Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dallas OB Tour Stop

Mood, mood, how do I describe the tournament over the weekend? AutoPilot.

A group of players met at Babe's Friday night - a restaurant I had never been to, but decided I should go because I needed to get out of the house. Of course, when I first heard the name, I wondered if it was a strip club, but to my surprise, it was a down-home cookin' type place with GREAT food!


Babe's was FANTASTIC! 17 of us showed up and here are some photos of the rambunctious time (intermixed with AWESOME food!):

Before the food.

Samm, chowin' down!

Full tummies!

This was a sign at the restaurant. For some reason, this really makes me smile!

Here Amanda and I are trying to capture a photo of ourselves with a camera phone - you know you've seen so many silly females doing this! It's pretty cool seeing myself on the "other" side of this silliness! Thanks to BigTruck for capturing this great shot!

And here is the outcome - not too good, huh?

Saturday morning comes, and we have 52 women enter the tournament! This is the 4th stop of the OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball Tour and it's been a couple of months since our last stop so we are all excited!

I run the Player's Meeting and I stumble for words the first few minutes, then grab a gear and run with it like I like to do.

Player's Meeting

I forget my new camera (darn it!) and have to use my old one and capture players before the tournament and then later on during the day. I took photos not only of the OB Ladies Tour but also of the mini-men's tourney going on at the same time on the 5 nine-foot Diamond tables.

I play my first match and I'm up 3-0. I feel a little bad and yet exhilarated that I am playing well. So, I overly-confidently shoot a 9-ball in the side and miss it. To my surprise, my opponent starts missing less while I make more mistakes and she wins 4 in a row! I try to remain in the moment, but am a little shell shocked about what is going on. I then scramble my way to get even and we stay even until we both get on the hill. I win the case game and walk away shaking my head at what almost coulda shoulda woulda happened.

I then plan really good my next match, but not really! I run out well to the 9-ball (I mean, REALLY well down to the 9 ball) and feel REAL good about my play as I carelessly dink the 9 that was on the rail and missed it. It didn't really surprise me - I didn't think about how I needed to hit the shot, instead, I forgot I needed to pay closer attention to it. When balls are on the rail, I miss them because I'm truly not sure how to cinch them yet. The next game, I run beautifully to the 7 ball, see my out, but also see that I have another rail shot staring me in the face. I miss it! Ouchie! I am down 0-2 instead of being up 2-0. I try so hard not to think about these crucial errors, and I try to get into my present thoughts and tell myself it's not over, even though she was playing well. I finally got on the board I think at 4-1 and am happy. Whew! I got on the board! I play some strong safes and shots, and there are a few games that go many innings, and it was a good match, but I lost 7-5. I true heartbreaker because I really was playing pretty well and if I wouldn't have missed those two similar shots in the begining, it could have been me having a somewhat good draw on the winner's side. Well, I know it will just push me to ace those rail shots, though!

I then played a new girl next - and I was playing close to a rowdy table. Even though I knew them, the smoke was getting to me and I felt like they were right behind me, watching me over my shoulders. In other words, I wasn't focused on MY pool game, more so thinking about what they were watching and subsequently thinking. I scratched on two nine balls, and missed another. Next thing you know, I'm no longer ahead's tied 2-2 and then I'm down 2-4. I finally tell myself to stop making mistakes and play smart and play P O O L. I then win 7-4.

I then let something stupid upset me right before I play my next match. It's truly inevitable that I may let something upset me because I help run the tournament, so it's okay when it happens, but sucks at the same time. Good mental tests, though!

I start off by missing a 9 ball in my next one-loss side match, the very first game. Then I miss the 6 ball and then another ball in the third game. Down 0-3 because of my mistakes. Ugh! I tell myself to STOP thinking about what happened earlier. Let it go and focus on the match in front of me. I can feel my blood pressure lower and I try to stay down, follow through and know in my heart I have time to still compete in this match. Wow - did I ever! I won 6 games in a row by playing well! My opponent won one more game but I sealed the win 7-4. It was another successful mental match for me! I stopped the chatter in my brain and stopped thinking of those around me and started to think of the shots in front of me (not what upset me before the match).

I then played my roommate for the weekend, Tara "FireCracker" McCracken. I'm running out the first game and have to bank the 3 for shape and miss. She gets out. The next game I miss the two and she gets out. Then she breaks and runs. She rolls out the next game and I run out to a 6/9 carom. Then she breaks and runs. Two more games, she gets out from my dry break. I lose 1-7. She has no fear when she plays me and so she plays me very strong. She didn't do that the match before and after ours, but that makes me see it's okay.

Me, on Saturday.

So, I place 17th and just limped "in" the money. I felt like I played ALL day and for my efforts I don't make much upward progress in the point standings. Ugh - oh well. Still, great learning experiences and things to work on. :)

That night I think to myself if there are too many in the Second Chance tournament on Sunday, I don't want to play - I want to get back home at a decent hour Sunday night.

The next morning I order some yucky breakfast and then see there are only 17 women in the tournament and decide, "what the heck, I'll play." The Second Chance tournament is for the player's who are out of the Main Event by Sunday. That's me!

I get a bye, then win (barely) 4-3 against fellow Board Member (and recent Birthday girl) Monica Anderson. She was playing well and taking advantage of my mistakes. I ran the last rack well to win. Whew. I then played another fellow Board Member, Julie Stephenson, and she was playing really well and it went hill-hill... but the pool gods were with me and allowed me to break in the nine double hill. Whew! I then played DeAnn Bray Warner and won 4-0.

For the hotseat, I played Kim Pierce next... and in front of that table of smokers again. I was up 3-0 and again felt a little bad and also started to make mistakes as I started to shoot over confidently. Eeek! (I see a pattern here!) She tied it 3-3 and was playing better and pocketing the balls well after my misses. She missed a bank on the 7 hill-hill and I made the last balls and won the set. Whew. Almost slipped by me again.

Kim Pierce, at Babe's

I ate some nachos and waited for the finals. I was about to hit some balls before the match, but got side tracked chatting with friends and before I knew it, I was up without "warming up." I played DeAnn again and I made some stupid mistakes and it was tied 1-1. I didn't want to go down making stupid mistakes and told myself to play P O O L. I then started to play really, really good - shooting "like a guy" (for me, that means stroking the ball with authority, instead of playing timid). I won 4-1 and felt exceptional about my play! My friend Amanda came over and was watching me and that felt great and a lot of other friends congratulated me after the win for my play - the match was in front of everyone along with the finals of the main event (where Bonnie Plowman double dipped Lisa Marr). It felt good to play well. I need to do this on SATURDAYs - LOL!

Until Next Time.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thanks for Coming

That's how I felt at my most recent tournament: "Thanks for Donating," is more like it. :) . Why? Because I was out in two. Although, I lost each match only hill-hill!! hehe. Description of my feelings about this tournament: Hope. Why? Read below - I really did have a good experience.

Fast Eddies Billiards, College Station, Texas

I obviously still have a lot to learn (that's why pool and life are so wonderful!), but I did make some important strides (in my two whole matches! lol).

My first match, I played the eventual winner, Amanda Lampert.

Amanda Lampert, the winner, photo taken early Sunday morning.

I was down 0-2 - she was playing SO well! Then a few misses by her allowed me to win two games and it was 2-2. I was not in a good frame of mind because I let some things get to me. At 3-5 her, I make a conscious effort to have fun and enjoy myself - because I was going down a bad, dark, fast path to nowhere and was not playing well because of it. To my surprise, I started to enjoy the match more after I made that decision to myself. To be able to overcome and turn around such strong emotional feelings during a match, was a great feeling of success. Even though I lost 7-6 because I didn't smoothly stroke the 8-ball to win, the other learning experience was I really am cable of "reversing" my emotions. More importantly, I am happy to report that I could recognize during the match that I needed to do something about my emotions. I don't know how successful I will be at this in the future (I bet I will get more practice, tho!), but it was nice to recognize it early AND do something about it. Amazing!!

My next match, all I did was goof up - make poor decisions and found myself trying to catch her coin instead of playing P O O L. I tried hard to bare down and play well, but I was still making too many errors and in a race to 5, it's too short of a race to take things for granted and not stick to your powerfully important pre-shot routine.

I managed to get some photos of the guys division before we started our tournament Sunday morning: Click HERE. Good thing I took the photos before the girls played, because after I lost, I took my hardly-used pool cue back and drove my a$$ back home.

And I here I am, right outside College Station, Texas, stopping by to get me some fast food. I have that, "why are you taking my photo right now?" look.

Until Next Time.