Sunday, September 30, 2012

ACS State and Handicaps

I placed 3rd in the ACS Open Singles at the ACS Nationals back in May.

They have three divisions:  Standard, Open and Advanced.  The top 12% finishers of the singles, goes to the Next Higher Division.  That means, since I placed 3rd, I am now considered an Advanced Player with ACS.

The ACS Texas State tourney is upon me (in about two weeks) and I am proud to say I am the defending champion!  I've never been a defending champion before!

I don't feel any nerves, and haven't even thought about the tourney ahead of me.  I normally get VERY nervous before "title" tournaments, but I guess since I've won this one, I don't feel pressure to win it again?  Even though I have "defending" next to my name, lol.  I think if I was to focus on that word, it would be detrimental to try and live up to that expectation anyway.

However, I have even LESS pressure to win now.

The ACS State tourney's races are this:

          Singles                                     Race
          Women’s                                 4
          Women’s Advanced/Master    6
          Men’s                                      5
          Men’s Advanced/Master         7

And because I am now rated an Advanced player, I have to race to TWO extra games than all the other players.

I'm not exaggerating either.  No other female player playing in THIS tourney is listed as Advanced or Masters.  There was one Master player, but when she was told she would have to add two extra games, she decided not to play.

I can't NOT play - I'm the defending champion!  And, I love pool!  And I'm gonna be there anyway during that time because my boyfriend will be playing in singles.  Further - I'm playing pretty darn sporty right now!  ;)

I stated to one of the Board Members that I truly feel that the Men Advanced/Masters should race to two extra games.  But I feel in my heart that the females should only have to add ONE game.  It seems more accurate.

Further if they changed that rule from 2 to 1 extra games, I bet my fellow Advanced/Master friend would play in it after all.

The Board discussed it and while they like the idea, alas, they cannot change the ruling... for this year.  It's already been advertised and it's been in place a few years.  With less than two weeks away, I don't blame them for not changing something like this at the last minute.

While it was only a very fleeting thought that I not play, I instead immediately went to my half-full-glass.  I get to play in ACS State as an Advanced/Master player?!  You don't know how tickled that makes me!  You see, the BCAPL Texas State Championship does not allow Master players.  They allow Advanced players (and they race to ONE additional game), but Masters are not allowed.  ACS DOES allow Masters because they combine Advanced and Masters players into one division at Nationals.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to realize this!  Means I am not being penalized for being a good player!

How can I NOT play this year?  Sure, racing to two additional games will be B-R-U-T-A-L, but I'm all for it.  I get to play pool!

And I can't even begin to express how even LESS pressure I feel;  it's even more awesome.  How can I possibly feel pressure to win again with such a tough race, lol.  :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Staying in the Present - Quarterback Style

While I mentioned in my last blog entry that I liked the author's take and attitude toward the young, retiring Keyon Dooling, I am going the opposite way with this author about Tony Romo.

For someone who I presume writes often about sports, you would think he would truly understand Romo's insistence in not answering questions about the future!

Every athlete knows that expectations can be the root of evil.  Thinking ahead can be detrimental.  Anticipation keeps your eye off the ball.  Sure, you make plans to train, and it may cross your mind about that future championship, but the must important thing is to remain in the present.

Yet, this author berates Tony for not answering questions about the future.

"The questions kept coming at Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo from the New York news media, and one by one Saturday, he dodged them like they were Jason Pierre-Paul blowing snot bubbles on an all-out bull rush."

I, on the other hand, applaud him for standing up to the proper mental toughness and NOT answering the barrage of questions directly.  Instead, kinda side stepping them with answers reiterating how important the present is:

What would it mean to get to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl?
"It's really just about going out to practice today and tomorrow," Romo said. "Going from there. We're not even looking at anything past that. ... It's about how we can go work and try to get better for the Giants."
But you are conscious of the fact that you can change your legacy by winning a championship right?
"It's an understanding that this game is not about tomorrow, it's about today," he said. "For me, you could talk about it till we're blue in the face, but it comes down to figuring out how to get better right now. All of that other stuff long term will take care of itself. You don't give yourself a chance to do any of that stuff unless you prepare today and get better."
I do admit and realize this article is written well, and the twist about him continually not answering questions is a great theme to the whole piece. But, for those of us who are competitors, well, I see Tony's viewpoint as smart.  I do not see it as "poking-fun" materiel.  I also think it shows how important and focused of an athlete he his.  It's obvious he understands the value of the present to his career, his teammates, and the fans.

Wont mean he''ll win every game (that is now proof), but at least mentally he is strong with the present.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Early Retirement for Keyon Dooling

I really enjoyed this write up of Keyon Dooling's retirement.  It was sincere and NICE, if that makes sense.  The author gives kudos to Keyon for his decision to retire, stating "Retirement ends one defining era of his life, but with newfound openness and clear conceptions of what he needs, Dooling has a bright future."

What I also like is that the specifics of Doolings struggles aren't defined and as the author states, they "don't need to be".  He's putting family first.

You get the sense what a great guy Keyon is because even though he's retiring from the Celtics, they are still offering jobs related to the Team.  It shows how genuinely he's respected - and as we know, character goes a long way.

Further, the article describes the struggles celebrities face, and how he always put everyone first.  It's eye opening, quite frankly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Handicapping a Tourney

As I mentioned before, I started a new Tour in the DFW-area for the plethora of players in the area, called The Omega Billiards Tour. 

I am so excited that we already have confirmed two stops for this year!

Oct 6/7 at Rusty's Billiards in Fort Worth, TX and Nov 24/25 at Speed's Billiards in Arlington, TX.

And next year, we have 5 pool rooms already interested!  We *plan* to hold 6 stops, and then an end-of-season tourney with additional money added.  Right now each stop is AT LEAST $1,000 added.  We'd like to have the last stop be $2,000 added!  But, you can only be eligible for that stop if you play in at least 3 of the 6 events next year.

The Omega Billiards Tour is a handicapped tour.  The races are dependent on KNOWN ABILITY.  And the races range from 5 to 9.

Here is our known ability break-down:

9 (pros/grand masters)
8 (masters)
7 (advanced)
6 (open)
5 (trophy)

What is key here is, we are not going by any rankings list of any league.  It doesn't matter what you are ranked in VNEA, APA, BCA, or ACS.  What we are going by is the players known ability.

For example, my boyfriend (and fellow TD of this tour) is officially ranked as an Open Player in the BCA, but technically, he should be an Advanced Player in that league.  Therefore, we are ranking him as a 7 on this tour because that is his known ability.

From his proper labeled known ability ranking, we are from there figuring out the rest of the handicaps.  In other words, if you play Brian (my b/f) even, then you are a 7, also.  It's fairly easy to determine which players are a 9 or a 5, it's everyone in between that can tough, lol.  So, comparing skills to Brian's is making things simpler.

Of course, as to be expected, we are getting some flack for our rankings.  Just from a few people, luckily, but those few are pretty adamant they should be an Open player (racing to 6 on this Tour).  Well, when they go the BCAPL Nationals, they ARE ranked as an Open Player, but because they play Brian even when they gamble, they are going to be ranked as a 7.  So therefore, they are not an Open-Ranked player on the Omega Billiards Tour.

I appreciate them speaking up, as this is all a learning process for us and we did already have some errors, but I just hope they truly understand we are going by known ability and not official rankings of any leagues.  We want this to be a "true" tour, if that makes sense.  

The TDs decide the rankings, after we discuss it among ourselves (there are three of us).  And if we don't know their skill level, then we ask fellow players or league directors.  This isn't a dictatorship, lol.  However, if a player does not like their ranking, and we feel strongly they should be ranked a 7 or higher, then they don't have to play I guess.  We have plenty of people already on the standby list.

The first two stops are limited to the first 64 paid, and as of last night (Sept 24) we are FULL for the first stop!!  I am SO excited!  A new tour to the area FOR the players!

Click to enlarge the flyer

A HUGE Thank you to Michael Hoang and Darrin at Omega Billiards!  And to Tracie at Rustys' for holding our first stop!

The Omega Billiards Tour is brought to you by 
Omega Billiards and 
ACME cases - "the Pinnacle of Protection."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stand Closer, Please

It amazes me when I go to a pool room on a Friday or Saturday night, because I get to see the weekend warriors in action!  I see people that do not know proper pool etiquette. 

LUCKILY, I'm not playing against these people.  Most are there with the friends, they don't know how to even hold a cue, much less form the proper bridge hand.  They swing too hard, clap when anything miraculously goes in, and they all stand right in front of the table!

Are the standing around for a reason?  Who can play pool this way???

Click to enlarge the photos, but while I'm focusing on the table to the left, the other tables on the right also have people just standing around, almost on top of the tables!

I'm sure I was the same way when I first started to play pool, too, but it's just so funny to see!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pool Drinking Game

Like we need another reason for us pool players to drink!

Still, pretty interesting (new?) concept:  mini pool table with shot glasses.

I guess whatever balls you make, you take a shot from the shotglass with the ball number on it (click on image to enlarge):

This is a current Groupon special.  they have roulette shotglasses (shown below), tic-tac-toe glasses (shown below), mini darts, foosball and basketball, too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pep Talk - Video Clip

I saw this the other day on TV and LOVED it!

Check it out for yourself and see how ironically not funny this pep talk is!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Getting Upset at Rolls?

I have seen bad rolls really get to a player.  To the point they get so mad and frustrated at bad rolls, that they are no longer playing pool.

They are too pissed to play pool with a clear mind.

I find it funny - not laughing funny - but funny in the sense people take it PERSONAL that an inanimate object rolled a little bit more than it should behind a ball.  Or scratched b/c it rolled too much.  It's a little ball!  And yet people get irate over rolls.

The ball did nothing personal to you; it's not even possible!  Yet, people fume and let the "bad rolls" interfere with what could be a great match ahead of them; most likely a winning match!

The key to any match is to not pass judgement on anything.  Try as hard as you can to smile, sit up straight, and breathe, breathe, breathe.  Bad rolls happen, it's part of the game.  If you let it get to you, then you aren't 100% ready for the shot you are about to take.

You need to be 100% ready to shoot again.

If things upset you, that takes oxygen away from the brain, which makes you think foggy, instead of clear.

There's a thing I read in a book once that said even actors that 'act' upset have lower levels of oxygen going to the brain.  This means you can trick your mind into thinking clearly, too!  Just remain calm.  Accept the shots as is - be thankful you get a shot!  Not upset you are hooked.  Don't place a label on a good roll or bad roll.  It's just a roll.  Life goes on.  Life is short.

Fill yourself up with the immense, wonderful feeling of being able to play the sport you love.  Breathe the air in as you smile upon yourself as you realize you are so blessed to be able to play this game you love.  Some people sit at home, with disease, depression, health issues, family issues, etc., and aren't even able to get out of the house, aren't even able to walk.  How blessed we are to get hooked!  Plus, every roll someone gets while playing usually means you will get a roll later.  It all evens out.  Breathe.  Smile.  Focus on the air going in.  Focus on letting it out. 

Have you ever seen Belinda Beardon Campos play?  If someone shits in the 9-ball against her, she never, ever makes a face about it.  Never.  She gets up, and racks.  You would never know it just happened to her.  Because it didn't!  It didn't happen to her - it happened on the table.  The ball didn't know it did that 'against' you - it's an inanimate thing doing something - not to you personally - it doesn't even know you are there.  

It reminds me of roulette.  If you see ten odd numbers come up, people think to bet on even.  The little ball doesn't know that though.  It's still a 50-50 chance to get odd or even.  It doesn't have any outside, human influences.  Just like a roll or hook - the ball didn't do it to you personally.  It just happened because of physics - the ball causes friction, there was speed involved, they hit it too hard/soft and there was a hole to go in or a ball to stop behind.  It doesn't know it was your turn to shoot.

Know your ability.  Trust it.  Practice it.  'Feel' your calmness and stroke and ability.  Literally feel deep inside you the way it makes you feel to be playing good.  Take that feeling with you to your matches.  Enjoy being able to play.  Enjoy the experience.  You know how it feels inside you to be playing like you are on air, no one can stop you, everything is going in, nothing is bothering you... now, if something distracts you (a hook, slop shot, miscue, etc.) it's not directed at you personally and don't give it a bad or good label - remember, a slop shot doesn't know a human is even involved - don't get upset about a little ball that doesn't have the ability to make it's own decisions.  Don't pass judgement and also don't take them personal.

It's how you react to these instances and how you accept or not accept hiccups in matches that will make you a champion.

Practice more in your mind, if you can't get to the table.  Do something, anything - read the forums, watch videos, read books, learn.  Practicing and confidence aren't about getting to the table and putting in hours, it's also about running out a game of 9-ball in your head once a week to keep you on your toes.  Remembering the key matches you have had.  

You can't change the future, don't worry about expectations.  The only expectations you should have are your own - set your goal each tournament, reach for them.  Don't let things bother you - only you can control what bothers you.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Women on the Stream

This past weekend at the Texas Open, I had some major high points and some major low points.  I'll get to that soon, but before I do, I want to share a situation that happened to me that I'm not very happy about.

First of all, let me preface by saying had I won the match I'm about to talk about, this article would be entirely different and not as bitchy!

Obviously, lol.

I had a bye, then won my next two matches on Saturday and Sunday of the Texas Open in Round Rock, Texas at Skinny Bob's Billiards.  I played FANTASTIC the first two days.  However, Monday was an an entirely different story.

I played pro player Vivian Villarreal about noon on Monday on the winner's side.  I played BAD! 

Compared to my previous two matches, it was like I was a completely different person. 

I know the culprit, too - lack of sleep.

I wasn't nervous at all, as Vivian is a friend of mine and I always use the experience as a good one when I play her.  I had competed with her numerous times, so nerves was not a factor at all.

I had a chance in at least 5 games but I dogged it.  Badly.  I could only run about 2-3 balls and after bad shape, I would then miss.  :(  I was so embarrassed how I played.  I know I can play SO MUCH better, but I just didn't show up.

And to see chances before my eyes disappear because I was playing bad, was an even worse feeling.

The lack of sleep really hurt me and I was not focused.  Further, she plays so fast, the match was over before I could recover during the match to figure out what was going on with me.

The WPBA Pros can only be shown on a stream table if the WPBA is given $50.  So, each time a pro is on a stream table, someone has to cough up $50.  If two play each other, that's $100.  No one was ponying up the funds to see them on the stream (even though everyone was asking I heard), so the women's matches were never shown.  Not even the semi finals or finals.  The whole weekend only the men were on the stream.

Now, why a match with two non-female pros was never showcased on the stream, I do not know.  But, usually, the men's matches get dibs for some reason anyway.

Anyway, so I knew our match would not be streamed and I was okay with it, esp since I DOGGED my brains out. 

Embarrassment is such a horrible feeling.  :(

Here's the view from table I played my match on with Vivian, looking over the stream table

After I lose, I walk to the seating area and sit down with my friends.  I mention how badly I played and then my boyfriend tells me, as he's pointing to the stream camera/screen, "They didn't have a men's match playing, so they zoomed in on your match with Vivian and showed most of it."


Are you freakin' kidding me??

My bad play was on display for all to see?!?! embarrassment factor rose 1,000 percent as I sat there in utter shock.  I was mortified.  Perfect word:  mortified.  

I know I am not suppose to care what others think.  I know it's just a game.  But dammit, I play better than that.  I played phenomenal the previous day - that match with Vivian that was now seen by everyone on the Internet (love my exaggerations?! lol) was not an indicator of how well I have been playing.  It did NOT represent me at all!

I was pissed and shocked. 

And then the embarrassment feeling got worse inside me. 

Freaking mortified. 

I'm still pissed as I type this.....  I feel blindsided for some reason.