally shooting the next ball and forgot to focus on this one. My only option was a long rail bank on my troublesome stripe and I nailed it and the next three balls for the out. Whew. What a win! Lisa said under her breathe after the bank, "that was the game winning shot."

My next match was against a really nice woman named Pauline Plata. She had already won two matches, so I needed to bare down. I was up 3-2 and was shooting well at first but made some mistakes in the middle of the set before finally winning 5-3. Luckily, she made more mistakes than I did.

I then played another nice girl, Jacque Smith from Amarillo. She is due in May and so her and her unborn child were trying to beat me! She played really, really good. At 2-2, she was running out and I thought to myself, "it's okay if I don't win, at least I'm playing good," and she misses. I couldn't believe it! I then get out that game and two more to win 5-3. The other game she won I failed to hit a rail after a soft safe and she got out, otherwise, I played pretty darn sporty.

This meant I was in until Friday - final 8 on the winner's side. I played at noon the next day and so I had time to go to dinner with Beth Shriver and Tracie Voelkering at Water Street Grill and had some fried shrimp. Also, Tracie bought me a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri - I would drink those when I hung out with her at the Aladdin in Vegas. :) It was a pleasant surprise when she offered to buy me a drink. :)

I played Sheryle Johnson the next day at noon (she was also from Amarillo) and I knew she played well because she had beaten Tracie the night before. I got up early that morning (to go pee-pee) and noticed the sun was about to rise and I ran downstairs with my camera and ipod and watched the sun rise while I took photos of it and some birds and some boats, all the while listening to some great music. I was extremely calm and content, just what I needed for the tournament.

The sunrise.

It's difficult to see, but there are even pelicans around this ship!

See many MORE photos here from each day I vegged at the water front.

I hit a few racks while listening to my ipod about 30 minutes before I played my noon match. This sums up the match with Sheryle: I played lights out. She missed an 8ball the first rack and I finished off my balls (after getting to the table twice). Then I ran several racks, played excellent safeties, and just played damn good. I didn't let up at all and really bared down and kept saying to myself how many games I needed to win. It felt great! I won 5-0.

Then had to wait several hours to play for the hot seat (my first time to do that). I waited out the time in this really nice bar-type area that more-so looked like a sunroom and just vegged and listened to my music. Tracie sat with me and we talked. She witnessed me go through all the emotions - nervousness, excitement, confident, worried, calm, happy, etc. I just wanted to play well, in the end I would like the win, but I really just wanted to play well and not fall on my face. I was reading over my notes and trying to remain calm but while sitting there with the sun on my face, the great ipod music in my ears, I was still nervous about the possibility of this title.

I think that's what separated this tournament from others - it was a title tournament. Not just a possible tournament win, but a TITLE win - if you win something like this, it's with you forever. Like Tony, he will always be known as the 2002 BCA Texas State Champion.

I went to hit balls 30 minutes before my hotseat match with Kim Pierce and I was hitting the balls really well! We started our match and Monica, Susan and Linda show up right when we began so that was really special to me - they just drove in from Dallas (Monica is staying with me and I have the another room for the other two girls) and we are all teammates for this weekend. Kim was being kind of loud after each game she won for the whole tournament (she had been high-fiving her friends after each GAME [not match]), but during our match she was not doing that, even though ironically I was prepared for it - like Cristina says, it's good to know your opponent. Kim broke the first game but didn't make anything and I ran out! OMG! I was confident and playing well. The next game I had a tough out and so did she. After one of her misses, my tough out proved too much and I missed a long rail cut shot and she got out. Same thing happened in the next game and she was up 2-1. I was all of a sudden not thinking, and she was gaining confidence. She seemed nervous the first time she got to shoot (in the second game when I came up dry on the break), but my misses allowed her confidence back in the game. I ran out a nice run in the next game but missed an 8 ball and she got out and was up 3-1. I was unsure of the 8ball and should have got back up and should have realized I was thinking too much while down on the shot, but I shot it anyway and missed. I didn't realize until the next morning that's why I missed that shot (and more to come). The next game I played a good safe and had a 4 ball out with ball in hand. As I'm shooting a 5 ball up the table, I am telling myself, "maybe this isn't the shot - maybe this should be the key ball." I shoot it anyway and I fall short and out of line for my next shot. Instead of playing safe (not a good option was available, but I honestly didn't look long) I went for the shot and missed and she got out. Now she's up 4-1. She actually ran out the next game very beautifully, even making an almost impossible shot on the 6 ball for the win and that sealed her win with a score 5 to her, me only 1. I was just sick. My confidence that was there the first three games went away. I realized also the next morning I wasn't in my "3 more games" mode or wanting to win. Again, like in my Amateur Nationals key match, I was trying to "stay alive" instead of playing pool or wanting to win. My whole head was foggy and I wasn't thinking clear.... especially not like I had been earlier that day when I won 5-0 just four hours earlier. I never thought to myself that I was playing for the hot seat or how big the match was or anything like that. I also wasn't nervous (trust me, I know what that feels like). I just wasn't thinking clear starting with the 4th game. Afterwards, my stomach was in knots because I was so embarrassed with how I played. Maybe that was on my mind? I don't remember thinking anything about that in the match, though (afterwards, very much so). I was just ... foggy. It's so hard to describe. But, I wasn't thinking about the "process of playing pool" that helped me place 5th in Florida. I have thought about it over and over trying to figure out how to even describe what happened.

I then only had a couple of hours to play in the semi final match. We set up the room situation for my teammates and then I did my same routine: Hit balls about 30 minutes before my match while listening to my ipod and really tried to get in-tune with the tournament environment, like what worked for me at the RTC in Jan in FL. I was confident, comfortable, happy, enjoyed the environment, felt the love around the room, etc.

But, the same thing happened in the semi finals against Ricki Casper. However, this time, I had vocal supporters (that was really cool, too!). But...I was again foggy in my head and not thinking clear at all. I looked like an amateur, one that didn't deserve to be playing in the semi finals. Ugh! I tried to walk back to my chair positive after each "amazingly un-Melinda-like miss or shape" and honestly didn't let it get to me... I just tried to remain in the game, but I wasn't trying to win again - I was trying to stay alive, the same as the previous match...not thinking right. I was playing smart 8ball, but my errors were because I hit the cueball wrong - it seemed like my arm wasn't attached to my body... it wasn't listening to my head and had a mind of its own. I would hit balls too hard or too soft. It was just weird. So, after losing 5-1 again, I placed 3rd and received a little plaque and $320. Got my picture taken, too. :) Kim went on to win the second set of the double elimination set against Ricki Casper.

Several people said I should have beat Ricki, others said, "heard you had Ricki." Nice comments to someone who already knew that. LOL. I walked around all night with my cute plaque and told everyone, "look - I placed 3rd. Third sucks." Now, however, I am very proud. I still had to beat players to get where I did. Yea, I didn't play my best in the end and it was a huge missed opportunity in my life, but I hope to learn from my fogginess for the future.

Here's my plaque!

I went into this tournament knowing the conditions may not be right. I didn't let that affect me. I was proud of myself for knowing ahead of time that things may not go as planned but not to let it affect my game (no lights over the tables, times not on matches early on, matches not starting on time, etc.) so that is a good thing that I didn't let distract me from playing pool. I have learned you shouldn't waste energy on conditions you can't change.

I was bitter the morning after, embarrassed and upset, but as the morning went on, I realized it just wasn't my time to win, for whatever reason - even if the reason was because I didn't play well. Sometimes people win because of other's mistakes and in this case, I was that help. I have had my share of good rolls and bad play against me... I just wish I would have played better, like I had that same morning.

The team event the next two days were a lot of fun! I enjoyed this team more than most I have been on. No drama, just playing pool and enjoying to be able to play. We only won one match, but we won 10-1. Ouch! :) We had a good team, but a few bad rolls (including me not winning enough games) stopped our run. I still so enjoyed the team and also getting to know my teammates more. Spetty, Linda and Monica are such great ladies!

I knew I was ready to play and I am happy about my knowledge of the game of 8ball. I have more to learn (I learned some during our team event, too) so that is awesome. In Vegas, in May at the BCA Nationals, I need to have a goal. Maybe it will be to try and get into the money, have fun, and focus on my shot routine. I also want to play in mini tournaments... maybe just scotch doubles so I can have help. LOL!

I went through a lot of emotions while driving home alone. I tried not to think of the missed shots during my hotseat and semi final matches - when in the end each those matches should have been at LEAST 3-3. Doesn't mean I would have won, but still. This was a huge missed opportunity. Will I have one in the future? Many say yes, but it's not a guarantee.

I stopped by my parents house on the way home and my Dad was proud of me for 3rd place. My Mom was not feeling well - she had the flu or something, we weren't sure.

I realized on the drive home that this isn't the end of the world. It would have been nice, and thinking that I could be the BCA Texas State Champion is pretty heart wrenching, but truly, 3rd place isn't bad and it isn't the end of the world, just a huge missed opportunity.

I want to figure out the fogginess. I jokingly thought, "Maybe I need a flowchart. When I am foggy, do this. When I'm nervous, do this. When I'm ahead, do this." LOL. Maybe it isn't really a bad idea! I just need to recognize when I'm going through that and then work on changing it. That's the key - recognition. During those matches, I didn't know what I was going through.

After some thought/discussion after the event, I think I figured out what I was doing: I was down on the shots thinking too much. I hardly ever do that, so what I describe as "fogginess" is really new to me because I don't normally think while down on the shot. Maybe I did that during most of the tournament but more opportunities didn't arise the final two matches so it wasn't as noticeable throughout the entire event? I don't know. I have been concentrating so much on my shot routine, this is all coming as a surprise. But, I am hoping this realization will help for the future (if that is what happened). If I start thinking while stroking (like, "don't hit it too hard or you will be on the rail" or "don't hit it to soft or you wont get shape"), I need to recognize it and get back up and decide what I am going to do and then get back down. Again, it was like my arm wasn't connected to my body or thoughts and that I was thinking too much while down on the shot. I know that sounds the opposite of "fogginess" though, LOL! I just don't know if I did this in the past... maybe the fast cloth on the small table made this show up more? I am just not sure, even as I write this. Nevertheless, I just need to get back up if I am talking to myself while down on a shot. Sounds so easy. LOL. :) I also need to bare down and remember the process of playing pool. Get in the mode I was in when I won 5-0... "X more games left, don't let up, stick it to 'em, etc."

Truly, simply, I was embarrassed.

Consistency is a true gem... anyone know where I can find that rare stone?

Until Next time....