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!