Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fourth Straight Pool Match

My 4th opponent of the Spring 2011 Straight Pool Season was against the top player from the last three seasons.

We were to play on Monday and I was super tired from lack of sleep but I received a saving grace when he called about 5pm and wanted to reschedule due to work.  Whew!  So, we planned for Wednesday.

He calls about 6:15 (our match is schedule for 6:30) and says he is running late.  That gives me time to order grilled chicken from the kitchen along with some carrots for a small, light dinner before he gets there.

We start about 7:15 and there are a few fellow league members milling around to watch our match.  They check the score, ask how we are doing, check the score again, watch some shots.  Some even pull up a chair right behind us to watch.

I was nervous about the match.  He is the top player for a reason - tough to beat because he plays well and smart. How would I do?  How would I play?

I swear I was sweating.  Yet, it was just another match, right?  lol.  But I was so nervous and anxious.

I tried not to think about the people watching.  Tried not to hear their comments:

"what's the score?"
"she's beating him?"
"she should have shot the 13 ball first"
"how are they doing?
"wow it's close"

I tried to instead take in deep breaths.  During the match, when I recognized how nervous I was, I would hold my breath for a few seconds, then let the air out slowly, so I could try and calm/slow down my adrenaline. 

I also tried to emulate and specifically recall how great I felt during my shots during my match the Friday before.  Tried to remember those confident, secure, positive feelings I had that night.  Emulating is a beautiful thing!

I scratched on the break.  Oops.  -2.  He fouled 4 times by inning 15 because he accidentally moved a ball while stroking for his shot.  I never saw any of the times he touched another ball (this is an all-fouls straight pool league) but he told me each time which was super cool of him.  


Don't think ahead, Melinda


Anything can happen - He's getting closer.  Breathe.


Thank you 15 ball run.


I only need 40 points, don't think about how close he is.  Stop being nervous, dang it!


At this point, I had just gone on a 10 ball run when I debated over two shots and yet still went for the one that *could* lead to a scratch and sure enough it did.  I debated for so long, didn't listen to my intuition, and I was so mad that I slammed my cue butt on the ground and broke off some more of my cue.  Ugh.

I was also embarrassed I showed so much emotion.

But he was either rattled or something and missed a fairly easy shot that he had to slow roll again so I was back at the table right away.


Now at this point, I went for a "typical" break out shot, but it was a risky shot at the time because the score was super close and if I would have missed, he would have a wide open table on his verge to 100.  But, I went for it anyway.  And I made it!  But... I scratched.

I *almost* slammed the butt of my cue again, but contained my emotion.  Instead, when i got back to my chair I turned around quickly to vent my frustrations out loud to a friend, "can you believe that cueball went in like that?!"




I was ahead most of the match.  Every time I recognized I was ahead, I convinced myself to not relax, that he can catch up and pass me any minute.

Stay focused!

He missed a few crucial long, soft shots because the right side of the table rolled off a lot on him. 

At this point he finally got ahead.  Instead of thinking about that, though and being more nervous, I told myself to capitalize on his mistakes. Which I did. When I tell myself that, sometimes it triggers a whole new mindset for me.


I had a pretty tough 8 ball out - knowing if I miss he could win the match - but also because it wasn't an easy run.  There were several tough shots I had to make to keep the run going.  At one point I even counted how many balls were left when I had to make a tough choice on shots - to see if he would need a new rack yet or not (something I learned from a previous match to pay attention to).

I was elated! I won!  OMG.  I still can't believe it!

I shared with one of the new league mates after the win, "I can't believe I beat the top player."  It dawned on me later the guy probably thought he (himself) was the top player not the guy I just played, lol, and I just crushed his ego (or gave him fire in his belly).

I kept it together somehow.  Even though he didn't play as good as he can, I still didn't completely give the match away like I was afraid would happen.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is PoolSynergy?

So, what’s this PoolSynergy thing all about?

PoolSynergy is a collection of the best writing in pool.

And, I’m honored to be a part of it!

PS is a blog carnival and the brainchild of John Biddle, Each month, there’s a different theme and the main location travels from host to host. A new edition is launched at 10a.m. Eastern time on the 15th of each month. The concept itself is not new but it was new to pool. We have since injected it into our subculture and collectively made it into what it is today.
Interested in hosting PoolSynergy

  • Check out my own PoolSynergy contributions by clicking here.
  • See how to become a host by clicking here:
  • And see the awesome collection of previous topics here

Third Stright Pool Match

My third straight match was, well, what would shall I use? Hmm... how about: "different"


It didn't take place.

I was to maybe play my match last Sunday, as my potential opponent said, "I will text you Sunday after my afternoon league and let you know if I can play that night."

I figured there was a good chance we would play, so I showed up at the pool room Sunday evening ready to play.  But I never got a text from him and he didn't show up at the pool room all night (I was there til about 1am playing in the Sunday night tourney).

But on the following Wednesday we planned for the next Sunday night at a specific time: 7pm.

I showed up at 7pm, got our table, but no opponent.

I texted about 7:05 - "Reserved us a table." As a polite reminder we had a match in case he forgot.

I called at 7:45 but he didn't answer.  My voicemail basically said "Are you okay?  I'm worried about you and not sure what to do about this."

I then asked some of my league mates what was the rule, and what do I do?  They all said the rule is if you don't show up in 15 minutes, it's a forfeit.  And since he didn't text or call, it should be a forfeit.

I didn't feel comfortable about that, tho.  I agonized over what to really do.  My opponent is a friend, I was itching to play the match, and I'm not really the type to take a forfeit like this. 

However, I was so looking forward to playing.  And it takes a lot of mental energy to prepare for what could be a long straight pool match.  And I had prepared two Sunday's in a row for not.  Yes, I wanted the win, but I more wanted to play.  But everyone kept telling me to take the forfeit.

I whined to a few friends that I am trying to have the 'killer instinct" and shouldn't feel bad and just take the win, but it wasn't easy for me to go "against my grain" so to speak.

But, I guess the peer pressure got to me, as I tried to convince myself it was okay to take a forfeit.

At 11:30pm I texted him, "Dude, I'm worried about you. You know that is a forfeit, right? :(  "

He replies just 5 mins later:  "Sorry about tonight. I got sick last night and been in bad all day trying to recover."

How come he didn't tell me that sooner?  I guess he was that sick.  :(

Then five more minutes later he said:

"If you want to take the forfeit I will pay the dues Thursday; sorry"

In my haste I incorrectly texted back this: "Sorry dude.  I am sorry you are sick but I am gonna have to take the forfeit b/c that's two Sunday's in a row."  

He shoots back, "I was there last Sunday but whatever, enjoy your win."

Huh?  *I* was there last Sunday night and he was not! 

So, I say via text, "I was there last Sunday."  (because I was!)

He gets agitated with me and finally says, "it doesn't matter anymore u already won."

So, being the female I am, I get upset that I've upset him.  Here I am trying to have the killer instinct and take the win but now he is upset and it bothers me.  But what is right?  The fact is, *I* did not come up with that rule.  I was just following the rule.  However, I fully admit I don't want to win that way - I wanted to PLAY.  But, I DID however prepare two times for the match that never happened.  It may seem minor, but I have to get rest, mentally prepare myself, drive all the way over there, etc.  It's not like it's down the street and I just jump in my car with no thought or preparation.

But I felt in my heart that I should just play.

I found out the next day that we have until February to play our January matches.  This meant I had a whole month to play him, whereas before I thought I only had a week left and that's why I kept trying to set it up so soon.

So, I text him Monday afternoon: "Hey, I just found out we have until Feb to play our Jan matches.  Plus I feel too bad to take a forfeit.  Let's plan on Feb for our match, if that is okay and you don't hate me."

No response.

I call Tuesday afternoon.  I figured to just talk to him and explain myself, as words via text can be misconstrued.

But he didn't answer.

And he never call back.

I never should have been so crass with that one text message.  :(

Again, the female side of me feels super bad (it hasn't even been a week and I still feel bad).  But the competitor in me now says "Screw it, you tried to make amends and play him again."

Most guys reading this will say, "just move on - it's over; you won."  Some of the women, tho, will understand that I don't like to upset friends and that I feel uncomfortable about this whole situation.

As it stands right now, I don't know if this is forfeit or not because I haven't heard from him.  I guess my league director will let me know....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Changing T-Shrt Idea

Well, I stated before I was going to post some pics of t-shirts I come across that are funny.  I've decided instead to post the more vulgar or "could offend" t-shirts on my fan facebook page.  That seems more appropriate over there for some of the more vulgar shirts I come across that I see people wearing. 

So, head over there to see t-shirt pics that may make you laugh (or may make you upset if they offend (sorry)).

I will still post pool-related or simply-funny t-shirts here on my pool blog, tho. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Second Straight Pool Match

My second straight pool match of the season was held on a Friday. That meant my normal Friday night jaunt of hanging with friends would occur during the match.  That was okay by me - I don't mind the support, but I do tend to have a few drinks on a Friday night.

I played a new player to the league and he was a decent shot maker but hadn't played straight pool in a long time.  So, I already knew I had an advantage.  We had to delay our match, tho, an hour because he was at a funeral (boy did I feel bad, but he didn't want to postpone).

I started off strong, as he complained all along the way (I assume because he was embarrassed?) "the score is lopsided" and "wow, you are beating me bad" and "I keep missing easy shots."

I felt super confident by the way I was playing, walking tall with confidence, feeling amazing about my play.


At this point, I have had a few too many Jager Bombs, while he is drinking some beers.

Then he starts to get comfortable and is having more fun because he's had a few drinks (he would tell me later) and he goes on a run of 12, then 4, then 5 while I can only pick off a ball at a time and then try to play safe. 


WTH?  I'm only up by 10 all of a sudden?  Eeek!  What happened to my 30 and 20 ball cushion?

I try hard to really, really focus and keep it together but he has a 12 and 7 ball run to go ahead.


I then get ahead by one, but there is no relaxing now - it's a race to "only" 100 which means only about one rack is left (two at the most).


Then he goes on a run of 7 and then 6 to defeat me.


To say I was pissed is an understatement.  He got comfy, I got tipsy.  Bad combos for any opponents. 

I shook his hand and told him nice match.  I refused to show him I was upset about the loss.  No reason to ruin his very first win on the league.

I was upset at myself for risking my stats.  I got SO comfortable being up by 30 points, I became careless with my shots (both type of shots: in pool and Jager); and I lost focus; and I also underestimated my opponent's skill (which everyone knows we are to play each game with our full potential and not let up on any opponent no matter their skill level).

I whined a little to a few friends right after the match because I was so upset with myself, but eventually I of course used the whole night as a learning experience.  No reason to dwell or give stupid excuses why I lost.  I have reasons I lost that I can learn from.  This night was a good reminder of things I have been slacking on, probably because I haven't been in routine competition.

BTW, to be at that point in my pool life to no longer verbally complain using impractical excuses has been a true blessing for me.  I really love it that I am mature enough in my game to see why I really lost a match, not just venting and spouting off stupid, untrue, immature, emotional excuses like I used to do.

Learning Experiences.  Love this about life!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Goals for 2011

OMGoodness.  Is it really 2011?

Well, I admit I am late to share my goals for 2011.  But I deliberately waited.

I am apprehensive.

I have never been in this situation before: I have no idea if I can go to a lot of out-of-town tournaments this year because I am my Mom's caretaker and she has had a bad last few months.  It puts a whole new spin on things for me.  I am not complaining - I love my Mom with all my heart and she comes first.  And I fully recognize I have been blessed with a great, exciting, wonderful, memorable, fulfilling pool career already in my life.  But it does change things for me in regard to what I used to do to compared to what I can plan to do.  So, it makes setting BIG goals challenging for me. 

I do love goals, though. I started to enjoy them even more after reading Dare to Win back in 1995 (authored by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen).  I have enjoyed my recent goals even more - they seem more tangible.  More importantly, I am seeing improvements in my game because the goals are more sensible and practical. 

I am not a believer of Resolutions.  I feel New Year Resolutions are broken all the time.  Goals on the other hand are very different, as you can see from the definition of Goal:  "The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective."  Versus Resolution: "A course of action determined or decided on."  To me, that is a HUGE difference.

The key with goals is to make them realistic.

I remember one year I had a goal to get Most Improved Player on a tour in the late 90s. Boy, I learned my lesson to set realistic goals after that! I had no control over that goal at all - someone else decided that "title" (and no, I did not win it, even though I came close). 

Another key for goals is to ensure you are specific about how to reach your goals. I don't always do this well, but as an example, if someone says, "my goal is to lose weight," the person will be more successful if they list specifically how to achieve that goal.

"Okay, get to your goals already!  Sheeesh."

I want to continue to strive for an average of 15 blog articles a month again (yes, I did this last year believe it or not - I know, that's A LOT of reading for you all (sorry)).  I'd also like to make some of them shorter to keep you interested and from daydreaming, lol, but I am not sure that part of the goal will be successful.

I used to practice at least once a week.  I haven't practiced routinely since June and yet I still think I am playing okay (as far as I can tell in my leagues and weekly tournaments).  I haven't really had time to practice like I used to.  So, I don't think I will put this down as a goal this year to strive for.  If I happen to have a chance for quality practice, of course I will though.

I am not sure I can attend a lot of out-of-town tournaments and I want to stay close to home anyway right now for several reasons.  However, I CAN plan to try and play in the weekly tournaments around town which have tough, top, male players in them.

Straight Pool:
Continue playing in my Straight Pool league!  Oh, how I love the challenges of my straight pool league.  :)

I want to watch at least one video a month again this year. This was probably one of the most fruitful goals I set for myself in the last few years because I learned so much by watching videos.  I never put effort before into videos. But I now see not only advantages to watching videos but RESULTS. It's one of those "easy" things I didn't realize, even though it seems so obvious.  Duh!

Stay Down:
I am doing so much better with this! This is the single most important improvement in my game that I have noticed in the past six months.  But I still need reminders.  So my goal this year will be: to help my fundamentals I need to review often what helps me stay down:

For $hits and Grins: Unrealistic Goals:

  • Top ten on the OB Cues Tour.  Since I don't know if I can play in all the stops this year, I should not see this as a goal this year.
  • Stop drinking during matches.  I enjoy a few drinks on a Friday night during my weekly tourney and sometimes even during my straight pool matches, and yet I am still doing okay in them.  But I bet I would do better if I didn't do this.
  • Win a weekly tournament.  Dang those weekly tourneys are tough around here!
  • Get more sleep.  Just can't seem to sleep anymore.  So, how can I set a goal to sleep?  lol.
  • Practice straight pool. I am just not motivated if it's not a league match. I need an incentive ('something on the line,' so to speak) to practice straight pool.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BCAPL Vegas Preparations

As we all know by now from my blog, BCAPL 8 Ball Championships is one of my most fav tourneys for me.  :)

I literally, just now bought my plane ticket to Vegas!  I had to use AA miles because the prices were outrageous, but I am so excited I have my plane ticket purchased.  OMG, my heart rate is up!

And to top it off.... looking through the Newsletter for the event, I noticed an advertisement for an extra event this year: 9-Ball Open Singles.  They normally have the 9-Ball Challenge (a 9 ball event open to anyone (pros/amateurs/men/women) but this new event, 9-Ball Singles, is for BCAPL Open Level Players only and there is a separate women's division.  I love me some separate women's divisions for my skill level!  :)  I therefore pulled up my "on-hold" airline reservation and moved the date back one day so I could play in this event on Thursday, May 12th.  WOW!  Look at me taking risks!  hehe

I also noticed this advertised in the awesome newsletter:

First, the 14.1 High Run Challenge note on the right - is another new thing this year.  While I doubt I'll win any top prize with my measly runs, you bet I will be watching and learning!  What a great opportunity for me - my first event that has 14.1 Challenge associated with it!  I will be absorbing it all in like a big-ole knowledge-seeking newbie-sponge!

Second - TAR.  It's just not that TAR ( will be there (I mean, the guys at TAR are awesome and I love helping commentate), but also what excites me is that the matches will be shown IN each Riviera hotel room!  I can't begin to express how cool it was to watch matches on tv from my lazy bed each day in the room for ten days (or more).  I could watch matches before heading down to the pro room to take pics, or watch matches while I was getting ready for my own tourneys.  It was pretty damn cool if you ask me!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Derby, Reno, SBE...

I get asked a lot (especially this time of year) if I am going to Derby.  With Derby starting this weekend, the last few weeks have been full of

"are you going to Derby?"
"will I finally get to meet you at Derby?"
"you are going to Derby this year, right?"

Reno - the U.S. Bar Table Championships that happens at the end of February is also on people's minds.

"You going to Reno this year?"
"Do you have your plane ticket yet?"
"Are you playing in all the three divisions of the Bar Table Tourney?"

Then SBE is in March.

"There's a group of us going to SBE, you going this year?"
"You are finally going to SBE this year, right?"
"Will I get to meet you at SBE?"

Derby is a well-known week-long tourney full of action, action, action, oh and a tournament with three main divisions - banks, one pocket and nine ball.  I hear it's THE tournament to go to.  But I have never been.

I went to Reno last Feb for the U.S. Bar Table Championships and it was a good and fun tournament.  This year they have added a ten ball division for the women, to accompany the 8ball and 9ball divisions. 

SBE - Super Billiards Expo - is held in the PA area and I hear it's a great event, also.  Lots of action, lots of different tournament events - it's a lot of fun and another event where amateurs can mingle alongside pros (like Derby and Reno).  I have never been to this tourney, tho.

I am not going to Derby, Reno or SBE this year.  Someone asked me, "Are you taking a pool hiatus or something?"

No.  I haven't planned on going to Derby or SBE before, so that isn't anything new for me.  I am bummed I wont be going to Reno this year, but with my Mom just now out of the hospital (she has been in since Oct 5), I cannot plan right now to go to a week-long tourney like Reno.

Maybe one of these days I will try my luck at the SBE tourney, and visit the action rooms at Derby, and try my hand again in Reno. I am planning my routine jaunt to Vegas in May for BCAPL, but for the next few months I am sticking close to home when it comes to week-long pool tourneys.

To all at Derby right now, going to Reno and/or SBE - Good Luck!  Have fun!  Stay safe!  And keep us all posted on the action, stories, and tourney finishes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Picking Apart My 14.1 Game

Michael Reddick over at Angle of Reflection is a fellow blogger who also loves straight pool. In one of his recent posts, he stated "I’ve recently developed a love for straight pool. It’s refreshing to have the freedom to choose the ball you want to pocket. There are no restrictions, no forced shooting order, no care at all whether a ball has a stripe on it or not. You can even sink the 8 ball at any point with no penalty! You are only limited by the lay of the table and your imagination. What could be more freeing?"

As he started to get more serious with the game, he came up with a list of "observations from straight pool that have really benefited my overall level of play." I was intrigued by the list. I liked his list! Now, let me pick about my straight pool game against his list and see how I can improve:

  1. There’s no luck in straight pool. No willy-nilly half-baked shots are rewarded. Every shot is a called shot. Even the lay of the table can theoretically be controlled by the player with judicious use of pattern play and ball bumping. Stop blaming the table or the layout…you are in control! I follow this advice already. I don't like excuses!
  2. Shoot softly. Do I really need to explain this? I am more successful at this now. Sometimes, though, I get a wild hair and "try" something that leads to a bad breakout b/c I didn't shoot softly.  Reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt's famous quote, "I have always been fond of the West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." '
  3. Focus on fundamentals. Good mechanics and straight shooting is required. Your other games will thank you. This is key for me (well, everyone) and I have noticed straight pool helps me produce good mechanics.  :). 
  4. Position play is paramount. You’ve got to stay on the right side of the ball. If not, you will very quickly run out of makeable shots. I don't pay attention to this enough. I need to!
  5. Straight pool demands mental focus on every single shot. Why risk losing concentration, miss an easy shot, and blow a hard earned long run? Oh, I wish I could stay focused for every single shot I have in my race to 100 league matches! But, I THINK while down on some of my shots and then miss. :(
  6. You rediscover the stop shot. The stop shot is your long lost friend. It's still a lost friend for me. :(
  7. You quickly learn that spin is bad for you. You can achieve almost all of your cue ball positioning goals using nothing but draw, follow, and cue ball speed. Okay, maybe one or two microns of left or right, but that’s about it. Yea, I don't try to spin the ball unless absolutely necessary.
  8. You don’t want to move the cue ball any more than you have to. Why go twelve feet and three rails when you can accomplish nearly the same result with a two foot draw shot? This is very true and good practice to instill. I think I follow this rule pretty well.
  9. And speaking of rails, why use them at all? Just follow or draw up and down the table. Plan ahead to achieve the correct angles and minimize the use of rails. Uh, Oh, I use rails a lot....
  10. We all know how to cheat the pocket on a cut shot, but in straight pool, sometimes it is advantageous to cheat the position. Instead of cutting balls, sometimes I throw them into pockets. I do this occasionally to reduce cue ball travel distance and keep the cue ball on the right side for my next shot. I have done this before, but I get nervous. I should try this more in my matches.
  11. You MUST plan at least three shots ahead. Preferably more. Otherwise, clusters and the break shot will kill you. I do this in 9ball, but no other games. Seeing the pattern for the last three balls is especially crucial for the end of the rack in straight pool (and 8ball). Oh, I so think my runs would improve if I could execute this rule.
  12. When you get into your shooting stance, you are thinking about nothing but making the shot…pure execution. If your mind is not fully made up…if you have any lingering doubts about the shot, you MUST stand up, make up your mind, fully visualize the shot in your head, then get down into your shooting stance again. This is a little enemy of mine right now in straight pool. The key is to recognize you are thinking, don't rick the shot, and GET BACK UP. Sometimes I get up and sometimes I don't. I need to routinely do the proper thing.
  13. Remember KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Don’t overplay things. Don’t try to do too much. And YES, it’s okay if you decide to shoot a six foot stop shot instead of choosing the two foot cut shot! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Straight Pool Match - Full of Surprises

My first straight pool match of this season (Spring session) was quite interesting.  Let's see if I can keep it a short blog entry, lol.

I need to play four matches a month, and had my first match Jan 17th (I know, I'm starting late).  My first opponent of the season had already defeated the top player in our league division (which races to 100).  So, I was already apprehensive about playing this guy.

Luckily, my friend Brian convinced me to play in an eight ball tournament the night before at the same pool room, which allowed me to get some good, quality time on the sames tables I would be playing my straight pool match on.

However, so many little, crazy things were bothersome before the match even started!

I received a text from my opponent about noon (our match was scheduled at 330pm) that said, "in the interest of fair play you should wear some baggy sweats and have curlers in your hair."  Then he added in a follow up text, "So I wont be distracted."

I contemplated my response and finally replied, "Whatever, I hear you are playing good.  You already beat Danny."

He replied about an hour later, "Whatever yourself.  Maybe a burka."

Can you also see what happened here?  Yes, he might have been joking and playing, but I *could* have used his verbal pre-match fodder as an excuse if I did not win because I *could* have taken his words as a shark tactic.  However, did you notice I kinda sharked him back?  I mentioned he beat the top player.  That's tough for many folks to fade, actually.  That could get to his head, too.

Anyway, I didn't respond to his last text.

Instead, I watched a straight pool match on DVD.  My Mom's satellite receiver went out and therefore I gave her mine from upstairs.  Since I had no tv to watch, I took advantage and watched Mike Sigel run "150 and out" against Mike Zuglan, commented by Grady Mathews and the late, great Beenie Weenie.

What a treat that was!  I ate my lunch, watched some good 14.1 play, listened to some great commentating, and tried to absorbed what I witnessed on the screen.  Ironically, this is the EXACT match ESPN Magazine mentions as a "perfect record" (which I gathered stats for that issue). Since this was the first time I watched this DVD, I didn't realize this until the end of the DVD when Mike ran the entire 150 for the match, lol.  This was the 1992 US Open Championship.

I then take a quick shower but I am running late.  I hate being rushed anyway, but to run late to a straight pool match is even worse, in my book.  I need to be calm, cool, and collected, not rushed, adrenaline racing, agitated for being late, and driving too fast which causes angst.

To top it off, I can't find my rings.  I always wear a ring and a bracelet on each hand/wrist and I couldn't find my rings.  OMG!  I can't play pool without my normalcy!  Eeeek!  I was really upset and worried.

To top things off further, I'm a mile from my house and look down at my black pants and boy did I need to use a lint brush - I had major cat hair on my pants.  Of course, I don't have time to turn around and I don't carry a lint brush in my car.  :(

I am SO stressed! 

So, now I look like a rushed, dirty, no-jewelry-wearing buffoon!

On the fast drive, I vaguely remember my rings *might* be at the bottom of my purse and I dig in the pockets and was SO relieved they were there!  Woo-hoo!

I show up to the pool room, grab my cue, my purse, my phone, my sweater and ramble in the door.

Still discombobulated, I go to the bathroom and as expected, water does not work like a lint brush.  :(  I had to try, right?  I resign to the fact I am going to have to accept looking foolish, if anyone even notices.

My opponent immediately tells me two things:  (1) I am not wearing sweats and look nice, and (2) that he beat Danny because Danny was playing poorly.

He then asks me what I did all day, because he knew I had the day off (otherwise, how could I play pool in the afternoon), but instead of sharing and sharking him with  "I just watched a GREAT straight pool match all afternoon!" instead I simply replied, "eh, nothing really."

We started the match. I lose the lag and had to break.  Oh well.

But I found myself up 15 to 5.... when all of a sudden in inning 6 I had a 23-ball run!  TWENTY THREE!  My second highest run so far in my life and in the first match of the season?  Eeek!  Thank you Accu-Stats, Sigel, Weenie, Mathews, and Brian.  :)

Guess I got over all my stresses and worries.  Honestly, now that I reflect, I didn't think about any worries once the match got started.  Cool!

It's now 38-8.  Then:


Then I go on a run of 15 to close out the win 100-66.

Afterwards, I confided that I watched the Sigel match earlier in the afternoon.  He shared some of his favorite DVD matches, then joked he was going to tell the league director I wasn't wearing sweats.

Danny happened to be there playing a match also, so we were able to set a time for our own match for next Monday evening.  

I felt good about the win.  I felt good about my staying down.  I still have some focus issues - thinking too-feel-good about my play interferes with my play.  Can't play P-O-O-L if you are thinking about how badly or goodly (lol) you are playing while down on a shot, right?

I wonder how my next matches will go? 

Until Next Time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please Be Quiet

I played in a little weekly tourney last night - 8 ball, race to 3. I played a newbie first match. I'd compliment him on his shots, or show empathy when he would miss. We chatted a little bit, but I was the better player and just being nice I guess as he was trying to have fun.

However, the chattiness of the guy in my next match perturbed me.

In the first game, he missed a shot and I am running out well but I scratched on the ball before the 8ball. After he runs three balls total, he is up 0-1 and says to me, "You had me that game."

Really? You think? Mister Obvious thank you for showing me the error of my ways.

The next match he misses a shot and walks away and says, "Oh, I gave that to you."



I was already perturbed, now I'm really perturbed. I continue to complain to the guys watching the match that his comments are really annoying me.  I don't know this guy either and altho in the first match I was okay chatting, this guy, for whatever reason, was agitating me. Maybe it's because I was making careless mistakes and upset at myself? I dunno.  Maybe it's because his comments were inappropriate (in my eyes).  I dunno.

The score is now 1-1. I get out super well the next match, with some key safeties. He makes more comments about his choices ("wow, I can't believe I missed that") and my choices ("good safety - now I can't see my ball").

One time I play safe instead of risking a long, tough shot and he comes up to the kick I left him and says, "I wouldn't even of thought of that."


At 2-1 me, I get out even better this game with some additional good safeties and he keeps complimenting my game and it finally dawns on me he isn't trying to be an ass, doesn't realize he shouldn't be talking so much, and is genuinely a nice guy trying to learn.

After I win 3-1 he asks me, "how did you get so good and knew to play the safes?"

I reply, "I read and reread Play Your Best Pool by Phil Capelle. His eight ball section improved my game tenfold."

"Really?" He asks.

"Yep, really."

He then asks me to tell his girlfriend the name of the book so she can type it in her iphone.

So, what turned out to be an annoyance was really just a nice guy not knowing he was bothering me.  I am proud I eventually didn't let his comments interfere with my pool playing and instead I played pretty smart and sharp in the end. Thank you Phil Capelle!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Team Play Topic for PoolSynergy

Gary Frerking over at is this months host of PoolSynergy.  As a reminder, PS is a group of bloggers who write about the same topic each month.  One of Gary's duty as host is to pick a topic and he chose "Team Play."

What a team player!  :)

While I assume most people will write about wonderful team experiences, my blog entry will not be about that.  Have I won great team events with great team members?  Of course.  Do I have special stories of amazing team feats?  Of course.

But it's that one bad team experience that haunts me to this day, and affects me for every team event I now play in.

Back in 1997, I was on a team with members from Dallas and San Antonio.  We played in the National BCAPL 8-Ball Championships in the Women's Open division.  We placed 2nd!

What a wonderful finish!  My highest finish to date in anything!  The team members were wonderful, the experience memorable, but after the tourney in Vegas, I found myself depressed.

Our team captain is a very nice woman.  She was helpful, supportive, and even bought us a keychain after the tourney to show her appreciation for how well we did.

However, her actions during the team event have stuck with me so negatively, that they follow me to this day.  I wont be on a team with her ever again nor will I put up with someone who did the same thing she did.

What did she do?  Well....

Our team was playing in Vegas at the Riviera against other women's teams from other states.  It was a very exciting atmosphere!  And when my teammates were at the table playing against one of the other teams, you could hear my captain cheering and clapping loudly!  "Good shot!"  "Excellent!"  "Way to work it out!"  etc.

I was all pumped up.  :)  We all were!  Hearing affirmations how well we playing and also pleasing our captain at the same time were so powerful; an adrenaline rush!

Then I noticed something disturbing when I wasn't at the table.  She would whisper to our co-captain "What is she doing?"  Talking about one of my teammates as she debated about a safe or shot during her match.

Then when my teammate would run out, the captain would get all excited and yell and clap loudly, "Good out!"  Like, really?  First you question her behind her back, now you are all excited because she actually got out when you didn't think she could?

The captain did this repeatedly - whispering (not low enough, obviously) to others, questioning shots and positions of her OWN teammates.  So, when I was at the table, naturally, I started to second guess everything I was doing!  I was no longer confident and proud when my captain clapped and yelled for me, instead I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

Obviously that this was a long time ago.  I was not confident about my game back then and did not have a lot of knowledge about the game as I do now. 

It might sound minimalistic, but she repeatedly questioned my teammates and I throughout the whole event.  If it was one or two times, I could understand.  But her constant, negative, two-faced actions were unnerving and downright uncalled for.  She has NO idea how bad she actually hurt us by not having more confidence in us and instead talking behind our backs, yet telling us "good try" as we walked away from the pool table to our seats as she patted us on the back.

Ironically, last year we were looking for a 4th teammate and her name came up as a potential.  I replied, "absolutely not."

I never want to go through that again.  I was depressed when I got home after that trip, when I should have been ecstatic for placing 2nd in the Women's Team event.  I am damaged; and my memory is long for crap that like.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scotch Doubles Tourney Recap Dec 2010

I took a photo of the brackets for this blog entry, but my camera was stolen (or "removed friendly") the same night we went to celebrate my friend's graduation at a Piano Bar after the tourney.  Instead of waiting any longer for the camera to reappear, I finally decided to write about my little tourney sans photo (boo-hiss).

I asked my friend Brain to play with me in this 8ball tournament and he obliged, luckily. 

There were about 29 teams I believe, or was it 21 teams? [I just love my memory when it comes to remembering #s (sarcasm)]  Race to 3 for most (like us), although a few teams with master players raced to 5.

Brian and I did not show up in time to hit balls on the tables.  I knew how they played already, but he had never been to this pool room before, and he likes to warm up no matter where he plays.  We didn't get a bye but proceed to win 3-0 our first match.  Woo-Hoo!  Dang we played good.  We played good together, and individually!  Brian was playing awesome.  I was very impressed and a little in awe, I admit.

Our second match we should have dominated, but as sometimes things happen, we didn't win.  We lost maybe 0-3, too.  While I LOVE 8ball and think I know it well, there were many times in this match Brian suggested alternatives that would have been better.  Those discussions probably got in our way from playing p-o-o-l.

We were bummed we were on the one-loss side, but with Amanda cheering us on, we proceeded to win several matches in a row.  Every other match was a flip-flop -->  We would play well, then not play well, then play well, then not play well, etc. But, we won all those matches.  We had some tough opponents - one team broke and ran the very first rack in the race to 3, but we proceeded to win the next three games (guess we weren't scared, huh?).

Here is Amanda and I at the tourney:

Then we had to play a master team and they had us down 4-0.  I was upset because I was trying too hard, but we were allowed back to the table after a minor squabble between the other team and we were on the hill with them (2-4) (we played to 3, they played to 5).  They ran out to the 8ball really well hill-hill, but the male of the team shot the shot too fast and missed it.  To top it off, the 8ball fell in a dif pocket which led to us capturing the win, miraculously.  

Then we revenged our second round loss by defeating the team that put us in the one-loss side.

Then Brian and I found ourselves in the Finals!  We lost only hill-hill the first set and with our $30 entry, we won $220!  It was a great day of pool playing and hanging with friends!  (well, sans my camera being stolen later that night, lol).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Moving Parts - in Pictures!

I've come a long way, Baby!

Look at me now.  Dang I'm proud of myself!

Check out this animation from 3-4 years ago.  Look at that head movement!

And me from a couple of years ago:  I actually like this one better - I'm not trying to draw the ball (which causes me to lift up more).  Instead, this is just a normal little shot and yet I have all this head movement!  Ugh.

And here I am today.  This is from Sept 2010.  I love how I am keeping my body and head still so much better now.  I not only LOVE the way it feels to be more solid, but I also love that it obviously helps my game.  :)

I have worked on this for many years it seems.  It's finally "there."  How did I do it?  Well, focusing on the object ball last before I pull the trigger, along with ensuring I have a smooth stroke has been the key for me.  Actually sensing how amazing my body feels when I am completely still has instilled in my brain that's what I want to strive for, too.

Yes, I still sometimes lift up, but it's definitely not as bad as it used to be.  I used to think practicing on the table to condition my pre shot routine would be my key.  It did help my pre shot routine, but it didn't help my head movement.  Instead, it was really kinda a fluke that I finally found a solution for me.  I've tried counting to ten, I've tried conditioning with practice, I've tried keeping my hand on the table til the object ball drops, I've tried focusing my thoughts solely on not moving my head, I've tried all sorts of "tricks" to keep me from jumping up too soon. 

The first thing is to find out is if you do this.  Once you see a problem (issue), then you can work on the solution, right?  Then try a lot of different things to see what works for you.

I am no expert - I have been working on this for YEARS!

A smooth stroke, follow through, and looking at the object last has been the secret key for me.  Once my eyes lock in on the object ball, I don't want to lift up as much.  Also, TRUST that you already know where the cue ball is going, that way you don't feel the need to follow it with your eyes, which causes one to lift up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Suggestive Team Name

Another "this might offend" Post.  Sorry in advance.

Back in Oct my team went to AZB Forums in search of the perfect team name! We received over 600 sexually-related suggestions!!!

My all-female Vegas team is looking for a good team name. One that is fun, related to pool, sexual, and that the BCAPL will use.  Tough, huh?!

We are looking specifically for a team name that when written in my blog or FB or on AZB, it makes you wonder if we are talking about pool or not! lmao.

For instance, a friend of mine has a team name called "Just the tip." It's hysterical when she uses it in a sentence!

We want the same sorta-thing.

For the team name that is chosen, as a prize for our thanks, we would like the winner to choose the color of the cause ribbon we will put on our shirts. (lavender - general cancer, yellow - support our troops, pink - breast cancer, etc).

The team members have finally narrowed the list down to our favorite Top Ten and now we need help to narrow that down to the top favorite!  Want to help us out?  Click here to check out the poll!

One choice per customer, please. :)

Here are the narrowed down top ten that peeps are voting on:

Magic Racks
Cunning Stunts
Come From Behind
Batteries Not Included
We Don't Feel Cocky
Come With a Shot
No Holes Barred
How's My Rack?
We Suck
Money Shot

Sorry in advance if I offend anyone with this... but I will let you know in a couple of weeks which name is voted tops for us!

- voting ends in two weeks -

LOL T-Shirt # 1

Here's one of those t-shirts that might offend, but I said I was gonna share these with ya.  This is my friend Dean.  I just had to take a pic!  lol

Monday, January 3, 2011

High Stakes Pool - Reality TV Show

My friends Andrew Clearly and Jay Helfert shot a pilot for a Reality TV show earlier this year in Los Angeles called High Stakes Pool.

What is High Stakes Pool? It's a Ten Ball ring game for real money! In this episode (remember it's just a pilot), Morro Paez, Rafael Martinez, and John Schmidt hook up to play a little $100-a-man Ten Ball.

These 3 playa's played all day to find an eventual winner, and the money was paid off after every game. If they ever sell this show, the stakes will be raised to $500-a-man with a 10K backer. 

Scott Frost and Ron Wiseman were suppose to be in this pilot, also, but were not able to attend.  But even without them, Rafael, Moro and John are already talkers and characters!  To see these guys in action, talking crap, the use of body English, probably making jokes - should make for a great pilot! 

Andrew recently changed the name from High Stakes Pool to "The Pool Hustlers." 

The pilot is an hour and 45 minutes of 5 hours of action.  Andrew did an amazing job with the editing and camera work.  If you want to order a copy of the DVD, email Jay at

In the meantime, check out the teaser!!

high stakes pool from andrew cleary on Vimeo.
the pilot sizzle reel for high stakes pool/the pool hustler. Produced by Jay Helfert and Andrew Cleary.
Directed and edited by Andrew Cleary.