Thursday, April 30, 2009


As one of 4 Board Members of the OB Cues Ladies Tour, we are also the Tournament Directors of each of the tournaments. I thoroughly enjoy running the tournaments and the board members complement each other so well that the tour is run very well (imo). Of course we have hiccups and learning experiences, but overall, I feel the tournaments are pretty special events. We get a lot of compliments from current and visiting players of other tours, so it's not completely my own opinion. ;)

However, I'd like to talk about my acting skills - a requirement of any good Board Member. :) Any tournament director (TD) that runs a tournament AND plays in their own event knows what I am talking about. For others, this may have not crossed your mind before, so I thought I'd share.

I play in our events and I love the competition. Right after I finish a match, I must immediately go to the tournament chart, report my score, and then take over running the chart because usually the current TD is waiting to play a match and needs to go play (so the tournament doesn't get backed up).

Why do I mention this you wonder? Why is this acting you ask? Well, when a TD wins their match, we smile as we walk to the chart and are usually happy - like most players are after (most) wins. If we lose and it's a really tough lose - we walk with all the emotions everyone else has after a tough loss. We carry the feelings in our stomach and they fill our hearts and minds. However, we sometimes don't have time to compose ourselves and be alone for a while to regroup. We have to immediately get behind the chart, start answering questions with a smile, attend to players needs, announce matches, work on the payouts, watch the table area, ref shots, etc. The biggest challenge is to act and smile when the players come up to the chart, even though you may have lost a hill-hill heart breaker that could have meant either a Sunday winner's side match or you are now out of the tournament.

It's really not easy at all. I admit it. Luckily I recognized this from other tournaments. I saw a TD lose a match, walk over to the brackets, and proceeded to bark at the players and took out their loss/emotions on the players.

Because of that observation from many, many years ago, I now either quickly assess my emotions so I can be a TD now, or I push the emotions off until later (which is tough to do). I have many "tricks" to get back into TD-mode: vent quickly to a friend about the match, go to the bathroom to take a quick break, smile with all my muster while behind the desk, or just sit there and feel the loss as fast as I can. The players of the tour are my real saving grace - they are distractions to my emotions and when they come up the chart to ask a question or to report a score, then I am reminded to put my acting hat on so I can provide a great tournament experience.

I've never talked to the other board members about this, but I know we all go through it.

Just at our last event, this very nice new member caught me walking to the tournament chart after a tough loss. She wanted to share something with me but I asked her if we could talk later b/c I had just lost a really tight match. (I wanted to emotionally listen to her and knew at that moment I was too upset to take in her thoughts.) She obliged and we talked later and I as SO thankful when she told me afterwards that she understood I needed a few minutes.

Obviously, not all losses create acting moments of "hey, I'm smiling at you, but I am not doing well." But, some losses are tougher than others. Hill-hill matches are always tough; or, a match where I didn't take advantage of their mistakes; or a match where I gave away too many games. If I simply didn't play my best or they ran out well and I didn't have many opportunities, I am okay. But tough losses lead to acting and I thought I would share.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vegas Ready?

The BCAPL 8-Ball Championships - my favorite tournament! - is going to be held May 8-16th in Las Vegas at the Riviera.

Well, this year I am doing things different. Last year and the year before I prepared a lot (read it here). This year, I just haven't done any special preparations. I might re-read Phil's Play Your Best 8 Ball, I might practice 8ball, but I have not been doing the stairs at work like I like to for stamina and I even gained 5 pounds; I haven't setup practice sessions, haven't opened my 8ball book yet, haven't really done anything yet.

I admit I still feel okay; I admit I think my straight pool league will help me; I admit I have been reading my notes about the mental game; I admit I am going to practice more straight pool before I go; but otherwise, I am just going to focus on my overarching goal to stay down; I have no expectations, except to focus on my fundamental and to have fun. Don't worry, I will still play decent pool and enjoy every event - scotch, singles and teams. I just feel a little disheartened I guess. The last two years I prepared (too much I think) and played in the Open of the women's singles but was out in two both years. Pretty cool being a previous Master player, huh? NOT. lol. I did do well in teams and scotch, though. :)

I really can't see myself not doing anything, so I will prolly do more preparations than I realize, but there is only a week and a half til I catch that beautiful AA flight to Lost Wages. Eeek! :)

In the meantime, enjoy a nice photoshop job by one of my forum friends, Derek Disco!!!

From left to right: Justin, Derek, Jimbo, Easy-e, Sarah Rousey, me, Mark, Sunny, and Nasty.

Believe it or not, this was submitted as a shirt contest idea for the TAR BAR ( special area for live streaming from the Riviera). Luckily, it wasn't picked! LMAO.

Thank you for the laugh, Derek. :)

For those few that read this blog, if you see me in Vegas, tap me on the shoulder and say hello please!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lemon into Lemonade

I was really upset last Wednesday. I got bad news, delivered bad news, got further bad news and then delivered more bad news. Then when I got home, I received a really nice letter in the mail about my weeds from my wonderful homeowner's association (this is called sarcasm).

I was pretty pissed as I pulled weeds five days later. I had hired a kid to do yard work a few weeks before because I was going out of town and read the guidelines of my homeowner's association and had til the end of March to get my front lawn in order. But, obviously he didn't pull many weeds - he mostly mowed. So, I was agitated.

After about an hour of pulling the stupid weeds, I decided to grab my ipod. I enjoy listening to music and thought that would help me pass the time while I got a sunburn and hurt my fingers and back. Then I remembered my favorite self-help series, but couldn't locate it on my ipod (dang it - I hadn't added it yet!).

I searched the house for a tape player. Found two! Then scrummaged around for the lost tapes as I was wasting valuable outside time - but I was determined! I finally found the tapes, even though the first one out of 6 was missing. The first one is my favorite, but I still love it all. It's called The Psychology of Winning.

I bought it in the mid 90s and of course originally bought it for the mental game of pool (but like so many aspects of the mental game, it helps in everyday life as well).

It was so awesome to listen to the tapes. I hadn't listened to them in over a year (maybe two) and it was pure bliss. It really made for less agitation toward the weeds and the Denis Waitley voice in my ears kept me working til I finished (and I didn't get a citation to pay - woo-hoo).

That night, my sore little fingers downloaded it to my ipod. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Third OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop of 2009

The third installment of the OB Cues Ladies Tour was held in Dallas at The Billiard Den - about 50 minutes from my house. It's always so nice to be close like that. :)

We had 56 women enter the tournament and we were all so pleased with another great turn out!

I got a bye then played a player who is working very hard on her game trying to attend many stops. I was completely distracted and playing VERY bad. I was too worried about what people around me were thinking, too worried about the waitress smoking in the area, and then I had to ask a spectator to leave the area (and we had words) and that can sometimes affect one's game. So, I let things get to me I don't have control over and I was very disappointed in myself for letting all these outside influences into my head. My opponent played well but missed 3 crucial 9 balls but I won 7-4.

Me, practicing.

I walked back to the tournament chart to run the chart and I recognized if I didn't shape up, I'd lose my next match.

My next match was against my good friend Rebecca Riley. She and I talk about the mental game a lot and she has seen me play in two finals of tournaments and has been with me during those emotional times - so we have a connection not many friends have. I knew she would be tough to play because she has been working on her game and I had been struggling all morning. I started off very shaky and wasn't playing well. She won a few games and so did I. She jumped REALLY well and hit EVERY ball and made most of her jump shots. It was quite impressive, but I didn't let her know how proud of her I was during the match with those shots. I could have snapped my fingers in approvement, but instead I was trying so hard to focus on my game that I didn't snap or talk much.

Rebecca - I swear that's a lotto ticket in her pocket!

After a few misses, I told myself to focus on my shot routine and my fundamentals and not even think about a friend that had shown up to watch me play - he sat right in front of my table. I started to finally play well and got out nicely a few games. I won 7-4 I think. I felt good I was able to finally start playing in the middle of the match and pull off the tough win.

Good Friends (and teammates!) - Amy, Christy and Best Supporter

I then played Tara Williams next - we had to wait many hours before we finally played. It was a really weird match. I scratched on a 7, so did she. She missed a 9ball, I missed an 8ball. Weird things kept happening - awkward scratches by both of us or missed shots that she normally doesn't miss. At 4-4, I missed an 8 ball or scratched and said, "I'm making this easy on you." I was pretty hacked off at myself! I apologized after she ran out and told her I was just mad at myself and she said, "oh, I know what you mean," The next game, she missed a 9ball and I won that game and it was tied 4-4 or 5-5. I decided to stop being ticked off at my mistakes and enjoy the rest of the match and I was no longer upset. I was proud of myself for reversing the frustration in my head and body - but the match only went hill - hill b/c we were both struggling. At 6-6, she was running out and missed the 5ball. I could BARELY see it as it was snuggled behind the 9ball, but could just enough to cut it in. I figured I could slide up to get shape on the 7 ball, but instead, the cueball slipped off the 9ball and scratched in the side. I was PISSED! OMG, I was pissed. LOL. I think I said something out loud, but not sure what it was ("no", or "ugh", not sure). She ran out. Hill-hill. Tough loss. A friend who came to the tourney to watch me play came up to me RIGHT afterwards. He said, "bummer" and I said, "ya know, anything you say right now will tick me off, so please don't say anything else. Bummer?" I walked off (oops), after giving a quick, wtf hug. Eeek.

It took me a while to get over that loss, while sitting at the tournament charts acting like I was okay. I finally went up to Tara and told her that it was still a good match and I was glad I got to play it with her, and she agreed we both made mistakes.

Tara Williams, playing in front of the Live Stream

I was in the tourney still on Sunday morning, though! I was happy for that. I played Lisa Henderson-Major on Sunday morning and it was another interesting match for me. I was down 3-2 when she missed an 8 ball. I made it nicely and then a 9 on the break and another game and next thing you know I am up 5-3! I was playing SO well - but I recognized in my head I was playing really well, instead of playing pool. I tried a tricky shot - only because I was playing (now) too confident. I scratched. She started to come back and she even got on the hill first. I then got on the hill with her. I surveyed the table and saw a potential 5-9 combo at 6-6 and was not overly confident but sure of myself. I shoot the 1-ball well and slide over for perfect shape on the 2ball.... except.... it rolled a third of an inch too far and I got titty hooked! OMG! I couldn't believe it! My only option (cuz I couldn't kick at it successfully) was to move the 9ball out of the pocket so at least she didn't have an easy combo.

She softly grabbed the cue ball. Made the 2 and 3 and got tough on the 4ball. She slid over nicely for a 6-8 combo and hit it very good to leave shape on the 6 ball. She then had to play a tough shot and come across the table for shape on the 9ball and she hit it perfectly for perfect shape. She got out very nicely hill-hill. I placed 9th. :(

Amanda Lampert, surveying her options.

I then went over to the live streaming and watched Tara and Amanda play a brutal/tough hill-hill match where Tara came out on top. Amanda then lost to Lisa Mara - Lisa was down 4-2 and won 7-5. Amanda and Terry Petrosino placed 5th, Lisa Marr 4th. Lisa Henderson-Major went on to place 3rd- her highest finish yet! And another friend, Ashely, placed 2nd - her highest finish yet! Congrat's to both! And, congrat's to Tara for winning the tourney. :)

Ashley Nandrasy, 2nd place!

Here are all the photos and the article.

Tourney Description: Frustrated.

Second OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop of 2009

I didn't know how this stop would go. I haven't been practicing because I have not had energy - been depressed so not sleeping, and driving an hour to league and back once a week was taking it's toll on me. I knew placing 5th at the last stop would be at the back of my mind, too.

We had 55 players and we played at Fast Eddie's in Austin at the end of Feb. The OB Cues Ladies Tour was having another great event!

I got a bye then played a new girl. I was playing on the front tables and one of my friends from Austin was there - he is someone who I feel probably the most comfortable in front on. He's never judged my game, my shot selection, or made comments - he's always been the up-most supportive. While I didn't take advantage of all my opportunities, I was playing well when I was at the table. I was staying down so beautifully - my body FELT so good. Afterwards, he said I was playing well and I told him I was working on staying down and he said he noticed. That made my day!

My dear friends, Julie, Tracie and Monica

The night before I drove in by myself and got a room at the hotel behind the pool room. It was awesome to be that close, but I stayed up too late talking to friends and didn't get much sleep. That would prove to hurt me badly Saturday.

I then played Tara Williams next, also on the front table. I was playing well but over hit a 7ball and missed a 6ball and a 1ball - all which led to a hill-hill match. At 6-6, I played a safe and found myself at the table, after she was able to nicely hit the 1ball. I saw I could get out - no problem areas, except one - getting to the 4ball could possibly leave me a hook behind the 5ball. I hit 1, 2, and 3 well, but sure enough I hooked myself behind the 5ball. I thought I would come out more but did not. I was able to hit the 4, but Tara ran out to win the match. Afterwards she said to me, "you are playing so good, Melinda. You are playing so much better than the last couple of years. I didn't even see some of the safes you were playing; I just knew you were gonna get out that last game." I didn't know what to say except, "thanks - I thought I might hook myself on the 5ball."

It meant a lot what Tara said - it's nice when others state when they recognize improvements of our game.

I then played a really, really nice new girl who was a joy to play. She was funny and personable and played very well for only playing a year or so. I won 7-4. I then had to play Lisa Henderson-Major next. It was getting really late and we were one of the last matches. I was SO tired and could not focus long enough to run out. I missed many, many shots and she plays too good to do that against her. I think I lost 7-3 or 7-4. I asked Lisa Marr if she saw anything I was doing and she didn't see anything - I was still staying down, so I can only attribute it to being so tired. We packed up the tournament things and while everyone else when to eat, I stayed back to drink with friends. I closed the pool room down, along with the Manager (who is really funny) and my friends and then went to my walking-distance hotel.

My drinking buddies, the next day.

Of course, the next day, I don't even play in the second chance tournament and instead licked my hangover with food and resting. LOL.

I did take more photos and used a friends lens, which I love! I need to get me one of those.

Josh, in front of the Live Stream (he lent me his awesome camera lens)

I placed 13th-16th, didn't make it to Sunday. I already know sleep is so KEY to playing well, but I did not do that on Friday night. I hadn't been sleeping the week before, but still...... I think my last match late Saturday night would have had a different outcome if I had gotten much needed sleep I already needed Friday night.

Tourney Description: Enjoyed but Tired

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wait for my Cue, Please

I have been playing pool for 20 years. The last 13 years (the number of years I have taken the game serious) has taught me one valuable lesson that most of my friends know - I learned this through much, tough-love experiences. I bet you have a similar "rule," too.

If I lose a match, I do not want to talk about it until I am ready. This means, until I bring it up, it means I don't want to hear people's comments or questions or evaluations or suggestions. I have lost many matches and right afterwords someone will say, "why'd you shoot the 8ball like that?" after I just lost hill-hill. I honestly cannot take anything anyone says constructively after a tough loss. Especially if it's a tough lose.

It's just best to not talk about the match until I bring it up to you. If people are watching my match and I lose but played well, they may still want to say something like, "good tournament" and all I can think of is the two 7s I missed. I simply haven't had enough time yet to absorb that I really did finish well in the tournament.

I don't know how to explain it well, but I have too many emotions going through my body to hear properly any words coming at me. I even realize most people say things that are not rude, maybe even want to be helpful, or just want to know what I was thinking when I chose to hit a ball a certain way. However, I am too upset to talk about it.

If 30 minutes go by, I may finally say, "Hey Shayla, did you see that one 5 ball I missed?" Or I might finally say to Amanda, "I played okay I think."

Sometimes I only need 5 minutes, sometimes I need an hour. It depends on the match.

So, just wait for my cue - give me some time - eventually I will want to talk about my match and am ready to take advice then and will want to talk about shots and choices. I do love learning, but I admit I need to be in the right frame of mind for it to be beneficial.

P.S. I return this philosophy to all pool players and friends. I don't talk about their match or say anything to them about their loss until they bring it up. Instead, I let them gather their emotions for as long as they may need. If I do talk to them, I will talk about anything else but their match - which sometimes helps distract the pain of the loss.

Straight Pool Straight Faced No Longer

Damn Straight Pool. This game is bringing out my emotions! Damn sounds-like-an-easy-game-but-isn't. I started a straight pool league and the first couple of matches were fine, but as I get more matches under my belt, my desire to win is a pure struggle as stupid misses lead to missed opportunities and points! I find myself getting frustrated, and cussing more (lol). I vent more, too. I see it also carries over into my tournament play - I am showing more emotion than usual when I do something crazy or something crazy happens. At least I think it's the straight pool that is doing this - otherwise, I am not sure. Maybe I am just showing my personality more? I dunno. All I do know is, I love straight pool but it's frustrating as hell!

My friend Robert was watching me play a match the other night and I'd miss and he'd say, "this game is frustrating, isn't it?" LOL! No kidding! I lost 96-100 and was ticked off! And then I played the next day and another friend was watching. He said, "did you mean to do that?" I had just accidentally fouled, but my opponent and he were talking about what I did was really a great safety move and I replied, "no, I fvcked up." Eeek! Damn game bringing out my emotions. LOL. I love Straight Pool!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop of 2009

The first event of the year for the OB Cues Ladies Tour was held only ten minutes from my house, so I was a happy little camper that got to sleep in my own bed in the comfy-ness of my home. Ahh... the little things in life. :) No long drive out of town the Friday night before and no luggage to hike around all weekend.

I stopped by Taco Cabana for a few breakfast tacos on the way to Rustys' Billiards in Arlington, Texas Saturday morning (Jan 31) and as one of the Tournament Directors, had lots to do before the tourney started. This included helping my good friend Shayla set up Live Streaming of the event!

Juan and I on the Live Stream, talking to the fans.

After running the Player's meeting, I started to take photos and glanced at the chart: I played Lisa Marr first. Lisa is the current OB Cues Tour Champion, a former pro, a player that has a lot of heart. I didn't get nervous or analyze my new-found info, I just accepted that it would be a tough match.

I didn't recognize that I was "numb." "Numbness" for me is no anxiety, no worries, no negative thoughts. It's the best body-feeling and best mind-situation for a match. :)

I had just come off my challenge match where I heard from friends who watched it live online that I was not staying down on my shots. This was awesome news - I mean, I already knew that and was working on it, but because one friend clarified exactly what he saw I was doing, I was able to bring that knowledge to this tournament. He said I was jumping up about when the cuetip hit the cueball. I suppose you could say I never thought about when I was jumping up/lifting my head, I just thought it was "in general." So, that info was truly eye-opening for me and a huge piece of knowledge.

Juan and I posing for a pic during the Live Stream.

So, I focused on staying down at that moment (cuetip to cueball), on every shot during the match with Lisa. I took advantage of every opportunity I had and to my surprise I won the match 7-3. I couldn't believe it! But I could feel how good my body felt while not moving and so the focus and determination paid off. Besides playing well and not moving, I didn't give up many opportunities and that led to a great match.

I then had to play a new girl and beat her 7-1. It was a fun match, but she was nervous.

I then played Lisa Henderson-Major. It was late in the evening and we were on the smoking-side of the pool room. But, I played better than her, even though I knew it would be a tough match. I had a few careless mistakes but was able to recover and win 7-4.

I was on the winner's side til Sunday! With 63 players in the event, I felt very good at where I stood, yet I fully admit my match with Bonnie Plowman the following Sunday morning had me freaked out. She normally free strokes against me and that is tough to beat, so I was admittedly quite worrisome.

My friend Kevin was on the live stream and we chatted in the private chat about my upcoming match with Bonnie. Here is part of it:

08:20 akaTrigger: she free strokes against me
08:21 akaTrigger: i just don't get many chances
08:21 Poolplaya9 : just bear down harder and remember she cant beat you forever
08:21 akaTrigger: yeah!
08:21 Poolplaya9 : this is as good a time as any to break through on her
08:21 akaTrigger: i like that
08:21 akaTrigger: you think?
08:21 Poolplaya9 : i do
08:22 Poolplaya9 : i have zero doubt that you are capable of beating her
08:22 Poolplaya9 : you will have to play good of course, and not have a bunch of rolls go against you, but you definitely have it in you
08:24 akaTrigger: well, she just beat me for the host seat in houston FE two weekends ago
08:24 Poolplaya9 : that was two weekends ago. has nothing to do with tomorrow :-)
08:25 akaTrigger: damnit! i can't break you
08:25 akaTrigger: lol
08:25 akaTrigger: :)
08:36 Poolplaya9 : nope, im stubborn ;-)
08:36 Poolplaya9 : there is no reason to have any doubts
08:36 Poolplaya9 : you have all the tools, just put 'em to use
08:36 Poolplaya9 : play your game
08:37 akaTrigger: true
08:37 Poolplaya9 : now is as good a time as any to break through on her
08:37 akaTrigger: you are right
08:37 Poolplaya9 : good luck!
08:37 akaTrigger: thank you!

I was honored and thankful that he shared his thoughts with me. I didn't feel like his words put pressure on me. More so, he had faith in me. Big difference.

So, Sunday morning I grab Taco Cabana again and head back to Rusty's. Bonnie came in looking a little tired and I overheard her say one of their roommates snored all nite "like a freight train." Knowing she wasn't fully rested made me feel like maybe I would have a chance. Well, several mistakes and bad safes by her, combined with me playing my game led to a Melinda victory! I won 7-4 and was quite surprised. Later in the day she made some comment to me that I got a lot of rolls. I let it get to me a little bit until I remembered the two shots she scratched on, and knowing in my heart I didn't win because of "rolls."

So, I won a match on the winner's side on Sunday!

I then played Heather Pulford Lloyd next and I was not the same person. I was timid and she was playing lights out. I was no longer finishing the racks and she had great runs and took advantage of my misses. I think I lost 7-2. :(

I then played Orietta Strickland. Tough, local player who has played on the pro tour a little bit. I had a few chances and was numb and playing well (all a good combination!). But, I scratched on a nineball and missed a 7ball - both times I adjusted while down on the shot and obviously I know I'm not suppose to do that. Otherwise, I played well, but it was a REALLY tough loss. 5-7. I walked outside and wasn't sure how I really lost playing that well and only made a few mistakes. It was truly heart wrenching. I teared up outside with the sun beating down on my face while my good friend Steve watched me pace outside, but I wouldn't talk to him. I didn't want to talk about the match - it was too soon. I was too heat broken.

Here's me when I was playing Orietta.

I placed 5th. First Ladies Tour event of the year out of 63. Not too shabby! Everyone said I was playing well, stroking the ball well and beat a lot of good players. So, overall I did have a good tournament. But, obviously, I still have a lot to learn and that is why pool is such a beautiful game.

Tourney Description: Successful

Here are the photos from this event and the article.

Until next time....

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Thought it Would be Funny...

If my Scotch Partner and I showed up in Vegas for the BCAPL Nationals with these matching shirts:

Don't you agree?

I was in Academy and saw these shirts and starting cracking up about the idea of wearing ref shirts as our scotch team shirts! OMG! That'd be awesome... :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lefty But Righty

Not many people notice, but every once in a while someone does:

I shoot pool left handed. When someone mentions it to me, though, I always respond with my standard, "well, I shoot pool left handed by I am right handed."

What many hardly notice is I use a bridge right handed.

I do not know why I shoot left handed, nor why I use a bridge right handed. It was just natural for me. I never even noticed I was shooting left handed til someone else mentioned it to me. And I didn't recognize myself that I use a bridge right handed - until 7 years after picking up my first cue, my friend Sharon Townsend pointed it out to me.

I can shoot right handed, but only on simply shots, but not because I am ambidextrous. I struggle and wiggle my cue on right-handed shots just as right handed shooters do with left handed shots.

When I started playing in my straight pool league, the discussion of being left handed comes up a lot more because we lag for the option to break or rack. This means I have to set my ball up to lag on the right side of the table. So, now the discussion of my left-handed-ness comes up a lot more. Why? Because it's more noticeable. Why? Because if they are right handed, we would get in each others way if I was lagging on the left side.

Of course occasionally I am called "lefty" which is fine by me, even though it's not "technically" accurate.

What about you?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Child Support

As you were browsing through the photos I took at the NSC 8-Ball Championships held by CSI, you probably noticed at the top of page 4 these two photos (cropped and lightened for this blog entry):

As you saw them, you might have thought to yourself, "WTF?"

Jason Bacon from the Houston, Texas-area earned a spot in the NCS 8-Ball Championship held over Valentine's Day weekend in Las Vegas. I ran into Jason and his girlfriend, Courtney, after his first match. He was excited he had just won and and then showed me this little Lego guy above with the pool table and pool cue.

Jason says, "check out what my son gave me right before I came here. He told me he made it for me for good luck in this tournament." As Jason showed me the hand-crafted, thoughtful gift from his son, Jackson, I immediately grabbed my camera to snap photos of it. Courtney and I both agreed one with a female pool player would be cool for us as well. :)

Good-luck charms from the heart are awesome, aren't they?

Jason played really well against the top players from across the U.S. and placed an impressive 9th in this tournament!

P.S. Jackson, Jason's son, had cancer when he was little and the Ladies Tour surprised him with toys during one of our events in 2005. I think the ladies were more excited than he was - to see his excitement and pure joy after he opened his gifts/toys made our weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Master Reminders

The Masters starts today. Love watching the reminders of pool: stay down, follow through, don't let your opponent (or match pairings) affect YOUR game. I also love watching the emotions and mental struggles, thrills, and accomplishments.

Ahhh... the Masters!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

January 2009 Fast Eddie's Tour ReCap

This first Fast Eddie's event of the year was held in south Houston and I drove down Friday night and showed up at the pool room to play some one pocket (also ordered some pizza delivered to the pool room. Yummy!). While I struggled showing off my obviously-still-weak one pocket skills, a good one-pocket match-up was going on next to me against two good players fighting for some cash. Parker would end up winning that night over Jr.

I helped run the tournament on Saturday and always enjoy being around my fellow Tournament Directors Paul Blank and Lewis Jones. I had been sick for a few days and my throat was sore and I was losing my voice but that didn't stop me from having a few drinks with my friends Helen and Audra Saturday night! that didn't last long as my ride wanted to leave kinda early. :( But that was good - I know not to drink too much the night before a tournament anyway.

Paul and Lewis of the Fast Eddie's Tour!

I was able to get plenty of rest Saturday night which is always key for my tournament play and I showed up a little early (which I know Paul and Lewis appreciated). :) Even thought I felt worse from my stinkin' cold, I drove all this way to play some pool dag nab it!

I played Deanna Henson first. She has been playing SO well and I knew I would have my hands full. In the first game I missed a shot and she got out. She missed a shot the next game and I got out. She then won another game because I missed the three ball but I made a 9-ball on the break next game to tie it 2-2. I noticed she was getting out after my misses and tried not think about that and tried to NOT let it affect me. However, I noticed she would hit a few key balls too hard to get shape and consequently miss the ball - I was quite confused seeing this because she had been playing so well the last year. But it allowed me opportunities at the table and I luckily was able to get out most every time. Even though I might get tough shape a time or two during the runs, I beared down and got out, even with people watching in the crowd. I ended up winning the match 7-4 I think and was pretty happy and pleased.

My friend Kyu was playing her good friend Courtney Peters on the next table and I would play the winner of that match. I noticed Kyu lost and so I would get to play Courtney Peters next. Before I played her, Kyu came up to me and said she noticed in my match against Deanna that my stroke looked great and that I was playing well. I know from experience that information like that can actually affect one's play (i.e., you start to think too much about how well you are playing, instead of focusing on the shot routine) but I said thank you, was happy she noticed, and went to my match.

Courtney has been playing well as well but she seemed timid or nervous - I wasn't sure why. I played good, even though I missed two key safeties that I was frustrated with - and she got out nicely those times. I won the match 7-3 I think.

Before I played my next match, I asked my friend and great player Dennis Strickland some advice on a shot I have had trouble with that I missed in my match with Courtney. He obliged, came over to the shot I set up for him, and simply replied, "I have no tip - you just need to make it." So, evidently, there wasn't a key or secret to making the shot, LOL.

I played Michelle Abernathy next and during our match Dennis was cheering for my wins which I appreciated but the female side of me felt a little bad for Michelle because I know I hate being on the other side of cheering. It didn't seem to bother her but maybe she hid it well. I played good again and won the match 7-4.

I then found myself playing for the hotseat! Yay! I would play the tough Bonnie Plowman. I had some good runs and nice shots but she outplayed me and won. Afterwards she said she could tell I had been practicing over the holidays and I accepted that compliment with open arms and I was pleased it was noticeable. It's nice when a top player says things like that. :)

I then played Heather Pulford Lloyd next for third place. It was getting late and my drive was about 4 hours or so back home on a Sunday night but Monday was a Federal Holiday so I could sleep in. My point is, sometimes being aware of how late it is and how long of a drive home can make one mentally tired before they even play. Knowing I didn't have to be at work in the morning really helped my frame of mind.

I lost 5-3 but I could have won if I didn't miss shape on two VERY key shots. I was really upset after the match, to be honest. On one shot, on the 6 ball, which if I would have run out I would have tied it hill-hill, I changed my mind on position while down on the shot and missed shape by a foot! I don't remember the other shot but remember I missed a key shot that cost me a crucial game. I felt real good and was playing good, but in a race to 5 against such a good player as Heather, even two mistakes can cost a match.

I ended up getting third place, though. Not too shabby for my first tournament of the year!

Tourney description: Gleaming