Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Distractions Distract

Who'd a thunk it?

If your brain is distracted, it takes focus away from the primary task at hand.

The National Institute of Health says that multitasking is a myth.  Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time:
  • The brain handles tasks sequentially
  • The brain switches between one task and another

The brain engages in a constant process to:
  1. Select information the brain will attend to
  2. Process information
  3. Encode to create memory
  4. Store information
  5. It must also:  Retrieve and
  6. Execute or act on information
When the brain is overloaded, these steps above are all affected.

OMG! Knowing the above, then how can one play pool with distractions?!

Heck, I'm distracted by all these words coming at me in this blog entry!  ;)

The thing is, in the Encoding stage (#3 above), the brain filters information due to overload. AND most importantly, we are not aware this is happening. Plus, we miss critical information that is right in front of us that is needed to make decisions at the table.

Now it should make complete sense to you:
  • why when someone is arguing on the table next to you, you miss shape while trying to execute a shot during your match.

  • why when someone deeply upsets you during a match, you don't even see the obvious safety in front of you (even though everyone on the sidelines points it out to you afterwards).

  • that when you check your voicemail or text message and it's not pleasant, you cannot play your best pool after that.

  • that when you are too worried about people second guessing your shot selection, you can't focus on your fundamentals which causes you to miss more than usual.

  • why when you care too much what others think, you have a bad day at the pool room.

  • why when you think about winning the set, it gets in the way of actually winning.

  • that when you keep thinking about that missed shot, embarrassment is flowing through your veins and your arms are wobbly and you can't make a ball.

  • that when you are consuming your thoughts with how cold the room is, you can't focus your mind on pool.

  • that when you get upset at bad rolls that you feel are *against you personally* that your mind is too upset to concentrate on your fundamentals, pre shot routine, and playing your best pool.
Take this in, PLEASE!  If your brain cannot multitask like the National Institute of Health has confirmed with tests, then stop THINKING while you are down on your shots.  THINK only about the shot in front of you.  Not that you are hungry, who your next opponent *might* be, that everyone is watching, that you want to impress your friend, that you want to win, need to win, etc.  Everything gets in the way of executing perfect fundamentals if you are thinking of anything else besides the shot in front of you.

Focus only on the shot in front of you and stop the chatter in your brain.

Try it, you'll like it.  I promise!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Back at 2010

Time to see how I did with my 2010 Goals!

I want to write more blog articles. I'd also like to make some of them shorter to keep you interested and from daydreaming, lol. -snip-
Conclusion:  I blogged more (yay!), but not necessarily kept them shorter (sorry). 

For me to play well, I have to practice. I will practice even if I don't officially "write it down" as a goal; practice is the key for success for me. But, it is a goal of mine to try and practice once a week (if physically feasible).
Conclusion:  I practiced often the first 6 months, then slacked off immensely on putting in practice time on the pool table.  Part of it was because my Mom was in the hospital in the Fall and Winter.  In the Summer - I had too many weekends out of town (and that's when I would normally practice)

I have learned that I should not set a goal to 'plan to attend all the events I want to go to' because situations may come up in my life that may prevent me from going. -snip-
Conclusion: So, just as the goal states, I tried to attend "as many as I could go to."  See why it's crucial to word goals carefully?  I see this goal as a BIG check mark!  I attended MANY tournaments through Sept!  In Oct - Dec I wasn't able to go due to Mom being in the hospital, but I am okay with that!

Men's Events:
I want to play in Open events this year. Put myself out there and play them. -snip-
Conclusion:  I played in quite a few Open events in the Spring!

One Pocket:
Continue playing one pocket. -snip-
Conclusion:  I didn't so well with this goal.  :(

Straight Pool:
I'm not into practicing straight pool right now but I know I want to still continue with my Straight Pool league so that I do indeed at least continue to play the game.
Conclusion:  I played in both the league seasons this year!  BIG check mark again.  :)

I want to watch at least one video a month. One pocket, straight pool, also some player reviews of 9ball. :) Accustats and youtube here I come!
Conclusion:  I kept up with this goal until Oct.  This was one of my TOP favorite goals for 2010 - I believe I'll steal it for 2011!

Stay Down:
I still want to focus on staying down! Take my time and follow through. This goal helped me immensely last year and I am therefore carrying it over to this year.
Conclusion:  Not sure how or what exactly happened, but I am staying down well more than EVER!  I honestly think it's because I watched a lot of good pool all year and focused on a smooth stroke.  But mostly because I focused on looking at the object last which forces me to stay down longer.

Overall:  VERY happy with how I did with my goals! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Straight Pool Tourney Results

While I didn't get to play in the Dec 11th Straight Pool Tourney that my 14.1 league held (I was busy placing 2nd in a scotch doubles tourney that same day across town!), I still want to share the results.  :)

End of Season Tournament Results:

They had 16 out of a maximum of 20 players.  Mike Grosso won the event (he's in the highest division) with Don Baker (he's in the middle division with me) the runner-up.  Below are the scores and statistics from the tournament. Normally our divisions are races to 150, 100 and 75, but in this tournament due to time constraints of a one day tourney, the races were smartly adjusted to 75, 50 and 40 respectively.

Click on the images to enlarge!  Congrat's to everyone who played!  Tough tourney!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

T-Shirt - There's No Crying in Billiards!

I occasionally see t-shirts on peeps that make me LOL so hard that I grab my camera and take their picture. Seriously!  Everyone so far has oblige, and some of them I don't even know!

Some of the t-shirts are obviously pool related, but some are simply crude/rude (lol), and some remind me of my past (like a great movie quote, for example). 

I've decided I'm going to start a t-shirt Section on my blog.  Be forewarned - some of these might offend you!  If I do, let me apologize to you in advance - I am SO sorry!

I will start off nice and put up a funny non-pool-related one and a funny pool-related one. Click to enlarge.

Here is one of a guy who at the pool room during one of our Ladies stops in Sept:

And here is Lisa Marr wearing a great pool-shirt from that same weekend!

Game Plans for Winning at Life

I came across these 10 Insights for a Game Plan for Winning at Life by Rudy Ruettiger (from the hit movie Rudy, who is also an author and inspirational speaker).

I always love finding these gems.  Yes, they resonate about winning at life, but they also relate to winning at your passion - Pool!
Insight #1
Be the person you want to be. “Make the decision to take action and move closer to your Dream. Create daily success habits and surround yourself with information that will empower and inspire you.”
My Comment: 
Be the pool player you want to be by setting goals and following through with your desires.

Insight #2
Use anger in a positive way to get results. “Anger is a normal reaction. It’s what you do with anger that makes a difference in your life … direct your anger towards a goal … use anger in a positive way to get results … from anger comes determination … comes triumph.”
My Comment: 
When you get upset during a match, use it to your advantage.  Recognize WHY you are upset and fix it the move on quickly so you can focus back on pool with a clear head. 

Insight #3
It starts with a Dream. “Visualize your Dream and make a commitment. Having a Dream is what makes life exciting. Never underestimate the power of a Dream. It will change your life. A Dream gives you the ability to determine your future.”
My Comment: 
One of my favorite books, Dare to Win, has taught me this.  Goals are important to achieve what you want - dreams/goals are key to get your game where you want it to be; or be the person you want to be in the pool world. 

Insight #4
Eliminate the confusion. "Find mentors who encourage you. The right information will eliminate confusion. Visualize exactly what you want to be … and focus on that … believe in yourself and don’t let anything stop you. Reinforce your Dream every day with positive information from tapes, books, and mentors. Each day you will get closer to your Dream. Eliminate the confusion and fears, and make it happen.”
My Comment: 
Learn!  Always be a pool student.  Never stop learning. 

Insight #5
The greater the struggle, the greater the victory. “Most people allow struggles and fear of failure to stop them. The key is to learn from your struggles and move on. Failures will make you stronger and give you the information you need to reach your Dream. Struggle will prepare you for success. Without struggle there is no success.”
My Comment: 
Struggles make me stronger for future events/episodes in my life.  It prepares me. 

Insight #6
Follow your passion instead of the dollar. “There’s nothing wrong with making money … but, it’s important to focus on your passion instead of the dollar. For me, decisions based on my passion brought me closer to my Dream, while decisions based only on money took me further away. If you focus on what really fulfills you, you will have success. The dollar alone does not bring happiness.”
My Comment: 
I don't play pool because I want the money. But I am blessed with a fortunate job that helps me get to pool tournaments.

Insight #7
Excuses will kill your Dream. “What we’re really talking about here is commitment. Until you make a commitment to your Dream, it’s not really a Dream … it’s just another fantasy full of excuses. Fantasies don’t come true because they’re not real, we’re not committed to them. When we make commitments, we eliminate excuses and they become Dreams … and Dreams are definitely real.”
My Comment: 
I'm tired of hearing excuses.  Be real to yourself and and truly look inside why you didn't win.  It's okay to do that - that will help you prepare and be ready to prevail next time.  Excuses get in the way of progress!

Insight #8
Prepare for your Dream. “Preparation is what comes from struggle. Knowledge comes from preparation. These are the elements that pave the road to your Dream. If we do not prepare we will not succeed. Set your goals and pursue your Dreams with all your heart. If you miss a goal, don’t quit, reset it! You just need to learn more … step by step you will win!”
My Comment: 
If you don't prepare, then don't complain how bad you played.  If you do prepare, it goes a lot further for you and your pool game!

Insight #9
Focus on your Dream and Never Quit. It is always too soon to quit. If you quit, you can’t succeed. By achieving your Dream you will be an inspiration to others. You will set the example and make an enormous impact on the world. Make it happen!”
My Comment: 
Setbacks are normal. Feeling like you want to quit is normal. Give it some time and you will want to hit those balls before you know it!  (usually within a week!)

Insight #10
Always have a Dream. “Dreams give us energy to go to new levels. Dreams change lives … the power of life is in your Dreams!”
My Comment:
Again - goals and dreams go a long way in life and for your love of the game.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wow, Free Pool!

I went to a little hang-out last Saturday that I have been going to now for a few months about twice or more a month.  I go there to socialize with friends, relax, and have fun.

Vino's, as you might imagine with the name like that, reminds you of an Italian restaurant, right?  And guess what?  It is!  But, it's not just a restaurant with a full menu, it also has a full bar, a decent sized dance floor, karaoke every night, a separate room with it's own jukebox and pool tables (4-6 bar tables), and an area with adult video games (golf game, cherry masters, etc).

the pool tables

It's a very friendly bar and I consider it my Cheers because I have been very welcomed every time I go there.

Well, on Saturday night I ventured in the pool room area to watch my friends play some pool.  I had been in there a few other times, but not enough quality time was spent for me to really check out the place.  I all of a sudden noticed this on the wall:

(click on the picture to enlarge)

WTH?  I looked closer, grabbed my camera, took this pic.  Really?  FREE Pool on the coin tables?  WOW!  I haven't ever (and I mean EVER) seen a place that gives free pool to it's patrons if you buy food or drinks anytime of the day or night.

Sure, we've all seen specials like this, but this is a sign that remains on the wall all the time.  It's like a never-ending pool special! 

How freaking cool is that?

I'm still in shock as I write this!

I know many-a pool rooms that make quite a bit of money with coin tables, so this is a surprise to me.  It's also a surprise because it shows Vino's loves it's patrons.  After all, it is a place where everyone knows your name.  :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nostril Trick

Read in Prevention magazine a 2-Minute Memory Trick!

** Constantly forget where you parked?  Breathing through your left nostril may help, say Indian researchers.  Adults ages 20-45 who practiced this yoga technique had a 16% boost in spatial memory, which is key for navigating complex parking lots or garages.  Experts beleive there's a link between the nostril you breathe through and the parts of the brain that control memory.

Gently press your right thumb against your right nostril.  Inhale and exhale through your left nostril 27 times.  Repeat up to 4 times a day.  

Can't remember how to shoot that bank or remember the diamond system?  Can't remember how to play the best safe on that shot?  Can you imagine if you saw someone pressing on their right nostril to close it to help them remember something at the pool table?  If you see me doing this, DON'T LAUGH!  I sometimes need all the help I can get!  ;)

( ** reprinted without the permission from Prevention magazine - eeek! )

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tiger vs. Jack

I am SO excited for my friend Phil Capelle (yes, the famous author of the Play Your Best Pool series).  I remember that crisp, cool morning when I read this in his email to me "top secret - working on a Tiger versus Jack book."

Well, the dream has come to fruition for Phil!

December 8th marked the release of Tiger vs. Jack by Phil Capelle, the first and only book dedicated to golf’s two all time greatest players.  Woo-Hoo!  Congrat's Phil!

Phil's website lists the table of contents, but let me share this about the book:

"Tiger vs. Jack is divided into four parts. Playing for History (1) sets the stage for Woods’ quest with a fresh look at the majors, the all time greats, and each player’s competition. Playing the Game (2) compares their swings and games from tee to green, their mental games, and the author’s offers his well-considered opinion of who would win if they could have only competed in each other’s eras.

In Tiger vs. Jack (3) Capelle provides his expansive new definition of greatness and compares Woods’ and Nicklaus’ careers with an in depth analysis and new perspectives that are sure to inspire clubhouse debates. Finally, in The Best Ever (4) the author explores the risks that Woods faces, bias in the media, and then he talks about how golf needs to go beyond major titles only in making The Big Decision."

Phil adds from this Golf Blog, "The coming season is the most anticipated one since Woods’ turned pro. Will his new swing work? Can he regain the magic on the greens? Is he still the game’s top closer? And will the host of young talent challenge him at the majors?"

"Tiger Woods will supposedly replace Jack Nicklaus at the top when he breaks his record of 18 major titles. But Capelle refutes this overly simplistic notion with his comprehensive new definition of golfing greatness. In his view, the heartbreaking “losses” each has suffered do count, and so he does with the introduction of his Contender Finishes ranking system.

The quality of competition, the rules of the game, equipment, and course conditions are among the ever changing factors that must be weighed when debating who is the best, Tiger or Jack? And, of course, luck’s role must also be considered."

A lot of hard work, sweat, and dedication were poured into the pages.  So, again, a BIG Congrat's to my pal Phil for the release of his book!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Show Us Your Cue Collections!

My partner over at is looking for those of you who have cue collections.

I know you are out there!

We are starting a new page at for cue collectors!  And since the website revolves around videos, we would like to see videos of your collcetions.

The page will specifically be geared toward people with modest collections, but we will obviously accept less-than-modest collection-eests if you like to talk about your collections on camera.  :) 

The idea is to have an entire web page of people talking about their cues. How cool is that?  I cant wait!

Contact us if you have a collection you want to talk about. We'll post the page when we have several videos. Thanks in advance for your help! 

(I wonder if my website partner would accept a video from me chatting up about me 3-4 cues?  Hmmm.)  He knows how I love to talk!  lmao. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PoolSynergy Volume 14 - Recommendations

Admittedly, I struggled with the topic for my first PoolSynergy hosting job, but decided maybe a list of recommendations by the PS writers might be fun and/or interesting.  With the Holidays close by, maybe this month's topic may help you pick out a gift for your fav pool playing friend/relative or YOURSELF!  The goal was to recommend their favorite book and video/dvd.  Let's see what they like/recommend:

p00lriah: The first writer to send in his recommendations to your host this month (me), thank you p00l!  Mr. Riah recommends two books because he didn't have a fav video.  BUT, he offers where to find them and in what format (nice touch, p00riah). The first book is an all-time favorite among pool players. The second recommendation is not even related to pool! (i love that!) Check out his selections.

Mike Feiman:  Guest Writer for this month (maybe he will become a regular?!) through the newly wed Samm Vidal Claramunt (formally known-as Samm Diep).  Mike is the smart Marketing Director for PoolDawg.  As you can imagine, Mike gets to review just about every pool book and dvd out there but he was able to find a favorite DVD to recommend.  Read why his choice was easy! 

Charles Eames:  One of my favorite fellow posters over at, Charles shares his favorite DVD with us.  Sound easy?  Not at all.  Charles shares, "with a collection of well over 150-200 pool matches on dvd was like choosing which child I love more."

Pool Cues News and Review Guy:  PCNRGuy doesn't have a favorite instructional DVD so instead he shares why he likes this certain autobiography.  You will be surprised who he chooses.

Michael Reddick: Michael shares three recommendations:  Two books and a match on DVD.  After reading his article, I think I know what I want for Christmas!  His write-up truly inspires me to go to the book store asap.

Jake Dyer:  The famous R.A Dyer offers not just one, but recommends 4 books!  (at least he admits he can't follow the rules, lol.) Click here to find out if all his recommendations are history-related billiard books or does he have some other recommendations up his knowledgeable sleeve?

Mark Finkelstein and Alison Fischer: Two of's contributors have joined together this month to offer their favs!  Mark is a billiards instructor & columnist for and Alison is the editor of that great website. Curious to read what an instructor would recommend to help your game?  Then also find out what this Kiss of Death team member (Alison, not Mark (smile)) recommends from her arsenal.  Read the combined article here.

John Barton:  Of the famed JB Cases, John recommends two goodies for you to fill your stocking with.  You will be surprised what he reccomends for his book selection and then he surprises us even more with a DVD recommendation he hasn't even seen yet!  Check out his blog here.

Gary Frerking:  Another great contributor to PoolSynergy, Gary recommends a "pleasant" instructional book and a DVD by one of the greats for you to improve your game.  I can't wait to check the DVD out he recommends - I haven't seen this one yet!  Check out Gary's article.

John Biddle: Founding Father of Poolsynergy offers books from "what seems like" his favorite author.  Or, maybe this author has so many good instructional books, it easily comes across that way.  :)  I happen to love this author too, so I am glad John recommends these books.

Gail Glazebrook: G Squared (your 2010 BCAPL Women's Open Champ) tells us with words and photos (nice touch, Gail!) what her favorite book is, which is really a game.  What?  What does that mean?  You'll have to read her blog to find out what I am talking about. :)

Mike Fiedlhammer:  Mr. BillardCoach tells what he doesn't recommend (you'll get a kick out of why he says this).  But then recommends his favorite book of all time.  :)  What could it be?  Is it pool-related?  A novel?  An instructional-book?  Read here to find out!

Melinda (Me) (akaTrigger):  I knew right away which DVD I was gonna recommend.  The book - ooooh, a toughy.  I have so many favorites. I almost decided to recommend a book in every pool genre (8ball, mental, 9ball, one pocket, etc). lol. Instead, I picked my most recent fav book that was recommended to me by the lovely and talented Liz Ford.  Check out what I recommend by clicking this blue link here.

My PoolSynergy Recommendations

As the host of this month's PoolSynergy month, I asked the writers of PoolSynergy to recommend a favorite book and a favorite DVD.

Well, what do I recommend?

My Fav DVD: 

Anyone who has read enough of my blog prolly knows what my favorite DVD is and therefore what  I will recommend.  I honestly watch this DVD before big tournaments, especially if I hadn't had a chance to practice ON the table before a big event.  I swear this player review by Buddy Hall and Grady Matthews prepares me because I get to watch such smart pool, along with the "why's" of the shots because Buddy and Grady are the commentators of the DVD. This was a match from the June 1992 Sands Regency Open.

I thoroughly enjoy watching this DVD several times a year because each time I watch it, I always learn from it.  When I show up at a tournament after watching this DVD, I can SEE the shots, patterns, and choices so much clearer.  I can even hear Buddy and Grady in my head, telling me how I should position the cueball for my next shot!

My Fav Book:

I have so many favorite books. I almost decided to recommend a book in every pool genre (8ball, mental, 9ball, one pocket, etc). lol. Instead, I picked my most recent fav book that was recommended to me by the lovely and talented Liz Ford.

In March I emailed Professional Pool Player Liz Ford:

"I was looking through Billiards Digest and saw from the Feb issue you were in the Quick Hits section.  I loved your response to the Q: 'What specif area of your game are you working on right now?'"

She answered in Billiards Digest:

"I am always working on my game but this year I am focused on believing in myself.  There is a difference between showing up at a tournament and wanting to do your best and showing up at a tournament prepared to take people down."

I wanted an explanation - I was VERY curious what exactly she meant.

She explained to me via email:

"I can't remember if I said that before or after reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert.  I think it was before but that sentiment was reinforced heavily by that book.

For a long time I focused on all the things that I didn't know.  It gave me determination to get better and an unending quest for knowledge - but come tournament time I never felt confident.  In trying to get better all the time I never really thought or felt a sense of pride about all the things I already did really well.  Practice is for learning but competition is about executing what you do best.

In terms of being prepared to take people down... I'm not sure if it is just the phase of life I am in or if Winning Ugly changed my brain in some way, but lately I take great joy in dismantling my opponents mentally.  I want to push them to the point where there game breaks down.  It has nothing to do with sharking or mind games and everything to do with having a plan to be the smarter, more aware and mentally stronger player.  I don't feel like I can explain it adequately... you should definitely read the book."

So, I did.

And guess what?  I think I finally found the killer instinct.  I can't explain why, I can't explain what exactly this tennis book by Brad Gilbert shared that changed my mindset but Liz is correct: I want to win more than ever and I have no ill feelings if you happen to scratch, I beat you 7-0, or I follow the rules which leads to you losing.  I no longer am scared to win or take someone down or feel bad for my opponent.  As Liz explains, I too now take pride when my opponents are frustrated; I sometimes smile to myself, even.

I am simply more prepared to win.

Although Winning Ugly sounds like the book may be about sharking, it has nothing to do with. In tennis, Brad Gilbert "is the best in the world at the mental side of the game" and he shares his wealth of knowledge in this book and explains how he won millions (by being prepared).  

Brad Gilbert is not a well-known tennis player but pro tennis players know him well.  They would tell him he won ugly because he wasn't necessarily talented.  But he PREPARED.  The book tells you how he prepared.  How he took down the greats.  How he prepared before even setting foot in the arena.

I highly recommend the book - it's an easy read and chalk-full of great tips to develop a stronger mental game, if you've been looking for that.

I wish I could explain exactly how the book helped me be a more confident, prepared player, but I can't.  All I know is, if you have problems with the killer instinct or you want to be more prepared to "take people down" as Liz stated, I highly recommend Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bathroom Talk

Is it just me, or do you all also always use the same stall?  I always go to the left if I have a choice, and for some reason pick the second one.  When I return to that bathroom throughout the day because I'm playing in a tourney, I use the same stall.  If it's being used, I get a little miffed.  Don't they know?

Do guys do this?  Do you use the same urinal?  Has this ever crossed your mind?  Am I the only OCD one here?

And the hand dryers.  Seriously - leave it going for just like 3 seconds more and then I wont have to turn it back on again and waste hot air after I use it for only a few more seconds.  It's kinda crucial for our hands to be completely dry for when we return to our tables and grab our cue to shoot, right?

And as a courtesy to your fellow non-smokers, don't smoke in the bathroom.  It's a SMALL room.  Give us a break, please.

And finally, if you don't wash your hands, we talk about it among our friends.  Yes, we do.  So, ladies, wash them or even pretend to wash them if fellow pool players are there in the bathroom with you at the same time.

And on a completely different note, but ending this bathroom-themed blog article in the bathroom:  Check out my fellow player and friend David Parker's visit to the bathroom with my video camera back in July in Austin at Fast Eddie's Billiards:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Perfect ESPN Magazine

ESPN Magazine contacted me in mid September about Perfection Stats.  They were dedicating a whole magazine about perfection stats in sports and they wanted some info about pool. 

They said, "We are compiling data for an issue that deals with perfection in sports. Would you have a source we can use or data you can provide that comprises anything that could be considered “perfection" in any pool and billiards competition? We can use consecutive victories, shutouts, perfect scores, unbeaten streaks in a season or career, etc., throughout all levels of competition."

I immediately went to my sources (the fine folks at Forums) to ask for their help!  I received numerous suggestions on what they considered "perfect" records in pool. 

I then compiled some of the details from the responses and sent them to my contact at ESPN Magazine. 

I crossed my fingers.

Would they use anything for billiards in their magazine?

Would we get even a tad amount of exposure?

Which would they pick?  Johnny's break and run of 13?  Jean Balukas' 16 wins in a row?  A straight pool run?  (Mosconi's 526 run or the numerous 150-and out in tourneys?)  Earls' run of 11 racks for a million?


Then their online version came out.

No Billiards!


Ugh.  I was afraid of that.  I took all the blame.

I didn't write up enough details. 

I didn't give them a good enough perfect stat.  It wasn't perfect.  :(

They still sent me a copy of the magazine and as I flipped through the pages reading about Tiger Woods and some NASCAR guy,  Michael Jordan and archery (archery!) I found myself sick to my stomach until I ran across page 84.  Billiards.  Next to NFL, Soccer and Surfing! 

We were there!  I didn't see it at first because it wasn't in alphabetical order.  Archery, Bowling, Golf, NASCAR... NFL then Billiards!

We made it! 

OMG, Billiards got a little bit of exposure!  Yeah, Baby!

What did they write about?

Well, click the image below to enlarge and Read All About It!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Great Domino Story!

Back in May, someone was posting on Forums telling us his wife had taken a bad fall, he was out of work, his A/C quit working (it was pretty hot this time of year), and he was therefore trying to sell his personal playing cue to raise some money for his tough times as he and his wife were in dire straits.  I donated some cash to him and his wife then several other AZB'ers stepped up and sent him money, including a fellow player from the Dallas/Fort Worth-area, Mike.  Although I've never met Mike (Fort Worth really is a big city, lol), we know each other through the pool community and through the AZB Forums.  I also did not know the gentleman who was on tough times.  Turns out he is Tony, who makes Russell Cues.  Tony didn't have any cues that were already finished that he could sell and he doesn't "rush cues ever" (which is the sign of a good cuemaker). 

Long story short, Mike ended up placing an order with Tony in June and after several discussions of designs, Mike received his FIRST-EVER custom designed cue in early September!

Mike was striving for a "very simple, clean design that lets the beauty of the wood grain be the focal point."  He added that he is extremely happy with the "entire experience and product I received from Tony Russell and will do business with him in the future."

I love domino stories like this!  

Here is a pick of Mike's custom Russell Cue:

(Click to enlarge)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Calcuttas Are Poo, Or Are They?

As a female pool player, I was never interested in calcuttas (i.e. Player Auctions). I guess because the money for calcuttas is mostly shoveled into the men's side of the tourneys. Larger attendance, bigger pots, better players = all equal to more money in the men's tourneys for the calcuttas.

So, calcuttas never served me. If I happen to be at a tourney with a women's calcutta, I don't even buy half myself (that doesn't make my buyer's too happy; sorry).

Calcuttas are illegal in Texas and while the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) doesn't normally care about calcuttas, a large Tour in Texas lost their ability to run calcuttas because a competing pool room "turned them in" to the TABC. Because the Tours' pool rooms could lose their liquor license from the TABC, the associated Tour had to stop running the calcuttas (even though they ran calcuttas for 7 years with no problems before that).

However, I naively didn't think this would hurt the Tour at all. I figured that it's the player's that make or break a tour, not a side bet auction thingamachigy.

Well, I was wrong.  After two years of the no-calcutta rule for this Tour, it's quite evident that calcuttas are very important for men's Tours. The Tour has lost a lot of participation because they are no longer allowed to have calcuttas. To the point where some events didn't even occur because the Tour didn't have enough players show up to even hold an event! And I am talking about a $1,000-added event, too. Wow.

While I admit two new home-grown tours in the area might be hurting the Tour I am referring to, it goes to show that those two new tours have calcuttas and are doing well while this established Tour struggles.

I will confide I am extremely surprised that calcuttas are that important to guys - us women don't usually have calcuttas associated with our events so I am very green behind the ears I guess.

Here are a couple of good comments from some male friends about calcuttas:

"Yea the auctions are what get the spectators in to spend the money and watch some pool in the establishments."

"I know the best tournaments in the south have auctions..If they didn't they would have no tournament..I know people that don't know much about pool but they do go to tournaments because they can participate without playin..I think it should be legal..but that's me.... "

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Wish List

Do you know what you want for Christmas that is pool-related? (if you celebrate this holiday.) 

I know you are thinking about it!

My holiday-pool-related wish is simple - I hope I still have my stroke after taking all this time off from big tournaments, practicing, and my straight-pool league break. 

My bigger wish is I hope Mom is home by Christmas!  :)

What is yours?  If you haven't thought about it, start now please so you can tell Santa. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stop My 5-0

I was at league two weeks ago. I hadn't been in some time because teammate Ashley was trying to get her weeks in before November and I then would cover her weeks in November/December.

It had been so long since I played league, I walked in without my cues. I thought, "What am I forgetting? I feel a little naked." lol.

As the night progressed against the team we were beating, I noticed I had won each of my matches so far and was sitting at 4-0 and was on the cusp of having a 5-0 night!

As I racked my last rack, the team was gathering across from the table, figuring out who was up next. My opponent, a big bulky guy, evidently saw my stats for the night and said out loud to his teammates, "I'm gonna stop her 5-0 right now."

I look up from my racking abilities, and one of the teammates saw me look over at them and he figured out I had heard my opponent. I admit I had an evil grin on my face - kinda of a "go ahead and try it" look with an added smile.  Oooh - a challenge! 

I break, make a ball, and run out to the 8 ball but miss. Eeek! So close! He stammers to the table, eyes the layout, table wide open, shoots and misses his first shot!

Wow, really? How is that stopping my 5-0? I make my 8ball and we shake hands as he walks toward his team kinda embarrassed and deflated as I walk toward mine all happy and giddy. :)

Welcome back to league!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rusty's Billiards VIPPP Party Video Tour

Rusty's Billiards (in Fort Worth, Texas) had their Quarterly VIPPP Party on Sunday.  Thought I'd do a video blog (vlog) of how happenin' the pool room is during one of these parties:  ring games, practicing, tournament, socializing, cookout, etc.  And you finally get to see which nine foot tables I practice on.  I know, I know... you all have been losing sleep on wondering what the table looks like.  ;)

Enjoy the tour!

Gabe Owen One Pocket DVDs

Gabe Owen, U.S. Open Champion and U.S. One Pocket Champion, has produced two new instructional One-Pocket DVDs called, One Pocket My Way

Gabe recently announced the news and I am very fortunate to be a part of this process.  Gabe is not only a personal friend of mine, I'm also his webmaster (yep, another website I maintain).  :)  The photos you see on the covers are from the Texas State Open of this year (Sept 2010) where Gabe placed 2nd (thank goodness I caught some good snapshots of him!).

The cover design is from his cousin who has helped such clients as Nike.  It is super sharp and snazzy!  I love the design.

Gabe and I recently updated his website to include the DVDs so you can find out more about the DVDs and if you are interested, then purchase them easily and securely through PayPal directly from his website.  (Sound familiar?  Yep, I just recently updated Phil Capelle's website similarly, also.) 

Gabe has two DVDs available - Beginner / Intermediate and Advanced.  I can't wait to check them out!  You neither?  Then check out the shipping info and even a teaser clip from the DVDs on his website:

Go ahead, tell him Trigger sent ya.  :)

[I don't get any special compensation or even brownies, but it would be cool for someone to use my nickname in a sentence.  ;) ]

Monday, November 29, 2010

BilliardsPress Website Updated

As many of you know, I am a webmaster for several websites.  Well, recently, I gave a little update.  :)

Phil Capelle, well-known author of the Play Your Best Pool series, has a website ( that describes all his books and also provides an avenue to buy his books directly from him.

Because of technical issues, Phil and I decided to make an improvement to his website for you.  We thought it would be best to allow readers, fans, and students-of-the-game to be able to purchase books online via PayPal through his website. This is a pretty big change for us - before you could only use a credit card via an online form or send in a check.  Now you can use PayPal which allows for a safer and easier transaction for credit cards.

The update is timely, as this is the 15 Year Anniversary for Play Your Best Pool!  Read the Press Release here.

Check out the Paypal buttons:
(Click to enlarge)

BTW, every book is NOW IN STOCK (except Capelle on 9Ball, which should be soon).   These make great Holiday Gifts, if you don't already own them.  My favs are Play Your Best Pool and Play Your Best 8Ball out of all eight of his books.

Check out this link to use the new PayPal buttons!  (pats herself on the back)  :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rustys Night Out

I went to Rusty's Billiards on Tuesday (November 23). They were having a $1,000-a-ball break contest!  (read the rules here)

I just had to show up.  :)

While I was there, I saw Fred (the oldest pool player I know). He will be 90 in March!!  I interrupted his one pocket game to snap a photo with him. He calls me his girlfriend - luckily he likes younger women.  :)

Fred and I

My friend Brian won the tourney undefeated! (nice $100 win for me as I happened to pay his entry fee because he didn't want to break a $50 bill, so we split the first place winnings.  Yay!)

And Steve Game won $8,000 in the break contest!  (that's not a typo!)  Corey Anderson was drawn first but couldn't make the 1ball because it was too tricky-laying after the break.  Steve made a ball on the break and had a potential run but had to play smart to win it all  - and he did it!!  It was awesome to see someone win that much money like that.

Ashley and I sparred two sets but she started me drinking too early and she ran over me, lol.  But her and I had a fun night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Video of How to Use a Bridge

Just a suggestion I'm passing onto you that I learned from a friend a few years ago:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MIP Thoughts

The "Most Improved Player" Award is a touchy little award to win. It's a valuable award to those who win it and to those who crave it. However, to those who think they should have won it, they feel defeated - even though they had a good year! 

Even if my friends do not set a goal to win MIP, it still hurts me deeply when they deserved the award but did not get it. To me, some recognition for being in contention when the MIP is announced is also warranted.  When that doesn't happen, it bothers me.  I do not know how they feel, but I personally know how tough it is to think you should win something and everyone else thinks so too, but then the close contenders aren't even mentioned as being in the running.

As a previous Board Member, I can state emphatically that deciding the MIP is NEVER an easy decision. The MIP award has so many facets to it. It's not simply, "Hey, who moved up the most this year in the ranking compared to the previous years?"

Attendance is considered, the number of top finishes are compared against all contenders, the number of times they have played on the tour, sportsmanship and attitude, and overall pool game improvements which includes skill, mental focus, and consistency over the years.

It's one of the most difficult choices! Also, the award is decided by ALL the board members, not just one person.

I do feel that each friend and fellow competitor who wins the Most Improved Player award are MUCH deserving of it! Don't misinterpret my comments. But I also have some heartache for my friends and fellow players who obviously also deserved the award.

In 1999, a fellow player on the Ladies Spirit Tour out of Florida shared very valuable information. I told Karen that my goal that year was to get MIP. Well, instead of supporting me, she got mad at me! She scowled, "how can you have a goal which you have absolutely NO control over!" I was taken aback, "huh?"

Although I HEARD her, I didn't listen. I STILL craved that award; I wanted it badly and worked my butt off that year.

And sure enough, I improved in the standings and even jumped up more than any other player that year, but yet I still didn't win the award! The Tour Directors knew how much I wanted that award, but they gave it to another player who also moved up in the rankings that year.

The Tour created a new award and called it something like "the Best All-Around Player." The description on the certificate read something like, "best dressed, most professional, most considerate and thoughtful player who has also improved."

I accepted the award with sincere disappointed and hurtfulness. I did NOT listen at all to Karen. :(

Can I hear her now when I feel sympathy for my friends who don't win the award?

Nope, not at all.  (Sorry, Karen!)  The hurt is still there for them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caught Me on Video!

One of my friends was trying out his new FlipVideo in Vegas and May.  I didn't know it, but he caught me in one of my matches at the BCAPL National 8Ball Championships!  He said he forgot what he had saved on the FlipVideo and recently just found this.

In the match, I was down 0-3 when Doug started taping.  I had ball-in-hand and was ready to run out when a ref was called to the table next to me.  I had to wait about 35 seconds before I could get back to analyze my shot.  That may not seem like a long time, but to anyone watching a 4-minute video, it can seem like forever.  lol.

But, I admit the rest of that game I did play prolly a little too slow.  However, because I was down 0-3, I had to play deliberate.  Additionally, I do tend to play 8ball timid when my confidence is low and because I was losing, it was being tested. :)  But, I saw the run, and ran out!

BTW, you can see at 40 seconds I am trying to look at the angle and the ref walks by and I have to move my cue or else I'd be in his way.  That is my "perturbed" move and you can even see me mumbling to myself.  haha.  Later in the vid, the refs walk by the table as I am down on some shots, but that didn't bother me at all because they weren't in my way so I just kept shooting.  I prolly didn't even see them then. 

Outcome:  Even though I was down 0-3, I came back and won that match 4-3!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tourney Conflict

For the first time in a while, I have a tournament conflict.  Boo-Hiss!  Two tournaments I am interested in are the same weekend...IN town.  Normally, if tournaments overlap the decision of which one to go to is pretty easy because they are in other cities.  So, I normally choose the city closest to me (I hate long drives).  Then, the type of tournament will help me narrow down my decision even further. If it's a Ladies Tour event or a BCAPL event or a State Tourney, I will choose them over a further-away event that only has a separate women's division on Sunday.  So, the decisions have been somewhat painless.

Well, there is finally a tournament conflict that was kinda a tough decision!  Don't get my wrong - the optimist in me is thrilled to have this "problem."  Nice that there will be tourneys in the area in December!

Courtesy of Mark Parisi

On December 11th, there is a Scotch Doubles tournament in Dallas.  I am so excited that I get to play in this tournament because it's gonna be fun with my Scotch Doubles partner, Brian.  We have the same style of play and I also learn a lot from him.  The tourney is 8ball, BCAPL rules.  I think we would race to 3 because of our skill levels (Master Teams would go to 5).

Right after Brian said he'd play in that tournament with me, I swear just a few hours later I received an invite via email to play in a straight pool tournament, which happens to also be IN town, AND the same day as the Scotch tourney. lol.  It's the first straight pool tourney I have heard about in the area for at least the last three years.  They quickly filled up 18 spots right away for the straight pool event (they are accepting 20 players and it would be handicapped).

While I wouldn't have PLAYED in it, I would have loved to watch the straight pool matches all day long. Many of the top tiered players have signed up and that would be a great treat to watch and learn from so many of them. 

But, I have a wonderful plan!  After doing well in the Scotch Doubles tourney in Dallas, we will then drive to the Fort Worth area to finish watching the straight pool tourney! Then at 9pm a local band (who we know the bandmates) will be playing and we will finish the day off watching and listening to them. I can't wait!

What tourney conflict?  ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Did It!

WOW, I did it!

As you may recall, I was wondering if I would still be in the top ten of the year-end rankings of the OB Cues Ladies Tour by the end of the season because I had to miss the last two stops.

I found out this week I finished the season ranked 8th!!

This means for the last 9 years I have been ranked in the TOP TEN 8 times!  SO glad I place 4th twice this year which surely help me secure the top ten ranking, right?

Yay! I'm so excited!

 (click to enlarge)

Monday, November 15, 2010

November PoolSynergy

Founding Father of PoolSynergy, John Biddle, is hosting PoolSynergy's anniversary month (November) and his topic is:: "Three Tips." Each contributor is to write up a post containing 3 tips related to pool, preferably of the same general classification.

Same classification?  Oh, wow, toughie....

Well, here it goes:

I think it's very important to prepare for the UNKNOWN conditions of your tournament BEFORE you get to the tournament. Specifically, these unknowns:

1. Equipment
2. Temperature
3. Surroundings

What?  How can I prepare for the conditions before I'm even at the pool room, or have practiced on the table to see how it rolls?... you might be asking yourself.

Let me 'Esplain:

You should be aware and be prepared that the equipment may not be the best.  To help combat your frustrations with non-perfect tables, consider that everyone is playing under the same conditions.  Yes, we would like pristine conditions, but let's be realistic - there may be holes in the cloth, dead rails, plastic/clumsy racks/pockets, bad lightning.  I have played in a pool tournament with all of these conditions on one table before!  If you let yourself get upset over these things (things which you can't control), then you are not focusing on pool.  You are letting things interfere with your pool game that has nothing to do with being mentally able to focus completely on the task at hand.

Same for the temperature in the pool room.  Be prepared that some pool rooms get exceptionally cold or hot!  Bring an extra sweater or over shirt with sleeves as a backup in case the room is cold.  Better to have this as a backup than you not being able to play because your arms are frozen.  In the Summer in Texas, sometimes the A/C breaks or freezes and it gets hotter inside than out (no joke).  We play in these conditions a lot, believe it or not.  If you are consumed with negative thoughts about how damn hot it is, then you aren't focusing on pool again.  Don't let the negative energy of being upset about something YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER affect your pool game.

Now for the atmosphere - you never really know what you might be getting into.  Even if you've played in this particular tourney 1,000 times, maybe this time there is a heckler, or they get a new waitress who is the worst server ever, or the guys on the next table are clueless and keep getting in your way when you shoot.  Be prepared for everything; for anything.  Know that things may not be perfect; accept that!  Accept that you have no control over your surroundings.  When you do, then you can instead focus on playing your best pool, so the distractions do not become a negative and interfere with your matches.

Nothing is worse than distractions affecting your mental game.  Distractions are negative emotions that cause negative thoughts which leads to not thinking clearly which causes tenses muscles and your fundamentals become affected.  Negative thoughts and emotions CAN be tamed.  These tips above can help if you practice them.

The whole point of this blog entry is to help remind us to not let things bother us that we cannot control.  If you accept that things may go wrong and NOT let them bother you, you can then focus on playing pool; your best ability to play pool.  Don't let any of the above become YOUR excuse for losing.  Or for not playing your best.  Before you set foot into the pool room to play in the tourney, already be prepared for the unknown distractions so you can PLAY POOL with a clear, positive, strong mind.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Offended Again

Thursday was Veteran's Day and since my job is with the government, it was a Federal Holiday for us. Little 'ole me had the day off! :)

After visiting Mom in the hospital, I decided to get some things accomplished and finally got my brakes worked on. Well, the brake place just happened to be a block and a half from the sister pool room I normally practice at. I just also happened to have my pool cue with me. :)

After the response of, "it could take 2-4 hours" from the man in the green work clothes at the brake place, I grabbed my cue, walked down the street, and voila! - during the afternoon of this fine day, a 9foot table was open for me!

Four of the other five 9foot tables were taken and although I only knew the guys working there, I hardly knew anyone else that day since it's not my normal "hang out."

I practiced 10ball by myself for about 45 minutes when the inevitable happened: Someone approached me to practice.

After I cleared the rack, I walked to the end of the table to set the balls out from the ball-return Gold Crown when I hear a voice behind me:

"Hi there"

"Oh, hey."

"You playing ten ball?"


"Um, yes."

"Do you want me to hit balls with you?"

"Nah, no thanks" I reply as I'm just about finished racking for my break.

"Oh, okay."

He turns his back on me, slinks away, and mutters "I can play, ya know."

OMG, really?

Why get offended when someone doesn't want to practice? Seriously. I was practicing by myself for 45 minutes just fine.

Did I look like I needed to play someone? no.

Did I look over at him like I wanted him to practice with me? no.

Was I rude when I said I didn't want to practice with him? no.

Could I have explained I always practice alone so his little feelings didn't get hurt. sure.

"I can play, ya know."


Friday, November 12, 2010

I Got Another Invite!

I received this from the WPBA last night (ironically I received the email on my phone right in the middle of my practice session with fellow shooter, Ms. Ashley Nandrasy).

It said:

Hi Melinda,

This is to let you know that you are on the waiting list for an opening at the Tour Championship in Niagara. At this time, there are a couple of players ahead of you. Please review the information and let me know if you have any questions. If you are invited, I will need an answer asap.

Wow!  Did I really get another invite to a WPBA event??  It might seem minor to you all, but it's pretty cool that I attended that WPBA pro event in July and now I received this invite.

However, I will have to pass.  :(  Too close to make all the arrangements (Dec 1 is the Player's Meeting) and I bet the flight is super expensive for this last minute decision.

Still, I'm SO flattered!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Are the Ranking Chances?

I have alluded that my Mom hasn't been doing well in a few blog entries.  This week is the 6th week of a long set of in and out hospital stays for her.  Well, her advanced emphysema and heart disease has forced her back in the hospital this week.  :(

I therefore wont even fathom going to the OB Cues Ladies tourney this weekend.  The Season Finale (I like to call it that - kind of like a cool tv show!) is this weekend at Casper's Billiards.  Watch the stream and follow my/your friends!

In the meantime, I couldn't help but notice the rankings today while I put in a few hours at work.  I am currently ranked 7th.  I am quite proud of my top ten ranking (yet again), but I wonder if by the end of the tourney this weekend I will still be in the top ten?  Will my two 4th place finishes from earlier in the year (wait, I had two?  cool!) help me stay in the top ten if I miss my second stop of the year this weekend?

Here is a snap shot of the current rankings:  (click to enlarge or go to this link before next week when they get updated)

It's gonna be close.  If the three below me pass me up, which Michelle can just by showing up, but if all three do that, then I will be ranked 10th.  If anyone else passes me, though, I'll be knocked down outta the top ten for the 2nd time in 9 years.  I'm not wishing ill-play on any of my friends, mind you, but the pride to be in the top ten is a powerful little drug.

Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself at the last stop to do well to remain in the top ten (which I somehow managed) but this year I have no control over the outcome because I wont be there.  It kinda reminds me of the BCS - where someone else needs to lose so the other team goes up in the rankings.  Just as them, I have no control over this what-so-ever, except hope and pray my previous performances are enough.

We shall see. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Victory Poses Wish

I was SO hoping would get a Victory V Pose of the winner of the Steve Mizerak Championship this past weekend so we could have THREE Victory V Poses on the three windows on the front page of AZB. 

The Victory V Pose?  You know.... when after a huge win the champion throws their arms up the air with excitement, almost in the shape of a V.  See Darren Appleton and Jasmin Ouschan below for the perfect Victory V pose after their very successful recent wins. 

It would have been so cool if we had a Victory V Pose of the eventual winner, Mr. Earl Strickland (congrats, Earl, btw) to add to the Victory V Pose gallery that was abound on the front page.  But alas... :(

I contacted Mike Howerton (my partner at AZB) and he said he had hoped to get a trophy shot of Earl from the Seminole Tribe, but they hadn't sent him a pic yet.  Dang... I was hoping!  Three Victory V Poses would have looked awesome on

It would have made for a better blog entry, too, lmao. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Straight Pool Shirt

My friend Jack made this cool Straight Pool t-shirt and he graciously gave me one to showcase:

Jack shared, "I had some t-shirts made up with a large Backwards facing ? mark with 14.1 under it.  For those that do not know-the backwards ? mark is a punctuation mark meant to symbolize a rhetorical question. I figured those that know 14.1 would see the rhetoric!"


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oooh, I'd Be Pissed

A friend of mine emailed me earlier today and asked me when I was going to arrive at the tourney this week.  I told him, "uh, the tourney was cancelled."

It got me thinking - I wonder how many times this occurs and how many people have been on the receiving end of driving all the way to a tourney and then when they get there, come to find out it was canceled.

Some events you pay in advance - those are the ones most likely (imho) to be canceled.  But those same events also allow signups on-site... meaning the peeps that decide to pay when they get to the event wouldn't have been notified like I was, because I paid in advance and the event promoter called all the players who had signed up already.

I think I'd be pretty dang pissed if I drove all the way to a tourney, even took days or hours off of work to attend an event, and then when you show up no one is there.  That is a lot of wasted time and energy!

There are some events that guarantee they will still have an event no matter how many players.  Then there are some like this past weekend who only had 9 players show up and they didn't have the event because their "minimum number of players policy" was not met.  I would have been upset if I would have driven all the way down there and that would have happened.

You have to realize in the big state of Texas that it's not a simple little drive to other happenin' cities to go to pool tournaments.  If I was to drive an hour to Dallas and an event was cancelled, I'd only be perturbed.  But driving over 3 hours for nothing would seriously put me in a crappy mood.

Some cancellations can't be helped - lack of participation and lack of players showing up.  But for me, it's more the notification process of canceled events that needs to be better.  Then there'd be less perturbed, ticked-off, pissed players who wasted their time.

Mind you, this isn't commonplace practice here in Texas very often, but the few times it has happened always makes us all scratch our heads and go, "hmmm..."

Btw, last year I planned to go to Reno in August.  I paid my entry, bought my plane ticket, and a few weeks before the event, SLAM.  Event canceled.  Sure, I got notified and my entry fee returned, but I had an unused, paid ticket to Reno that I was out.

Another time about five year ago, my friend Lisa Marr drove from Arkansas to Houston to attend a new ladies tour event but it was cancelled at the last minute.  How was she suppose to know?  Even IF the tour had put something on their website, who goes to the website the day before an event?

Ahhh... the trials and tribulations of cancelled tournaments.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

PoolDawg Fall Catalog Surprise

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Frank the PoolDawg.  Well, Frank LOVES his pic taken.  He was all over Vegas during the BCAPL having his pic taken! 

Frank watching the Pros

Frank sunning with Samm Diep at the Riviera Casino pool

Turns out one of the many pics Ashley and I took with Frank in Vegas in May made it prime time.  Ashley and I found ourselves on the inside cover of the Fall PoolDawg Catalog! 

Mike from PoolDawg shared with me, "We like to sprinkle the “be seen with Frank” pictures throughout the book and we were doing a bit of a “rock ‘n roll” theme this year so the pictures fit in perfectly.  The picture of you two from the BCAPL event is on the inside front cover."

(Click image to Enlarge) 

Now, go ahead and view the full catalog here and purchase one of the many items you will want to buy for yourself to show your support for the love of the game.  :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheaters That I Don't Know

I told a friend of mine the other day that I was going to write a piece for my blog about a very interesting cheating event that occurred and was exposed online, that I don't think many people know about.  If you don't peruse the 14.1 section of AZB forums, you would never know about this guy who actually MOVED his break ball during his game of straight pool.  How do we know this?  Because he was videotaping his runs and people could SEE on video that the breakout balls were in different locations after he racked in front of the camera.  Yes, really.

The 14.1 guys are a very close knit group of folks.  They called each other and shared their suspicions.  Finally, one guy was able to document via video editing and graphics the true nature of the "cheating."

(Read and view the graphics of the entire "outing" here:

I started to receive emails and messages and phone calls, "Have you seen the thread about the guy cheating in straight pool caught on video?"  Yes, it was that rampant among the knit folks.

Why would the guy do this?
Why did he cheat to get high runs? 
What forces someone to cheat on camera?
What was the purpose of increasing his run stats? 
Why cheat at all?  It defeats the pure joy (and frustration) of straight pool.
As Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant, "What were you thinking?"

When I mentioned to my friend that I was going to write this blog, I added, "of course if I knew the guy, I wouldn't write it."

He replied, "well, that's what you should really write about."

Hmmm... interesting.

Why would I NOT blog about a friend if they had done this?  Why am I okay with doing this to this guy I don't know?  He has feelings.  He's already embarrassed.  I'm going to embarrass him more (I can feel the guilt creeping in me as I type this, almost wanting to delete this post to help save face for him).

I think I wouldn't do this to a friend because I have a close connection to my friends and although I wouldn't understand why they moved their break ball on camera, I would still kinda protect them by NOT blogging about it.  I tend to be very careful choosing my words when I have to tell someone something that could hurt them.  I think my friends like me for that. And blogging about this about a friend would strain my relationship with them.

Even the people that "outed" this guy were friends with him.  They genuinely didn't understand why he did all the moving of balls on video for higher run stats.  I don't understand it either.  But, his friends kinda wanted to expose him because they sincerely wanted explanations.

In my job, I happen to be a trained mediator (among other things).  This gives me training in how to show empathy and also communicate in tough situations.  I would be able to express to a friend my disappointment in their cheating ways, but I wouldn't put it in my blog.

A blog is an interesting thing.  I have learned that if what you say about a person you can't say to their face, you wont write about it.  I fully admit because I don't know this person, I can share with you all what I think was an unfortunate thing he did.  If it was a friend, I would only slyly refer to it and write about it so vaguely, you wouldn't even know what I was talking about, lol.

Opponent Applause Help

As many of us well know, when people cheer loudly for our opponents, it can get under our skin.  It can get under our skin to the point where we get angry, disturbed, and can't play pool anymore because our emotions are so upheavaled by the rooting and cheers for our opponent. 

If FEELs like their friends are rooting against us because our opponent gets all the cheers.  It FEELs like the the crowd doesn't want us to do well; they are against us!  Eventually we may even notice that they clap for their friend for mediocre shots but when we make a miraculous shot with perfect shape, no one claps for us.  WTH!?  Our opponent wins a game and the applause is loud for them; we win a game and we only hear crickets.

Our emotions can easily start to roll downhill and every.. little.. thing then bothers us which then begins to affect our game.  And then we aren't playing pool anymore!

And we get more upset.  Our mind gets fuzzy.  We have negative thoughts and emotions.  We stop focusing on our pre-shot routine and fundamentals.  We are so focused on the cheers our opponent is receiving and the obvious lack of support to our own game, that we get negative, angry, tense, and aggravated.  This leads to bad play and missed shots.  We sit down with our shoulders humped, eyes on the floor, and thoughts tormented.  OR we turn around to shoot the audience a bad look (yea, that does a lot).  Sometimes, we may get so upset, uptight, and embarrassed, we actually spew words of anger out of our mouths at the cheerers (our defense mechanism).

A few friends of mine recently went through this type of unfortunate, resentful situation.  I hadn't been subjected to the torture in a while and somehow wanted to experience it again.

I wanted to test what I knew.  Test how I overcome the raw emotion of FEELING like everyone is against you.

I have learned to view the clapping and cheers as the obvious:  their fans/friends are cheering FOR my opponent/ their friend; NOT against me.  Rooting against me is a completely different action.  Cheering and rooting for my opponent is NO reflection of me at all.  IF I can see this, then I can play my game.  Then I redirect my focus to my fundamentals, so I can shoot better - which leads to less claps and cheers for my opponent because I am winning.  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WPBA Amateur Nationals Decision

The WPBA Amateur Nationals has been resurrected, thanks mostly to Melissa Little. 

Melissa and Wynkoop Brewing Company are hosting the WPBA Women's Amateur National 9-Ball Championships November 19-21. $1500 added and the winner gets a paid entry into the 2011 WPBA US Open.

The entry is $75 Entry - which includes the WPBA Membership - $1,500 added; Pro are not allowed.

This is a pretty prestigious event.

I have been playing well.

Do I think I could win it?  No.  But I still might place well.

And I have friends who live in Denver I haven't seen in a while.

But, I have also not been playing pool lately because of home things (Mom is back in the hospital).  :(

And! The flight prices have gone up $100 in the last month.  Now they are over $300.  :(

What to do, what to do....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scratch Break Rule Change For EightBall

The BCAPL always has a few rule changes every year.  Some are clarifications, some are down right changes

Starting June 1, 2010, the BCAPL announced this rule change:

"8-Ball: The penalty for any foul on the break has changed from ball in hand in the kitchen to ball in hand. Rules 2.3.3(b), 2.3.4, 2.3.5, 2.4.2(a), and 2.4.3 have been changed and consolidated to reflect the change."

I am VERY excited about this rule change!  You mean I can now get BIH if my opponent scratches on the break in 8ball?  Really?  Wow - that's a huge advantage for the incoming player.  I am excited! 

I should practice my Break-ball-in-hand-runouts!  :)