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.