Thursday, September 29, 2011

Breaking at the Texas Open

I took some video footage of different breaks by some of the players at the Texas Open. 

(As a reminder, the Texas Open was held Labor Weekend at Skinny Bobs in Round Rock, Texas.)

While road buddy Amanda and I were watching matches, we noticed Chip Compton using a mild break and so we wanted to capture it on video. While I did this, I was able to also capture CJ Wiley breaking against Brian Anderson.  We also almost captured Charlie Bryant breaking, but the camera was blocked. Boo!

Anyway, check this out if you have a minute and a half.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Example of Sportsmanship!

What an incredible act of sportsmanship!

Read the story here or watch a video story about this amazing runner who helped another runner, during a race!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Video Blog - Awesome Case!

Talk about Personal touches!

Check out this awesome case by fellow pool player (and artist), Rachel Hurst!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Important Story About a Certain Word

One of my fellow bloggers wrote about an important word that is often used that really shouldn't be.  I can totally relate because when I grew up in San Antonio, I lived next door and across the street from two handicapped kids.  Chucky had down syndrome and Terry had an extreme case of cerebral palsy.

Take a minute and read this blog for me.  You wont regret it:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mars and Venus

I know I've written about this before, but after this weekend, I need to write about it again.

A friend visited Rusty's Billiards Saturday night to check out how the local girls were doing in the OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop.  He was shocked when he checked out the brackets sitting on the tournament table, where he noticed that I was already out and also one of my friends who is an even better player than I.

He walks up to me and says,"WOW, you didn't do very well.  And Your Friend did worse!  What is going on?"

Why say something to me?  Why point out the freakin' obvious?  Does it make him feel good to point out how badly we did?  Does he REALLY think we want to hear that?  Why say anything at all?


I don't get it.

It reminded me of the Texas Open.  During one of my matches someone pointed out that I gave some games away.

Duh!  Yea, I KNOW already.

And, Yes, he was a guy who shared that unfortunate tidbit with me.

I would never say that to a girlfriend.  ESPECIALLY during a match.  During a match we need positive affirmation, not reminders how badly we are doing.

Males and Females really are different.  On Friday night I was at my regular hangout (Volcanoes - a pool room and sports bar) and one of the poker players/pool players told us his friend had told him he had gained a lot of weight recently.

I was like, "Whoa!"

I couldn't believe his friend came right out and said that to him.

I shared with the pp/pp that girlfriends could never do that.  You'll never, ever hear a female tell their girlfriend, "Damn, you've gained weight!"

It's almost forbidden.  Kinda blasphemy, lol.

Yet, guys can tell each other, "You've gained a lot of weight."  Or, "Damn you shot bad that match."

Even I am fully aware of the male versus female "gender-talk."  That same Friday night another friend told me how well he had played in his scotch doubles match, but right afterwards not in his singles match .  Since he was a guy, I knew he could take my comment: "Actually, it looked like you were struggling in the scotch doubles match, too."

Granted, I still chose my words like a female, but I bet a guy would have been more blunt.  And I probably wouldn't have said anything to counter my friend if he was female.

Mars men need to remember the Venus women.  Please don't tell us how bad we suck.  We have thin skins and soft egos, and you may hurt our fragile little hearts.

I have even told that guy (who came to the pool room Saturday night) in the past not to say things like that, but he just doesn't get it (or doesn't remember when he's trying to make conversation).  He just says what he wants, no matter what.  Hasn't anyone heard of Myers Briggs?

As a reminder, wait for our cue to say constructive criticism.  Or, how about don't say anything at all.  We already know when we gave the match away or played bad.  Don't rub it in, okay?  :)

And to all the males out there who respect that females can't always handle harsh words, thank you for being quite at the proper times or carefully wording your advice/comments!  We appreciate you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

HandSkake #2

I received quite a few comments to my previous post, Handshake.

Many were also upset at the lack of respect a non-handshake represents from Poor Sports.

Then PoolMinnow comes along and brings out an important point.  I LOVE different perspectives!

Here is what PM said:
I have a slightly different point of view. If my opponent, in the moment of losing doesn't feel like shaking hands that's fine by me. As the person who came out the winner I try to have compassion for the other person who may have given it their all, may be very tired, hungry, etc. I won, and if they played in a gracious, fair manner during the match, that's how i judge their sportsmanship.

I think its almost more important to be a "good winner" and for me that means giving space to the loser, because its a much harder position to be in.

I've heard plenty of people go off complaining that their opponent didn't shake hands afterwards, or that they shook hands, but didn't look them in the eye, or their handshake was flabby. (Where do you draw the line). I just cringe, because that kind of complaining, to me, is poor sportsmanship at its worst.

If shaking hands when you lose is important to you, its a nice gesture. And I think, as the loser, it does something for YOU, more than the opponent. Some people are excellent and gracious losers and they should be commended. But, to me, its a slippery slope, as the winner to judge someone who doesn't.
PoolMinnow (PM) does indeed make some very good points.  Just last weekend someone told me that after our match at the Texas Open they didn't hug me, they let ME lead the "ending" of the match.  I shook her hand and briskly walked away because I was so defeated with my play.  She said she would normally hug me, but knew I had a tough match and just let me be.

She even shared that she dislikes hugs from friends if she herself has had a bad match, so to reiterate:  she took my cue and just shook hands.

I agree with PM that sometimes the bigger person is the winner who doesn't get upset at the Poor Sport (PS) who wont shake hands.  However, I wasn't talking about the every-once-in-a-while PS's.  I was more so talking about the PS's who make it a habit of being rude to their fellow players.  And yes, I was also talking about the pro's who are a representative of the sport.

I agree wholeheartedly that the winner's can be a GREAT representation of the sport, also, by how we react to the non-hand-shake(s).  And that is a true character and reflection of ourselves in the heat of the battle.

I can so relate to the numerous times an opponent has played so badly they walk off in shame or walk off without shaking hands because they are so embarrassed.  I was not talking about them, though.  I was talking about the recurring Poor Sports.  The guys who are regularly two-faced when it comes to treating you with respect --> i.e, only treating you with respect if THEY win.

I love PM's comments.  I do so agree that our reaction to the PS is ALSO a reflection of the sport!  Thank you so much for your point of you, PM!  It was a great reminder because I did indeed forget about this important part of non-handshaking while I went on my diatribe. lol.

And I also agree with the comment from one of my friends who said, "I remember every non shake I've ever been the recipient of...every time!"

Monday, September 19, 2011


It always amazes me when opponents don't shake hands at the end of a match.  Most of the time, no matter what happens during the course of a match, the opponents will shake hands.  Whether one is unbearably embarrassed by their play, or pissed off at themselves for playing so badly, that person will still do the proper, polite thing and still shake hands. 

However, it's the Poor Sport who doesn't always shake hands.  The Poor Sport played bad and is now pissed at themselves and they are so upset, they don't want to shake hands with you.  Probably because even though it was through their own bad play they lost, they incorrectly think their opponent got rolls or didn't deserve the win. 

In reality, they are mad at themselves and yet they punish their opponents, the fans, the audience, and ultimately themselves by not acting professional.

Even Wikipedia says:
"Generally, it is considered inappropriate, if not outright insulting to reject a handshake without good reason."

What I don't get is, if the Poor Sport wins a match they shouldn't have, they will laugh and smile and shake your hand with no problem.  If you beat the PS, God Forbid, then you are no longer treated with respect.

Good word:  Respect.

It's disrespectful.

I honestly feel when people do this, it hurts our sport.

It's like a golf pro not shaking hands with who he's been paired up with the last 18 holes; or the losing team of a football game heading to the locker room instead of walking cross the field of shame to shake hands; or a tennis player not shaking hands at the end of a match; you get the idea.

It's disrespectful. 

When the PS's do this, do they even realize what it does to their opponent?  You are belittling your opponent.  You are not giving them the respect they deserve for being your opponent. 

And of course everyone talks about the PS when they do this.  We sit on the sidelines and whisper, "Can you beleive they did that?  How rude."  Or, "There he goes again..."

This not only happens at weekly tournaments, it happens at big events, too.  Just at the Texas Open one of the pros did this to her opponent.  Many fans saw it, too.  The PS walked away from the table without any acknowledgement.

The PS would have treated any opponent that way because she was upset she was outplayed (I'm guessing), but her opponent took it personal.  It was uncalled for and disrespectful.  And what kind of representation of the sport is a pro who walks off without shaking hands?  In front of a large crowd no less?

Granted, we don't know what inner demons she was facing.  Maybe she had an issue with the crowd, or something weird happened in her match. Who knows.  However, even PS's need to act human to their fellow human beings and treat them with respect and offer a simple handshake!

I know we get angry at ourselves sometimes, or our opponents for whatever reason, but we (the non Poor Sport) would still shake hands with the Poor Sport EVERY TIME, even though if the reverse happened, they would just turn and walk away from the table briskly, rudely, and selfishly.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Video Tour of the Texas Open!

Like I did with the Ultimate Ten Ball Championships, here is a video tour for you all - this time of the 2011 Texas State Open.

It's held in Round Rock, Texas at Skinny Bob's Billiards.

I state in the video The Texas Open has been an annual event for 36 years straight, but I was incorrect - it's been 38 years going strong!!


Here are some peeps in the footage: CJ Wiley, Rob Saez, Chip Compton, David Henson, Sylver Ochoa, Charlie Bryant, Ming Ng, Joe Salazar, etc.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sunday League Highlights

Sunday at league last weekend was... interesting.

We played out of our home pool room this particular Sunday (we are in a traveling league), which is a cool place with a large dance floor, stage, pool room in the back, booths, tables, large bar area, and even an upstairs part with more pool tables and sitting tables.

We walk in and bright lights immediately warm our faces.  As we walk by the crowd of people, we finally reach the back of the place where the pool tables are and we find out they are filming for some sort of music video.  Cool!

So, if you see something similar to these pics some day, you'll know they were filmed in Grand Prairie, Texas!

On this league, we play 6 matches every Sunday.  I suppose that's because it's on a weekend, during the afternoon.  I wouldn't fathom 6 matches per person played on a weeknight otherwise.

I win my first three games and as I'm waiting to play my 4th game, one of the opponents (who is currently in a match with one of my teammates) tells me, "you are a master player, right?"


Mister Red Shirt repeats his question because I really didn't hear him.

"You a master player?"

"Um, no, I wish," I reply kinda laughing.

Mister Red Shirt adds, "Well, you play good enough to be one."

"Thanks," I say sincerely.

At this point now I know the other team has their eye on me.  I'm the new girl and can play.

I lose the next match and the other team claps real loud.  I then play Mister Red Shirt and he plays good against me after I miss a weird shot, and he beats me and his team loves it by clapping loud again!

The last guy now has no chance and I run out against him.  This time my team claps loudly.  lol.

Then Mister Red Shirt has to play my boyfriend last.

He is again playing on the table next to where I'm sitting and says to me, "Your boyfriend is gonna kick my a$$ because I beat you, huh?"

"Probably," I reply laughing again.

Sure enough, my boyfriend beats Mister Red Shir.

As we shake hands with the team at the end of the afternoon (we won 24 games to 12), the first guy I played stops to tell me, "I just want you to know you shoot really, really well and I like your game."

"Well, thank you.  I appreciate that.  I like your game, too."

Turns out I was the only one on our team that gave him a loss.  He beat all my other teammates!

League is always interesting, isn't it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

PoolSynergy - Practice

John Biddle, Founding Father of PoolSynergy, wants us to share with you this month what has worked and what didn't work for us personally in regard to practice.

Ahh... practice.

The pivotal part of every one's game.

In order to get better, you must practice.  You hear the pro's fibbing and tell you they practice 8 hours a day.  Whatever.  No they don't.

However, practice is important.  Patrice not only gives you CONFIDENCE, which is crucial, but it also gives you CONSISTENCY, which is key.

What worked for me?  Set reachable goals to practice pool.

Once I set a goal to practice, then I was actually able to accomplish PRACTICING.  What was my goal specifically?  Well, several years ago it was to hit balls by myself for 1-3 hours a week on a 9-foot table.

I did this for almost 2-3 years.  And guess what - it was obvious.  It's very obvious when I practice and make a goal to hit balls.  You can see it in my high rankings on the OB Cues Ladies Tour and also my high finishes at big tournaments.

Guess what people?  It really does help!

Now, what doesn't work for me:  Drills.  I'm not a drill person.

Everyone asks me, "How can you practice by yourself?"  I retort back, "Hell, how can you do drills???"

The other way to practice is to read books or watch videos.  I highly recommend that.

However, I must not forget to mention that the game of pool is like golf:  it's 90% mental.

"But Wait," you are thinking.  "How do you practice mental toughness?"


Read books on the mental game.


Play in tournaments.  As many as you can.

Don't just play in a few.  Get yourself in the middle of tournaments and exercise your mind; your mental toughness.  Learn from every match.  What worked, what didn't, what can you work on, why did you falter or do well?  Reflect, learn, and your mental game will get better.

It doesn't matter how many hours you put on the pool table to practice - that wont help you in a pressure situation.  UNLESS - you've already somehow learned or read that a solid pre-shot routine helps you overcome jitters/pressure. 

You don't know how to handle these type of things automatically when you come out of the womb:  a rough crowd, rude comments, bad rolls, bad thoughts, negative emotions, etc., .

You need to learn, absorb knowledge from books or online; you need to toughen up your mental game by playing against others in many, many different types atmospheres (pro events, weekly tourneys, etc.). 

Yes, practice on a pool table to improve your game, pre-shot routine, and consistency.  But combine that practice with sharping your mental toughness skills, too, by jumping into competition.

That combination is the only thing that worked for me.

Good luck!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Streaming Screams

Most people love to watch pool on streams.  And when it's free, it's even better!

But do you know what goes on in the background of the decision making?  And do you know of the myriad of complaints?

Being a former Tournament Director (TD) and a pool player with friends, I hear things.  Yep, I do.  lol.

First, who decides what match will be featured?  Who gets to decide which players get to play on the stream table?  Usually, it's the TDs.  They look at the names, and admittedly, they pick the match-ups of the players that are most well-known.  Usually, these are the top-ranked players of the tour at hand.  If it's not a tour, then it's still the top players in that tournament.

The key is, what about the "little people"?  What about the players who see they get over looked every round?  What about those players?  Yes, they feel like crap.  They feel slighted and get upset, "Why didn't they pick my match?  Do they not think I'm good enough to be on the stream?"

Then let's say for some reason the not-so-top players happen to get to play their match on a stream table.  Three things happen:  the inexperienced players get super nervous and their game doesn't show up on the stream, or they don't want to play on the stream because it's too much pressure. Or what's even worse, the crowd in the chat room starts to complain about the players who miss badly or can't play.  "Why are they on the stream?  Get such and such instead.  I wanna see some good pool."

While the newbies will get amazing experience handling pressure on a stream table, it still doesn't help the crowd who are sitting in front of their computers.  They want to see big names; people they know.

So the TD's go back to putting the top-ranked players on the stream.  And then toward the end of the tourney, you see the same faces through the final day.  Some times, you could see the same player in several stream matches if they are on the one-loss side for a long time.

Granted, most of us wouldn't care if it was Jeanette Lee or Raj Hundal, but other times it will be with players we don't care to see 5 times in a row.

Everyone thinks streaming is awesome... and easy.  It's not.  It creates a lot of complaints and concerns and bitching and moaning.

People should appreciate free streams, instead, the audience gets upset about who is on the table and why they are on the table, and the players get upset if they aren't on the table, or if they are on the table.

Where are the happy people?  lol.

Seriously,I'm just trying to point out a few of the "kink"s that can associate streaming matches.  This isn't anything new.  Even TV has to decide which tennis matches of Wimbledon they will show.  We aren't alone.  This isn't anything new.

It's all politics and ratings.

Wear something sexy or shoot well.  That will help!  lmao!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't Judge

One of my friends was playing in a tournament this past weekend and in this particular match, she was playing a girl I will call "Classy."

And after my friend lost that tough match to Classy, someone comes up to her and says "You don't like your opponent, do you?"

It through my friend for a loop.

"What? What do you mean?"

They went on to say they could tell she didn't like Classy but they understood though, because Classy was "Snooty" anyway.

"What??", again was her astonished reply.

This person was telling my friend that Classy always walks around the table like she's better than everyone else and hardly talks to anyone in the pool room.

My friend immediately defended Classy.

"We are friends and she is super, super nice.  You should get to know her."  Then went on to explain she simply played bad, and she was upset at herself, not that she didn't like Classy.

When my friend told me about this exchange, I got upset.

I said, "How can they put you in such a bad spot?  Further, why say something so rude about someone they (obviously) don't know?!"

I told my friend I was so glad she defended our friend, Classy, and also reminded her that Classy was shy and that's why she comes across as "Snooty" to some people.  When I was in my 20s, I was very shy and people thought I was bitch, when in reality, I just wasn't social or talkative.  So I understand completely what Classy has to deal with.

While I didn't like what they said about Classy, I also VERY MUCH did not like the position my friend was put in by having to defend her.

I really don't think people realize that when they badmouth someone, or offer their two cents, what it does to the person they are speaking to.  It puts them in an uncomfortable position, which is really unfair to the person on the receiving end of the "opinions."

However, at the same time, I am GLAD they said something because my friend was able to share that indeed this "snooty girl" is one of THE nicest girls in pool and one of the dearest friends anyone could be lucky enough to have in their life.

Don't judge, people.  It looks really bad on you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mental Mush

You'd think I wold have remembered this from my previous experience of when my Dad passed - that my mental game is mush after death/stress.

I painfully remembered the hard way this past weekend at the Texas Open.   And guess what?  It SUCKED!

I played and won my first two matches.  I'm suppose to win; I did.  I played pretty sporty most of the time in those two races to 7.  I knew heading into the tourney I was playing decent, so that vote of confidence always helps.  I also love the fast 9-foot tables with decent-sized pockets.  I can let out my stroke and move the cueball around the table like I own it.  It's a GREAT feeling!

After the first match, I bawled like a baby. As soon as I won, the immense pain of losing my Mom just 2 weeks before hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wished so badly I could call her and hear her voice to tell her I won.  ;(

In my 3rd match, I didn't play good, my opponent played better, and I had too much on my mind anyway to really focus on the task at hand.  So, I was on the one-loss side now. 

Me, cooling off with one of the fans inside Skinny Bob's Billiards.

That night, I stayed up with friends instead of going to bed at a normal hour to be fresh enough for my 1pm Monday match.  In the morning, I was upset at myself b/c I didn't get enough sleep and because I felt so exhausted.  But a friend convinced me I have played tired before and to just prepare myself for the match.  I listened to the words and by the time the match started, I felt GREAT!

I played good, too  :)

Well...... sorta.

I won the first game and was running out BEAUTIFULLY the 2nd game but missed the 8.  3rd game I again was shooting well but miss the 9 in the side pocket.  I got upset.  I miss another out and am down 4-1.

I am so dang mad, I go outside to take a break.

But because my mental game is on vacation, I don't know how to handle what is going on in front of me.  I don't know I am thinking down on my shots and to stop it.  I don't see I'm actually too confident, and have stopped focusing on my pre-shot routine. I don't realize I need to just have fun and accept what is going on (that takes the pressure off).  I'm not capable of not being angry at giving the games away.  I'm just not mentally tough right now.   I honestly think if I wasn't so stressed and going through so much, I would have been more aware of how to change my attitude and composure in time to win more games.

Instead, I got more and more angry at myself and pissed I was giving the match away.  I decided I wasn't going anywhere - I wasn't giving up.  But I missed a bank at one point, didn't play safe another, and dogged a tough 9ball to make the score and 5-6 instead she won 7-5.

I like my opponent a lot, but I did NOT like I didn't give her a good fight.  I think even she would prefer us both playing well.

Then I see the payouts and I was one round away from the money.  I normally don't care about the cash, but that would have been cool to place in the Texas Open again.

And I'm gonna tell you all something:  I'm TIRED of ending my runs at the Texas Open with stupid, bad play.  Tired of it.  I can't remember a year that I gave my best the final day.  Instead, I'm always tired, exhausted, or other distractions are going on.  One of these years I will get enough sleep and put the tourney first.

I miss you, Mom.

Tourney Descriptions  Sucked.