Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Team Expectations

I met with my ACS Nationals Women's Team teammates two Sundays ago to get some practice together and also so we could get some good team mojo going.  We all know each other, but it was still a good idea to meet up and spend some quality time together (and on the pool table together).

Before we started, I wanted to give them my expectations of them.  As the Captain, I told them, "I have some expectations that I want you each to really think about for the next 3 weeks before we head to Vegas and play."

I added, "It's important you know this now." 

They sat down and listened.

"I expect us ONLY," (intentional pause) "to HAVE FUN!"

They laughed and smiled.

I shared that I just wanted us to enjoy this awesome experience together.  Having fun is key.

We are all very competitive already and we each play well, but since this is a new group of ladies playing together on a national stage, I thought I would have some fun as Captain and pretend like I was going to give a harsh goal, and instead wanted to remind everyone to have fun!  :)

I also told them, "If I look like I'm getting frustrated, remind ME that we are to have fun!"

Ahh, goals!

Can't wait!  ACS Nationals in Vegas is right around the corner!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Team Name Laughs

My women's team for BCAPL Nationals is trying to come up with a team name. 

One didn't like our BCAPL Texas State name (Fab Five), so we are trying to find a name we all can agree too.

They didn't like my idea of The Dream Team, lol.

I told one of the players last week, "How about Sweet Dreams?"

She said she would prefer our name to be more aggressive.


I told this to one of my other teammates over the weekend.

"I liked Sweet Dreams, but she wants something more aggressive."

My teammate replies,

"Then how about, Sweet F**kng Dreams"


I love my fun and funny teammates!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gambling 101

On Sunday, I met with my ACS Nationals women's teammates to hit some balls with each other in preparation for the tourney.  Afterwards, I went to another pool room where my boyfriend was in a ring game.

I walk in and say my hellos and after only about 10 minutes, my boyfriend overhears that a guy down a few tables likes to gamble and was possibly looking for a game.  He also heard he isn't that good of a player, but has money and likes to play.

He then turns to me and tells me I should ask the guy to play.

Being the non-gambler that I am, I blow off the notion right away.

I don't recognize the guy, but he seems to be having fun talking to everyone around him.

After about 20 minutes, my boyfriend moves tables to the other side of the pool room, ironically,  closer to this guy named T..

As I find a place to sit near my boyfriend's table to watch him play, I see two friends and wanted to say hi and also talk about the Omega Billiards Tour.  I spoke to both about the upcoming stops because I and needed to find out which tourneys they were still interested in playing in.

As I'm talking to one of them, I see T hitting balls.  He is shooting at balls randomly, but he made every one of the eight balls on the table (strips and solids).

I tell one of the guys, "I hear I can beat this guy, but he looks pretty good to me."

Immediately, he says to me, "You can beat this guy.  You wanna play?  I'll back you."

The guy had only seen me play one other time about 2 years ago, and he's willing to back me?

He asks T if he would like to play and next thing you know, I'm in a race to seven 9-ball game for $100!

I wasn't sure how I would do as I was tired, but I got up there and played pretty dang sporty!  :)  I won the first game and a couple 5 tables down are cheering for me (yes, from way across the room, lol).  And another girl sitting on the sidelines claps for me, too. 

I didn't realize so many people would be watching.

I just tried to focus on pool. 

After the second game, I am LIT UP inside!  I am playing so freaking good, I can barely contain my excitement, but I need to keep focused.  I don't smile and just see the layouts and try to stay down super well.

Then, The Backer comes up to me and tells me I need to miss more or else the guy wont play another set.

Wait, what?


But I'm playing good!

I knew he was right, but I kinda wanted to just keep playing so well!  It felt fantastic!  I could feel a little pressure (I don't normally gamble), but I was controlled and comfortable.

I tried to miss a few times and it was actually very difficult!

Further, and this is the weird part, lol, I was playing SO good, that I was proud of myself and wanted to keep playing good in front of everyone.  I didn't want people to think I played bad or that the pressure of gambling was getting to me!

I was tormenting myself with the what I should do and what I wanted to do.

I didn't want to look bad, I wanted to keep playing well!

I tried to miss early, but it didn't work.  I saw the runs so beautifully, it was tough to not "show off" and just keep running the balls.  Many people were saying how well I played (many hadn't seen me play before) and I wanted to keep playing well.

Instead of missing early, I scratched a few times late in the rack and he would win those games.  He won a few on his own, too, but I was the better player.

My boyfriend was watching from the other side of the room and he saw I was messing up.  He came up to me and told me, "Calm down, you'll be okay."  I laughed at his kindness of trying to help me and confided I was trying to let the guy win a few games.  He smiled and understood I wasn't playing bad all of a sudden, I was intentionally playing bad.

The Backer told me T agreed already to play another set for sure, so I could start playing a little bit better again.

I scratched on a break at one point and he ran out!  He was now on 5 with me (Score 5-5 in a race to 7).  I then made an unintentional mistake and he got on the hill first!

OMG, really??  The slacking off was backfiring.

I told The Backer, "he might win this set.  It might have backfired."

He reassured me things would be okay.

The Backer was talking to T a lot.  He told me, "He likes to be entertained, we need to entertain him."

T was a talker.  And The Backer would say a lot, "make the 9 on the break, T!" or "go for the 9-ball combo!" trying to keep him excited.

I should have recognized to talk more and smile more, but I am so new to this whole thing, I was just trying to play pool.

T got on the hill first and made a big production out of it.  I remained calm.  I got on the hill with him and The Backer high-fived me and told me, "good out."

I broke dry hill-hill and just sat there, waiting my turn.  He scratched on the 3ball. 

I get the cueball and The Backer comes up to me and tells me, "Just take your time, okay?"

My heart was beating out of my chest.  I could feel everyone watching and the pressure was immense.  If I just played my own game (good) I would have beat him 7-4 (at most!).

I ran all the balls and left myself a tough cut on the 9ball.  I told myself to just stay down, like I did in the finals of the team event when everything is riding on it.

I made it!  It was SUCH a tough shot, and run out!

Everyone was cheering and happy and I was like, "Whew!"

I played really good.  :)

Then we played another set (they upped the bet to $200) and I was finally able to go back to playing good again and won 7-4.  And made $120 from the guy backing me!  :)

(and no, I don't know why I didn't get exactly half, as I don't normally get staked and therefore don't know the etiquette.)

Everyone in the place was happy I won.  I guess he is annoying to some people.  People were high-fiving me and thanking me for beating him.  And one girl said I was playing for all the females, lol.  But she was super supportive cheering for me (I admit I am not used to clapping during gambling matches, btw).

He wouldn't play me anymore.  Not even 8ball.  I wish I would have been more animated, that might have helped, but honestly, he recognized he was in a bad game and wont play me again unless I adjust.  And I wont give up weight (yet). 

It was a learning experience for sure.  To have to deliberately play bad is tougher than I thought.

I was SO glad I did this, though.  With ACS Nationals coming up in less than two weeks, I needed another good experience of using good fundamentals under pressure.  The Backer told me I had great fundamentals and stayed down well.  I was impressed as well with myself, but happy not only with my fundamentals, but also with my runs.  I could see the entire layout of the runs very well this day.  :)

Great experience for my Vegas tourney coming up!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Miscommunication at the Table

During the team event at the BCAPL Texas State tourney, I had an unfortunate instance happen.

There are many reasons why I wished this never happened, but one selfish reason is because this happened with a player who lives in the same city where several players think I deliberately shark. I mentioned last year that a lot was resolved and I was very thankful.  But, that doesn't mean the stigma isn't still there. 

But, because this happened with someone who lived in the same city, I just thought, "great, another unfortunate instance where someone now thinks "yep, she does deliberately shark.""


The more important part of this is I made someone feel bad and that was never my intention. Never! I just reacted to what I saw and instead should have handled it much differently.

As I walked by the first table to play on the second table of the team event, my teammate had just lost and her opponent walked away to her team's sitting table and didn't shake my teammates' hand.

I just reacted and asked my teammates' opponent, "Did you shake her hand?"

I don't recall what she replied, but I asked again, "What happened? Why didn't you two shake hands?"

Being the captain, I feel like I should find out what was going on - did my teammate do something wrong? Or did you just forget? 

She kinda snaps at me, "I am going to go back and get my break cue and I'll take care of it."

I'm a little taken a-back but I don't think more about it as I start my match. She comes back over to her team and I then see her teammates consoling her.

I immediately stand up an apologize. I immediately recognize that I have been misunderstood and I upset her. I say from my heart, "I am so sorry, I didn't mean anything by it."

She says to me, "I'm an adult and can take care of my own business."

I sit down and sit a minute and then get back up and turn around to her again and again apologize. I tell her, "I'm really sorry.  I didn't mean anything by it.  I'm sorry it came across rude; I was just curious if my teammate had done something.

Being the captain, I felt like I should help if something was going on.

But, they way I handled it, maybe I should have just left it alone.  Turns out nothing happened, it was just an oversight.

I felt SO bad.

I was literally shaking after this "altercation" and was deeply affected. I didn't mean to hurt her or upset her at all.

If I had to play a hill hill match, I wasn't gonna do well - I was shaking and super upset.  Further, it would have been against her and I wouldn't have done well I'm afraid. :(

We didn't go hill-hill, so I didn't have to go through that roller coaster.  I shook her hand after the match but we didn't really say anything to each other. 

I just hope she accepts my apology sincerely as I meant it.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Killer Instinct Versus My Heart

Yes, I'm still not finished talking about the BCAPL Texas State tourney! 

Sorry, lots of blog entries come up when I go to tourneys :)  And being there for 5-plus days gives me a lot of "material" to write about.

During the team event, I had a very heart-wrenching experience.

It was our 4th match on the winner's side of the Women's Open Team division and we are playing a really good team.  I just had a little misunderstanding (that I will write about soon) with one of the players on the other team.

This misunderstanding occurred next to where the other team was sitting, and also where I happened to be playing my very next match (the current match).  My team was on the other side, so they didn't know any of this was going on.

I felt super bad that I upset one of the other players, and then having to play right away shaking (b/c I don't like conflict), I had to play in front of them all.  And during that game, something ELSE happened!

After a few shots each, my opponent decides she needs to jump for her ball.  She's over the 2 ball (my ball) and she has room to jump the cueball over my other solid.   As she jacks up, she moves the 2 ball about two inches forward by accident.

Sounds like a simple thing right?

Basically, it's simply my option to move the 2ball back or not.

But, it's not that simple.  The 2ball rolled up so far, she now literally has NO room to jump her ball anymore!

The cueball and 2ball are right next to each other and she can't jump the ball anymore.

I walk up to the table and she's standing there and I'm standing there.  I swear, I didn't say a word for a whole minute. I just... stood there.  Thinking.

As I stood there and looked down at the 2ball now resting next to the cueball, and seeing she has no room to jump the ball now, I am TORN!

Yep, I know, it's stupid!

My mind tells me, "Melinda, it's your option and you should NOT move the 2ball back."

My heart tells me, "But then she won't have a shot."

Mind:  "Have the killer instinct, Melinda.  Leave the ball there!"

Heart: "You just had an altercation with another team member and you will REALLY look like a bitch if you don't let her move it back."

My heart and mind were going back and forth and tearing me apart.  I felt TOO bad to leave the 2ball there, but I knew that I *should* leave it there.

Then it dawned on me that since the 2ball rolled up on the cueball that that might be a foul.  Hmmm.

She's been standing there waiting for me to let her know what I want to do and I finally say, "I think it might be a foul because it hit the cueball; let me get a ref."

At this point, I feel somewhat relieved as this will not be up to me, but up to a ref now (hopefully).

He did say it was a foul and I got ball-in-hand.

I didn't get out then but I did end up winning the game.

 It still amazes me that I STILL have trouble following the rules of the table, that argue with the rules of my heart.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


While I was at the Texas BCAPL Tourney, I was walking down one of the aisles and all of a sudden this female player says at me, "There's a sandbagger."

I replied, "What?" as I kept walking to my destination.

It really bothered me she said that, as she obviously doesn't know me at all.

Ironically, she plays on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, also, so we have seen each other in the same tournaments throughout the year.  She has always impressed me as she seems to always lasts until Sunday and yet I swear she came out of nowhere.

She plays good.

I mentioned her comment to a friend of mine and she laughed and told me that that player was kinda complaining that she was listed as an Advanced Player with the BCAPL and in this tourney she had to add an extra game.  She didn't think it was fair, looking at the other players in the tourney, and she singled me out as one of "those players." 

What pisses me off about her comment, besides the fact that it isn't true, is that she is making a rude judgement about me, plus she is sharing her opinion with other people!  Just because she's upset at her own ranking.

She has NO idea that my goal in life is to win the BCAPL Texas State singles tourney.  And I never have.

So, to think I deliberately stay under the radar is horse-shit

I would rather have won that title already.   TRUST ME.

I would rather have lots of titles under my belt, but guess what woman, I'm not that good yet!

It really chaps my hide, as you can see.

What makes this ALL worse, is I had to play her on the second day of the tournament in the ladies singles division.

I had just won a good match and was playing well.  But when I played her, I was mentally affected because she thought I sandbagged.

She missed in the first game and I tried to get out but missed and she got out instead.  I wasn't very happy that I let her back to the table!

Then I broke dry and she ran out.

Granted, if she thinks I am better than I show, and because she races to six (and I 5) then that should make her try harder.

But, she plays good anyway.

She played good in this match.   Real Good.

She gave me an opportunity in every game but the second one, but I kept missing.   :(

I was SO upset.  I went from a great win to being down 0-4 because I made errors! 

I don't even know how it came up, but at 0-4 it comes up about me being a sandbagger. 

I was like, "What?"

She replies, "You've won an OB Stop right?"

I was defiant, "NO!"

I WISH I have, but I hadn't.

How dare you bring this up when I'm down -04??

Then she says, "well you got second this year."

"Yea, so, what?"

Does that automatically move me up to an advanced player?


She knows how it works, she knows it doesn't happen all of a sudden. She knows I have to play in more National events to get moved up.

To presume and assume and to say that to me really upset me.

Don't tell me I sandbag when I DREAM of winning an OB Tour stop or the Texas State tourney.  You can tell me all day I should be ranked higher than I am currently ranked because you think I play better than an Open Player, but don't think for a minute I deliberately don't win matches.  Wow.  That's just nonsense and not my cup of tea, especially since I want those wins so dang badly.

Btw, she beat me 0-6!

Yes, I didn't get one game!

I was so mentally upset about her judgement about me, I couldn't play well against her.  :(

HOWEVER, she REALLY did play fantastic.  Great runs, great safes.   I was very impressed.  Very.

That was for 7th place and she would get to the finals and come only one game short of winning the tournament. She does have talent. And she should be an advanced player.   But don't judge me and my game and presume I sandbag.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Streaming Thoughts

I was completely surprised when I saw that the BCAPL Texas State tourney had streaming!  It's been asked about the in past, but never came to fruition, so I was surprised we had streaming this year.

One of my scotch doubles matches was on the stream, but I haven't watched it yet.

All throughout the tourney (5 plus days), there was streaming!  I was pleasantly surprised that they even had some women's singles matches on there BEFORE the finals!  Usually we don't get enough showtime when the men are around, so that was another cool thing.

However, I am mostly disappointed in the stream.  Well, not the STREAM itself, but the people who spoke on the stream.  Well, not ALL the people, but one person.

I didn't watch my scotch doubles match because we played badly and lost.

However, my women's team played the hotseat on the stream.  I played real good that match and won all my games.  Yet, I heard later that the male of the announcers told people I was struggling all throughout the tournament.  In reality, I played good every single match of the women's teams except the finals.  And that first match that was streamed that he commented on, I won every game!

While we played in the hotseat, one of my friends was getting texts and she told me that the guy announcer kept saying she couldn't make balls (but then she would and he would be shocked), or he would say certain people were playing badly and missing easy shots (or shots we should make).

The female announcers were great and didn't hurt feelings, but the male announcer HURT my teammates.

I don't know how to say this without coming right out and saying it: that because he was judging our runs and pointing out what he thought we were doing wrong, I hope my teammates never listen/watch the recording of the finals.

I don't like to say harsh things about anyone, and I'm not suppose to do this just because he did, but because he wasn't passive enough, and because I KNOW my teammates will be affected by his words, I think it's okay for me to express how disappointed I am that he talked badly of my teammates.

Let's be fair, he didn't just second guess MY team, he second guessed everyone who was on the stream; everyone was fair game.  If anyone didn't get out, he would comment on it in a bad way.

I'm actually SCARED to hear what he said about the matches that I lost.  To be told AFTER the event that he was saying I was struggling the entire tournament (which isn't true at all), what did he say when I lost a match?  (and lost a lot in the finals?)

I watched my final run only to take screen captures for a blog entry and that time he was gentle, but I think it's only because I won that game.  If I had lost, he would have been more judgmental and harsh.

I know some of you are thinking he prolly didn't mean anything.  And yes, he didn't.  And yes, he's a guy and guy's say things differently than females.

But females also take things differently.  Part of it is being emotional and caring what other's say.  But, there is a NICE way to point out we dogged it.  There is a NICE way to say something after misses.

I was very impressed and very thankful for the females announcers who were so much nicer.  I heard them give compliments, or wonder what options we were going to take.  Not keep pointing out what we did wrong.

My teammate who received the texts from someone watching didn't tell me she was upset, but I knew she was.  It's tough to be judged, and for him to make comments in front of everyone watching online, makes it worse. 

I realize it's tough to comment on pool for a week and not make judgements, but he really needs to be careful with his word choices.  For people to say things to us in the middle of matches and afterwards tells you he affected even our friends.

My fear is that if my teammates listen to the recording of when they played bad, that they will be affected by it.

How can you not?

How can that not be a reminder during our next big event that people in the crowed judge us and will judge us?  It makes competing that much worse.

I recognize this happens all the time anyway from people in the crowd, but to HEAR it is another story.  And I don't want the teammates to recall how bad he blasted our play.

I am trying to look at things from a different take:  Facts.  If I played bad, it's not a judgement if someone says I played bad; it's a fact.  But, it takes years to not let little things get in your head and not let words affect us.  I still struggle with that all the time.

Do you think it crossed my mind he was talking about us playing bad on the stream during the finals?  You bet!  Do I think it crossed the mind of my teammate, too?  I do!

The male announcer has no idea the damage he did.  He prolly thinks he did a great job.  There's a difference when talking about a match than when judging a person's decision.  I applaud the female announcers, but I loathed the male announcer's comments.

Like I said, I only heard how he was, and only watched one recorded game, so I may be being too biased and unfair, but based on those two matches alone and what I heard from others, I hope my teammates never ever watch the recording of our final match.   It will be too tough.  And I don't want anything to take away from our win (OR future wins).  Even though we struggled in the finals, we still PULLED IT OFF, Sir!

Note 1:  I just tried to locate the videos to capture verbiage difference between the announcers for this blog entry, but I can't find them.  Maybe the recordings aren't viewable anymore and I don't have to worry about my teammates coming across the carnage.  Whew.

Note 2:  I am deliberately not sharing the company who did the stream. I'm very thankful for them - they did all the hard work!! I'm just uncomfortable about the comments from the male announcer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Final Game of the Finals

I didn't share this many times in my blog, except mentioned it in my last post briefly, but I won the final game of the second set hill-hill for my ladies team to win the BCAPL Texas State Women's Team event.

I didn't mention it a lot because it was a team event, and the entire team won us the title!  So proud of my teammates!

A few people I did mention it to in passing, they told me that that will give me experience for the future.

To be honest, I fared well because of PAST experiences.

I'd like to explain.

With me being nervous and also upset that I was making some mistakes in the finals (both sets), I became nervous at the thought of playing the hill-hill game, lol. 

I started to pace and wondered how I would do.  I didn't think ahead about the what-ifs (thank goodness), but I did recognize I was nervous.

I took a shot of Jäger when the score was tied 7-7 in the short race to 9.  I needed to be calmed down, lol.  The deep breathing wasn't working.  I don't know if the Jäger helped or not, but I did win that final game and I wanted to share some things that I hope will help others when they find themselves in similar situations.

As I was playing the final match, I was also watching my teammates' game next to me.  Maria's match was taking a while due to safeties.  I secretly wished her match would take longer and I would finish first so everyone would have to watch her game instead of mine, lol.

However, she won her game while I was still playing mine, and I knew it was all left to me.

I never got nervous, though, in that final game.

I don't know why.

I was in this position at Nationals, but the difference was I was playing the hill-hill game in the finals of the first set.  I knew if I lost that game, we would just go to another set.  No pressure at all.  :)  THIS TIME however, was different.  The whole entire title was on the line because it was the second set and it was hill-hill.  My little game.

I still wasn't nervous, though.

After I broke, I knew I wanted to be stripes and liked my chances.  I missed a tricky shot in the side for my third ball, but I knew my opponent would have a tough run if I missed.  If she got out, then I still felt good with my choices.  I felt my teammates would understand if I lost and knew I gave it my all.

After a good safe by me a little later, no one clapped.  I was like, "WTH?  Did anyone not see that?" lol.  I need affirmations, but I still felt comfy with my decisions. 

She made a ball then had to play safe.  She accidentally left me a shot. tho!

Not only that, I had a freaking out!

As Phil Capelle says in his books, "it's execution time."

I saw the entire 5-ball plan already in my mind.  I had a run out!

I stayed down and stopped my cueball for the first ball (A).

I then sliced in the next ball (B).  Got lucky it went off her ball, but I knew that was a possibility.

On the third ball (C), all I had to do was make it for natural shape to ball D.  I made it!

However, ugh, I got funny on the ball before the 8ball (D).  I couldn't believe it!

I studied it and studied it.  My plan was to have a stop shot and then have a good shot on the 8, even though it wouldn't be the easiest shot in the world under pressure (although I felt no pressure).  I couldn't stun the cueball over because the other pocket was blocked.  I couldn't go forward, I might scratch.

I then saw if I was careful, I could draw the cueball past the side for now Option B, to make the 8 in the side.

I kept telling myself, I ONLY had to stay down and follow through.  I don't do well with draw shots, but my boyfriend recently told me to really clamp down on my bridge hand.  Not, clamp down on the cue, but to really tightened my bridge hand.  I knew these shots could wobble in the pocket and they have wobbled a thousand times on me.

I fully admit draw shots are not my friend.

I just really focused on taking my time and seeing the shot and staying down.

I freaking nailed it!!

It didn't wobble, and I drew it right past the side pocket for shape on the 8ball!

Everyone starts clapping, but I tell ya; it's not over.

But, inside I was elated it worked out as I had planned in my head.  :)

As I saw the 8 ball in the side, I could only think of one thing:  I had a similar shot in the side, in this same venue, for teams, that I DOGGED!  After I dogged it, I jumped up and up and up and down and said, "I am so nervous!"  I felt so bad and embarrassed, as that made it hill-hill instead of us winning (we won the final game luciky').

All I could think of was that before I did NOT stay down and I knew from that horrible experience that even under the circumstance, to "just stay down and make this ball, Melinda."


I did!

OMG!  I was more excited than anyone!  I was so happy that all of the experiences led up to me being able to be there for my team!!

They all came up to me and hugged me and were so happy!

We were now Texas State Champs!

It felt good to finish off the match with a tough run under all that pressure. However, the entire team is responsible for our win!  If they wouldn't have gotten me there, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do what I did to close out the match.

We were streamed live on the Internet.  Here are a few screen captures of what I describe above:

(Click images to enlarge.)

Down on the shot before the 8ball.

Staying down well, watched the cueball glide nicely to the side rail.

Down on the 8ball

Me, jumping up and down!

 Teammates ran up to me and hugged me!

The bottom line is THIS is why I tell people to play in as many events as you can.  You can win hill hill matches due to experience.  You can play in front of a crowd due to experience.  The more times you put yourself out there, the better you will be for the next event.

I mean it when I say I only was able to NOT dog it because I have dogged it a thousand times before due to nerves.  We keep learning and learning and the more instances you have competing, the better you will become.  So, put yourself out there, Ladies!  (and gents)  Learning experiences go all long way in every aspect of life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Awesome Words!

I got a text from one of  my teammates the day after we won the BCAPL Texas State Women's Open Team event. 

The words made me smile SO big, and truly warmed my heart.

I just had to share:

"Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a BCA State Champ... a goal of mine for a long time."


Isn't that awesome?!?!  Makes me even more happy that we won! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Captain Duties

I mentioned in my last entry that we won our first match in women's team of the BCAPL Texas State tourney 9-0.  The by-laws of our team was whoever had the worst record would sit out the next round.  I sat out the first round.

And we had no one to sit out the next round!  It was a great, funny moment for the team.  :)

So, by the rules, I sat out the second round, too.

My teammates weren't very happy with me, though. 

They kept saying I needed to play; I SHOULD play.

I was like, "Whatever.  You all are doing great!"

We play a pretty tough team the next round and I still had no worries.  I put teammate Maria in the Number 1 spot, so if it went hill-hill, she would be play that for us.  She seemed apprehensive, but also said she shoots well under pressure.

I noticed our opponents were keeping up with us and it was tied 4-4.  Someone (I don't remember who now) told me to put myself in.  With 4 losses, everyone had lost one and so I still didn't know who to freakin' sit out, lol!

I looked at the match-ups and saw who I would fair best against, and who my teammates would fair best against, and I finally put myself in the line up and played two rounds.

We won 9-8! 

Maria came through on the hill and beat their Advanced Player twice!  The final win being our favorite moment of the match.  :)

As the tournament progressed, I have to say I felt super bad having to take anyone out of the line-up.  My teammates told me I needed to stay in, but I would have pulled myself out if I had the most losses.  They said I shouldn't remove myself, but everyone was so equal in my mind, the by-law was fair game to anyone.

As I said before, I made myself the captain so no one else felt the pressure to be in that position.   It can be a tough situation at times.  And, it was more than I expected. 

I kept feeling worse and worse as the matches went on as I had to decide who to sit out.  If everyone was even on their losses, I had to choose, and I didn't like that feeling.

And if I saw someone struggling, I had to make a decision for the team.  I had to put my little heart to the side and put my leadership captain hat on and make tough, but the correct decisions.

I kept reiterating to everyone, "You are playing good, I'm not taking you out because of that."  They would always respond with "I know, thank you, you have to do what's best for the team; I understand completely."

On Sunday, we were still in the winner's side.  However, our only match was the Finals on Sunday night at 6pm.  Two teammates kept making comments they were nervous, one teammate hurt her back overnight, and the other teammate was fighting a cold.  We lost the first set 4-9 and I have to admit it was a shock.

I had to make decisions based on the players and how they felt and what they were going through.  At this point, the by-laws went out the window because we all weren't playing equal anymore:  being sick and nervous affects play.

I wasn't nervous the first set, BUT I wasn't playing my best for some reason.  I told the team I would put Maria in the hill-hill spot the second set, because I wasn't feeling it.  Maria said she was fine with that decision.

I was filling out the sheet and Lisa comes up to me and says, "You should be the hill person.  Put yourself down in that spot."

I looked at her kinda funny, as I was just looking at the line-up and had only considered that myself because of the line up I wanted to use that I felt was best for us to cause damage.  "Okay, " I replied as I scratched out Maria's name in spot 1 and put her in spot 4.

We went up 4-0 right away!!  But our opponents countered with 4 straight wins to tie it 4-4 in a race to 9.

I lost my second match due to an unfortunate scratch in the stupid side.  I was upset at myself and frustrated and then became nervous, too. 

I recovered and won my last two matches and waited to see if we would need a final hill-hill match or not.  Both teams were playing great and it was neck and neck.  I was so proud of my teammates!

I saw it was close 7-7 and I went and took a shot of Jäger because I got nervous, lol.

Our opponents, West Texas Bad Girls from Odessa, got on the hill first.  Yikes!  Score 7-8.  Race to 9,

Maria found herself in a long match and I had to start mine (we are suppose to do "continuous play" even if it's not hill-hill yet).

Maria won her match while I'm in the middle of my match, and now the score is 8-8!

And then I win my match to seal the title for the ladies:  State Champs! 

It was a very long emotional match, but we did it together with style!  

I hope my teammates appreciated my decisions throughout the weekend.  I did ask for input a lot and discussed things with them, but overall, I made final decisions so the team could just focus on playing pool and not worry about things.  I'm willing and ready to provide further leadership at BCAPL Nationals, even though I know at times it will be tough to make decisions. I'm ready for the job, Ladies!

On Cloud Nine Still!

"Fab Five"
BCAPL Texas State Women's Team Champs!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Interesting Twist to Team Rules

So, I mentioned already that our women's team (Fab Five) won the BCAPL Texas State Women's Open Division.


We have 5 players, but the BCAPL tournament matches allow for only four (4) players each round in the ladies team events. 

I made myself the captain so no one else felt the pressure to be in that position.   It can be a tough situation at times.

Anyway, I was very torn the previous entire month because the Fab Five has five (5) very strong players and I did not know who I should sit out.  We are all play so equally (tough) that as captain, I really didn't know what to do.

I discussed it with one of my teammates the week before and I suggested that maybe what I would do is sit out one player during the first match.  Then, whoever does the worse in that first match, would sit out the next match.  And we would keep that little by-law going throughout the tourney.

I thought it was the only possible choice, really.

But then, who the heck would I sit out first?!

By Friday (we started Saturday morning), I decided I would not play the first round.  I had been playing since Tuesday night and felt comfortable on the tables.  Two of the players hadn't played yet and needed to get acclimated, and the other two were good to go because they had played in the singles event Thursday and Friday.

I told them my idea to sit out a player in the NEXT match who has the worst record, and carry that over each match.

Then I shared I was going to be sitting out the first round.

After much concern from my teammates about my decision, I STILL stuck with it and didn't play the first match.

They kept telling me I should play and I kept telling them I trust their skills and didn't even think I needed to play.  They hesitantly agreed, but really, I felt it was the best choice.

So, I kept score, like a good little captain.  :)

However, we freakin' win 9-0!  NO ONE LOST A GAME!

By the by-laws, there was no one to sit out the next match!


Good problem to have, huh?

From left to right, Tracie Voelkering, Myself, Lisa Ellison, 
Nina Stillwell and Maria Rodriguez!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another Title. Another Great Team!

I am so ecstatic!

I am now a BCAPL Texas State Champion!

Granted, I needed help from 4 friends to do it, lol, but still!  What an awesome accomplishment!

My teammates and I WON the BCAPL Texas State Open Women's Division last Sunday night!  OMGosh!!!

First Place, Baby

From left to right, Tracie Voelkering, Myself, Lisa Ellison, Nina Stillwell and Maria Rodriguez!

I had to come up with a team name when I sent in the entry free and could only come up with Fab Five, so Fab Five we were.  One teammate thought it was vain.  I replied, "Would you rather I call us the Dream Team, because that's what we really are."

"Okay, Fab Five is cool," she relents.  :)

We gave her crap all weekend b/c she didn't care for the name, while she worked on a future name for Nationals, like Lightning Biscuits, Rock Papers Scissors, 3 Bartenders and 2 Blonds....

We didn't get a bye and so we didn't get to sleep in.  Not many of us got sleep anyway.  I tossed and turned, two others snored too loud for each other, one had been up since 4am, and the fifth was restless and didn't get a lot of sleep.  By the end of the day after 12 hours, we were exhausted (but still played well).

The Fab Five teammates do not play on the same team in our league.  We all know each other, but without playing on the same team throughout the year, how would we play together?

Team chemistry is key.

I had no worries - we all play good 8ball.  :)  The team chemistry would come from the fact we were all excited to be on a such a strong team and we were all great women.

We play our first match at 10am against "I Hate This Game."  After we beat them 9-0, I said, "Now they REALLY hate this game."

(btw, they were a great team that won many matches after that first 10am match)

We played our next at noon and that match goes hill-hill!  From 9-0 to 9-8, what a swing.  We come out on top of the squeaker.

We then win at 4pm and 6pm, 9-4 and 9-5.

They move our 8pm match to the Stream table and I see we are playing for the hotseat.



We are guaranteed 3rd at this point.  Wow!

We play super well and win 9-5.  :)  SUPER well.

We are now in the Finals!!  WOW!

The finals is scheduled for the next day (Sunday) at 6pm.  Yep, that's 6pm.

After a whole day waiting, we finally get to play.  However, we lose the first set of the finals 4-9.  Ouch!  That hurt!

Not only did it hurt, last year the team I was on, we got double dipped in the finals.  Yikes; please no repeat!

The next set (in this true double elimination final) goes all the way to the very last game needed:  hill-hill.  And we win it!!


Hill-Hill, Baby.

BCAPL Texas State Women's Team Champs!!

....... (details and more stories to come soon).....

Did I mention I was excited?

I am still on cloud nine!!  (hey, that could be a team name)

I'd liked to thank first the awesome competition we had.  The ladies teams kept getting tougher and tougher  - Texas female players play good!.

Second, I'd like thank my teammates for having faith in me and my decisions, for playing their freaking hearts out, and for the joy we had making precious memories together!  You ladies ROCK!!  So proud of you all!

Third, I'd like to thank BCAPL and Bad Boys Productions for putting the tourney together and running it for Texas.  I mean it when I say you make dreams come true:  winning a Title tournament is a dream come true and it couldn't have happened if you didn't hold the tournament to begin with.

Fourth, thanks to all our supporters!  From our awesome significant others, to the fantastic fans on the streams, to the cool friends back home, to the friends there in person:  Thank you.  :)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pre-Tourney BCA Texas State Thoughts

How will I play this week?  How will I finish?  Will my nerves and expectations get the best of me me?  (just typing that out makes my heart flutter!).  How will my fundamentals be?  How will I play?

Every year before the BCAPL Texas State tourney I share how nervous I get over title tournaments due to the expectations for myself and my desires.

This year, I wont talk about that.  Since I write about it every year, no reason to rehash it again for you.  Plus, I feel different this year.  :)  Not only am I more confident, and feel in my heart I have more good tourney experiences just in the past 18 months than in a long time, but I also remembered (the hard way) that I naturally have test anxiety.  It's not just pool, it's all competition and all impacts to my future.  That's a cool thing to figure out.  :)

I hope to play decent all three events: Scotch Doubles, Singles, and Women's Teams. My goal is to think outside the box, stay down well, and stroke more when I'm nervous.

I am confident, but I need to be careful not to be TOO confident.

Here are some quotes I found today cleaning off my work desk:
  • Except what you accept.
  • What is in your mind is what you put there.  So, make it something happy.  Why not make it happy thoughts?
 And notes that I wrote down from my last tourney (that I am putting in my purse right now):
  • Play like a boa constrictor (don't let up at any time against any one)
  • Someone has to win, might as well be me (don't feel bad for my opponents)
  • Breathe
  • Stroke more when I'm nervous
  • Have fun!
  • Confidence.
  • Remember, you play good.