This month’s PoolSynergy Topic comes from P00lriah : “Your poolosophy.” Specifically, “What is your approach to pool and/or what does pool mean to you? What purpose do you attach or derive from the game?”
As soon as I saw the description, I knew exactly what I wanted to share:
Pool has made me who I am today.
I could not join sports in high school because my Dad wanted me to focus on my grades. So, beginning to compete in pool tournaments after college came with an ugly price – mental struggles. I already had low self esteem, was paranoid how others thought of me, suffered from depression, had a lot of self doubt, thought negatively, etc., and competing brought out these emotions 10-fold. However, playing pool for all these years has led me to where I am today: a strong, confident, outgoing, friendly, self-assured woman.
Yes, some job-related leadership courses helped me along the way, but playing in pool tournaments truly helped me become the person I really like in the mirror. Let me expound:
I wanted to improve my mental toughness to compete better so I read a few books about it in the mid 90s. If I hadn’t been competing in pool, I never would have read these books. The two books (Mental Toughness Training for Sports and Dare to Win) taught me many valuable lessons. Here are a few:
1. The importance of setting clear, detailed, reachable goals.
2. In competition, thinking positive is vital.
3. Playing your best is key to overcoming depression after tournaments.
These three examples above have helped me in my personal life, also. I started to set goals away from the table and became successful with some weaknesses in my life (like saving money, for example). I now think so positive, it annoys my friends and my Mom (lol). If I have had a bad day at work, I still drive home knowing I did my best and it helps me from being too over analytical or depressed.
Playing pool has magically allowed amazing, influential people to cross my path. Here are a few examples:
1. A female pool player (June Hager Walter) took me under her wing in 1996 and taught me to like myself. She helped me change my thought patterns from negatives to positives by helping me decipher if my emotions were true or influenced by my youth.
2. The advice I received from the pool instructor whom I happened to be sitting next to at a poker table in Vegas who stated that “confidence can be learned” transferred into my daily life when I dealt with tough situations.
3. The off-the-wall conversation from that inexperienced female player who shared with me that “you can make a difference in people’s lives.”
4. Very close friendships have formed with pool players who have helped me during trying times. Some girlfriends have really been there for me during the worst of times; held my hand, cried with me, and understood what I was going through when my Dad passed and when my Mom became sick.
6. My Mom has always been very supportive of me being in pool tournaments and is proud when I play and even more when I do well. Having that support bonds our closeness even more and for that I am grateful.
Running the OB Cues Ladies Tour:
Being a Board Member of this amazing tour for 9 years helped me at my job, at home, and with my friends.
1. From running the Player’s Meetings, I talk easier in front of a large group of people at meetings and at work conferences.>
2. Handling disagreements between players gave me experience to mediate between coworkers and/or friends.
3. Believe it not, I am shy. Being a board member, one almost HAS to not be shy to run a good event. As a board member, it brought me out of my shell which has allowed me to make more friends, which in turn helps me have more fun in life.
4. I don’t have a natural smile so it’s an effort for me to smile all the time, but as a board member, smiling provided a nice welcome for the players. In addition, there were a few times I found out later my actions or words were taken negatively and I realized if I had been smiling my true intent of being positive (or trying to help) would have come across better. I now try to smile more when I go out or meet people because I know how important that was when I helped run the tour.
Pool may just be a sport to you, but to me, there’s a DIRECT connection to ‘playing in pool tournaments’ to me being a happy, confident person in my life.