Sunday, January 28, 2007

First Hunter Event of 2007

69 women showed up for our first hunter event of the season. What an amazing showing! I was stressed trying to get everything ready, but showed up in Austin, husband in tow, at my friend Shayla’s house around 11:15 pm. Some Alka-Seltzer plus ensured I would sleep well… rested up enough to get ready for the tournament. Little did I know, the rest was much needed for the day that was about to come.

I didn’t know what to expect this tournament – placed so well last weekend in Florida, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to place well in this one also, but lingering over my head was the fact I HAD to leave Austin NLT than 4pm on Sunday to catch a flight for work. So, I was kind of already pressed for time just going to the tournament.

After signing up all 69 women and getting the room ready, I helped run the player’s meeting and then we got things started. I got a bye, then played my friend and fellow board member Monica Anderson. She got up on me 3-1. My goal this tournament was to again focus on my pre shot routine. Well, that wasn’t happening. Anyhow, I capitalized and started focusing more and then was up 6-3 before winning 7-4. Then I had to play my league captain, Francee Moore. I was so happy to see she showed up! But, sad I won 7-1. She’s a sweetheart and takes good care of our team. We appreciate her so much.

I then had to play the woman who traveled all the way from the Netherlands to play! I almost forced her into three fouls in a row in the very first game, but she kicked well the last kick and hit the 1-ball. I need to practiced my lock-up shots more – if I would have locker her up closer to the 4-ball, she wouldn’t have been able to kick at the 1 ball. Then I missed a tough but make-able 1 ball and worried more about shape – and then she ran out from my mistake. On the next game, I’m trying to get to the 6 for a 9-ball combo and again too worried about shape and miss. I won a couple more games after that, though, and played much better. At 2-3, her, we stumbled heavily onto an issue with a foul. Many, many minutes later and much discussion, I get ball in hand and made a 6-9 combo. Then I ran out three balls to secure my next win when she accidentally hooked herself behind an 8 ball. Up 4-3, still feeling bad about the foul incident, wondering if I will make my flight, etc… turned into wasted thinking. She broke and ran the next rack and tied the score at 4-4. Then she won the next game, running from the 2 ball after a nice break out shot. Then, she broke and ran again! When I came up dry on the break the next game, she ran out. Wow! She didn’t play as good in the beginning, but she sure came with it after the foul incident. She defeated me 4-7. When I left the tournament on Sunday afternoon (as I write this), she was playing my friend Shayla (excellent tournament, Shayla!) for the hot seat.

Then I played Lisa Marr next. After the third or fourth game, we realize the score is messed up. We talk about it for a while, and finally decide it was 2-1, her, not 3-1. We both felt comfortable with that, and moved on, but it did take energy trying to figure it all out, and stopping both of our rhythms. In the middle of the match, Monica (who was the only board member not in a match) comes up to me and tells me about an incident with one of the players. I give her my opinion, she was handling it well, and left. After another game, she comes back and asks if I can talk to the player. I ask Lisa if I can leave my match and she understands, even though she would rather have my full attention and best game (she’s so sweet!). I finally get back to the match and Lisa and I start up again. I do talk to Monica a few times in between games because the topic is still on my mind. I think I finally lost like 7-4. I then didn’t have to worry about tomorrow and my flight! I also placed 17th out of 69 women. Doesn’t sound like much, but I was still happy, even though I didn’t meet my goal to focus on my pre shot routine.

However, I was simply exhausted. I am the facilitator at work for situations all the time and so asking me to help was a good thing, but it was still mentally exhausting, with the foul incident, then the score issue, and then the complaint. I ate a nice dinner with Shayla and Corey and I called Monica that night and told her she handled it well and was sorry she had to be on the receiving end of the complaint, though (that’s never fun).

Some friends mentioned they didn’t like it that I had to leave my match, but that’s what being a board member is all about. Helping. Plus, I wasn’t playing good enough to deserve the win anyway… not thinking about my pre shot routine (darn it).

I didn’t play in the second chance tournament on Sunday, but I got there as the doors opened and got everything set up for the other board members because I left Saturday night earlier than normal. Then I took photos, got the charts set up (38 ladies in the second chance tournament!) and then copied music from my friends Natalie and Tara because I received my much-wanted ipod just this week! I will set it up probably this coming up weekend. I am so excited!

Jillian, Monica, Me and Natalie

So, the tournament went very well – had some wonderful comments about the how well the tournament is run and that it is fun – and that’s what we care about most – Pool and Fun. Although some issues came up, that comes with the territory and I welcome the challenge to help prepare me for any “next times” that may occur.

Found out at the tournament I may go to bca state and play on a women’s team and if so, will sharpen my 8ball skills before I go. I’m still so excited about the way I am playing, but can’t wait to go practice again! I won’t be able to for two weeks, and that seems so long! My next tournament isn’t until March 3-4, though, so I’ll have time to practice and feel comfortable.

RTC Jan 2007

Went to the 2007 Regional Tour Championships at the end of Jan in Florida. My friend Amanda I flew out of Dallas together and arrived in Tampa in time to check in to the hotel and get a few hours our practice in before the Player’s Meeting on Friday night. Our dear friend Natalie Mans was suppose to travel with us, but she got bronchitis and needed to stay home. While I was practicing in the lovely room in Spring Hill, FL, I started to feel like I was out of my element. What was I doing here? These girls are so much better than I am. It didn’t help I wasn’t practicing well, but then started to feel my groove and started playing good. I just focused on my pre shot routine, friends kept walking in that I knew, and I was in a good mood and happy and playing well… it was a nice feeling and I got over what the tournament was – all the top women of each of the regional tours competing. We practice some more and after we found out what time we played and who on Saturday morning, we left to try and get a good nights sleep. I was up first at 10am, and Amanda didn’t play until 11am.

I played D. Morris first and she missed a 7 ball on the first game and I got out. Then she scratched on the break and I was then up 2-0. I missed a 4 ball and she got out the next game. She ran out the next game and tied the match at 2-2. I then broke and made 4 balls on the break and made a nice out to go up 3-2 (oh my goodness, I broke and ran!). She tied it at 3-3. At one point I dogged an 8-ball, trying to draw back. Jumped up and hit too hard- no smooth stroke to be found (old Melinda showing up). After a couple of missed 9 balls by her, she would leave me good though and I missed them as well. She is up 4-5, then 5-6. I get out very nicely and tie up the match at 6-6. One more game to go. She misses the 3 ball and I got for it, planning to play safe on a tricky 4-ball. Well, I get far down enough on the table and what do you know, the 4 ball goes in the side. I make the 5 ball and leave a tough 6 ball shot, but make it, leaving a tougher 7 ball shot. But, I take my time (maybe too much time?) and make both balls beautifully to set me up for the 8 and 9 for the win. My friends are watching and it was nice to hear everyone saying I ran out nice for the win.

I then played my good friend Bonnie Coats next. I wasn’t nervous at all. Even though she’s a good player and won it last year, I was just going to focus on my pre shot routine (my goal for the tournament). She gets up on me 2-3, I am playing okay. I decided to make a few comments and enjoy the game, talk a little… I didn’t realize it made me feel comfortable until later and as I reflect back. At 3-5 her, she’s about to make a 7 ball that I missed and I just sit there and tell myself, “it’s okay, you are doing well. Smile.” So, I sat there and smile, being content with the world. I couldn’t believe it, but she missed it. I get out. That’s a huge game – instead 3-6, it’s now 4-5. I then make a 4-9 combo and after she scratches on the break the next, there’s a 3-9 combo to be made. So, I’m up 6-5. She gets out a nice rack the next game and ties it up 6-6. Again, hill-hill and one more game to go. I didn’t have a shot to play safe or make the 4-ball, because the 9-ball was in the way of one of the pockets. I look at it for a while and decide it’s my only shot and I go for it. I get real lucky, and the 4 ball gets tied up and Bonnie barely has a peak at it. She clips it to try and get the 4 away from the 9 and the cueball is at the other end of the table. I look at the carom and decide the cueball could easily go into the pocket (instead of the 9 ball). After making up my mind to go for it, I jacked up to slide over to the 9 and I made it! I couldn’t believe it. Again, lots of my friends watching and it was cool to hear them say it was a nice win and going for some shots were the ones they would have gone for.

I then played Leslee Blakie next. She had just defeated my good friend Sherry, so I wanted to get her for both of us. But, I didn’t play well and sold out a few games and she won 5-7.

I then waited around for a while and finally got to play Susan Mello. She’s a semi pro, so I had no expectations, except to focus on my pre shot routine. I was up 3-0 and she was real frustrated. I made some combos early on after some scratches and balls in hand. I could have started a 3-foul run at that point, but felt bad and didn’t execute it well. Well, should not have let up! She tied the match 3-3. When it was 5-5, I told myself as she was running out after one of my misses, “it’s okay, just smile, you’ve done well.” She missed the 9 in the side though, and I go up 6-5. Then I’m running out and she’s seeing it’s over (as am I) and I miss a straight in 8 ball that I had to use a long stop shot on and I hit it bad and miss. She gets out and it goes hill-hill. I’m practically shaking because the missed 8ball was a killer. I am running out again and have to use a bridge for the 8 ball and don’t get high enough on the 9ball. I have to bank it and I miss, but leave her a tough long table bank shot. She misses and leaves me a long, straight-in, table length shot on the 9 ball. I decided to make this one. I don’t take a lot of time, but I focused on my stroke, paused, looked at the 9 last, smooth stroke, and nailed it. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. Most of my friends were busy or gone, but I was so happy for myself. My adrenaline was pumping so much because I dogged that 8ball so bad! I then played Jessica Barnes next and played real good against her. My adrenaline had lowered, but left me extremely calm and confident, and I won 7-3. I was in to Sunday! A late night didn’t allow me my (self)-required 8 hours, but I got about 6 hours and tried to wake up as we drove to the pool room. At this point, Amanda is still on the winner’s side!

I play dawn Fox first and know she’s playing good, but she missed late in the rack and I got out and had many good games (I think, so). At 6-5 me, I deliberately set up a 5-9 combo because it was a tough out and I didn’t want her to get on the hill with me. I took my time (per my friend Tara) and nailed it beautifully. Off to another match! I played Susan Williams next. Another semi-pro. I again just wanted to focus on my pre shot routine. It was back and forth and tied at 5-5, we were put on the shot clock. I was glad – I was playing too slow. At 5-5, she scratches on a tough 8 ball and I get out. Then I get out the next game (got bad on the 9ball, but still made it – stayed down and didn’t hit it hard). So, I was guaranteed 5th place at this point. I place Nicole next – I don’t know what happened – I had my water and a fruit bar (but green apple, not blue berry) and I just don’t play the same. I’m more aware of the audience and not playing well, and definitely not focusing on my pre shot routine. She played better than any other player I played that tournament. Found out later she used to be a pro and I see why – she has a great game. I lost 7-2 I think. But, feel extremely happy for my finish and play. Very proud of myself. Very. [Check out the brackets!]

My friend Amanda ended up winning the tournament! I was so proud of her. And my good friend Heather placed 3rd. I enjoyed the company all weekend and it was great to see so many friends from all across the country, and to make some new friends.

On the way back, a cancelled flight and awesome help from a AA employee got us first class seats on two legs of a flight back and we got in by 7pm Monday. Great weekend. A Few hiccups, but overall a wonderful weekend in my journey in life.