Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TaxiCab Confessions

One more Vegas story.

Back in 1998-2000 (yes, THAT long ago), I was living in Florida and had left all my Texas friends.  :(  I loved being ten minutes from the beautiful Atlantic Coast, tho.  :)  I lived in Florida for 1 1/2 years for my job, before another promotion moved me back in Texas in 2000.

In 1999, I traveled to the BCAPL Nationals, as I had been my routine for the previous 5 years.  I was very excited to see all of my friends from Texas (and around the U.S.) during that tourney.

As I came down the escalator at the Las Vegas airport for baggage claim carousel number 5, excited about being in my favorite city, I was shocked to see one of my Texas girlfriends standing at the bottom of the escalator to surprise me!  She had taken a cab from the hotel to surprise me and meet me AT the airport!

It was SO very very awesome of her.  :)

We get my bags, stand in the LONG taxi cab line.  It takes over 15 minutes to get through the long line, but it's okay because we get to chat and catch up.  :)  Then finally, it's our turn at the front of the line.

We get into the cab and all of a sudden the taxi cab driver says, "How was your trip from Florida?"


I look up and I'm like, how did he know that?

Then my girlfriend starts busting out laughing in disbelief!

This was the SAME taxi cab driver that had dropped her off an hour a go!  She told him on the way to the airport she was surprising a friend who was flying in from Florida, and then we get the SAME guy!

It was AMAZING of all the cabs in the cab-infested city of Las Vegas that we would get the same driver an hour apart!  What are the odds??

Seriously, think about this for a minute:

They guy picks up my friend at The Riviera, drives her to the airport, drops her off.  He then drives to the taxi waiting area, so he can be in line to pick up a a fair FROM the airport.  He waits in the long line (probably over 40 cabs in front of him), finally gets to the taxicab line stand, and of all the people in the line (there were about 60 in front of us), we are paired with the SAME guy who dropped her off about an hour ago!


A/C Broke in Vegas

Since Vegas is right around the corner, thought I'd share a Vegas story.

Two years ago in Vegas for the BCAPL Nationals, I am mostly there to have fun and relax; no expectations for the tourney-side of things. 

One early afternoon after the singles event, I decide to eat at the Riviera Cafe (Kady's) with a friend of mine.  While many people complain about Kady's, I am a creature of habit and order the same thing all the time b/c I really do like a few things on their menu.

On the way to the cafe, I walk by the edge of the casino and I happen to run into a friend who is extremely drunk (the sun is out and it's the middle of the day!), but he has been up all night playing poker, drinking, playing black jack, and he has yet to go to bed for some reason.

I say my hellos and nice greeting to him, while he is is the typical drunk person who doesn't recognize distance in his sober state so he stands to close to me and talks right at my face, as I try to step back from his alcohol breathe.

I get to the cafe and order my food with my friend and then my Mom calls me.

"What do you mean the A/C guys haven't shown up yet?  They were suppose to be there already!"

I immediately get upset, as my Mom has advanced emphysema and she needs the air very cold so she can breathe well (warm/hot air makes breathing difficult).  Further, when the A/C goes out (this wasn't the first time), she has to sleep in the living room on the coach because it's the coolest place in the house.  This also isn't good for her lungs because she has to sleep laying up and cannot lay flat.  Because I am in Nevada and she is in Texas helpless (and I'm her rescuer), I am extremely upset right now.

As I'm talking to her, the drunk guys come to our table and sits down for some reason.

I keep talking, "What did they say? "Did you tell them the A/C is froze?"

And then I get distracted from the drunk guy.  He asks me, "What is wrong with your A/C?" Seriously, dude?  You are trying to talk to me when I'm on the phone with my Mom about something almost life crisis?

I raise my forefinger perpendicular to my mouth for the universal symbol of "shhhh." 

I continue, "Mom, calm down.  I will call them back and be the lioness and explain how important the A/C needs to be fixed and ask them why they hadn't show up yet as promised."

Again the drunk guy tries to talk to me. OMG! 

I'm too upset to rationalize any leadership skills at the moment b/c my Mom is suffering, I feel helpless so far away, and this drunk dude is seriously annoying me at the wrong time.

I snap at him, "Dude, I'm on the phone right now!"  As he looks back at me, well.... drunk. 

I finish the call with my Mom, and I immediately I look through my phone for the number to the stupid A/C company.

The drunk guy starts to talk again, as I'm trying to find the # quickly to save my Mom.

He says slurring, "Um, I own an A/C company."

"Uh, what?"

"Yea, and I know companies in your area to help you out.  Sounds like you're getting the run around," he says.

Omg, seriously?  I was bitching out a potential helper!  Eeeek

A couple of hours go by and sure enough he sends me a contact #.  Long story short, the new company that he recommended come over that day, finds the leak right away (that the other company could not find FOUR times in the past year), and the cost was $300 less than all other estimates I had had before.

Dang drunk A/C guy to the rescue!  :)  He turned out to be my Mom and I's little angel in disguise!


Speaking of drunk guys reminds me of this funny video!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nationals in May in Vegas

This year I'm doing something a little different for the Nationals in Vegas in May:  I'm going to BOTH the ACS Nationals and the BCAPL Nationals!

Why is that such a big deal? 

  1. I've never played at ACS Nationals before, so this will be my first time,
  2. Because the tourneys are a few days apart, I will stay in Vegas for two full weeks,
  3. I normally only attend the BCAPL Nationals, so this whole trip will be very new to me,
  4. And, because the two big tourneys are days apart, I only had to buy one plane ticket.  Flying two separate times would cost me a lot money (and as we all know, flights are not cheap anymore).
I picked a good year to do this, I think, because the two-week trip is do-able personally for me: 
  1. My b/f wont be able to take off for two weeks next year, and he can't go to either this year.  So, trying ACS Nationals this year helps our plans to attend BCAPL together next year,
  2. Although I would rather my Mom be on Earth instead of in Heaven, I am able to be gone for this amount of time because she is no longer suffering from emphysema,
  3. And, next year BCAPL is moving their Nationals tourney to July, and I wont be able to fly to Vegas for ACS Nationals in May and then back in July (too expensive to fly to Vegas twice within months apart).
Although being gone for two weeks straight in Vegas may seem like torture to some (lol), I truly love (madly, deeply) Las Vegas!  It's is my favorite city.  :)  Further, I plan to use this trip like my Reno trip in February - a vacation!  Playing Pool comes first (obviously), but rest and relaxation in my favorite city will be high on my to-do list!  :)  I can't wait!  Poolside and eating great food, playing in numerous separate pool events, all alongside a casino atmosphere?  Self-imposed bliss!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

King/Queen of the Hill Tourney

I decided to stay in town this weekend instead of traveling over 5 hours for the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop, as I was exhausted just *thinking* about the long drive.  After playing pool for 5 1/2 days last week, I was taxed anyway.

In town was my leagues' end-of-season tourney.  I normally don't play in end of season tourneys, as playing against all the guys in any of the leagues I've ever played in, is truly just a donation of money.

However, this league is entitled King/Queen of the Hill, and the League Operator told me if they had more then 8 or 6 females, he would hold a separate tourney for us.

Counting out the team money 

Our Team somehow was voted Best Sportsmanship

Ensuring the team money is correct, lol

So yesterday, after the hour it took to hand out the end of season trophies and monies, and then another hour (or more) for the calcutta, then the draw took 30 minutes, I finally find out only 5 women showed up and we have to play against the guys. 

OMG, Really?!

We don't even have a separate calcutta and I am miffed because the TD tells me he will pay "Last Lady" but he doesn't know how much.

So, the $70 (total) that were bid on the 5 females, if that didn't go to the LL, I already threatened my team I would have some choice words for the League Operator.  I didn't think it was fair at all.  People are buying us and we honestly don't have a chance to get anywhere near the calcutta payouts. 

I tell my b/f not to buy me in the calcutta, don't waste his money, but a friend gets me for $10.  My b/f buys my half (I'm not interested, never am).

Three of the five women play the first round, two get a bye.  If I don't win my first match, I'm already behind for the chance to get LL.  Not knowing how much money the LL will get doesn't matter to me at this point, I still would love to get LL.

I play right away, and in the middle of the room of 7 bar tables, in front of a million eyes (yep, a MILLION!).  No where to sit, I fight constantly for the lone chair I'm trying to keep for my match (I'm a sitter when I don't shoot, and get agitated if I have to stand).

I am super nervous but playing smart.  My opponent wont run out unless all his balls are open, and I happen to play the same way, so it's a long race to 3.  I am extremely nervous but I recall from last weekend to stroke more than usual when I'm nervous, and it really, really helped.  Even though I can barely contain my breathing while down on the shots because I'm so nervous, at least I'm not two-stroking and dogging shots.  I play surprisingly good for how bad my nerves are, and smart too, and I win 3-0!  (I hear the guy forfeited after I beat him.)

My next match, I even MORE nervous.  I am shaking so badly, I swear people can see my back arm shaking as I'm down on my shots.  My adrenaline is on fire, my nerves are running rapid, and I'm literally shaking!  I don't know why.  I mean, sure, there are A LOT of people watching, but let's face it: my opponent was under the pressure; I had no pressure.  He had the pressure that he might get beat by a GIRL.  If I lost, he was a good player and should beat me.  So, not sure why I was literally shaking like a leaf on a tree during a hurricane.

The guy makes a mistake in the first game, and I run out 5 balls.  I hit the balls good somehow, stroking more than usual because I'm so nervous (LOVE this new tip I'm incorporating in my game).  He wins the next game but a miss in the 3rd game and I run out again.  I still don't feel relaxed, and only more nervous.  The only thing that even makes me smile is he keeps hording the only piece of chalk (my chalk, ironically) that is on the table and I have to keep asking him for it, as he apologies in Spanish every time.

I break dry, he runs out and ties it 2-2, i.e. hill hill.  He gets bad shape on his run out, and I play good safes a few times and am in control of this final table in our match.  He barely nicks his ball, tho, on my last safe, and then I have to kick safe back!  It double kisses and leaves him a shot before the 8.  :(  I lose, and am bummed, but happy because I played good.  Weird feeling. 

And lots of people compliment me on how well I play.  :)

I was pulled aside and told that they are paying $70 to LL.  Thank GOD I don't have to make a scene, lol.  And very happy they made the right decision.  BUT, I'm also told they are paying $150 for LL in the Calcutta.  What??  Really?  WOW!  How cool is that!!

My next match seems like hours away, and then I lose 0-2.  :(  First lady out, because of the way the brackets are called out.  omg... so disappointed, after playing SO well on the winner's side... :(  

Then, one by one, each of the other females also lose and we ALL lose in the same round!  I can't believe it!  A tie breaker ensues!  Sure, it's 9/10pm at night, but who cares, I have a chance to get LL now!  It seemed two hours before I had no chance, now all of a sudden another chance arises.  I'm stoked!

We create an 8-man bracket and we draw #s.  I barely win my first match (it went hill-hill and the girl scratched weirdly on the 8abll).  But in the final match, I play SO solid, I surprise myself!  I win 2-0 and played SO great!  I was elated. :)  On the drive home, I was so excited and *knew* there was no way I was going to sleep anytime soon - I was too pumped up!

Although I don't get the Calcutta money, I did earn $70 and a cool little title, Queen of the Hill!  Seems so stupid to be all excited about winning a 5-person semi-tourney.  But, Queen of the Hill Tourney, my first one, my first win!

I honestly think I'm so excited because I played good in the finals, and I played good under unusual conditions early in the day.  If I would have won with unforced errors, or won playing badly, I wouldn't be so elated. 


Feels so awesome to play well.  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Handicapped Tourneys

I played in a handicapped scotch doubles tourney a couple of times and some people questioned the handicapped system.

I talked to the TD about it because of the concerns I had heard, and the discussion we had was very enlightening.  While the decision to change or not seems now very obvious (lol), at the time it was not, so I wanted to share.  :)

The handicapping is done like this:

  • Must be guy/girl
  • Only one Grand Master, Master or Advanced Player per team
  • Grand Master or Master Team Race to 5
  • Advanced Player team Race to 4
  • Open team Race to 3

The second time we played in the tourney, my boyfriend and I were told we should not be racing to 3 when one of our opponents had to go to 5.  I was told, "That's not a fair match-up."

I don't make the rules, but because the TDs use the BCAPL for the rankings, I was an Open player and so was my boyfriend.  We race to 3.  We were playing against a team who's female was a Master and the male was an Open player, so they had to race to 5.  The female was stronger than the male, but as a team, my b/f and I were stronger.

We won 3-0. 

I asked the TD before their next scotch doubles event if they were going to change the handicapping because of instances like that.  We had a fairly long exchange about it and I loved the dialogue.

He said that there were only a handful of Master teams. Out of 32 teams that weekend, only 4 were Masters.  He explained, "Why piss off 28 teams to satisfy 4?"

"Good point," I agreed, and hadn't thought of that.

Further, he stated that the Master players could find a stronger partner who are Open players, and then that would solve some of the issues of the "Master Teams" not placing high.  Most of the Master teams were partnered with good friends or significant others who aren't really Master-material, and they did that to help their friend or significant other out. 

The TD explained that if he DID change the handicap, and then the Master's played with a stronger player, then he would receive even MORE complaints.  He suggested that the Master players should simply find better playing partners.  We all know at least two dozen male players who are not ranked as Masters, but should be, right?

Sure enough, the next tourney, one of the female Masters paired up with a strong player who is listed as an Open player (but could easily be a Master) and they were a solid team!   They won the tourney with great play, and the scores were close against the Open Teams.  It seemed to prove the entire discussion I had had with the TD the weekend before.

This discussion was really an eyeopener for me.  The TD made a very good point about keeping the majority happy, and at the same time, the Master teams could still play and place high. :)  Win-win for everyone!  (including less complaints to the TD, lol.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Texas State 8Ball Tourney Recap

The BCAPL Texas State 8Ball Tourney was held last week at the Harker Heights Convention Center in central Texas.

This is a pretty tough blog entry to write, because after the tourney I heard about a lot of unfortunate drama that happened (that I didn't know about during the tourney), and so while I want to share the results of the tourney, I am disappointed with all the extra crap that I found out about and I admit it's taken away my high from the successful event.  I will write about all that soon, to share with you the different non-pool aspects of competition that can arise.

So, this is my Susan Lucci tourney, and this year was no exception.  I didn't win the singles division.  I wanted it too badly and faltered in a crucial match the second day of singles, like I have the previous years.

The difference this year was I played in three divisions... and played very good in every event!  I placed 2nd in Scotch Doubles, 4th in Singles, and 2nd in Teams.  It was very a successful tourney for me personally because I placed so well in each division and because I played good throughout the entire 5 days.  It felt wonderful.  :)

This year I only had one dress malfunction (not THAT kind).  My shirt had a sequenced collar and I was told to change because it wasn't a true fold-over collar.  They offered one of their shirts and the color was hideous.  I even told them I wouldn't wear it again, even though I had to pay for it.  Luckily, my boyfriend didn't mind the mustard color and stole it from me.  Money not wasted after all :)

I played really well in scotch doubles and feel fantastic about it!  My boyfriend and I can play very well together and this tourney was no exception.  We didn't bicker and we just played good/smart.  We lost the hotseat hill-hill but we recovered and met the team again in the finals.  We beat them the first set in the finals, but in the second set we lost wind (while they gained wind), and we lost 2-4.  But, I played good and didn't dog it for us!  Whew.

Scotch Doubles Finals

A few of my girlfriends asked how we can play together, "what's your secret?", because most couples cannot play together without a divorce in the near future, lol.  I had no good reason except that we both play good 8ball and he knows I don't play well if he gets on to me.

I celebrated our 2nd place finish with a little cake, that the "grill" was selling per slice:

Only a couple of matches I faltered those 5 days of the State Tourney, and those were the two matches I lost in the singles division.  I tried desperately not to get wrapped up mentally in my first match of the day on the winner's side on Friday, but I just couldn't pull it together til the end of the match, and by that time it was too late. 

I had won all 4 of my matches on Thursday and found myself on the winner's side the next day, but that first match Friday afternoon to propel me into the hotseat was one of my nightmare matches.  I played badly, had no confidence, and wanted the win too badly to even compete properly.  I tried and tried all morning to just be happy where I was, but I also knew my own internal pressure to win this coveted title was too much for me.  Just as in previous years, it alluded me.

Before my next match on the now one-loss side, I kinda whined to a teammate about how every year I psyche myself from the winner's circle, and she shared with me, "Well, you ARE the person to beat.  Everyone says it; everyone knows it."  And that really helped me.  Instead of ME thinking I can win the tourney, I heard the same thing but worded so differently, and it fired me up.  I no longer felt pressure.  I know that it doesn't make sense, it would seem that comment would put more invisible pressure on me, but instead, I just felt confident.  I felt more at ease; content.  I felt like the pressure wasn't on me, it was on them.  AND... I played that way in my next matches!

I played the 5th place match against the best player in the tourney (imo) and sure enough we went hill-hill.  I played like a champ!  Which means, I played more confident, very good, and much better than my previous match.  I was so happy that I SHOWED UP in this match, I wasn't really concerned of the outcome.  A lot of people were watching, and so it was a cool feeling to play great in that competitive match, and I actually won hill-hill.

Whew!  Boy was I relieved I played good and also happy I won.  If I would have played that way in the previous match, I KNOW I would have been in hotseat match!  (dang it.)

I had to wait for prolly over an hour to play my 4th place match and the "zone" feeling had left my body.  Even though I still played good, I could have played even better if the match was played right away.

We play the match at the end of a row of tables and my opponent (who is a very good player) and I go back and forth in the match and it remains close the whole time.  I make a few mistakes and so does she, but we are both still grinding it out and making up for our mistakes with great shots and good play.  The match took forever it seemed, then all of a sudden, even though there are already a lot of people watching, there are suddenly even MORE people watching.  Turns out they weren't there for us (lol, of course), but the 4 blocked off tables (for our match) are now ready to be played by 4 guys' teams at 10pm.  But, they must wait for us to finish.

Poor guys see these two women players playing their little hearts out and they have to continue to wait as the match goes to a beautiful hill-hill set!  The final match is a nail biter and it goes the full distance with safes and balls tying up at weird times and so the last game lasts forever.  After safes back and forth, I finally have an out.  But, I hit a ball too full, too hard, with too much left spin and I HOOK myself with only one ball left on the table!  OMG..... lol. 

- Click on image to enlarge -

Even tho I'm hooked, I immediately see where and how I'm going to kick the 8ball.  I check out the 8ball and notice it is a little off the rail.  I then walk back to the cueball, get down on the shot, put a little English on it (prolly shouldn't have), and shoot the cueball with speed toward the 8ball.  The 8ball fires right toward the pocket!!  I BARELY miss the shot!  It hit the pocket sides, but didn't go in.  The whole crowd goes wild!  They verbally moan and shout out because it almost went in.  They can't believe I got THAT close to making the final the shot with that kick!

My opponent gets up to shoot a tough tenball that I accidental left her, and a bug flies onto the table.  She tried to shush it away but it was not leaving this match!  We finally had to call a ref over because it landed right in line for her shot, lol.  It was a very wild end to a great match!

After she won, I walked through the Convention Center to get some popcorn as my "treat" for my 4th place finish in the singles, and SO many people stopped me to say how awesome that 8ball kick was and how I almost made it!  I was very elated and shocked so many people were impressed by my shot and how close the match was.  I am still surprised, tho, lol, that not many talked about how I HOOKED myself to begin with.  It's so weird to me that everyone focused on the almost-kicked-in-8ball and not that I had to do that because I stupidly hooked myself.  lol.  Such a wild, crazy, awesome, THRILLING match!  To play good in front of that many people and for the match to be close was thrilling beyond words.  Beyond words!  :)

And although I didn't win this coveted title /again!/ (Susan Lucci), I was more at peace than I had been in years.  I finally played well.  I didn't dog it completely.  I didn't give it away completely.  I played good in all the matches (except that one, and I'm okay with that).  To go out on a high note really helped me accept the fact that it just wasn't my time.  And I'm alright with that, because I played good and didn't dog it from nerves or emotions.

I was VERY exhausted after the long day of mental pool and long matches and had to prepare for the women's team event that started at 10am on Saturday morning.  I went to sleep by midnight and was well-rested for the long day ahead of me.

My team, How's My Rack?, won our four matches on Saturday!  We played well together, had fun, and enjoyed ourselves, which is very key for team spirit! 

And everyone loved our team name and shirts!  Score!

Because we won our 4th match, we didn't have to play at 10pm (whew!), and we could go rest up for our 9am HOTSEAT match on Sunday.  OMGoodness, we were in the hotseat!  Monica, Lisa, Jennifer, Connie and I were doing so well!  I was proud of the girls and hoped they enjoyed the team tourney as much as I did.

I made myself the captain, only because I had mailed in our entries for state/nationals and wanted to give everyone a break (and no pressure for decisions).  The line-up seemed to work out very well for us and everyone was gracious about either sitting out, removing themselves if they didn't feel good about their play, and/or coming in for those struggling.  It was a good team chemistry but more importantly, we had fun..... and laughed A LOT!

I show up about 8:50am on Sunday morning, praying my teammates are all awake and I was surprised because they were all already at our assigned table, hitting balls, ready to fight in the hotseat match!  Love my team.  :)

We play solid and that led to a victorious win for us!  How's My Rack is now playing in the finals in two hours!!

We don't fair as well in the finals, but we play against the toughest team in the tourney in the finals.  They defeated us 9-4 two sets to win the event.  They did play better than us, but we were still okay with 2nd place because we played our hearts out all weekend, we were in the finals, and we still had fun!

Can't wait for more fun in Vegas with these wonderful ladies!

I played well in all events, and felt very good about my play, more so than my finishes.  To lose playing well does amazing things for my psyche.  I never felt ashamed, embarrassed, and never let myself or my teams down (Scotch or Women's Team).  It truly is a wonderful feeling to finally play well, consistently, in all the divisions.  What an emotional high!  No let downs or feeling bad, no remorse or Monday quarterbacking, just great play.  Love it.  :)

I also want to mention that I deliberately didn't drink this tourney.  And my goal was to get plenty of rest.  If that meant heading to the hotel early, so be it.  I wanted to give my body and mind a good chance this year, and being hungover and tired is a deterrent to that very goal.  I also meditated and did yoga stretches every morning.  I gave myself extra ammo, I truly believe, to compete better.  At times I kinda wanted to socialize more, but I also recall what Jennifer Kraber said about choosing being competitive with a good nights sleep over staying up late socializing.

I choose ahead of time if my tourney is simply for fun or for a good competition.  This tourney was FUN (no doubt), but not on the level of socializing late at night with lots of alcohol, risking good play!  But, as I read back over this blog post for errors before I hit 'publish,' I think it's no accident I use the word "high" twice in this tourney recap, talking about playing well and not alcohol.

Did I mention I placed 2nd in Scotch Doubles, 4th in Singles, and 2nd in Teams?  Oh yea, I did.  :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scotch Doubles Fiasco

Last Saturday my boyfriend and I played in another scotch doubles tourney.

It was a nightmare!

We lost our first match 0-3.  Ouch.  Each of us made a few mistakes and so we ended up losing.  Our opponents played good against us, but I wish they weren't so talkative while we were at the table, but that's they way pool is sometimes.  I firmly believe if we would have won the first game, the outcome would have been different and we would have won the match.

We then "come with it" and win the next two matches decisively. Yay, go team!

But then it happened.  Eeeek.  We started to argue in our 4th match.

We were both super tired and hadn't had enough sleep the night before (our own fault for playing poker til the wee hours of the morning), but we still should not be arguing.

I don't think my friends had ever seen my boyfriend and I argue before, so to watch us mince words in the middle of a match was prolly weird for them.

Basically, I wasn't thinking right.  I went for a few tough shots instead of playing safe, and that frustrated him.  When it first happened a couple of times, I really hadn't see the safeties. 

He was frustrated with me because he knows I know the game, and he knows I know I'm suppose to play safe at certain times.  However, the first couple of times he mentioned "Why didn't you play safe?" the safes hadn't even crossed my mind.  That's how I know I wasn't thinking clear.  I'll blame it on the lack of sleep, because I'm not sure what else it could have been.

The next big turn at the table in our final match, I see a safe, but then a bank, too.  I go for the bank because I think I can make it.  As I get down on the shot, I see him cover his eyes in my peripheral vision and I know he's disappointed that I've made the wrong decision, but I go for it anyway.

When I walk back to our chairs after the missed bank, he doesn't even talk to me, which (of course) upsets me.  I need encouragement, but I'm not getting it, because he thinks I'm choosing the wrong shots and therefore he's frustrated with me.

He asked me, "why didn't you play safe?"

"I dunno," I reply agitated (nothing like being told you are wrong). "It crossed my mind, but I went for the bank."

We start to have words and argue. 

And I try desperately to explain to him that I can't think straight if he gets on to me.

But he is focused on one thing:  He pleads with me, "Just go with your first instinct.  That's all I'm asking. "

"But, but..."

"No buts," he interrupts, "Just go with your first instinct.  Okay?"

We are both being stubborn and both frustrated.  He's upset with me, and I'm upset he's upset with me (lol).  And everyone can see this exchange.  Even if you can't hear us, you can tell from our body language we are arguing.

During the next game I try to reverse my anger and say "nice shot" to him a lot so he knows I've moved on from the arguments.

Then it happens.  I have to play safe.  Ugh.  I have only two balls left on the table to try and hide the cueball.  I feel pretty good about my decision, but I dog the safe and get mad at myself.

"It's okay, " He tells me as I walk back to our chairs.  I snap back embarrassed and ticked off, "I finally play safe and then I dog it!"

He tells me again it's alright, but then........he starts to explain to me what I should have shot instead.  I'm so agitated, tho, I tell him firmly, "I don't want to hear it right now in the middle of the match."

"Fine then!" He snaps.

We sit for a few minutes in silence and we both calm down.  He then hugs me and says, "Let's stop arguing, we don't do well when we argue."

"Okay," I reply, as I melt a little.

He finally can't keep it to himself anymore.  And he again tries to explain which ball I should have played safe on.  I just sit there, listening.  I finally mumble something.

"What?"  He asks me.

"I want to say something but you're gonna get mad," I explain as I look down at the floor.

"Just say it," he pleads with me, suggesting he wont get upset.


He tries to get it out of me, "What?"

I finally say, "Well, my first instinct was to do it the way you are explaining."

"WHAT?  OMG Are you serious?  You b1tch!"  He starts laughing and I start laughing.

"Omg, really?"  He asks again while he's cracking up!

"Yes," I say laughing, "I really thought about hitting the 5ball first, but instead I tried to hide behind the 3ball."

We are both laughing so hard we are in tears!  It was absolutely hysterical!  He couldn't believe it!

As this was going on, the other team made a GREAT out to defeat us 1-3.

We were defending champs of this tourney.  And, we haven't placed less than 3rd in ANY scotch event we have played in, so to get 7th SUCKS.  lol.  No money, either.  :(

The other time we got 3rd the same sort of tension was there.  All the other times we just played great.

But, it was so wild to go from such strong negative emotions to such great, positive emotions in such a short time frame.  It was awesome really!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blast From the Past - Questions for the WPBA Pros

My friend Shayla and I maintained the Hunter Classics Tour website way back in 2000 (yes, the Internet was around then, lol).  The two board members that ran this ladies tour in Texas (and surrounding states) back then also played on the WBPA tour, so we had an avenue to ask the female pro players questions, and then post the answers on the website.  I looked for that Q & A ten+ old webpage the other day... and finally found it for you all!

Remember, these answers are more than ten years old, but still applicable to today and fun to read today.  :)

What keeps you motivated when/if you feel like you aren't playing your best game?
Allison Fisher: That's a very good question. I have to have the desire to maintain what I've already achieved. I try to play my best every game, especially in close matches. I have to find the fine line in practice because over practicing staunches my motivation -- I need to go out there wanting to play. Under practicing undermines my confidence. Each person has to find their practice time so they can be excited about competing in a match. I love the competitive edge that a tournament gives me. If I just practiced and didn't play in tournaments I wouldn't be motivated at all. And to those of you who say "I'm not good enough to play in a tournament" -- well, you have to get as much tournament experience as you can -- you're going to learn from playing in tournaments.

As an aside -- I watched Allison play in a match she was ahead at 5-2 when she took a shot on an 8-ball and got mediocre shape on the 9 ball. I could see the disappointment on her face which turned to annoyance at herself and then changed to determination. I could see that she was not happy with her shape and that she knew she played better than that. After that game (she won it) she went out there and started playing perfect shape on every single ball after that.

Now, that's motivation! Her opponent did not win another game.

Allison Fisher

What type of cue do you use and how long have you used it?
Linda Haywood -- Tim Scruggs
Aileen Pippen -- Meucci. I've used it since I started playing 8 years ago.
Mauro Seto -- Cognoscenti. I've used it for 1 1/2 years.
Vicki Paski -- Huebler cue and Palmer break cue.
Shari Stauch -- she uses all types of cues, depending on her mood and dress.

When you break, do you use the same cue that you shoot with? If not, why not?
Nikki Benish (has one of the biggest breaks on tour and sponsored on the tour by Cuetec): I use a Cuetec break/jump cue. It saves my shooting cue from the stress created by the break shot. My break cue has a flatter tip which is good for breaking and for jumping. My regular cue has a rounder tip which is better for drawing and English.

What do you eat, when do you eat or DO you eat during tournament play?
Dawn Hopkins: "2 hours out. For me it is very important because I have to monitor my blood sugar level. I eat protein, rice, pasta. No sugar and no caffeine."
Gerda Hofstatter: "2-3 hours before match, I eat light"
Jeanette Lee: "3 ½ hours ahead of match, I eat chicken and pasta. I eat only foods that are easy to digest."
Neslie O'Hare: "2 hours out, I eat protein."
Mary Guarino: "I eat light, soup usually, then I pig out after the match."
Robin Dodson: "2 hours out, I eat a chicken sandwich."
Aileen Pippin: 1 ½ hours before match I eat very light, no grease. Usually rice or vegetables.
Belinda Campos: "No food, unless it's a bagel."
Ewa Mataya Laurance: "3 hours before match, I eat pasta."
Nikki Benish: "Nothing"
Laura Smith: "No food, no caffeine. On a long day, I will eat a little, but very light."
Helena Thornfeldt: "2-3 hours before match, I eat vegetables or pasta. No meat"
Jennifer Chen: "1 hour before match. I don't care what I eat, but I do not eat before my first match ever."
Loree Jon Jones: "2-3 hours before match, I eat chicken or pasta"
Maureen Seto: "2 hours before match. Just no grease"

 Jeannette Lee

Why do you break from the corner instead of from the center, or do you?
Allison Fisher: "I can rest my hand on the rail and I get more power."
Vivian Villarreal: "I have changed to the center to get more cue ball control."
Dawn Hopkins: "It varies-but the side break is for making the the one ball in the side or the corner. I move to the center to control the cue ball."
Gerda Hofstatter: "I get more power because I can rest my hand on the rail, but I am practicing now breaking from the center."
Jeannette Lee: "From the corner you have the best chance of making the one ball in the side and banking the end ball in the corner."
Neslie O'Hare: "I break from the center, because I have been playing in men's events and the corner break is prohibited."
Belinda Campos: "Today's equipment, napless cloth makes the side more effective, if you can control the cue ball."
Ewa Mataya Laurance: "I don't break from the corner, I break more toward the center."
Nikki Benish: "More action on the cue ball, but control requires as much practice as you do for very difficult shots."
Laura Smith: "Power."
Mary Guarino: " It depends on how balls are moving. It is easier to make the corner ball from the side. I start from the center and then move out if I have control of the cue ball."
Robin Dodson: "I break closer to the center, it it varies. If I can't control the cue ball, I move more to the center."
Aileen Pippin: "I break from the center"
Helena Thornfeldt: " Easier to control cue ball"
Jennifer Chen: "I break from the center for control and from the side for power:
Loree Jon Jones: "I just get a better break."
Maureen Seto: "I do both, if one isn't working I try the other. Different tables have different sweet spots."

Vivian Villarreal

To Allison, Ewa & Loree Jon, How would you like to be best remembered, on or off the table?
Allison Fisher: "As a champion in all ways, not just as winner of matches. I want to be remembered as a true professional, as a person who always had time for the fans, for family and for friends. To be thought of a person of integrity in all aspects of my life."
Ewa Mataya Laurance: "Off the table, as Nicki's mother and Mitch's partner. With respect to pool, as a fighter as someone who never backed away from a challenge, who never gives up."
Loree Jon Jones: "I want to be remembered as a person who always placed my family first."

Photos copyright, Q and A copyright

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Visualizing Bigger Pockets to Boost Performance (Link)

A friend pointed me to this article earlier this week.  

He read this NY Times article and said, "I couldn’t help but think that it is somehow applicable to pool. Maybe some form of visualization of larger pockets instead of small circles projected onto the table?"

Check it out for yourself!  Pretty interesting....

How Perception Can Boost Performance

Basically, a psychology professor made a golf putting green hole look smaller or bigger with lights and shadowing.  Then 36 volunteers putted.  The results are unexpected of what you might think would happen.

You can read the article for all the details.  And, my friend is correct - wondering if visualization can be similarly accomplished with pocket sizes when we play pool?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Teen Star Asks Umpire to Remove His Father from Stadium (video)

This is Amazing!

Can you imagine if we could ask one of our own parent's to be removed from a Nationally televised game?  Or even a heckler or drunk person during one of our pool matches?

Yes, folks.  Check this out!

Australian teen star Bernard Tomic asked the chair umpire to remove his father from the stadium during Saturday's loss to David Ferrer.

The request was made after the 19-year-old held serve at 2-2 in the second set. During that game, television cameras showed his father and coach, John, shaking his head in disgust from the stands.

"He's annoying - I know he's my father - but he's annoying me," Tomic pleaded to chair umpire Cedric Mourier.

Video and story from this Yahoo news, via this link:

Straight Pool Season Almost Nixed

With three months of the straight pool season behind me, two more to go, and I've only played 8 out of 8 matches, I seriously considered forfeiting the rest of the season.

I'm not even close to being in the top 5 of the overall standings, and with all my weekends taken until May 19th, I figured I would be too short on time to get the rest of my matches in any way.

I'm just not into straight pool right now.  Not sure if it's because I'm not doing well in the standings or what.  After being bummed about having no chance to make the top 5 (like I had the last 6 seasons), I told myself to instead try to get in the top five of high finishes.  But when I finally played a match a week ago, I was so dis-interested, I only ran 14 three times, nothing higher.  I figured forfeiting the rest of the season really was the best thing to do.  I'm just... bored. 

I even told a colleague on Saturday to just forfeit me in our match, because I just don't have time or interest and no desire.

But today I received the stats so far this season via email.

Although I'm still not in the top 5, I think I can overcome some positioning after all.  I honestly didn't think I could, but I think I can a little bit.  I may not get in the top 5 still, but if I win most of my next 8 matches, I will be close. "Close" is good, right?

And of course, playing straight pool matches will help my 8ball game, and I have some crucial 8ball tourneys coming up that would benefit from some straight pool practice.

I watched so many straight pool DVDs in December to improve my knowledge of the game and to get ready for this season, and yet my stats don't show it.  I know in the beginning it was my mental game and missed shots that cost me the first losses (not my new knowledge), but it's still frustrating. 

But, I've now decided to finish out the season (I'm no quitter)! I will force myself to play on week nights to get my 8 matches in before the deadline!