Sunday, December 27, 2009

Last Tourney of 2009

I admit it - I didn't expect too much of me from the last tourney I would play in of 2009. I went to San Antonio again and hung out with my friends too late and didn't get enough sleep all weekend. The last time this happened (ironically in San Antonio, also) I knew I could easily be just as exhausted and not do well again. It was more a weekend to get away - a little mini vacation with my friends.

Yoko Joe and his coot cat hat! And Eric Aicinena got in the background!

Ash (Ashley) was my road partner for the trip and we had a lot of fun the whole weekend. Our first order of business was to stop at the Czech Bakery on the way down to San Antonio. She was right - it was packed! I didn't get anything, but she got some delicious-looking treats!

After Friday night of hanging out til the pool room closed, I was pretty tired Saturday morning. This time, however, I decided to do something to give myself a chance at not being so exhausted on Sunday. I took a nap Saturday afternoon. :) I stayed with my friend Sharon and she had a baby shower to go to during the day so it worked out well for a nice, quiet nap. I debated on whether to watch matches and practice at the pool room in lieu of the nap, but decided a nap would be good for me based on how exhausted I was in this same scenario before.

Yvette, Me and Ash Saturday night.
I showed up Sat early evening and the Open division still had a few matches left. I played a few games of one pocket and then watched a one pocket match, but I mostly hung out with friends again all night til the pool room closed. I know, not very smart for a tourney the next day, but like I said - I was there to take a break and enjoy the time.

I got up Sunday feeling actually very good. I felt rested, put on one of my favorite shirts, and off I went. Ash and I ordered a pizza for brunch that was delivered about noon to the pool room and we found a third peep to help us eat it, so it was the perfect amount of food - not too much not too little. That's the other thing I didn't do well last time - eat enough for fuel.

At the Player's Meeting for the ladies that Sunday morning, tournament director Lewis Jones of the Fast Eddies Tour announced we had a sponsor for the ladies event next year b/c of me. It was nice of him to thank me, but it's really James Barnett to thank b/c he will be adding the money for us next year. Thank you, James!

We ended up with 15 players for the ladies event and we need 16 for $350-added but Lewis added the money anyway and we were all very grateful.

I was called to my first match and I had to play the Player of the Year first, my dear friend Helen Hayes. I was SO happy for her that she won the Player of the Year! That is not an easy feat and kudos to you, girl!

I was apprehensive about playing Helen. Dejavue all over again - I played Helen first in the previous San Antonio tourney and it didn't end well then, lol. It started off the same, too - I played well the first few games and then I started to make mistakes and she started to play better.

This match, I missed two straight-in shots that led the score to be tied 2-2. She started to play better and got ahead 4-6. I then three-fouled her and then played well to win the next games to win 7-6! I was pretty happy I was able to overcome my mistakes and play good. During this match, I had some self-talk. I told myself to bear down, focus, and not think of the missed shots - just figure out why I missed them. I finally figured out I was thinking while down on my shots.

I then played a new girl who played super slow but had just beat a decent player so I knew I couldn't take her for granted. After we were tied 2-2. the pain of the how long the match was taking forced me to bear down even more (lol) and I won 7-3 after that.

I then played my good friend Jennifer Kraber. I was glad to see her there - she hadn't come to many tournaments in 2009 but the previous tourney in Nov she attended she had placed really high so I knew she was playing well. I was somehow able to get by her though and found myself waiting to play for the hotseat!

I realized as I waited that I all of a sudden felt super exhausted. I decided I needed some fuel so I ate some m&ms to help wake me up. I don't suggest m&m but I didn't have much choice at that time and needed something.

When we finally played for the hotseat, Lewis put us on a table that was actually in the background of the live stream, so that was cool. I played Julia Rapp in the hotseat. Her and I have met a few times this year and she has won every time I believe. In the hotseat match, it would be no different. I was down 0-6 when I finally won a few games (lol). I didn't let it get to me and even recall being aware of a really cool song from the jukebox (that is now my fav song, lol). I lost 3-7. I played badly. Not sure what happened except she played really, really well and I played really bad.

I then played Jennifer Kraber again. This would be a race to 5, for 3rd place. We moved to the stream table because the Open division had ended (Hillbilly and David G split it) but the stream had ended, too, lol. I played good in the semi-finals and won 5-3 or 5-2 I think. I recall feeling a little bit in the zone during this match and that always feels awesome.

Then the finals started. Hey, I was in the finals! I hadn't really thought too much about the tournament in that regard. I mean, I didn't think ahead for once - I didn't think I could win it; I didn't think I could get in the money; I didn't really look at the competition; I simply just played pool this day. But, even as I started the finals, I didn't really think too much about it. I think I was just happy to be there, even though I wasn't sure how I would play against Julia again.

The finals is true double elimination. One race to 7, and then if needed, one race to 5.

We started off the finals and we were both playing okay. She was playing better again and had me down 2-4. She was running out and I felt at that point I was going to lose, but I was okay with 2nd place. But then, all of a sudden she missed the 8 or the 9 and I got out. Instead of the score being 5-2, she was only up 4-3. I knew that was huge. After I won that game, it all changed. Completely. For some reason, I suddenly began playing better, felt real good, and was in the zone. The jukebox music was jamming with some techno dance songs and I was feeling good. I was getting great shape, making great shots, and getting out. I didn't let my good play get away from me, either - I didn't get over-confident (yay!) - I simply played well and contained it. It felt great!

Julia Rapp


I found myself up 6-4 and then I played a bad safe. She got out and I told myself if she wins the tournament over that failed safe, then I will learn from it even more. But, I won the first set 7-5!

Me in the finals.

We played the second set right away and I was still playing really well and she wasn't playing like she was in the hotseat.

Editors Note: The next few paragraphs are very honest and show my true emotions of what I went through during the final match and afterwards.

While I was down on the 9-ball to go up 3-0 in the race to 5, I recall thinking about what was happening (i.e., I might win). I went to my chair while Julia was racking and leaned to my friend Viet My and his wife (Amanda) and said "don't think ahead" to them. I kinda needed to say it out loud because I was thinking ahead and needed NOT to. I was already thinking I might win. I got a little teary-eyed but remembered that it wasn't over yet and at any minute I could in reality lose, so I needed to stay in the moment.

(While this thought process may seem obvious - the ONLY reason I was able to stay in the moment was because I had been in the finals before. One time I lost because of thinking ahead, the others I was able to win because I stayed in the present.)

As I made the 4th 9-ball in the final set (now I'm up4-0), I again started to get emotional. Stop it, Melinda; Stay in the moment.

On the 5th game, she missed the 4 or 5 ball and I walked to the table. I noticed I could get out. "How would I finish off this rack with all these emotions?" I thought to myself. I got down on each ball, played like I had been playing, and when I made the final 9ball, the feeling was immediate that I had won the tournament. Immediate.

I shook Julia's hand and gave her a hug and then my true emotions came storming out of me! It just took over. I raised my cue with my left hand, raised my right arm, looked up at the ceiling and shouted out, "I just won my first Fast Eddies event!!" I then dropped to my knees and could not believe it.

Lewis came over to give me my envelope and gave me a hug and I lost it and started to cry. Then I hugged my road partner Ashley while I cried. My good friend Yvette was also watching me in the finals and she was already crying as we grabbed each other to hug. OMG!

I then hugged every person who was there who watched me in the finals: Frank Jr, Viet My and his wife, Bernard, Eric and I think I even hugged the manager who was there, too, lol. It meant a lot they were all watching me win my first 9ball tourney. I was ecstatic! I was elated! I could not stop smiling! I made a few phone calls to share the news before we hit the road and Yvette ran to the mic and announced to all the non-real pool players who were there at 11pm in the poolhall that I had won the tournament. If you can imagine, there's these people there playing on about ten tables max with their friends, not knowing a tournament was going on, and this girl announces some girl won some tournament. I was still flattered!!

The group after my win! Amanda, Viet My, Eric, Frank, Me, Yvette, Bernard, Ash and the Manager

Here's me - winner!

The drive home was really tough because it was late - Ash and I didn't arrive to our destination in North Texas until about 330am. Ugh. Luckily she has a lot of energy and kept me awake. :) As we started our drive, though, from San Antonio, she used my phone to text some friends about my win. Since it was so late, we didn't get to text many, but we contacted a few and it was awesome to share the news. :)

Tourney Description: OMG!

You might want to know how much I won. I don't know. It wasn't about the money, it was that I won the tournament. Finally - a 9ball tournament! Finally, a FE event! All these years playing in it and I finally won one. While I absolutely love the two 8ball tourneys on bar boxes that I won, this one meant a lot to me. It seems silly really, as I re-read over this blog entry for typos that I would be so emotional over the win. I have won several second chance tournaments on the OB Cues Ladies Tour and was never this emotional. But, I guess because this was a tournament of a TOUR - that's why it meant so much to me. I guess because I finally didn't let the mental game get me, overcame some mental toughness, and played pool, and actually won.

Seems one of my goals should be to win a tournament FROM the hotseat, lol. This is the third tournament I've won where I had to double dip or triple dip to win. Well, wait.... that does sound linda cool, too, though!

Yvette keeps reminding me I didn't just win a Fast Eddie's Tournament - I won the Season Finale of the Fast Eddie's Tour. :)


Ann said...

Awesome Ms Lady!! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

winner winner chicken dinn . . .

aww, never mind. congrats on the win.

Unknown said...

melinda! I'm SO proud of you. I'm forwarding this post to Trisha. I loved you posting your thought process. You should be very proud of yourself - you hung tough (esp. having to win in true double elim. fashion) in a pressure situation. It's just the beginning...I'm sure you'll have a ton more wins in the future. :)

your fan,

perdido y alegre said...

Melinda: I too cried reading your post. You're an incredible person! You've learned and implemented so much from experience. Yippee! Congrats - all the hard work pays a step up to the next level of mind control in pressure situations. Love, Tricia