Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 ACS Nationals

I played in my first ACS Nationals tourney earlier this week.  Saturday morning, I was out in two (eeek!) in the 9ball division, so was pretty bummed.  I had too much on my mind and was not mentally strong at all.  Too much drama going on in my personal life to even care about pool right now. But that allowed me a day and a half of relaxation, which included a few hours in the sun and a nice dinner with my friend, Janet.  We go to a nice restaurant at the Monte Carlo.  For appetizer, we ordered "hot rocks" and we had no idea we would have to cook slices of sirloin for ourselves (we thought they cook it for us at our table)!  But it turned out to be a REALLY neat thing I'm glad I experiences:  we cook the meat literally ON hot rocks!  It was awesome.  And VERY tasty.  :)

It was a very hot rock, too!  It seared the sirloin pieces in only about 30 seconds.

the "Swim Up Black Jack table" at the Tropicana hotel pool.  The dealer just busted as I snapped this pic, lol. 

Janet and I then walked the strip on the way back to the Tropicana and we found a store with my initials!!

lol.  :)
"Get your hand off my lap!"

The ACS Nationals was held at The Tropicana Casino/Hotel.  The hotel room was nice, food expensive, casino small, but a great location on the strip and a great, fun pool.  The convention center area held the tourney and housed the almost 100 Valley tables well.  (Here is a Video Tour of ACS tournament room that I did the second day)

I wasn't sure how 8ball would go on Tuesday morning, because I wasn't mentally strong during 9ball and so therefore I was concerned.  But, being aware of the issue is always a good thing; it helps me know what I need to work on.

I got a TBA at 9am and it turned into a bye and I was moved to the next round at 10:30am.  So, I went back to my room to pack.  I had 3 free nights at The Mirage, my FAV hotel, so wanted to switch over there at the end of my tourney day.  As I waited on the bell hop,  I get a call from Janet that my match was just called.  What??  I started to get flustered as I clearly had a bye, and now I can't leave my room right away and I also need to check out still.  But a girl is waiting on me and so I feel pressured to rush down there.  The TD was super super cool and told me to take my time, because it was their mistake.

I only took about 20 minutes, but that meant we didn't start til 9:40am. The match goes hill-hill.  I get lucky she missed a shot at the end and then I won.  My next match is delayed because of the hoopla and the hill hill match, but my opponent was very nice about it. 

I won the first game beautifully!  But, as sometimes happens, a scratch, miss, and a misshape in the next three games led to her all of a sudden being up 1-3!  But, I stay in the game, focus on my fundamentals and tie it 3-3!  I miss my run out, but so does she.  I am left with a very tough shot, and decide to kick my last ball in.  I nail it!  I then have a back cut bank (my fav) on the 8 and made it nicely for the win.  Boy was I happy!

I then won at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30.  My last match I found myself down again 1-3, due to my errors.  I was bummed and ready do accept my fate, but that helped me remain calm and not think too much and I then won 4-3!  I couldn't believe it!  My opponent would tell me later that I have a lot of heart.  That was cool she said that.  I actually loved to watch her play - she has GREAT confidence and I enjoyed her pool game.

I go check the charts and I see I will be playing IN the hotseat tomorrow morning.  Really?? OMG!

I check in at The Mirage and I am ELATED!  I am in my FAV hotel/casino and I am playing in the hotseat.  WOW!  I couldn't stop smiling.  :)

The next morning, I get up early because I'm still on Texas time.  After some yoga, I try to go back to sleep for a nap and it suddenly dawns on me:  I'm going to be playing in the hotseat for a NATIONAL tourney!  Further, I may not play in this tourney again so it's my only chance.  Omg, the calm before the storm: I all of a sudden was freaked out.  To think to yourself in just a few hours you may be a National Champ is very unnerving.  And for me, who always freaks out in title tournaments anyway, made it extremely difficult for me to be mentally strong for such an important match. 

And sure enough, true to form, I did not play well in the hotseat.  I lost 0-4.  :(  My opponent shot well, but I also had a chance in every game.  I wasn't nervous, just, didn't play well at all.  I was playing timid and unconfident. 

I then played for 3rd place and while I played better this match, I still wasn't up to par and missed too many shots and my opponent made hers.  I lost 2-4.  I was SUPER bummed.  :(

Even though 3rd place in a National tourney sounds good on paper, I could only think how badly I played and didn't even give myself a chance.  To realize I have played for 20 years and I still get freaked out in title tournaments is actually disappointing.  At least I'm consistent. 

As I look back, I wish I just could enjoy myself in crucial stages.

I went to the chart to see how much I won and was shocked!  $700 for 3rd!  There were 44 girls in the tourney and I thought that was a fabulous, generous payout!  My frown turned into a little smile.

As I watched a friend play in the finals of the Super Seniors, John Lewis of ACS asks to speak to me.  I say sure and he sits next to me and asks if I will stay til the finals are over in the ladies 8ball division so they will have the top 3 places for a photo for the media.  They only send in one pic per division to the media, so if I wanted to be in the photo, I would have to stick around for at least two more hours.  I told him I didn't know what I would do, because I wanted to suntan at The Mirage pool (it was still during the afternoon). 

He replies, "Well, if you decide to go, I understand.  Just get your trophy from the front desk before your leave."

"Wait, what?  I get a trophy for third??!"

Then my smile got even bigger!  It's amazing to me how hardware makes me so happy.  :)

I debated if I should stay or go for so long, an hour had passed and they started the finals.  So, I decided to stay for the photo op.

Mandy, Susan, Me
Right after I was out, I was so upset that I posted on FB that I wasn't "championship material" out of disgust and disappointment.  Many people said otherwise and it made me feel good. But one comment in particular really made my day that I would like to share:  "Third place in a tournament and always first place in our hearts, Melinda.  Pool doesn't define you, it only compliments you." 


I am now at BCAPL Nationals and many are congratulating me on my 3rd place finish.  While I am focusing on how badly I played the last two matches, everyone else only sees I placed 3rd.  Interesting, huh? 

After some time has passed, I am starting to feel good about the finish. 3rd place at the ACS Nationals Women's 8Ball Tourney.  :)


Standbykid said...

I was just wondering, how many women can say they placed third in the ACS Women's National 8-Ball Championship?
Well, you can. So you should be really proud of yourself.

Melinda said...

Aww, thank you!! :)