Monday, October 26, 2009

Rest for the Weary

I flew to Maryland for work in mid October (just last week as I type this). Trips that involve a flight for me usually means quality AND quantity time to get things accomplished on the laptop for websites and the Ladies Tour and also to work on my lovely to-do list. By the time the battery runs out on the laptop, I have a begun writing on EACH line of the lined paper - it's filled up with things I need to get accomplished for the Tour. Not just things that need to be done before the next stop, but what needs to be updated on the tour website, and what we need to do for the championship stop, and for next year. I also write down wishes - what I would like to be added to the website if I ever got extra time. I also would write down ideas for the tour and the members. By the time the flight ended, I could easily have up to 2-3 pages filled out and I would have many emails to write to the board about a plethora of things ranging from new ideas to things I needed to tell the board that I had been meaning to tell them, but had run out of time to do so.

Well, this time, there was no list. I didn't write one thing down. I didn't even pull out my laptop. I just rested my eyes, listened to my ipod, and toward the end of the flight, pulled out their in-flight magazine to work on the "diabolical" version of Sudoku on page 35.

It honestly felt very weird to not have all those to-do items to write down for the Tour. Ideas for the website were no more, no action items, no emails to write after the flight, no to-do list. I just rested. It was weird; it was nice but yet it was a very uneasy feeling for me.

Do I miss helping run the Ladies Tour - absolutely! I love the tour, the board, the sponsors, the players. But...admittedly... although slightly uncomfortable, it was nice to just rest.

FE Tour Waco, Oct 2009

Charlie Bryant and Chen in the finals

I was very excited to play at the Fast Eddie's Tourney in Waco, Texas in October because the pool room is only an hour and 15 mins from my house. It's such a treat! However, the treat almost turned into a trick as only 30-something men were in the Open division and on Sunday only 6 ladies entered the ladies event. That is not a typo - SIX. Lewis almost didn't have the tournament for us, but because the ENTIRE field traveled 1 to 2 hours to get there, he graciously let us play after giving it some major thought. If I didn't tell you that part already, then you'd be very excited for me when I tell you I placed 4th in a tournament! Yay 4th place! Yay! Ha-ha - sure, 4th outta 6. lol. Don't worry, I am embarrassed for myself, too.

Lewis being funny taking my pic from "behind" lol

I got a bye first (lmao! - who didn't?? lol) and then I played Julia Rapp. I told myself I could win the match if I didn't beat myself, but I ironically, that's exactly what I did! I was ahead 4-2 and lost 7-5. I wrote about it earlier - how I lost focus, didn't really concentrate anymore when I was ahead and she started to capitalize on my mistakes beautifully. I love it when she plays well, but I was no longer playing well or thinking about finishing the match. :(

I then played Kim Pierce and we raced to 7 on the one-loss side and then I found out Lewis wanted us to race to 5, but that was after we were done, lol. I won 7-5 but Kim really started to play well at the end of the match and I admit I almost lost. I then played Alicia Teskey next and even tho I think I "should" win, I lost 3-5. She made two really nice 9-ball combos the first 2 games and then one tricky, failed shot by me when it was 3-4 sold out the game. I knew, too, that a miss would lead to her getting out (there were only 3 balls left), but I thought the safe was 50/50 for the shot and so I wrongly went for the shot, even though I had missed that shot a couple of times during the tourney already. :( Quarterbacking!

Amanda playing Alicia.

Amanda and Julia split the tourney and I was happy for them. I drove all the way back home for that whole hour and fifteen minutes (hehe) in the daylight. I was very happy Lewis let us play - this blog article would have had a whole different flavor if we didn't play, lol.

Me, semi-posing.

One Word Tourney Description: Confused

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone New, Please

So, there is another great interview inside the awesome slickie pages of Billiards Digest! Johnny Archer is the star of this great article - from how he started playing to being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

I have read the author's articles in Billiards Digest for the last ten years - he is a great interviewer that turns articles into fascinating story's about the life of the player he is showcasing; he always does a jam-up job with interviews/articles and he is a true blessing to the pool community.

However, I am really very tired of seeing Charlie Williams' comments in the pieces. One reason the articles are so interesting is because the author adds quotes from other players about the "subject matter" player. These quotes showcase the players and provide an insight and opinions from their peers, so they really add to the articles well. Nick Varner was also quoted in this Johnny Archer article and Varner's comments are very well-received and add substantially to it. However, please stop using Charlie in the articles; we need comments from a different player - great players, other players, more interesting players.

Friday, October 16, 2009


In my previous blog article about "What Winner's Do", I shared this from Zig Ziglar:

Based on research experiences, the absolute highest achieving people practice three things to win in the game of life. They continually:
  • Sharpen their Focus
  • Build their Competence
  • Ignite their Passion

What I find really interesting are the
definitions of Focus, Competence,
and Passion from Wikipedia.
Check this out:

  • Focusing is used to refer to the simple matter of holding a kind of open, non-judging attention to something which is directly experienced but is not yet in words. Focusing can be used to become clear on what one feels or wants.
  • Competence is the ability to perform a specific task, action or function successfully.

    Competence is a standardized requirement for an individual to properly perform a specific job. It encompasses a combination of knowledge, skills and behavior utilized to improve performance. More generally, competence is the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role.
  • Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A person is said to have a passion for something when they have a strong positive affinity for it. A love for something and a passion for something are very similar feelings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Winners Do

I get ZigZiglar emails once a day. Many of the quotes can be seen on my personal blog, but today in my wonderful, techno, online gadget (my email inbox) I received from Zig some words again about life, but this one also relates to pool. As many know, the mental aspects of sports (pool) can easily be relate-able to life in general. That is one of the main reasons pool is so important to me (I should write a blog about that some day, hmmmm).

Here is what the email said:
Based on research experiences, the absolute highest achieving people practice three things to win in the game of life. They continually:
  • Sharpen their Focus
  • Build their Competence
  • Ignite their Passion
Makes me want to ask: Do you do these three things already for your pool game?

I think these three items are very powerful and important and do/will help us win in the game of life and in pool.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Was Up, Now I'm Down

I have had two matches in two weekends in a row during a women's event where I was up a decent amount (imo) and then lost. I will use this as a good wake up call for me!

Mind you, I came from a few big deficits and won my matches hill-hill myself over the past few weeks (well, few years, to be honest), but to have this "other" happen two weekends in a row makes me reflect more.

This Match:
I was up 5-3 in a race to 7. She took a bathroom break and when she came back, the tides turned! I was honestly thinking about how well I was playing - shouldn't do that! Then I noticed a friend watching who wants to help my game, so of course I want to show off my knowledge which leads me to play a little looser and leads me to be aware of his eyes watching me - but instead of focusing, a missed shaped on the 9ball led to a missed, tough, long rail cut on it. That easily led to an embarrassing feeling. Next thing you know, I miss a few more shots and she plays better than in the beginning and then she wins 5-7. Ouch.

The Other Match the following weekend:
I am up 4-2 in a race to 7. I am taking advantage of her mistakes and making tough shots. Then I miss a tough-for-me 9ball but shake it off as I mumble to her I hate that shot. She then wins another game and tells me she is feeling nervous against me and it's tough for her to get out. At this point, I lose focus, think of people around me, etc. A friend sits next to me and watches me play. I miss a shot and he tells me I should have played safe. I start to think while down on my shots too much and therefore play the wrong shots. I lose 4-7. Ouch again!

What was I doing? Why did it happen? What can I learn?

At this point.... Imagine me with my arm raised and waving it in the air (used with the same emphasis as the raised hand when Arnold gets excited because he believes he knows an answer to Mr. Kotter's question.)

Yes, I was thinking too much. Not focusing on the game at hand, thinking of outcomes, thinking of HOW I was playing (instead of playing the balls in front of me), thinking of next matches, ..... THINKING way too much about things not related to playing pool, not focusing, and not playing the game at hand during the entire match. I can normally tame that, but a few mistakes here and there let my opponents back in the game and therefore the "comfortable cushion" went away. I was up, then I was down.

I need to throw that 'comfortable cushion of the lead' out the damn window, bear down, and just move that darn round ball in front of me and not think about random things and instead FOCUS.

This lack of focus and thinking too much happens to me every once in a while and a reality check is always a good thing! Ahhh.... the power of reflection!

Photo Courtesy of my friend Carpe Diem on the AZB Forums

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Houston, We Have Action

I normally don't hang around the pool room late at night anymore and watch all the action. There can be several reasons for this:
  • I usually head to my hotel and rest to get a good night's sleep.
  • The match-ups aren't that exciting (lol)
  • The gambling matches are at another poolroom than the tourney poolroom, so I don't go.
  • Or the tournament I am attending is a ladies-only event and no gambling matches are taking place.
Because the hotel at the Houston Open was literally walking distance from the pool room and because my tourney (the women's tourney) didn't start until Sunday, I was able to watch many great action matches at this event.

I must say that watching all these action matches made the weekend that much more enjoyable! It was awesome. :)

I will only chit-chat about a few key matches - there were three 9foot tables in one room but it was still tough to keep track of all the different action matches, plus, I would focus on one match at a time each night to stay in the game.

Because this is gambling, I will refrain from using real names of the players and use my own made-up, crazy nicknames, kind of like what my counterpart (OMGWTF) does.

500 Benji's, 1 Pocket
On Friday night, Tall Skinny Guy played Hyper Guy. They played $500 a game, even 1-pocket. Yes, I said $500 A GAME. I was in hog heaven to see this match up! Both of these guys play super awesome and are very knowledgeable at 1 pocket and I was in for a treat! Hyper Guy won the first game and I thought he was going to run with the match, but Skinny Guy was playing well also this night and got it back to even the very next game. Eventually it goes back and forth and back and forth... and neither player is up over two games after about 5 hours. They might have played about 12 games or so the entire 5 hours. In the end, Tall Skinny Guy is up one game (and $500) and Hyper Guy quits after he gets upset after a shot he goofed up.

4 a head, 2K, 1 Pocket
On Saturday night, several matches were going on, but the one that caught my eye was the rematch of the Tall Skinny Guy and Hyper Guy. I sat with a few friends who also know 1 pocket well and we would talk about the shots as Hyper Guy creeped ahead in the newly matched up game: 4-ahead for $2,000. In the end, Hyper Guy would win the set. A lot of great shots were made again between these two players and it was such a joy to watch.

1 Benji, 1 Ball, 1 Pocket
Another interesting match-up occurred after that game finished. Gloved One woofed at Cool Cat and Cool Cat bit and went to get his cue. The Gloved One wanted to play 1 ball / 1 pocket. I didn't know what the game was but after a few games were played, I was smitten with the strategy of it! They played $100 a game. This meant, in reality, $100 A BALL! That's pretty much what 1 ball / 1 pocket is - making one ball in your pocket and then you start over. I really enjoyed watching the strategies and learned a lot while I watched for 3-4 hours. The Gloved One was known for his great banking ability so Cool Cat would have his work cut out for him, but Cool Cat plays phenomenal 1 pocket so it wasn't a bad match-up at all.

They started play near 2am and the Gloved One was up right away and was ahead maybe 4 games at the most the first couple of hours. Eventually, the pool room thinned out and by 5am, only 6 peeps were left, and that included the two players, lol. Cool Cat started to cut the score down and next thing you know, it's even. I have stayed this long because I have part of the action. The pool room at this point starts to get super, super cold and I swear I was literally shaking (who brings a sweater to Southeast Texas at the beginning of Oct?!). I figured Gloved One would quit when it got even, but he did not and then he won the next game to go up again. It went back and forth with each player getting up one or two but then Cool Cat stayed ahead a few games. I finally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and was freezing to death and so I dragged my tired a$$ to the hotel. The rain puddles made for an interesting walk in the dark, LOL. I would find out later that by 7am, Cool Cat won about $600 (I got half) and the match finally ended.

1 Benji, 1 Pocket
On Sunday night after I finished my tourney, I sat with a few friends to catch up and then noticed Cool Cat playing Crown Truck. They were playing, I believe, $50 a game... and Cool Cat gets all the breaks but is giving up 10-4 to Crown Truck. When I walk up to grab my front row seat, I found out Crown Truck is down about $250. Crown Truck wants to adjust because it's tough for him to win. Cool Cat says no and they play another game but then Crown Truck loses again and quits. After some talking, Cool Cat hesitantly offers 10-3. Now at this point, all I can think of is "Holy $hit! 10-3!" Sounds almost impossible, right? I mean, almost anyone that knows a little something about 1-pocket can get three balls, right?

Well, Cool Cat and Crown Truck actually go back and forth for a while with the new spot. It was the most amazing display of 1 pocket I had seen in a long time! Even at times Cool Cat OWED balls and still won. If you can imagine, Cool Cat was able to shoot at his hole (because he needed many balls) and not leave shots for (what I would guess) 95% of the time to his opponent. Crown Truck didn't get many chances at his hole and therefore wasn't able to make balls. He did play good safes and not leave an out every time for Cool Cat which obviously showed he did know 1 pocket well. After a while of Cool Cat staying ahead, eventually Crown Truck won a few games and by the time closing time came, Cool Cat only won $50 to $100.

Misc Tid Bit Rules:
  • At one point Sunday night, Hyper Guy's brother asks High & Mighty about scotch double rules. Hyper's Bro doesn't like the answer, tho - 'who breaks in the scotch doubles' should have been decided before the game starts (isn't that obvious?).
  • Found out that if you make your ball and your opponent's ball in 1 pocket at the same time it goes to the shooter.
Each of the four matches were not only enjoyable to watch and learn, but the guys were hysterical. They would make comments to the crowd or their friends or hell, to themselves! I laughed a lot along with the players. Even though money was on the line, it was still a fun time as everyone was getting along and making jokes. It was awesome.

It was so exhilarating to watch all the 1 pocket games. As I have said before, I want to some day be the best female one pocket player in Texas, so this weekend of watching steller 1 pocket action/play will forever be memorable.

Until Next Time...