Sunday, August 29, 2010

Results of Shark Match

Read previous post before this one.

Well, I lost.

I played my 10th straight pool match of the season, going into it 8-1.

HOWEVER, I didn't let my opponents' comments from earlier in the week get to me. Instead, I played quite well in the beginning, just lost in the end.

I was up 22-6 almost right off the bat, but he started to creep up to tie it 40-40. I told myself to breathe to calm the adrenaline inside me. He started to really play good safes and I admit he probably only took a risk on ONE shot. The rest of the shots, if he wasn't sure OR didn't have a good shot next, he wouldn't go for it and instead played safe.

He started to outplay me and I found myself trying to catch him when he scored 50 (and I was at 43). But I made it close.57-63, 62-69, for example. Even if I was down ten, I would just tell myself to take advantage when I got to the table. And I did that.

The guy talked a lot during our match. Throughout the whole match, he made comments. I felt I was getting a lot of rolls in the beginning and felt kinda bad, but after his one comment "at least you got shape" when I missed the stack and landed almost on the end rail, I no longer felt sympathy for him. I was annoyed by him and his talkative style. I admit it. It was a good test for me, though - because even though I know that's not why I lost - it's still nice to be able to swim with sharks so I can thicken up my skin for future bites.

Here are some other comments from him:

"Do you know Ralf Souquet?"
"I watched some of his videos today."
"I heard you were a meteorologist."

I admit he would sometimes say "nice shot" or "nice run." A few times we would also talk about our shots - why we did certain things (the reason we didn't go for a breakout or if a shot was dead or not).

Eventually I lost 85-100.

And guess what? I was upset. I was mostly embarrassed, but the feeling was horrible - that sinking, sick feeling in your chest.

A lot of people were watching; losing was tough. Super tough. Everyone kept coming by and checking the score. Like, literally, moving the pen out of the way that was on the scoresheet so they could read the score underneath. Throughout the match people were commenting to me, the whole race to 100, which took 4 hours to play. Realistically, if I had won, I wouldn't be writing about this, but I was annoyed. I really felt distracted by everyone sitting so close to me. That is not my excuse for losing though - he did outplay me - but it doesn't change the fact the atmosphere around me was in the back of my mind during the long match.

I was annoyed and upset after the match because.... now I have TWO losses, instead of one. :(

Then... the negative emotions weren't over yet....

After the match, 2 different people within ten minutes came up to me and told me I gave away the match.


Really? I was SO ticked after I lost, and they couldn't wait to tell me that?

When IN FACT, I thought I played well!

Yes, I lost. Yes, I was ahead. Yes, I missed some balls. But what they don't know is (besides the fact to wait to tell me I should have won) is the fact that I have improved and played better than I normally would! I use to miss MANY of the shots I made that match. But even under pressure, I played so much better than a year ago, hell, even six months ago!

I was upset I lost, yes, but VERY proud of myself for staying down, MAKING my break out shots WELL, making shots under pressure, and taking the CORRECT shots. My fundamentals have really been solid lately and I felt that during the match.

They saw the final score; I saw progress. Yes, I snapped at both of them when they remarked to me what they saw. However, I apologized after I cooled off. Of course, they both had quickly let my venom roll off their backs right away (typical guys, lol) and didn't think again about it, but I still felt bad and wanted to apologize.


My stats went down.... :(

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mighta Sharked Myself

I am playing my 10th straight pool match tonight. My opponent is 7-0, I am 8-1. Obviously, I'd like to give him a loss (haha), but I think I sharked myself!

When I called him to set up our appointment to play, he also asked my opinion about our league divisions. This is his first season in the straight pool league.

Basically, he wants to play better players, but do it by creating a new division. His proposal is to take the top 5 in our division and the bottom 5 in the top tier division and create another division.

I told him I liked where I was and I was trying to ace my own division. I know I wouldn't be able to do that in this newly created one. He went on to compliment my game and told me I played well and that I should be playing in the upper division. I expressed to him even tho I might be 8-1 now, that the season isn't over yet! Plus, that some of the other good players took the summer off, and normally my stats wouldn't be this good.

Then he asked for my previous stats. Really? So, I told him. Yea, see, buddy? Not that good - I'm just having a good season for the moment.

He said he was going to ask the top players of our division their thoughts before he approached the league director, in case he was off base.

Why can't he just go play in the upper division!? He said he doesn't want to play the top top players or something. Well, so.... instead he wants to create a new, separate division that affects all these people??

OMG, I'm perturbed. So, of course I feel sharked. Obviously this is my own mind creating angst but I admit some things can get into my head. I know from experience that compliments can affect one's play. And top that off with his suggestion of a new division, I admit I'm all riled up!

Prolly silly to admit - but it probably wouldn't bother me to be self-sharked if it was gonna be an easy match, hehehe.

I'll let you know how it goes....

Oh, and BTW, I deliberately wore today my "I Love Boobies" pink bracelet. Maybe it will shark him!! It's for Breast Cancer Awareness, but who knows what he will think - check out the pics of the bracelet:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ScoreCard Video Diary

The OB Cues Ladies Tour has this nifty scorecard that we use! Lisa Marr, one of the players, was the inventor of this GREAT contraption that was very cleverly made. And it's obvious (when you see the vid below) just how much thought was put into it.

When I was a Board Member we tried to come up with score cards also but failed miserable, lol, but not without effort! Lisa's is much, much more functional, durable, and coolio.

Here the video diary of me showing it off:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Austin Ladies Tour Recap

Figured I'd finally write my recap from April of my tournament at the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop. I know, you all have been waiting patiently. Well, you can finally sleep now!

Amanda and I crackin' up during the Player's Meeting

After the players meeting and draw, Ashley came up to me and told me we are playing against each other on the Stream Table before they announced the table assignments. I wondered why she told me that, but I went to the table and played our match. I think I lost 7-4. I didn't play all that badly, but she played better than I and so was happy she moved on.

With almost 23 tables, I didn't have to wait long for my next match. I won that one without much pressure, but my next one-loss side match was against a semi-new girl from the Houston-area who really has a fabulous game! If she would have made just a few more key balls, I would have lost. I was very impressed with her game and told her and her husband afterwards how talented she is and should attend more events. Her name was Loretta Lindgren.

I won my next match, also. Then my last match of the night was against another somewhat new girl. She had just beat a friend of mine and my friend stated my opponent played very well against her, but I outplayed her and didn't see the shotmaking I was expecting. By this time of the night, it was probably around 9pm. It was not only the last match for me and my opponent, it was also the last match of the night for the whole tournament. So, everyone was kind waiting around for us to finish, lol.

Then I went to dinner with my friends, including the Area Manager for the Fast Eddie's Billiards pool rooms for all of Texas, Darren. We ate at Salt Grass. Yummy for my tummy!

Eventual winner, Ashley Nandrasy! Her FIRST OB Stop win!

On Saturday night I tried to get some sleep, but as usual I didn't feel completely rested on Sunday morning. :( I knew I was to play the tough opponent, Orietta Strickland, in my 10am-for-9th-place-match. She is a tough competitor and has been for many years, although I have defeated her in the past. I decided to take some Claritin in the morning and even though in the past I had no side effects, and I actually felt it enhanced my focus, on this crisp morning, I didn't feel myself. I played super bad, felt uncomfortable and it almost felt like I couldn't concentrate on the shot in front of me. I was not getting out with two balls left on the table! It was brutal. At one point, she even said, "you aren't playing like yourself." I was down prolly 5-1 or something and only was able to tie it 5-5 because of her mistakes late in the rack, NOT because I was running out. It goes go hill-hill miraculously (I honestly don't know how) and I got straight in on the 8 ball, and the little 9 ball was at the other end of the table, unfortunately for me. I drew back, had the wrong English, and the cueball died. lol. I had a tough, long cut, and missed it. She made the tough 9ball and won the match. I placed 9th, tho, so not too shabby I suppose.

Tourney description: Okay.

BTW, during the Player's Meeting I was presented these wonderful cakeballs by Shayla for my Feb Birthday. Red Velvet Chocolate! Yum!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Contacted by ESPN

As a partner of, I am listed on the "Contact Us" page. A few words describe the three main partners and then under my name it explains that I am the media contact "for several pro players, tours, and billiard companies."

Because of that sentence, I get a lot of inquiries. I would say I get about two or more emails a day from someone, about some thing. Some inquires have nothing to do with anything remotely related to 'media' and so they are pretty funny and make me LOL (Laugh Out Loud - for those not familiar with this Internet Slang). I will compile a list sometime of the questions I have received that are funny to me, and make a blog article for ya.

In the meantime, check out the awesome, serious email I received from ESPN the other day!!

    "I am writing from ESPN Magazine in New York and hope you can answer a quick question for a future article.

    Our editors are compiling a list of the highest paid competitors in multiple sports in the US for a magazine issue that will run early next year. Would you have a list of current money leaders among professional billiards players in various leagues or circuits (men and women, 2009 or current totals), as well as biographical data for the top earner in each?

    Also, would these figures comprise a “season”, or simply calendar year totals. If amounts are based on seasons, please include season start and end dates. It is not urgent, but I just wanted to touch base as we begin research to see if your sport can be included among those that are currently in the group."
I emailed him back right away! I was so stoked! I gave him all the info he requested and then added:
    "I realize you are looking for highest paid competitors and in reality you can see that pool players do not make a lot of money compared to other sports, but I would LOVE for billiards/pool to be included so we can show just how little we are paid compared to other sports! Maybe it will help our sport in some weird, wild way.


    Thanks for the email!! As I implied before, pool doesn't get a lot of exposure, so this article or any future article that you want to include pool/billiards in, please let me know how I can help you."

Oh I SO hope we are included!! (notice how I use the word "we"? lol)

(all information copyright of ESPN and my blog - must ask permission to use or share)

Autographing Balls for a Cause

This video was taken at the Women's U.S. Open. See why these autographs meant so much.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Work and Pool Don't Mix For Me

I alluded in my Support blog article how I had another, more impactful event that led me to not mention pool, competing, or even pool accomplishments at my job anymore.

The story goes like this:

About 7 to 8 years ago, a supervisory position came open at an affiliated office in Key West, Florida. I considered many promotions back then and so I thought about the potential of that job. However, I decided after a little thought that I would not bid on it because it lacked the pool network I longed for – good pool halls and a ladies tour to play in. Yes, the Florida Ladies Tour was IN Florida, but travel out and in to the island of Key West is not an easy jaunt or venture, and requires layovers that I am not fond of when going out of town for just a weekend tourney. I also wasn’t too interested in neither the location nor the cost of living.

When I lived in Jacksonville, Florida, the location was prime! Good pool rooms, cost of living was great, and I could easily drive to the center of the state (or to tourneys in GA or SC) or I could fly direct into Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami if need be. I also could fly back home to Texas on direct flights. It was the competition and camaraderie I looked forward to at the pool rooms and on the ladies tour, which I was afraid I would miss if I went to Key West. And of course, could I afford to live there? But the main reason was pool.

One of my bosses came to my office one day, sat down, and asked me if I was going to bid on that position in Key West, Florida.

I replied that I was not interested. He asked me why (or maybe I just told him why) and I expressed that there wasn’t enough pool there.

His response to me was, “Well, can’t you take a couple of years off?” I just kinda looked back at him weirdly, and then he explained, “You won’t be down there long – just a few years or so – and then you can apply for other promotions after you get your feet wet with all the good experiences being a supervisor there.”

I then rebutted nicely with some additional reasons (not related to pool) and also sincerely expressed that Key West was not a location I had been interested in before anyway.

I will never forget that conversation. His comments back to me are THE REASON I don’t mention pool at work anymore. No one gets it here. “Take a few years off” ? Really? Would I dare ask someone heavily involved in church to “take a few years off”? Would I have asked my boss “can’t you just take a few years off from your kids” ?


Passion is passion. One of big reasons I am happy at work is because my homelife is happy – and guess what? My homelife consists of pool.

That day is forever etched in my mind.

And btw, the guy that got that position was there for SEVEN years.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Texas Open

The Texas Open 9 Ball Championships will be held this year again on Labor Day weekend. This will be the 37th year in a row it will be held! Thirty Seven! Yep, we have two years on the U.S. Open.

I just paid my entry fee online to enter the Women's Division (the new room owners have a paypal button! I saved a stamp!).

The event is well-known for Texans, but there has been a couple of major heavy hitters not from Texas who have won the prestigious title. Check out ALL the wieners since 1974:

1974 Sammy Jones
1975 Richie Ambrose
1976 Roy Mallot
1977 Jack Breit
1978 James Christopher
1979 Bob Vanover
1980 Frank Thompson
1981 Bob Vanover
1982 Bob Vanover
1983 Bob Vanover
1984 Bob Vanover
1985 Bob Vanover
1986 Bob Vanover
1987 Calvin Harcrowe
1988 Jerry Prado
1989 Al Mason
1990 Gilbert Martinez, Jr
1991 Javier Franco
1992 Gilbert Martinez, Jr
1993 Gilbert Martinez, Jr
1994 Jeremy Jones
1995 Bob Vanover
1996 CJ Wiley
1997 CJ Wiley
1998 Buddy Hall
1999 Gabe Owen
2000 David Gutierrez
2001 Tony Watson
2002 Jeremy Jones
2003 Jeremy Jones
2004 Juilung Chen
2005 David Gutierrez
2006 David Henson
2007 Sylver Ochoa
2008 Shane Van Boening
2009 Chris Bartram

Of course I couldn't find a listing of the Women's Division winners, but the above is a who's-who of talent for the Open Division.

The tournament will be held at Skinny Bob's (formally G Cue Billiards), September 3-6, 2010.
300 Hesters Crossing
Suite A-1
Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 733-1111

Who will get their name engraved on the Vanover Trophy this year? The trophy’s name sake, Bob Vanover, won it a record 8 times! Six of those wins were in a row! Will there be a repeat or a NEW name engraved? Time will tell....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 2010 PoolSynergy - Support

ForumGhost516 is this month's PoolSynergy host. His topic is Support: "This can mean what is your support system, who supports you, what you do for support in your life or in your game whether it be friends and family. etc. etc."

When I first heard the topic I thought to myself, "uh oh, here comes a negative blog post from me...."

Seriously, when I first read what the topic was, I was apprehensive to let you all know that I really don't feel all that supported. My Mom shared with me many, many years go that my Dad didn't understand why I played pool. He thought I was wasting my time, even though playing pool became my passion and it involved every aspect of my life (but my career). It really hurt me to hear that. I therefore stopped talking as much about pool to him, once my Mom shared that info. Sometimes, I wish I hadn't known that.

Then there are the "coworkers." I USED to tell my coworkers when I was going out of town for tournaments, but now I do not. I got tired of the Monday questions, "how did you do?" I would answer something like, "9th" and they would look at me funny and then say something stupid, "oh, maybe next time" or "why do you still play?" No one understood the true passion of why pool meant a lot me, why I played even if I didn't cash. I therefore STOPPED talking about pool at work; yes, altogether. There is another big reason, but that's for another blog entry, but let's just say when I go out of town now, no one at work knows. I don't share if I place well, or that I ran a tour, or that I even just played in my first pro event a couple of weeks ago. It's funny, because now I place much higher than before - but I stopped talking about my pool tournaments about 8 years ago at work. Now I play and finish better, but I still wonder if they see pool as "seedy" and "wasteful."

Those were my immediate reactions to this months' topic, "support."


Something amazing happened....

I saw that I truly am, very much so, after all, supported!

I got invited to my first Pro event and I played in it a couple of weeks ago. I announced on my FaceBook page that I was going and also gave updates throughout the trip of my progress. A friend also started a thread on the AZB Forums that I would be playing in my first pro event.

The outpouring of support was amazing! I could NOT believe how many people were happy for me, congratulated me, encouraged me, and supported me all along the way! Facebook and the AZB forums is an amazing place to hear what people really think about your adventures in life and the outpouring truly touched me heart.

Therefore, what I thought would be me sharing the 'negative support' I had received, has ended with me sharing that there is indeed A LOT of support out there after all.

Here are just a few snippets of the amazing words of support I received before, during and after I played in the US Open:
  • exciting!!! That's a huge accomplishment and I'm looking forward to hearing about it...Go Melinda Go!!!!
  • You deserve it!! Good Luck M!
  • That is sooo Awesome, you will do great. Best of Luck!!!!
  • I am so PROUD and HAPPY for you!!!!!
  • Congratulations Melinda! That is soooo cool!!
  • So happy for you hon ... keep it going!
  • Hey there...Thanks for the video updates! Play well today..give the other OB Ladies my regards..CONGRATS for just having a great opportunity!
  • Wonderful experiences speak for themselves. Congrats!
  • Sorry to hear about your second match. Love the videos I am excited for you because that is such a great honor! I wish I could play good enough to get there. Go and have fun!
  • You deserved to have a great experience - I am proud of of you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Final Vlog from Women's US Open

It took Ashley and I awhile to find the time to do our last Vlog (Video Blog) of our Women's US Open tournament/trip- I don't think either of us wanted to record the vid - it was kinda a symbol of closure for us, and we didn't really want the experience to end!!

However, we wanted to express our sincere thanks and hopefully this video captures our heartfelt appreciation for everyone:

Ashley and I saying Thank You!

Monday, August 9, 2010

OB Cues Answers Questions About Their Shafts

I went to Royce Bunnell of OB Cues last week and asked him to shed light on the difference between his OB line of shafts and his OB Classic series (his newest line). This is what he had to say:

Melinda: Can you tell me what the difference is between the OB1, OB2 and OB Classic shafts?

Royce: Sure! The OB line is our original design with the laminated maple ferrule. It also uses a Noise Dampening Core through the middle of the cue shaft. It comes in two tapers, the OB-1 at 12.75mm and the OB-2 at 11.75mm.

Melinda inserts: I use the OB2 still on my Custom Jim Buss. I love it every day!

Royce: That's great to hear! Glad you are enjoying it.

The OB1 / OB2 with the signature ferrule.

Melinda: And the OB Classic?

Royce: The new Classic line is our newest design and is intended to complement the OB line. The Classic shafts have a short white ferrule as opposed to the maple ferrule, and they don’t have the Noise Dampening Core. Without the core, they are more stiff because we don’t have to drill a hole down the center of the shaft in order to install the core.

Melinda: Sounds interesting.

Royce: The Classic uses the 12.75mm taper like the OB-1, and the Classic Pro uses the 11.75mm taper like the OB-2.

Melinda: So, if I was to try it out, I'd like to Classic Pro since I like the taper of my OB2?

Royce: Right.

The OB Classic

Melinda: And one last tidbit for us please...

Royce: Of course! Both lines have reduced tip end mass to keep the cue ball squirt or deflection very low.

Melinda: And that's why I love my OB2! thank you for your time, Royce!

Royce: Thank YOU, Melinda, for the questions.

Royce can be reached via his website at if you have further questions for him about OB Cues, OB shafts, or which shaft model is for your cue .

Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Play in Your Pajamas

I don't normally write advice columns - I'm no Dear Abby (or her twin, Ask Ann Landers) but throughout my blog entries I sometimes add little tips to share with you what I have learned along the way. You can recognize it's a helpful hint or tip because I add this graphic next to the paragraph so I can find it quickly later:However, I thought today I would try to write an entire blog article about a certain topic that may be helpful - one that I follow religiously that I personally believe is helpful.

If you have a pool table at home, ensure you are practicing in the same attire that is required at your tournaments. It will help you to practice in the clothes and shoes you would be wearing at an event.

  • If you don't normally wear glasses, don't wear them to practice when you are on your home table.
  • Don't wear slippers or don't go barefoot - the difference in height and feel is amazingly different when you wear your comfy shoes for an all-day event.
  • Wear the type of shirts and pants you would play a tourney in to get used to them. If you always wear your jeans, and your next big event requires slacks and a belt, will you be comfy?
I do not own my own pool table, but I still live by these same rules when I go to the pool room to practice. I wear the same jeans, shirts, shoes, and even jewelry, that I would if it was at a pool tournament.

As everyone knows, being comfortable is an important element to playing pool. Let me state this in a louder voice: Being uncomfortable can hinder your performance.

Give yourself a better chance to be better prepared by practicing to the optimum.

(Warning: this is friendly advice and not a die-hard rule)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Women's U.S. Open Details - Match Three

Day Two of the Women's U.S. Open was a completely different story for me, mentally. Remember my description of "numb"? Well, it was not in the Melinda vocabulary this day.

I heard the night before I was going to be playing Megan Smith and I became nervous at that very moment, and forward. :( I think the difference was I didn't try to get over being nervous before I played her. When I felt the pressure to play Kim White, I admittedly accidentally kinda rationalized in my brain about the match and my feelings. I didn't plan to do that, but I wonder if that helped me not being nervous the previous day?

I got enough sleep the night before and then drank a lot of water as I watched my friends in the 10am round. I felt "okay," but texted Cristina Dela Garza that I was nervous. She reminded me to just breathe, but it really was too late for me. :(

Me, playing Megan, (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

Megan has been playing very well lately - doing well in a men's event in Houston the weekend before, winning two state championships in the NE in the last two months, etc. I knew her game was way up there and I was nervous. Yea yea, I know, you aren't suppose to play the person.

But, I fully acknowledge that even if I wasn't nervous, I MAY have won only 3 games on her. She played SO well! Her safes were meaningful and smart (she three-fouled me one game) and she hid me very well many many times! She really only missed a few balls - she had nice patterns and great shots throughout the match.

I finally talked myself OUT of my nervousness at 0-6, but I didn't get enough opportunities to win not even one other game. :( Yes, I lost 0-9, AGAIN!

I felt good to not be nervous at the end, but there sure were a lot more people watching than Thursday. Wow! It was so cool!

Megan Smith, (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

After the match, while we put our cues up, I told her I was nervous against her, and told her she played SO good. She thanked me and then added, "you know, I saw your match with Kim White. You played really good - I had no idea you could play that well." OMG! That meant so much! She told me she understands that each match is different, when I told her I was nervous against her, and I reiterated gain how solid her safes were. But, it meant a lot she told me that about my other match - I didn't feel bad at all losing 0-9, lol!

A friend of mine watched that match with Megan and told me via email after the tourney, "I thought you did a good job. And fundamentally, you are very solid. It's a lot of pressure playing in that format."

He knows I have been struggling with my fundamentals and staying down, so his comments resonated with how I truly felt about the tourney - that I held my own under the circumstances.

Tourney Description: Priceless

Women's U.S. Open Details - Match Two

My second match was against Jasmin Ouschan at 6pm on Thursday. Yea, you know, that blond from some "A" country who plays pretty sporty. Oh, and was the #1 seed of this event. :)

I was "numb" again going into this match, just as I was in my first match earlier in the day - not nervous, not thinking ahead, had no worries or concerns. I wasn't scared of Jasmin - who was I to be scared? I had nothing to lose; I was just going to continue to experience my first pro event.

Jasmin and I had to wait on our table to be available, and as I sat around, I sat near some guys who analyzed EVERY SINGLE shot of the match we were waiting on between Naomi and Gerda. I finally had to move - I knew they'd be watching Jasmin's match and couldn't listen to their comments and second guesses any more.

The match we were waiting on was very good, btw! Gerda had won in San Diego in the Spring, but Naomi was a force to be reckoned with. It went hill-hill and it was a brutal win for Gerda when she went for a two-way shot and missed the 8ball. Naomi fired the 8 ball in but the cueball somehow slid behind the 9 and scratched. WOW!

Jasmin immediately hits some balls on our now-open table and then asks if I want to hit any, and I say, "no thank you" as I felt comfy from earlier in the day. We lag, I lose. I rack.

She wins the first game well. The next game she struggles with the 8 ball and accidentally makes it in the wrong pocket and apologies sweetly by raising her her hand toward me to say "sorry." She easily made the straight in 9 ball. Down 0-2. I still sit there with my chin up, back straight, no worries at all. I get to the table in the third game, but I play safe but it wasn't good enough. But, she missed another 8ball, but left a thin cut that I could hardly see behind the 9 ball. I missed it (barely) and she got out. Next game I break and am running out but miss a tough 7 ball that I left myself. She gets out. Next game she misses a 7 ball, but it rests tough and I can't make it. Down 5-0. Next game I am running out again from the break but hit the 8 ball too hard and it goes in another pocket. Oops, sorry! I then, FINALLY, make a 9ball, but I scratch! lol. A few guys in the stand laugh, but I don't let it get to me.

Jasmin (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

I was running out again and had an out but missed a 7 or 6 ball and she got out. I wasn't nervous or anything, though! I just wasn't shooting that well late in the rack. Talk about GIVING opportunities! When she had me 0-8, she scratched but I missed a tough ball-in-hand to get shape (eeek) and she got out.

She skunked me! I win my first match but then lose 0-9. WOW!! Look at me! lol.

However, I'm most proud I had NO negative thoughts, no embarrassment, wasn't nervous, didn't get mad/upset/frustrated, or anything. There were more people in the crown than there was at 10am and I still wasn't nervous - I felt "in my element" (even though I lost 0-9). I am very happy about my mental attitude. :)

I admit I had chances and could have won 4-5 games. Can you imagine? I might have put pressure on the number one seed (I didn't know she was the number one seed until they made the announcements, nice!). I admit I was surprised how many chances I got, though.

Me (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

Right after the match, I found a seat next to my friends to watch Lisa Marr (fellow OB Cues Tour player) play her 745pm match and a guy came right up to me and asked me to sign his pamphlet. I said, "sure" and even personalized it:

"To Matt, Thanks for Watching." (then my sig).

It was cool of him to ask me for my John Hancock, even though I had just lost 9-0! He didn't care I had just lost, he was a fan of the women players. It goes to show how popular the WPBA is!

Women's U.S. Open Details - Match One

Warning: Because this was my first pro event, I thought I would write out each match in detail, because it was such an amazing experience (and because otherwise one blog post about the US Open would be WAY too long).

My first match at the Women's U.S. Open was in the very first round: at 10am Thursday morning. I didn't go to the player's meeting the night before because I was driving TO the venue (3 hours from my house) while the player's meeting was going on (I got an invite last minute to fill a spot). I therefore needed to get to the tourney room earlier than usual so I could not only warm up, but also complete all my paper work in order to even play in the tourney: fill out a bio form, pay my entry fees, and get my stinkin' badge.

My match was on the end table, on the right side of the tourney room that was filled with 8 tables total, and my opponent was Kim White, ranked 20th on the WPBA. She is from Texas, too, so it was kinda cool I was playing someone I knew. But, when I found out the night before I would be playing her, I felt a lot of pressure.

Kim White (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

But then I came to the conclusion that "hey, she is suppose to win and everyone knows that and therefore I shouldn't be embarrassed by my friends when she beats me."

While I hit some balls on the table to warm up Thursday morning, I was hitting them well and admit I was feeling super comfortable. I was staying down and making shots. I felt good. I love Diamond tables, and love nine foots, too! I then practiced many bank shots to try and figure out the bankness of the beautiful Diamond tables. Kim came up and said hello and hit some balls again herself. I then hit a few long shots (still trying to figure out how to make a long straight-in shot).

As I mentioned to when they interviewed me, my goal was to get comfortable in my surroundings. “I was invited at 4:50 on Wednesday and needed to let them know by 5:00 whether I would play, so I had no time to anticipate it much,” said Melinda, ”The most important thing to me when I arrived was was to get on the table and get comfortable. With playing under different conditions with the crowd and the new atmosphere, my goal was to do everything possible to get comfortable in that setting.”

I would describe my demeanor going into the match as "numb." What I would come to realize later was this "numb feeling" I had is when I play my best, no matter what tournament - I have no expectations, no fear, no worries, no negative thoughts... while I am still very aware of where I am. Being "numb" is VERY difficult to describe. It might be "in the zone" but I have been in the zone and it feels nothing like "numb." What surprised me is I felt "numb" in my first pro event match. I wont ever be able to describe why, though.

I was running out the first rack and felt pretty good! I missed shape on the 6 (or 7?) ball and had to play safe. She missed the kick and I got ball in hand and ran out. Eeeek, that felt good. :)

Before I go on, let me mention my goal in this whole tournament was get to FOUR GAMES (yes, total, in the two matches I would play).

Side note: the players have to mark down stats per game on a piece of paper for every match. Who won, balls on the break, push outs, scratches on the break, break and runs, etc. So, I was figuring this all out while we were playing.

In the second game, she misses a tough 9ball and then leaves me tough. I'm almost on the rail, length table, could scratch in the side. I just simply told myself to stay down and had no expectations, and I made it. WOW! I got a few claps, but not loud, but it was coolio.

I then somehow, miraculously, found myself up 5-0. Five to zero? Kim took a break at this point. While I was playing good, she wasn't having a good time at the table. I realized the break could ice me over, as I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. It was so STICKY in the tourney room. The humidity was brutal to our cues and hands! Everyone was talking about it, and using the towels, baby powder, and shaft cleaners to the max, so hand washing was a must right now.

Me (photo courtesy and copyright of Anne Craig)

When we came back, I knew she would literally come back on me in the match, but I somehow found myself up 7-2. At this point, my heart is beating out of my chest. I am trying to take deep breathes but the pressure of being ahead was so strong in my heart, body and mind. Many times I found myself at the table with a decent layout, but couldn't get out! I got too close to a 5 ball, missed it and she got out. I got too close to a 6 ball, missed it, she got out. I was running out and knew this other tough 6 in front of me was make-able but I missed it thinking about shape. The pressure was immense. She got out. Every time she made a nine ball, the claps for her were loud with support. But, I have learned that the claps aren't against me, they are just for her, so they didn't get to me, but I was aware what was going on around me. I also was checking out the scores of all my friends across the room. It was cool to see Kim Pierce, JoAnn Ashton, Ashley Nandrasy, and Jennifer Kraber all playing along side me.

At 7-6 me, I broke. After I won that match and then racked, I sat down and wondered, "did I just break and run?" I looked down at the little score sheet thingy and sure enough she marked down that I just broke and ran! I did that to get on the hill - really? I had no idea!

She won another game to inch the score closer 8-7. Then we had a brutal game. I missed a long straight in shot, she missed a 6 ball, then I hooked myself on the 7! Then we played safe on the 7 but she hit it beautifully! But the table rolled too much for her after the 8 and left her a funny angle on the 9 ball in the side. I thought she was going to make it and I told myself I would be very happy to say I lost hill-hill my first pro event against Kim White. But, she missed the off-angle shot and I had an on-the-rail straight in 9ball shot in the side. All I remembered while I was down on this shot was I had a similar shot in April in a big team event that I completely DOGGED by jumping up because I was so nervous at what was at stake. I vowed to not let that happen this time and I stayed down on my shot, even with the brick on my chest, and made the 9ball to win 9-7! The claps were much louder, and I could hear a small group of people in a different area clapping loudly for me (must be where my friends were now watching from).

She shook my hand and gave me a hug and told me I played really well. I almost started crying - that meant so much that she told me that after the match she had. SO MUCH!

I gathered my things and tried to figure out how to finish scoring, where to turn it in, etc. I was shaking. I was in aww. I was shaking!

I finally walked to the back and there was Lisa and Ashley and when they hugged me I cried. It just came out. I couldn't believe I won! My first pro event and I won a match? WOW. We then all went outside the tourney room and Ravee told me he was keeping Amanda updated via texts, but I called her anyway, lol. Then I called Rebecca and she was so happy for me, too. Then... I called Mom. I called and told her I won and I was crying telling her what happened, and she joined me in crying. OMG, writing this I sound like a little girl! But I was SO happy she "witnessed" my first pro tourney and that I could call her to tell her I won my first pro match. She sounded so happy for me. :)

Ashley and I then went to our room to do the Vlog (video blog) update. I updated peeps on AZB and FB, then Ashley and her Dad and I went to Chilli's. I then rested in the room for my next match at 6pm.

I am still in shock!