Friday, July 18, 2008

Austin Was Huge!

Description of weekend: Thankful

Yep, the Fast Eddie's Tour made it's way to hot, hoppin' Austin, Texas on the weekend of July 12th. 115 players entered the open and 28 women entered the women's event. The women's event was held on Sunday, but my road partner (Amanda) and I drove down Saturday morning so we could sweat the action in the Open event.

One of the A/C units was broken, so there were a lot of complaints and whinin' men, but it gave me the opportunity to test my mental toughness. As I have learned through many books and online forums, one thing one can do to prepare yourself for tournaments is to accept the conditions. I knew going into Sunday for my tournament it would be very warm, but only a few times did I let it get to me. I mostly focused on pool and was very happy about that.

On Saturday, I called in the LARGE brackets to so fans and family could follow the action from their computer screens. The open brackets are here. I also took my new camera (Canon 40D with a 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with Image Stability (IS).) I love my new camera! So, there I was, snapping photos and calling in bracket information while I said my hello's and watched some matches. By the time our good friend Gordy finished his last match,

Gordy Vanderveer, from Dallas

many players were headed to another pool room to gamble. I was too tired to go! It was only about 10 o'clock but I was exhausted just from walking around! It was comical, really, but I was able to grab some good shut eye. Amanda came to the room only an hour or so later and gave me updates on all the match-ups.

In the morning, Amanda and I stopped by Taco Cabana for breakfast. I really wanted some eggs and hash browns and toast and bacon, but she was craving breakfast tacos. So, I decided to not be selfish and have a bean and cheese taco that I get there and then also ordered an egg and potato breakfast taco, that she recommended. I have to say, as I ate that taco sitting in Fast Eddie's, I was pleasantly surprised! I am proud yet embarrassed to admit that was my first-ever potato and egg taco. Ah, another food item I now like! :) Life is good.

I then hit some balls and warmed up while I listened to my ipod. My good friend Shayla stopped by my table and we chatted for a while. It was VERY nice to catch up and talk with her. We chat all week online, but talking in person reminded me of the "olden" days when we lived closer and spent more time together.


Later on, after I would be out of the tournament, I explained to her I am still working on conditioning when I practice once a week by myself - specifically, staying down and following through. She told me a great thing to work on! She told me that when I practice I should try to accentuate my movements for my muscle memory - i.e, extend my time staying time, stay down until the cue ball stops, follow through more than normal, etc. I was SO excited with this new found info to help my mechanics. That is why I practice by myself so much - to work on conditioning. Well, that's why this memory muscle tip she gave me was so exciting to me!! Another arsenal in the vault to help my game - and one I really needed.

So, back to the tournament. I play Cristina Dela Garza first. I was excited to play her and ready for the competition. Well, I miss late in the rack the first two games and am down 0-2! I then tell myself to bear down and I win 4 games in a row to go up 4-2. I am not breaking too well and it becomes very obvious on game 7. She 3-fouls me. However, they weren't simple safes, they were lock-tight, jam-up hooks! Next game, I try and break out the two with the 1 ball, but I hook myself and don't hit the stupid little blue two ball with my one-rail long kick. I see the table tied up - not a runable rack at all - and my adrenaline starts moving through my body as I see another safe coming. Sure enough, she hooks me two more times in a row and 3-fouls me again! Oh boy. In the next game, I don't break well again and another messed up lay of the land on the green felt leads to another safe. The 3ball is lined up for a potential 9-ball combo and she makes it and goes up 5-4. On the tenth game, there's another mess of the balls. I decide I'm not going to risk this again and after a safety by her, I break up the mess by deliberately fouling (I couldn't kick my way out of the good hook anyway) so the balls spread out for a potential run. I think to myself, maybe she will not be able to run out, since she has mostly been playing safe. She gets bad on the 9, but it's make-able, but she misses it and allows me to tie the match at 5-5. In the next game, I find myself on a tricky 7 ball - can't remember now what she shot to allow me the opportunity back at the table - but I study it for a while and decide to shoot it in the side for shape on the 8, instead of playing it in the far corner. Well, I made the right decision, but didn't stay down or take my time with the shot and missed it! Ugh! So, I'm down 6-5 and she gets out well the next rack for the win. Her hooks won her the match and I told her how impressed I was (her and I are friends). She shows me later the tip her coach taught her and I store it mentally in my brain and I am happy with this new found knowledge. She would end up in third place.

I then played a really nice woman who was new, Raylene. She really knew her stuff -shot shots most newbies don't know. I tell her this after I win and she tells me she has a coach - the same one Cristina has! His name is Rod Gustafson and is a BCA Master-level coach in Austin. And, he's a great guy, too!

I play another new woman next, Carrie. It was an interesting match. She was very nice, but was so new she would tell me good luck before every game before we broke. I ended up getting into several discussions of three foul with her, which really threw me off trying to explain to her the two fouls in a row she was on several times, but I finally won 5-4. Way too close for comfort, honestly.


I then played Leslie Anne Rogers. She went up 4-0 right away due to two quick combos and two missed very long, straight-in orange five-balls that I missed. But, I didn't give up, and won three more games before she three fouled me to win 3-5. I admit I did get frustrated with my misses on the five balls and at one point let my cue drop loudly in disgust against the counter. I was pissed for missing those balls. Ugh!

Here are the women's brackets. Amanda would win the tournament and she played well to get there. I was very happy for her and also happy for Helen Hayes getting second.

I enjoyed watching Amanda come from the one-loss side to win the tournament... while I sat with Bev who is a great coach herself from Austin. I enjoyed her genuine comments and also enjoyed talking about the mental aspects of the matches that were unfolding in front of us.

Amanda Lampert

Amanda and I dragged our tired a$$es from Austin to Dallas at 1230 at night and got in around 4am. It was a long, tired, Monday at work for us! But, it was a good, learning experience weekend for me; and I would realize later this weekend away from the real world did me good! I didn't realize how much I needed a break, to get away, so I could get my mind back into the right mode to help my Mom.

Until Next time.

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