Saturday, October 25, 2008

SWAT #2 of 2008

I had been waiting for this tournament for so many months. This is the tournament I won back in February - my first 2-day tournament win ever. :) They had to cancel the July stop but held onto the October date and after a few changes, it was luckily still held but in a new pool room instead of a convention center. I was happy they still held the tournament, coming up with alternative solutions instead of canceling it again.

I didn't think too much about the tournament - mentioned to only a couple of people I could win the scotch and singles division, but never once thought to myself I was the "defending champ" or that I should win. Just that I could.... but that was all the thought I gave it, knowing that there was really no telling how I would do but didn't want to put pressure on myself to do well, like I did for BCA State back in March.

I met with THE 8ball player of Fort Worth, Jose Zaragosa, on the Sunday afternoon before, for a 2.5 hour session of racing to 5 eightball. He won 5-3, 5-2, 5-3. I saw how delicately he separated balls, saw some clever safes and I had a few good runs of my own. We would talk about my options, why he shot certain things, or how I could have played something different. I would hope this would be good for me for my tourney!

I go to league on Tuesday feeling pumped up but only win 3 out of 5 games against players I should run over. Ugh! Damn..... but, that helps set the tone - not to take people for granted in the weekend coming up.

Diamond 7foot tables, 8 ball. What a beautiful scene at The Green Room in Temple, Texas!

I arrive Thursday evening, get plenty of rest for the 9am Friday morning start time for our first scotch match which leads to a 5-0 win. We played well together, even though I don't believe in practicing together. LOL. Mike lives in another city anyway but we play well together most of the time. We won the next match 5-0 also. :) The next match we play really well the first two games but somehow the tides start turning and we are faced with a 3-5 loss as we shake our heads walking away wondering wtf just happened? They didn't outplay us, but a few key shots cost us. We then play our next match and these opponents are much more competition. They run out from a scratch on the break and then break and run. They are up 0-2. A few mistakes by us and they are up 4-1 in a race to 5! We come back and tie it easily 4-4 once we finally get going and playing like we did earlier in the day. However... I shoot the wrong shot on the second ball on the hill-hill game, but we still run out to the 8.... but I leave Mike too long and tough with too much traffic around and he misses. They get out with two beautiful banks on the their last two balls to win 4-5. I am SICK. We get 5th out of about 20 teams and no money and I am really upset.

I get up the next morning, know my match is at 1030am and am ready to play after some breakfast tacos. :)

I won 5-0 against a really nice girl from Oklahoma (after a bye). I played pretty good I thought; got out well and such. I don't have to play until 5pm so a sweet nap is in order and I crash in front of the tv back at the hotel while everyone else hangs around the pool room. I don't get online and instead sleep for about two hours. It felt great to get rest but I was a little groggy from too much sleep as I walked in to play my second opponent late that afternoon. I play a really nice young girl who wants to do really well in the tournament (she told me earlier in the day). I think she got a little nervous as I was allowed back to the table more than I should and I won 5-2 or 5-3. I then don't have to play until 9am but I hang around to watch my friend Bonnie and hang out with friends Ray, Monica and Tracie. Then head to dinner at Texas RoadHouse - yummy!

Bonnie and I Saturday morning being funny
(I had to photoshop what the sign really said due to language - LOL).

I get up about 7am for my 9am match Sunday, recognizing from past learning experiences that being awake two hours before a match is always more beneficial for my shotmaking ability than just waking up in time to get to my match. I even have time for breakfast tacos and hit a few racks. I play my good friend Monica Anderson first and win 5-3. She played really well and I like her shape and choices at the table. I then have to play Kim Pierce next and I get a little nervous playing for the hotseat - not as bad as my previous tournament in Arlington, Texas, but enough to where I am playing timid and trying more safes instead of taking chances and shooting. She gets out on some really tough outs - ones I didn't think were runable - but she made some great shots and break-out shots to win 5-3 the hotseat match.

I then decide I am satisfied with my tournament so far but would love to still win. I.e., no pressure.

I play quite strong my next match and even surprised myself with some great shots! I won decisively 5-1. I then play Kim in the finals and she is playing the same style of running tough racks, but this time not getting out every time... plus, I am playing like I can/should play and played pretty sporty to win 5-2. This means a second set is in order. I try not to think about her son watching her play in the finals, or that I might win another tournament by dipping in the finals (like this very previous event in Feb). I tried not to think ahead and instead simply played pool. I played a tricky safe to get up 3-0 and then broke and ran nicely for a 4-0 score. At this point, someone asks me the score and it finally dons on me I might win! One more game to go. I stop that train of thought and don't think ahead, though, knowing anything can happen and knowing Kim can tie it up easily at any moment. I try to run out the next game but worry about scratching off a ball before the 8 and miss. She gets out beautifully and with authority. I win the next game though and win the second set 5-1 for the tournament win!

Bonnie Plowman just won the Open (men's side) and she high fives me and my scotch partner is still there and I hug him because he helps me with my game. He showed me a few shots afterwards I could have done differently but also tells me I impressed him. :)

The winners, Bonnie Plowman and I
(photo taken at a previous tournament).

I went home and as I drove the (luckily) only two hour drive I called my friends to share the news and even got to have a quick celebratory dinner at a Fast Food restaurant on the way home with my friend Ray to celebrate (even tho he made me buy, lol). Monica tells me,"I think you are the only one surprised." Well, I was. I still am!

$360 richer and possibly a new phone is in order now with my winnings. :)

I specifically called one more person on the way home and say to my sparring 8ball partner, Jose Zaragosa:, "I owe you a beer" and he replies excitedly, "Why? Did you win?" I said, "I did!" I could hear his smile on the other end and he congratulated me and said he was proud and very happy for me. :)

As I wrote in Feb about my other win, I was shocked. And this time, I am shocked as well. But very, very happy. One word description: amazed.

Sept '08 OB Ladies Tour Stop

This particular OB Cues Ladies 9Ball Tour stop was less than 15 minutes from my house - WHAT A TREAT!

The night before, I meet up with friends for dinner. Didn't like the food too much but the company was great. While others went back to the pool room to watch some challenge matches, I headed home to sit in my comfy chair in front of the tv in my own abode. I got some slack for leaving, but I take tournaments seriously and sleep is more important than sitting in a smokey pool room. I also knew I was high in the ranks and a good finish in this tournament would help my standings so I didn't want to take things for granted and instead wanted to prepare wisely for my tournament.

Rusty's Billiards!

I got to the 24-hour pool room, Rusty's, in Arlington, Texas on time Saturday morning ready to set up the tournament brackets, take pictures and run the Player's Meeting. I seemed to run this Player's Meeting without much thought or preparations and made some jokes for the regulars and some 10 new members to the tour. I always try to make it enjoyable, but it's tough to keep everyone's attention when they just want to play pool! lol. But, I enjoyed running the meeting and then it was down to competing!

Wouldn't be a tournament without an "arm-reached-photo"!
Spetty, Amanda and Me

I got a bye my first match but heard my future opponent say, "I have to play Melinda next." I stood a little taller overhearing that and when we finally played, a few mistakes on her part and good control of the cueball on my part led to a 7-2 win in my favor. My next match would ironically be with another teammate, just like in my first match. She played very well and I got quite worried as she ran a few racks after my mistakes. I found myself trying to catch up to her score but I capitalized on her mistakes toward the end of the match and won 7-5. It was a really good match for both us and she played beautifully and I was proud for her shooting so well because I know that had to feel good to her.

I then had to play a good friend of mine who usually walks all over me - has no fear against me and just free strokes against me. It's nice to see someone running racks, but tough when it's against you. LOL. I just accepted that was gonna happen again today. But for some reason on this day, though, she was timid, tired and not playing like herself. I didn't quite capitalize on her mistakes in the first two racks but managed to still tie the match 1-1. But I then saw more and more opportunities and next thing you know I am up 5-1! I was shocked. I prolly got a little comfy with my lead but still wanted to finish it off but kept making mistakes! I messed up a 1-9 combo to get on the hill and she gets to 2. I then miss an out because I am too worried about shape for the 8ball and she gets out. 5-3. I then worry too much about scratching on the 8ball in the next game and miss. 5-4. I miss another 7 trying to get shape and it's tied 5-5. She takes a bathroom break and so do I.

As I wait my turn in the bathroom, I have a little minor confrontation in the bathroom and have words with someone, with my opponent overhearing. I know part of my remarks are b/c I'm so pissed I haven't sealed the damn set yet, but I think I still would have had words either way. I walk to the table and try and force myself to not worry about the confrontation that is now eating at me nor that my opponent may be wondering what the hell that was all about in the bathroom. LOL. I win the next game by getting out well but she returns the favor to tie it and now it's hill-hill. I have to roll out and she decides not to take the shot. I play safe and it executes much better than I even imagined. She didn't hit the 1ball and I get ball in hand. Before I run out I see the 4ball can't go in too many pockets and the 9ball is near it. I get on the wrong side of the 3ball but decide instead of playing a risky shot for "hopeful" shape, to instead just set up for the 4-9combo. I study it for a while and decide in my mind, "if I miss, I miss... you will be okay, now just bear down on the shot." Ironically, my opponent is the one that has told me in the past to bear down on combos. I shoot the shot and make it! I can't believe it! I am on the winner's side until Sunday AND helping my rankings in the standings for being guaranteed 5th. :)

I pick up Whataburger on the way home and eat in front of the tv and am quite happy to again be at home.

I run a little late Sunday morning and am disappointed I am ten minutes late to help the other board members - my nice breakfast wasn't worth the guilt I felt for running a little behind.

A couple of friends showed up to watch me in the winner's side match and I got extremely nervous! I hadn't been that nervous in a long time and then became very embarrassed b/c I was playing so badly in front of them. I tried to shake the feeling, tried to breathe right, think positive, all the tricks I knew. However, knowing this win would mean it would be my highest finish yet on the tour (guaranteed 3rd) really screwed with my head all the while I didn't focus on the game in front of me and instead I had wobbly arms because I was so nervous. Too many thoughts in my head EXCEPT pool! Ugh! I made a 9ball on the break (luckily) and won one game that led to a 2-7 score/loss. My opponent, Cristina De La Garza, played really well and although I had chances in the beginning, I just didn't show up and she played better as the match went on. I am glad she played well and was proud of her - she won her next match, too, to win the hotseat and the WPBA Qualifier!!

Samm Diep (Second Chance winner), Me, and Cristina De La Garza (WPBA Qualifier winner) on Saturday

I then play Tour veteran and great player Lisa Marr for 5th. She handily outplayed me as I still was trying to shake the nerves. I did break and run and also made a 9ball on the break to only lose 2-7 but really fell on my face again.

But, I did get 5th, the tournament overall ran smoothly (we had 51 players!), and I remained high in the standings on the tour. But because I was so nervous which resulted in embarrassment and bad play, it took me a while to write this recap. I don't even know how to describe the weekend in one word. Happy about Saturday, yet disappointed about Sunday. I suppose: challenged?

Also, all 280 photos were online with captions within days of the tournament: Click here.

Me, watching the finals and getting caught by the camera. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

League Season

League Season is upon us - it's the Fall.

This means I am working on trying to figure out what team/league I need to play in to qualify for the Women's Team Event in Vegas:
And what team/league to play in to qualify for Scotch Doubles in Vegas:

I admit it, I would enjoy league a lot more if it was closer to me. I have to drive 50 minutes there AND back to get to/from my league night destination. It's worth it in the long run (experience, trying to beat the guys, and most importantly: qualifying for BCAPL Nationals in Vegas in May and also all the end of Season tournaments), but I can already sense my body and mind getting tired/exhausted from the late nights... and the first league night isn't even here yet! Maybe if my body could handle staying out late often like it used to, I wouldn't have this attitude!? LOL. :)