Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surprise Awards

I'm on a new league, a women's league, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I don't normally like leagues, but I have enjoyed this one, mostly because of the camaraderie of my fellow teammates and my competitors.  A lot of these women I have seen at state tournaments or once in a while at other events in the area, but I never really hung out with them.  A few, but not many.  I have enjoyed my new friendships with a lot of the women, and I think with my Mom's passing, this has been very important and healthy for me.

I haven't written about it yet, but my team won the league play offs two weekends ago!  I was SO excited!  I had never won a league playoff before.  And I won the case game, too!  It was a tricky out, to boot.  :)

I also only had one loss the entire weekend.  I'm REALLY not sure how that happened, because I was extremely sick on Sunday.  Saturday I fared well, but by Sunday morning, I had had only ten minutes of sleep the entire night before and my heart rate had been up all morning, and would be up for the rest of the day.  I had too many red bulls the night before (more than I ever have) and that combined with some emotional things almost convinced me to go to the ER instead of league playoffs.  As each hour passed, as each non-sleep passed, I just told myself I had to TRY to get to the pool room that was 30 minutes away and TRY to play pool for my teammates.  We were on the winner's side, about to play in the hotseat match at noon; I had to be there.

But I admit I was miserable.  I drank so much water, I had to pee 2-3 times during each match.  I was shaking and barely able to play pool.  I felt horrible.

I told my teammates if I fainted, "to just wake me up, don't call the paramedics."  One joked she would splash water on me, the other told me she would hit me (because I wouldn't remember it, lol).

As I struggled through the day, I forced myself to play pool for my girls.  I couldn't let them down.  And, we ended up winning!  I had never won a league playoff before!  I finally smiled - first time the entire day, after I sank the winning 8ball and we celebrated with high fives and hugs!

The banquet for the league was the following Thursday.  I called my captain and asked her if I had to be there.  I told her I wasn't feeling well still, but I wasn't sure what the banquet entailed, since this was a new league for me.  Would there be pics?  Discussions?  Was I *really* needed.  She said no, and that an official team pic (with our shirts) were taken over the weekend, but there would be a pic with the trophy (since we just won the playoffs) that I would miss.  I told her since I really gave it my all to show up over the weekend when I was sick, I would like to not go.  She said that was fine.  I didn't feel like I was letting anyone down by not going to the banquet, I more cared about showing up to play the weekend before.

On Friday, I see a photo of my teammates on facebook - we were voted best sportsmanship team!  How cool!  There was a pic with all the ladies,  all my teammates with cute little trophies, minus me of course.  I was so harpy for them!  And then I felt bad I didn't go, but I still had hoped they understood.

Turns out, besides my team award, I won another award.  The day of the banquet, one of the board members had called me because she heard I may not be going.  She was kind of stammering and I couldn't figure out why. She finally told me I had won an award. 

"I did?"

"Yes, you did."  She tells me excited.

"Well, I still don't feel good enough to go."

"Okay, I understand.  I thought I'd try tho.  I'll see you this weekend for the Queen of the Hill tourney." 

"Okay.  Um, what did I win an award for?" I ask.

"Most Tables Runs."  She finally fesses up.

I am perplexed and surprised as I tell her.  "Really?  That's weird, I didn't think I played enough to be in the running for anything.  I had no idea I had that many to win this award.  There were several people in front of me I thought."

"Yea, " she explains, "They had one, you had TWO."


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Comments and Timing

/rant on/

I thought I'd share a little rant today - that criticism and comments have their place.

I have written before that I do not like to talk about a match that I just lost.... until I'm ready.  I'm too upset to listen, much less listen with an open mind... if I am still hurting or upset from a loss.  When I am ready to talk about it, it's very obvious - I will ask your opinion about the match and what I could have done to win or improve my chances to win.  Until that time, I don't want to talk about, hear what I could have done, what I did wrong, etc. 

Well, I am beginning to think it's worse DURING a match.

I don't understand why people think it's okay to tell you you should have done something a different way, IN THE MIDDLE OF A MATCH.

Just like I wrote before in my match from May in Vegas, this guys' negative comment was NOT helpful to me:

While I recovered from his comments during the match, a more recent one I did not:

I was playing in an 8ball tournament, ahead 3-0, earlier this month.  I had this shot in front of me:

My opponent had tried to play safe, but I could easily see the 14 ball.  My very first thought was - "you can just stop the cueball right there, and land right next to the 8ball.  It will be a great safety!"

But, my ego got in the way.  I was up 3-0, I was feeling fantastic, and I knew I could make the 14 and get out now. 

However, I ended up missing the 14 ball.  :(  Since I had rolled the cueball up for shape on the 8, it left my opponent with an easy shot on it to win that game:  (Cueball landed at B below (click to enlarge)):

As I sat in my chair, watching my opponent rack, a friend whispers in my ear, "Why didn't you just stop the ball?  If would have been safe."

I turned around and immediately reacted.  I got perturbed, and maybe slightly embarrassed.

"What?  Why would you say that right now?  Yes, I saw that, too."

What happens next is hard to explain.

But basically.... I'm done.

It's extremely difficult for me to recover from those little words.

You see, now I'm thinking I'm being judged.

Now, when I stand at the table trying to decide what to do, I'm uncomfortable, unsure, and wondering if what I am doing is correct.

Here's the thing:  As soon as I messed up, I immediately knew what I did wrong.  I've been playing pool for 20 years or more.  I KNOW what I did.  I don't need someone pointing it out to me in the middle of match, because it throws off my confidence. 

If I would have turned around and asked, "what could I have done?"  Is one thing.  But to point out the obvious in the middle of battle does NOT help me.  It HURTS me.  It affects me for the rest of the match; and I'd be lucky if I squeaked out a win after that.

And, in this case, I ended up losing.

Even at one point when I missed in the next game or two, I attributed it to that ONE comment.

Now, anyone with a rationale mind will say, "You are crazy, Melinda.  Why let that bother you?"

Well, why tell me in the first place?

I am female and females have a difficult time with acceptance and embarrassment and criticism enough as it is already.

You can tell me all day, "You jumped up.  Stay down.  Don't whack at the ball."  But, judging me in the middle of a match does not bode well for my self esteem, confidence, and it's tough for me to recover from the words.

I don't go around telling players in the middle of their match what they did wrong, or what they should have done.  I leave them alone and let them play pool.  I wish people would stop doing it to me and let me focus on the match I am in.

Pool is difficult enough; I don't need the extra distractions.

There is a time and place.  For everything.

I don't know why THIS particular situation I was not able to recover from, and the other one I was.  I think I had more pressure in this tournament, so it affected me more?  Not sure.

And don't get me wrong, I am open to learn and improve - but at the right time.

It takes so much to focus already.  And I don't want negative thoughts entering my mind.  They are difficult to turn off; especially in the middle of competition.  Right?

/rant off/

I am experienced enough to try and get over comments, but sometimes, well, I don't.  Sometimes they bother me too much.  I am not mentally strong during every single match I play.

It sounds so stupid I can't let things magically not bother me anymore.  But, I still have to try to get over the words quickly by rationalizing the situation.

But in this case, I lost that game, then the next, and the misses and losses kept snowballing.  People were watching across the room, I felt a lot pressure in that tournament.  It was all an unfortunate "perfect storm" of events that affected me in that match.

But, in my mind, that comment triggered it all.  Whether true or not, that's how I felt.

Oh, if I could go back to my initial thought and play safe instead..... and do what has been said a million times - "go with your first instinct."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Funny, those little dusk collectors people make fun of.

Funny, those little trophies that get moved from box to box.

Funny, when you are so excited to win one, even a little one, and people make fun of you.

I remember this huge gesture by Vivian Villarreal one time several years ago. She won the Texas State Open (again) for the millionth time (exaggerating, obviously) and after the win, she gave her trophy to a young fan who watched her win.  She has trophies everywhere I'm sure, so this was a great moment for the fan.

I remember this Valentine's Day Trophy I won for a scotch doubles event.  My boyfriend wouldn't even carry his.  I carried both, proudly!

I haven't won many titles in my life, so when I DO happen to win an event with a trophy or a plaque, I am pretty dang excited!  I have expressed numerous times in this blog and to my friends that the title and trophy mean more to me than the prize money.

And I have to believe I'm not the only one. 

And I'm not.

I might get made fun of by guys, or maybe players that win them all the time, but for me they are few and far between.

Funny then, when the BCAPL Texas State tourney didn't have trophies or plaques the last two years for the players.  The ladies wondered where the trophies were.  We figured we would get them in the mail.  Didn't happen.

Then for BCAPL Nationals, my Women's Team WON the Team event! There were only 4 plaques, so being the Captain, I offered to be the fifth person who would receive their plaque later in the mail. Still haven't received it.

Even the other day, the WINNER of the BCAPL Texas State singles women's division had yet to receive her plaque.  Her husband declared, "If they aren't going to send it, at least let me know.  I'd like to order my own plaque for her." 

THEN.........something amazing happened.  My boyfriend's Men's Team won the ACS Texas State team event earlier this month.  All of a sudden, my boyfriend isn't making fun of trophies anymore.  There was only one trophy per team, but almost every player ordered their own copy, and one for the pool room owner who they represent.

It was pretty damn awesome to see these macho men be so proud of the plague.  Granted, it was a beautiful piece of metal, but to hear them each want one ordered for themselves, was pretty special.

I then came home and emailed the BCAPL Nationals.  They didn't have a record I had ordered my Nationals plaque, so they dropped it in the mail this week!

And, they contacted the BCAPL Texas State folks, and there was a miscommunication there, too.  So, both the 1st place and 2nd place women's teams from the last two years will be getting their trophies ordered soon, and my friends (Tracie and Connie) who won the singles division the last two years will be getting their plaques soon, also.  After the owner gets all the info from my friends and I, they will get ordered. 

He was VERY apologetic and thought this was already taken care of.  Then he shared that 2-3 years ago, when they were cleaning up and moving tables out, they found plaques in the trash.  So, since they pay for the trophies with their own money, their new policy was to order plaques after the event if anyone wanted them.  That message wasn't passed down to the players, but some of us know now!  And, we are getting plaques soon.  Yay!

I am so proud of my boyfriend's team that won.  Even the captain has added "State Champ" as his signature for all his texts now.  :)  Pretty cool.

I know the feeling - and IT'S AWESOME.  And soon, they will each have a plaque of their won to prove their awesome win!!  What a great memory piece that will be for them for years and years to come!

See?  Trophies and plaques ARE awesome after all :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Michael Jordan Lessons

Michale Jordan is an inspiration.  And like most successful people, he has failed a lot.

I'm sure you've heard that most successful business owners went bankrupted at some point in their life - usually in the beginning.  That didn't stop them from succeeding in future avenues, tho!

In order to succeed you must fail, says this article. Failure is an essential step towards success.  The more successful the individual, the more failures they will have faced along the way.

View this short clip and then read Michael Jordan's top 6 lessons about failure:

And in this article, Michale Jordan gives us 7 Lessons:

"If we want to achieve great results and be successful in life, we need to learn from those who had been there and done that. Michael Jordan has the qualities to be successful and he is definitely a great role model that we can learn from.

Michael Jordan is a guy who was cut out of his varsity basketball team because he was deemed too short to play at 1.8 meter but he turned out to be highly successful in his basketball career and was known as a legend in the game.

He had showed the mental toughness to bounce back from failure and here are 7 lessons we can learn from him."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Tip - Somone Has to Win

I created this e-card the other day.  It's helpful, really.

A was talking to a friend about being nervous before a tournament and he was trying to give me some advice.  He said the above, "Someone has to win, right?  Might as well be you."

Seems simple.  Seems obvious.  BUT - it's not obvious nor simple.  BUT, this is a very helpful reminder when we play friends or when we find ourselves nervous.

And let's be honest, sometimes winning isn't easy!

Sometimes we are a bystander in our own match, instead we need to be IN the match and be a competitor!

As I mentioned before, you should always try to refocus early.  Remind yourself:  Someone has to win, might as well be ME!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cue Clip Option (solo photo)

Teammate Courtney needed to remember her pool cue clip, so she got creative!  LMAO!  I love it.  :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Complainers... and Our Reaction

I mentioned this before when I was a TD for the OB Cues Ladies Tour:  that people complain mostly after they lose.

I noticed that at the first Omega Billiards Tour stop on Oct 6th weekend, also.  But, I'll be honest, I notice it at every tournament!

At a weekly bar table tournament, a good player missed a shot.  As he missed, someone walked by.  Immediately he blamed the miss on the guy who walked by. If the guy hadn't walked by, who could he blame the miss on?

Last weekend someone complained about their handicap at the ACS tourney; after he almost lost his match.  If he creamed the guy, would he have complained?

I've seen people glare at fans.  Are they really bothering you?  Or did you just miss and are now embarrassed?  Admit it, we try to place blame.  FURTHER, things bother us so much more when we are losing, or unhappy with our own play. 

At the Omega Billiards tourney, someone who is a 7 lost to a 6, and he complained the guys' handicap was wrong.  It had to be, right?  (lol)  I wonder, if he won that match, would he have complained?

I don't mind complainers.  I really don't.  They sometimes bring up good points.  And of course letting off steam isn't a bad thing.

But I DO mind people who whine.

I also think that if people want to bring up an issue, do it with class:

  • think before you speak
  • think about how BEST to word your question/complaint to get a decent response
  • don't raise your voice
  • wait til you calm down to complain
  • try and see if you are really upset at what you are about to complain about, OR are you just upset because you lost?

Trust me when I say I understand that any one of the above is difficult to do.  We all have reacted badly because of how we feel at the moment.  We normally don't even complain when we are calm, lol, right?

I was verbally abused for most of my life, so I understand how it feels to be yelled at.  I also know through many leadership and mediation classes (after the verbal abuse ended, ironically), that your approach and reaction are key.

When I asked the TDs at the ACS Texas State tourney to consider an alternative for the race to 3 on the one loss side, I thought ahead of time how I would word my plea.  Therefore, because I was calm, I received a calm reply.  I didn't just BITCH to them.  I hoped for a solution, or at least for them to consider a solution.  They wouldn't have been so open to even discuss it with the board had I approached them upset.

On the other hand, someone made such a stink about their handicap at the same tourney, it upset the TD and they had words.  The TD even told him, "Then don't play!"  If the exchange was more cordial, then neither of them would have been upset.

The approach is key; how you express yourself is key; understanding how people interact and interpret things is key.  It's tough to make a point or to get people to listen when they are raising their voice, upset, or only whining.

On the flip side, it's difficult for TDs to remain calm when someone yells at them or is super upset and not containing their emotions.

And as we know, competition can easily and definitely raise our emotions.

I have been upset NUMEROUS times.  I have argued with TDs because I just lost, or blamed someone else because I lost.  If I can catch myself ahead of time, I don't do this anymore. 

But, being a TD again, this is something we MUST keep in mind - most people complain and raise their voice after they lose.  As TDs, we try to show empathy and be understanding, but being AWARE that people do this is also important and can go a long way to a successful exchange of words (communication).

Further, I MUST keep MY emotions under check when players get upset.  It's a tug of war, but as the TD, I can help control the environment by understanding that people DO get upset mostly after losses, and to try and control the situation through patience and listening.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Learning Sessions (and my biggest learning experience)

The other day I noticed that one of my teammate's had a great stroke!  Her silky smooth stroke was impressive.  However, when she shot a tough shot, or a shot where she had to move her cueball a lot, then she would stroke too hard, and of course miss the ball and her shape.

What I call this is "whacking at the ball."

I have done this a lot myself.  I was told by a pro a few years ago that a smooth stroke is key.  Until I incorporated that during my matches on tough shots, I really had no idea how powerful that advice was. 

I am going to state this and I hope it gets through:  THE most important thing I wish I learned 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago... is this very tip:  A smooth stroke.  Sure, three-ball shape is important, looking at the object ball last is important, staying down is important.  But, the most important thing I have learned in the last three years is how truly powerful a smooth stroke is for tough shots; and I wish I knew it sooner!

(see my top ten tips from 2011 here.)

Everyone can relate to whacking at a ball.  You see a tough shot or a far away shot, and think you have to hit it hard, you stroke too fast, too hard, and now your cue is no longer level and you hit the cueball incorrectly, and you miss the ball.  Everyone does this.

However, if you DO NOT do this, if instead you use a smooth stroke for the tough shots, you will make them more often.

I promise.

What this tells me is while I thought my fundamentals were good; they were not.  Why?  Because I didn't treat every shot the same... with a smooth stroke.

So, I noticed that my teammate whacked at the ball.  I don't normally seek things for people to work on.  But, this one kinda hit me in the face because she had such a smooth stroke on all her other shots.

I pulled her aside one night and asked if I could show her something.  Just a little thing.  She said we could next time.  She seemed eager; I wasn't sure if she would be receptive or open; turns out she was.

After the next league night, we played ONE game of 8ball.  That's it.  One game.  All I did was point out the shots I thought she normally would whack at, and the shots I used to whack at.  She worried about shape, but I expressed it's better to give yourself a chance to make the ball, than hope you get shape by whacking at a ball.  If you don't get perfect shape, go to Plan B or play safe.

I didn't want to come across as pompous, I just wanted to help.  She already has great fundamentals and a knowledge of the game, so this was only a little tidbit of info I hoped would help her.

The next week in league, she won all five or 4 out of 5 matches.   She played great!  Then we played ACS State last weekend, and she was our MVP!  She played fantastic!

Her and I discussed the smooth stroke on difficult shots after the event and she told me how excited and surprised she was how much it changed her game, and mind set.  She made more balls, and in return had more confidence in herself.

I overheard two other people say they would like to practice with me.  It made me feel wonderful!  I admit, I got a natural high showing her just this one little (big) thing.  I was elated and felt intoxicated with happiness to be able to share information about pool.  I was internally ecstatic!

The last day of ACS Texas State, we had 2-3 hours to kill before the men's finals.  Earlier in the day, I said to a friend, that if she ever wanted to practice, I would thoroughly enjoy discussing options of the table (in 8ball).  This player has improved so much in two years, that it's very impressive.  And she is a sponge trying to improve her game and truly wants to excel.  Everyone can see that the choices she makes about pool leagues is strictly to improve her game.

I know that sounds weird.  But some players say they want to learn or improve, but don't do anything TRUE about it.  Every decision and choice she makes is about improving her game.

I mentioned to her a week ago at a tourney to break out clusters sooner rather than later.  She told me that really helped her during the ACS tourney.  She was taught during APA to wait to break out clusters.  I explained the numerous reasons why (that I learned from Phil Capelle of Play Your Best Pool).

So, when we had some time on Sunday, she all of a sudden grabbed her cues, racked the balls, and looked at me.  "Oh, you want to have a session now?"  I asked.  "Yep, I sure do," she stated defiantly.

I got my cues and we started our sessions of going over all the different options of the 7 eightball games we played. I told her I was concerned that I would give her TOO much to consider, too much to think about.  But, she said she was grateful to hear the different options she hadn't thought of before.

I am not talking about the normal things in 8ball: why you take stripes, what are your trouble spots, etc.  I'm talking about expressing why I choose each ball.  What I am thinking before I start.  Why I shoot in the order I do.  What I am thinking for my choices.

I also pointed out I play different when I play females.  Most females cannot get out every time - that means I sometimes make different choices against a player not as knowledgeable.  And if I play a female who doesn't pick off balls, for example, then I change my strategy.  It depends on who I play.

I expressed why I would leave a cluster.  Or, why I would break it out then.  It depends on how the other balls lay; are there other problems?  I could go on and on, lol. 

A few times, we would ask my boyfriend to come over and give his opinion.  It was pretty cool - he would give his thoughts and a few times her and I had not discussed that option.  He and I usually think alike when it comes to 8ball because we have the same style, but it was pretty enlightening and exciting to see his different thought process about a few choices.  I was again internally ecstatic - I like people learning no matter from who.

I mentioned to her that the two books that elevated my 8ball game (literally) to a different level was Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool and Play Your Best Eight Ball.  I told her I would talk to Phil and get her those two books, as she was very interested in them.  I ordered those earlier this week for her.  If anyone else wants them, please let me know.  I am now a dealer for his books.  :)

I am not an 8ball expert, but I DO feel in my heart I know the game of 8ball fairly well.  I still learn new things, of course!  But, my boyfriend and I see shots made all the time from others and we wonder, "why did they do that?"  I think it's just that some of the players were never taught.  I was the same way - until I read those books over and over, and until I played in master scotch doubles at Nationals, or until I played more and more 8ball in BIG tourneys or numerous scotch doubles events, I simply didn't know.  I would like to help my league-mates sooner in their pool quest.  If they are receptive, obviously.

I don't share info with just anyone and everyone; I share it with people who are ready to learn, if that makes sense.

I got a natural high "teaching."  And, to see the "students" improving already is awesome.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

ACS Texas State Status

This past weekend was... interesting.  I'll talk about my awesome team / event in a separate blog entry soon, but before I do, I would like to share the pressures of being a good player.

I think it would have been nice to read things like this when I was improving.  I hope this helps some people some day.

As I wrote about before, I was the only female Advanced/Master player in the ladies 8ball event at the ACS Texas State tourney.  I had to add 2 extra games to everyone's race to 4.  The week before the event began, the races in the one-loss side were reduced by one.  The brackets overflowed with entrants and the divisions had to be expanded!  So, in order to accommodate all the extra players, and to be able to finish the singles in one day, this was a very smart move.

However, I had major inner turmoil because I would have to give up two games and my opponents only raced to THREE on the one loss side.  In pool, that's about a coin toss!

I decided ahead of time how I would state my case and as soon as I got to the E Center in Harker Heights, TX, the morning of the singles event, I approached one of the TDs and asked him if they could consider an alternative for me since I a race to 3 already brutal enough.  I asked to put themselves in my shoes, and also stated it was great they have so many players and made accommodations for them, but a race to 3 isn't really fair if I have to add 2 games.  He said he would talk to the other Board Members, he didn't feel comfy making the decision on his own. 

During my first match, he pulled me aside and said the board decided all the masters (me, and 5 or so of the guys) would simply use the same race as the winner's side, for the one-loss side.  He said my suggestion of me only adding one game on the one loss side wasn't really proper, because everyone knew from the advertisements that the Masters were to add 2 games.  I was perfectly fine with the decision - it was a great compromise imo.  And I was much appreciated they considered any alternative.

I had no idea my little plea would affect the Men Masters as well.  But that was a smart move by the board. 

In my first match, I was almost consumed that I had to go to 6 and my opponent to 4.  It was A LOT of pressure!  I felt like a lot of eyes were on me, too.  And, that wasn't just my imagination - I literally saw many watching my match.

I won the first game with a rack and run.  While my philosophy is not to think of the scores, it was ALL I thought about!  I made one little mistake (even tho I had just ran out and was playing well), and she won the 2nd game.  She now only had 3 more games to win and I still had five!  In bar table 8ball, that is pretty huge.

I won the next game, and the next.  My opponent, who plays very well, seemed nervous.  At one point it crossed my mind maybe she felt pressure because I was close to winning and yet also had to give up two games?  I won 6-2 and felt pretty cool about myself.  The pressure was definitely lifted a little bit.  I felt so relieved.  And, realized that it was do-able!  I felt vindicated, for some silly reason.

BTW, my opponent would win many many matches on the one-loss side and place 4th!  She plays that good and recovered from the loss well.

As I walked to the chart, I heard someone say, "There goes the master player."

I didn't realize I would be talked about, lol. Trust me when I say the pressure was all on me!  (b/c of the weight) 

The other Advanced/Master ACS Player decided not to play.  She thought two games was too much.  My thought process was much more positive:  ACS allows us to play in their State tourney which is SUPER cool.  And of course as defending champion, I wanted to play anyway.  :)

With the first win under my belt, I thought maybe I could place well in the tourney after all.  The catch was - to try and not make any mistakes. If I let my opponent at the table, they could win a game here and there and make the extra two games I need to win feel even more difficult to attain.  I was playing well, tho.

I felt like an Advanced/Master player.  That might sound weird, but not every day I feel like a good player.  Only lately (last year) have I felt like a good, formidable player.

In my next match, I was up 3-0 but then got too comfortable.  I gave away two games.  Then I won one good one.  But the pressure was definitely on and I was no longer playing loose, instead I was too tight and missing.  I broke dry 4-3 me, and she ran out!  I was very happy for her, as her game has improved.  But, I was disappointed that I lost focus and didn't play my best toward the end.

Ugh, really?

There went my high; there went my opportunity to remain on the winner's side.

I then went to the bathroom and while I was washing my hands, two ladies walk in and say "yea, there is one master player.  Oh, there she is," pointing at me.  "Don't worry," I quip, "I'm on the one-loss side already."  Still trying to get over my loss.

As I walk out, I'm still confused people are talking about "The Master Player." 

I then play my next match on the one-loss side and my opponent doesn't know the race is 4 to 6, not just a race to 3.  I get to 3 games, and she has 1.  I win the next game and she tells me, "didn't you already win with three games?"

I shyly say, as the words seem weird coming from my mouth, "I'm a master player and I go to 6, you go to 4 when you play me."

She immediately udders, "I'm playing a master player!  My stats are 35% in my league!"  I'm not even sure why she shared that or why that matters, lol.  But, she didn't play as well anymore once I told her that, and I won pretty solidly 6-1.

In my next match, the same thing happens again.  I win the 4th game and it's 3-1 me.  My opponent tries to shake my hand, and again I'm uncomfortable with the words I have to say, "But we aren't done yet.  I'm a master player and I go to 6, you go to 4." 

"What?  I'm playing a master player??"  she exclaims.  A mutual friend states, "I told you earlier in the day she was the master player."

A few games later, she shares she can no longer play well now that she knows she's playing a master player.  I didn't understand.  I mean, I DO, but I don't.  If they played the same way as in the beginning, the score would have been much closer, and maybe even beat me.  I won 6-2.

I then played a player who has beat me in the past in another big tourney about 6 years ago, that I will never forget.  She is truly a force to be reckoned with, and I KNEW she would be a very tough opponent.  I have respect for her game, but I also knew this could be the match that got me.

Sure enough, she beat me.  She played fantastic.  I missed two critical shots, but overall I played satisfactory, imo.  Maybe not my best, but good.  She would have beat me if we had to race the same, I'm sure of it. She plays really smart and has good fundamentals.

She also knew the correct race - 4 and 6.  At 3-2 her, she went to the bathroom (I had gone right before the previous game) and she comes back and tells me something that I will never forget.  She complimented me.  Not on my pool game, but about me.... me, personally.

She told me that she looked forward to playing me, and had hoped we would run into each other.  She said that of all the really great players in our area, I'm the nice one; the nicest one, in fact.  I looked at her stunned.  I had a really bad day on Thursday and what I heard from her was the exact opposite of what happened.  I stood there in awe and only said thank you, as I tried to focus on the match when instead, I was trying not to cry.

After she won the final game, I pulled her aside and thanked her from the bottom of my heart.  I explained to her I left work sobbing just the day before and so her words meant more to me than I could ever explain.  She reiterated her compliment, "It's true, Melinda.  You ARE the nicest good player in the area.  I enjoy playing you and know it's going to be a fun, tough, drama-free match."

I soaked up her compliment, as the last entire year has really proven to test my own confidence in myself.   Her comment couldn't have come at a better time for me in my life.

I then got myself a drink as I walked over to check out the brackets.  17th place.  That's it.  :(  Wow.  I really only faltered one match, otherwise I was playing great 8ball and really enjoyed how well I was playing.  But, 17th place sucked.  :(

I found it cool that some of the girls thought the 2 extra games was too much.  If I was in their shoes, I think it would be tough for me NOT say, "Glad she has to go to 2 extra games, "  lol.  I remember when I disliked playing master players, ha ha.

Even one of my friends posted this on FB, "I just want to say, I am proud of you for still coming, under the circumstances. I think " the rules" are B.S. but good luck :)" 

As I sipped my drink and watched my b/f play his singles match, a woman was pacing behind me, talking on the phone.  "Yea, she won again.  AND, she just beat the Master player!  There was only one master, and she beat her."  I turned around and declared, "I'm right here!" as I raised both my arms into the air announcing my presence.

She apologized right after the phone call.  I told her it didn't bother me at all, I just thought it was funny I was literally right next to her when she was talking about me.  lol.

It was very surreal all weekend.  I felt like a respected player.  One that really does play well.  It was a great feeling; I admit.  I don't always feel that way, so it was a wonderful, unexpected feeling.

To be THE master player was a lot pressure, tho.  To have to give up two games was rough.  I felt SO much pressure.  It truly was very difficult.  But, I enjoyed the experience IMMENSELY!

I held my own against the ones I normally would defeat in an even race.  The ones who would be tough to play, they were still tough to play.  

I'm just glad I GOT to play.  Like I mentioned before. The ACS combines the advanced and master players into one group for the women.  We get to play in the ACS Texas State tourney.  BCAPL separates the Advanced and Master players and they do not allow Master women to play in the women's singles event of the BCAPL Texas State tourney.  So, I feel pretty privileged!  Dare I say that 2 games is a good spot for the Master players?  Well, it is.  It's tough!  However, I consider myself more of an Advanced player than a Master player, tho.

Bottom line is the ACS Texas board put on a fabulous, well-run event!  They were accommodating, supportive, helpful, and ran a tight ship.  I was very impressed!!  Thank you ACS Texas State!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sofa King Good Champs (pic/video)

At the ACS Texas State tourney last weekend, my boyfriend's Open team WON the Team event!  Their team name now is "Sofa Kings."  Their team name used to be SOFA KING GOOD (you have to say it out loud to get the pun, lol) and it was printed on their shirts all the time, haha.

This year they won it!  I am SO proud of the team!  They have actually had a very talented team for years, but this is the first year they have won a state championship.

One of the teammates has a daughter named Lexi and someone on the team taught her to say "Sofa Kings!" every time they give her a high five - it's the coolest thing!  So, of course I had to video tape it :)

 From left to right, Tim Coons, Brian Anderson, Melinda Bailey (me), Brian Hitchcock, Cory Anderson, Lexi Anderson, Amber Anderson, Dean Williams, Grover Bruce, Stacey Erickson, and Eddie Erickson


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Omega Billiards Tour Inaugural Event!

Well, it's official....

The first stop of my new baby - the Omega Billiards Tour - is complete!

Me, showing off the t-shirts for the first-ever Omega Billiards Tour event!

Whew!  What a long, fun, action-packed, long, great, weekend of pool!

I fully admit I was very stressed weeks before.  Trying to get everything ready the final week and the day before, I almost pulled out my hair, lol.

Here is a pic of all the items we were taking to the stop:

I had a big box to put everything in, had laminated the brackets (and included the tour's logo), and had printed what seemed to be a thousand things, lol:  sign up sheet for second chance tourney, sign up sheet for shirts orders, 40 copies of the calcutta list, the official sign up sheet, a calcutta sheet for the TDs to take notes, signs for Play Your Best Pool, signs for the shirts ($12 for the t-shirts and $20 for the polos - we ran out of ALL the shirts), sheets for the ladies event, flyers for the next stop, flyers for the Omega Billiards Supply store (our main sponsor), etc.

I remembered to go the bank to get lots of change and also the paypal entries (luckily, lol), and also had raffle tickets and a bucket for the break and run part of the tourney.

I was completely surprised how awesome the break contest turned out - we raised enough money that the break contest was $50 A BALL!  Jeremy Jones' ticket was picked and he pocketed one ball before scratching.  That means he won $50.  Further - at the next stop, the break and run will START at $45 a ball!

We are limiting the Omega Billiards Tour to the first 64 paid entries.  TWO WEEKS before the event, we were full!  It was so very exciting!

Some of the stress came from people having to back out and us trying to contact the players on the standby list the two weeks before.  That Alternate List had almost 15 people on it and every standby person we contacted (about 8 players) took a spot.

Another stress was: was everything ready?  lol  Did I remember everything?  Well, the one thing I didn't bring was the percentage payouts for the calcutta.  I knew how many places to pay (8 spots with 64 players), but had to look up the percentages when we got to the host room.  Thank goodness for Google!  But, I already had the tourney payouts done for the main event and had the women's percentages ready.  I also had the bye sheet and the bye chips prepared ahead of time.

Here's a good pic of the tourney table with the tickets, shirts, bracket, flyers:

We raised an astounding $4,700 in the first calcutta!  I was SO shocked!  Then the players and bidders wanted a second calcutta for the final 16 and we raised $1,600 for that one.  After the tournament payouts (first place paid $750 down to 13-16th getting $50), we paid out almost $9,000!  WOW.

Yes, I'm still shocked!

Brian Anderson, myself, and Amanda Lampert were the Tourney Directors and we were busy running the brackets and the tourney the whole weekend.  It was awesome and fantastic!

Melinda Bailey, Brian Anderson, Amanda Lampert and Rusty's Billiards Manager Tracie Voelkering

In the end, we took about 300 photos and crowned our first Omega Billiards Tour champ - Coy Lee Nicholson!  He defeated Jeremy Jones in the final.  Jeremy won the first set but Coy Lee held on and won the second set hill-hill to capture the first place prize.  Daniel Herring placed a respectable third!

Coy Lee Nicholson (1st), Jeremy Jones (2nd) Daniel Herring (3rd)

Barback, Tracie, and Beach

The staff at Rusty's were AWESOME!  They were super busy ALL weekend long but every staff member told me personally they had a lot of fun and can't wait for the next one.  This not only proves the staff does a wonderful job, it shows that the players treated the staff well.  What an honor to be around great pool players! 

Susan and Orietta

A separate ladies event was held on bar tables and the $100-added tourney drew 12 ladies.  I was really disappointed we didn't have more ladies show up, but we still held the tourney for them.  Susan Raymond won 1st place and $180 while Orietta Strickland placed 2nd and won $140.  I somehow placed 3rd and won $60 (even though I was busy and distracted with the tourney, lol) and Cindy Vansickle captured 4th and $20.

I have to say that without Mike Hoang of Omega Billiards Supply, we would not have started this Tour.  And without Tracie at Rusty's giving us a chance, we wouldn't have our first stop.  Most importantly, without the players and fans, we wouldn't have a full field, an exciting calcutta, and a plethora of awesome matches all weekend long!

Brian Anderson is the co-Tournament Director with me of the Omega Billiards Tour; but Brian and I must state that Amanda Lampert completes this entire, fantastic team.  I asked her to help for the very reason she displayed over the weekend: professionalism, composure, helpful, and a talented TD.  We all three really make a great team and I am honored.

I am so proud to finally have this dream come true - a billiards tour FOR the players in the Dallas / Fort Worth area!  Thank you to all our sponsors and fans and players (and the new ones coming on board every week it seems!).

With ten years of Tournament Director experience, I am very confident in the tour and our goal:  To provide an avenue for the pool players to play the game they love (and to win some money, too).  :)

I also can't begin to express I have purpose again.  While that's personal info, being a caretaker was my goal in life for many years, then after I lost my Mom, it caused me to be lost for a year.  The new Tour has given me renewed energy, confidence, purpose, and I am excited to help Mike Hoang promote the sport of pool!

Here are the complete results and over 200 photos:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cue Rack (photo)

One of the rooms I have been going to lately (Diamond Jim's) did some renovations recently.  They added a raised seating area with a rail.

The next time we went in, they had added these handy dandy cue racks!

Some rooms have cue racks near the tables, but this rack is pretty neat because it holds your entire cue!  The top is secure in the carved out groove, and the bottom of the cues rest peacefully off the ground!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Texas Open Opinion

I don't know how much this is being pursued, but thought I would write down my thoughts anyway, since I was asked my opinion. 

The Texas Open is a 3-day tourney.  From Saturday morning through Labor Day, every year.  They limit the Open to 128 players and they limit the women to 48 players.

The atmosphere of the Texas Open can't even really be explained in words!  You have to experience it yourself, in person, to get the full effect.

The place is pretty much full, so it gets standing-room-only, even WITH two sets of huge bleachers that are brought in. 

To watch the pros plays against Texas' top players and amateurs is a joy to witness.  The crowd loves the action and the match ups and the great competition and they show their support with lots of claps and cheers (or moans).

To go to this tourney every year with my boyfriend is a very special time -we BOTH get to play in separate events and we also each get to intertwine among the rest of the die hard pool fans all weekend.  He might get into a game or he will spend hours on the billiard table.  We socialize and get to visit with a lot of people we only see once a year - AT this tournament.  It's truly an amazing weekend of great fun, awesome competition, and making memories.

When I was asked this past tourney on Labor Weekend what I thought about splitting up the men's and women's weekends, I immediately thought it wasn't a good idea.

This is only an IDEA right now!  They are only contemplating possibly holding the women's event the weekend before. 

If they do this, the women's field could be opened up to more than 48 women the weekend before, and we wouldn't be "fighting" against the men for tables for our matches.  The ladies do tend to get the raw end of the deal - we start our first matches late Saturday night and sometimes our second match can be at 1am!  But, we all know that's how it goes at the Texas Open - they only have about 12 nine-foot tables to play 160 people in three days.  It just comes with the territory.  :)

That would in turn allow up to 48 more players in the Texas Open's Open division over Labor Day weekend.  And, that also means more money added to the payouts and fees (I presume) for the Open.

The women's division of the Texas Open hasn't filled up to 48 in the last 15 years, and it hardly gets 32 women.  We usually get around 24 women. 

IMHO, the reason we don't have more than 32 women is because the entry fee is $75 (or more if you miss the late fee deadline).  Further, since Pros are allowed, the players are having to pay that high an entry fee much to play against a few pros. 

EVEN when the top 32 female WPBA pros were not allowed, that still didn't increase the participation.

So, I'm really thinking it's the entry fee.

Now, I don't mind the high entry fee - mostly because it's only for this one prestigious tourney once a year.  If it was a tour, I couldn't afford it.  But, most weekly or monthly tourneys and also regional tours, the women's fee's are all from $10-$40.

However, I wouldn't be able to play in the Texas Open if they moved the women's event to a separate weekend.  I can't afford two weekends in a row to travel 3 hours and pay for a hotel for two weekends. And one of the weekends being a holiday weekend, the price goes up AND it adds an extra day.  I would rather my b/f and I go to the same tourney in one weekend so we can split the hotel room and other costs. 

I simply don't want to drive that far two weekends in a row nor do I want to pay twice for a hotel.

Further, the Texas Open is an EXPERIENCE.  It's the ATMOSPHERE that makes the Texas Open the coveted tourney to attend once a year.  We get to see all of our friends.  If I was to only go the weekend of the women's event, I wouldn't get to see my male counterparts, or watch the male Pros play. 

And while I go to the Texas Open to play in the women's event, playing alongside the men make it a much more exciting, fun weekend.  I can play on the OB Cues Ladies Tour for my women-only tourneys.  I don't want to do it for this big tournament.

This proposal is just an idea right now, but these are my thoughts on the subject.  If they do split them, I wish them all the luck in the world.  The Texas Open will always be very prestigious, no matter if they split it or not!  It's a historical event, really.  But, alas, I would have to choose to go the Open over Labor Day weekend due to the reasons I stated above.