Tuesday, November 26, 2013

League Ups and Downs

I played on my Sunday league yesterday and on this day, we play 6 games each.

I show up a little late, so my captain said, "I knew you were running a little late, so I put you in the hammer spot so you could settle down if you needed to."

Wait, I'm on an all-guys team and you put me in the hill-hill spot?  SAWEET!

I win my first two games and then it I notice it - the whole entire other team is watching me!  "The Girl Player That Plays Good."

Then it hits me, "Oh crap!  This is the place where I dogged a few games because I got embarrassed about a shot!"

And just like that, all the feelings came back.


I recall distinctly I had been playing well another time at this exact location for league and people started to "notice my play" and then I missed an easy shot for another great out.  After that I was missing a lot of balls.  I finally figured out I was embarrassed about my miss and it affected me  several games later.

And guess what happened?  I over-hit a ball right after remembering that and miss shape, and lose that game!  Ugh.

In the next game, my opponent tells me "this should be an interesting match" because I overheard him talk about my play.  But I was still "nervous" and I missed a shot to avoid a scratch and then lost that game, too.  Dang it!

Now I'm 2-2 instead of 4-0!

Man I was disappointed.

I even texted a friend about it.  "I should be 4-0, but I messed up two games."

As I walk from that 4th game a teammate tells me, "we want you to win, Melinda" or something silly like that, lol.

I know!  haha  Me too!

As I play my 5th game, I'm sitting there minding my own business, trying to play and one of the guys on the other team says to a teammate within earshot, "She plays good."

His teammate replies, "yea, I know."

Then the guy tells her, "but she should have won the two games she lost."

Wait, what??

You are watching me THAT close that you know I lost two games?  AND you noticed also that I should have won?  Just like I felt?



So, win my 5th match.  Whew!  And I figure I can beat the girl on their team next, so I should at least be 4-2 at the end of the day.

As I'm playing my last game, the guy who said that about my losses comes up to my table to get his case.  He sits down instead of just leaving.

"You know, you are the best female pool player I've ever seen."

He's about 50 so I doubt that, but it was still a nice compliment!  But, I bet there are only ten whole other girls on the league so I might be the best he's seen on the league.  Compared to girls in Texas, though, hardly!!

I said "thank you" and then shared back what he had said earlier to his teammate, "I should have won 2 of the games I lost."

"Yea, but that's okay, you still play stellar."

I missed about 4 more times at the table against the other female player (lol), but finally saw an out and ran out for the win to capture my lowly 4-2 score.  Whew, at least it wasn't worse!

And, we didn't even go close to a hill-hill match!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Envelope Please

On the Omega Billiards Tour, the tour that I run in the DFW-area, the main sponsor and I decided together we wanted to pay out 17-24th places.  It's not much, just $30, but we wanted to give eight additional players SOME money for their efforts.  We figured that some of the players that had a tougher time to get to 16th place and higher would appreciate "getting in the money."

Some players are VERY happy to get $30.  Other players could care less, because they wanted to do better.

It's dependent on the player, obviously, if they appreciate it or not.

At the October Omega event, one of the top players (Amos) had just lost a heart breaker hill-hill match on Saturday night.  He had literally just snapped off the previous stop (his 1st place finish on the tour) and now he is already out of the very next tournament on a Saturday night.

He is all the way across the room, but I grab his $30 little envelope and shyly walk all the way over to Amos.

He's putting up his cues and he's obviously disappointed.

I said, "Hey, I am embarrassed to give you this little amount, but you got in the money."

I felt SO badly because he had just won an event and now I feel like I am rubbing in his face he's only getting $30 and did poorly.

He replies, "I should have made that 8 ball, it's my fault."

I hand him the envelope and he says, "I didn't think I finished high enough to get any money back."

I say proudly, "well, we pay deeper in the field than most tourneys, so 17th -24th place gets a little something back."

He replies, "that's really cool," as he takes the envelope with the whole thirty dollars in it.

I walk away and go back to the tourney table.  He still stands over there, talking to a couple of friends.

One of my friends who is helping me with the tourney, Heather, notices that another player has finished.  She says, "we finally get to pay out the first envelope."

I declared, "well, we already did, I just paid Amos."

She replies, "You did?  Uh, is that right?"

I'm thinking, "well, yea!"

Then I look down at the chart and see I was completely wrong!  I should NOT have paid Amos!  OMG.  I read the chart wrong!

I was mortified as I walked BACK over to Amos.

I pulled him aside and said, "uh, now I REALLY feel bad."

He's just looking at me, "what?"

"I wasn't suppose to pay you, I made a mistake.  Can I have that $30 back?"


He laughed and said, "yea, here you go.  I already tossed the envelope but here's the thirty dollars," as he hands me the cash from his pocket.

I felt SO bad - WOW!  So not only did I rub in his face he finished so badly he only got $30, I then had to go BACK and rub it in even more that he wasn't suppose to get ANYTHING.

OMG.... lol.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun League Team!

I decided to really put to the test that there is No "I" in Team.

I have mentioned I play on two different Monday night leagues.  One of them is with a men's team that I have been playing on for about two years.  I've come to really cherish the guys.  They are my friends and they have fun!

The name of that team is the Sofa Kings.  And they would joke with me that I was the Sofa Queen, lol.  I was there when they won ACS Texas State last year and helped them win the league playoffs last season.  :)

However, I decided I needed to quit the team.


To put the team first. 

A few of months ago I had a breakup, and my ex is on that team.  I decided a month or so after that breakup, that it was best for the team if I simply step down and make things easier on everyone else.

So I called the Captain (I felt he deserved a phone call, not a text) to explain my thoughts and difficult decision, and he said he completely understood. 

While I thought this was the right thing to do, not one of those teammates said one thing to me about it.  No one has reached out to me, or thanked for doing the right thing, or not even telling me it was the wrong thing.  I have heard nothing.

I don't need reassurance, but I thought they were my friends, so I admit I'm a little confused I haven't heard from anyone at all.


So, because I still want to qualify with a mixed league where I could possibly still play Scotch Doubles in Vegas for BCA or ACS (state and nationals), I needed to join another team.

I didn't want to play on Mondays - I didn't want to have to worry about where we were playing or who we were playing, so I called our league operator and asked if I could join a Sunday team instead.

And he said yes!

I had several choices for teams.  One team, I like the guys on the team, but one of the players said it wasn't a fun team anymore.

Well, I need to have fun when I play!

And I want to smile more again!!

So, I decided to ask a different team that I knew had fun guys on it.  But obviously, still play strong, lol.  I can't be playing with weak players, lmao.

(I'm serious!, lol)

So, I called one of the guys on that team and left a voicemail about perhaps joining their team, if they had room.  He calls me back and says, "Well, we would love to have you on our team, but we have already met our white person quota."

What? OMG!

Did I pick the right team or what??  They are hysterical!

They welcomed me with open arms and on the first Sunday I played, I had a rack and run and won more games than any of the other guys, lol.  ;)

Fun times AND good pool with a great group of guys!  And lots of smiling!  Love it. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jackie Gleason's Autograph

In my early teens, I wrote to Jackie Gleason for an autographed photo for my parents as a surprise because my Mom loved him so much in the Honeymooners.  Little did I know how full circle this would be when I would appreciate this so much more later in life when pool became an integral part of my life. 

Here is the autograph!

So cool!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Race To One

Last night I went to my FAV Mexican restaurant (Pappasitos) for a nice dinner (and LOTS of lunch left overs):

Then we decided to visit my friend Laura who was having a bad week.  She runs a little tourney in a small bar on Tuesday that holds two bar tables.

I didn't intend to play AT ALL, but at the last minute decided to.

It was 8-ball, except no ball in hand and you cannot play safe.

Oh, and race to ONE (1)!


I said, "Oh heck, okay, I'll still play, I feel like playing."

So, race to ONE is part of the story.  One?  Really?

Someone said, "it's like playing hill-hill every match!"  lmao.  Wait, that's a sobering point, lol!

But the other part of the story is no safes allowed.

That sounds pretty simple, til you start to play your first 8ball game and need to play safe... BUT CAN'T!

I already know the best part of 8 ball is playing good safes, but until you CANNOT play safe, you realize just how valuable of an arsenal it really is!

But, I figured out right away to call certain shots that I would miss, which would then cleverly turn into a safe.

I thought I was being smart, til I saw toward the end of the tourney I wasn't the only one was doing this.  lmao.  All the top players had figured this out.

BTW, I won!!!

Wow - race to one, no safe, no ball in hand 8-ball.  Sweetness!  Glad I went to hang with my friend Laura.  :)  And it was SO good to see her!

Different Cue Holder

Saw this cue holder at league on Sunday!

People come up with the unique things...

But, if someone steals it and tries to use it - busted!  Because not many people have this one lol!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Demeanor Take 3

A friend on my Monday night league told me he noticed that I don't show emotion when I lose a match, and that he respected that.

He asked me why.

Hmm, no one had ever asked me why.


I wrote in late October how I was a statue during a gambling match.  And earlier that month I wrote how people like my demeanor at the table.

But I never really said WHY.

No one ever asked; so I hadn't really thought about it, lol.

Why DO I do that? 

Well, I told him people look up to me and that's one reason.  Even though he laughed at that (gosh!), it was true (from what I've heard from others on the Ladies League I am on). 

Also, I am a representative of the Omega Billiards Tour, and before that the OB Cues Ladies Tour.  I think it's important to not be an ass if you run a business with sponsors for the players.  That's just me.

But honestly, the main reason is:  I see the way some people act when they lose, or miss a shot, or get a bad roll, and I just don't want to be that person or act that way:  childish or a sore loser.  I don't want to be that type of person at all when I play;  I want to show respect to my opponents.

Sure I show emotion at times, sure, but I wont throw tantrums or act disgusted or act childish.  It ain't me!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tourney Recaps Fall 2013

I realized the other day I haven't really posted about my recent finishes of the tourneys I've played in.

I am not sure if people like to read about my finishes or not, but since I use my blog as my personal pool diary, I need to post my recent finishes so have them written down.

As I am getting prepared to type my results here, I see I haven't posted about my finishes since July!!


I have still written many blog articles, but not much on my results.

Okay, here we go:

LoneStar event 
at Hawley's Billiards (July):  Out in 2.  Played in the amateur division.  Played good my first match but got too tired the second match 8 hours later.

BCAPL Nationals Scotch Doubles 
Vegas (July):  65th out of 106 teams.  We played good but ran into a the slowest team in the entire world and their slow-as-molasses-piece-of-shit-play got to us.  We admit it got to us, and I admit I put them on the clock.

BCAPL Nationals Women's Open Singles event 
Vegas (July):  33rd out of 1330 players.  I played real good til my last two matches.  I fell apart.  I was thinking too much and not comfy.

BCAPL Nationals Women's Team 
Vegas (July):  1st place.  Wrote about this finish.  We won!

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Austin at Fast Eddie's (August):  7th place.   Lost my first match hill-hill, came all the way back to play for 7th and lost that match hill-hill.

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Oklahoma City at Jamaica Joe's (September): 9th place.  Played up and down.  Glad I was able to go tho!  And I won the Second Chance tourney on Sunday :)

ACS State Women's Singles 
in Killeen, TX (October): 17th place out of 60-ish players:  I played REALLY strong but because I race to 6 and everyone else 4, it was tough.  But I played REALLY well and felt fantastic!

ACS State Women's Team Event 
in Killeen, TX (October):  3rd place baby!  I think we could have made it to the finals but I lost steam our last match.  Still proud of my team!

OB Cues Ladies Tour 
in Arlington at Rusty's Billiards (November 2nd weekend):  7th place!!   Played SO good!  I felt wonderful, played great!  I could have won the two matches I lost (lost each only 5-7) but missed a few crucial shots, otherwise I am playing really well!

Feels great to be playing so good again.  I'm loving it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Running a Men's Tour

One of my dreams the last 5 years or so was to start a new Tour in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the players.  I always envisioned a Tour in North Texas FOR the players so they wouldn't have to drive so far for good competition to improve their game, make some money, and be able to play the game they love.

In the Fall of 2012, my dream came to fruition and the Omega Billiards Tour officially started

Twelve months later, our 64-player brackets are full to capacity with a 60+ person waiting list! 

This year we had 6 stops and the Finale is in December. 

Next year we will have 8 stops total and $1,500 added guaranteed, WITH the field increasing to 80 players!  It's awesome!

Everywhere I go, players ask me about the Omega Tour and it lights up my world to see so many people interested in the tournaments!

The Omega Billiards Tour is mostly a men's tour.  The OB Cues Ladies Tour is also in the area but that is only for women.  The Omega Billiards Tour was created for ALL players, but usually only 2-3 women play in it, so it's mostly male players.  They are very testosterone-laden events, lol.

I am the Tournament Director and have ran all 8 tournaments of the Omega Billiards Tour. 

And I figured something funny out the other day:  not many of the players know I play pool; esp good pool!  LOL.

One of the players of the Omega Billiards Tour met me at the OB Cues Ladies event last weekend to talk about sponsorship.  He arrived right when I was about play my third match. 

After I won 7-2, I walked up to him to chat and he said surprisingly, "I had no idea you played pool so well, or that you even played!  I was really impressed." 

I told him that that actually crossed my mind when I was playing - he isn't on my Facebook or the AZB forums, and doesn't play in the same league, so he wouldn't even know I played pool, lol.

Luckily I played real good that match, haha, but even the other night when I gambled, one of the Omega Tour players watched and afterwards he told me, "I didn't know you played pool, also.  I thought you just ran the tournaments.  You play good." 

"Thank you," I said shyly.

I guess that's the type of reaction I should expect since I don't play in the Omega tournaments myself.  Tough to run a tourney mostly by yourself, so I never played in it. 

But I sure am enjoying the reactions I've been getting lately because some people really had no idea I played sporty!  :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Out of my Way

I wrote a few years ago how it used to tick me off a little when someone plays safe on me, and then they have to walk around the table before they go sit in their chair, and bend down little to check out if they hooked me or not.

I always think to myself, "Just get out of the way.  You'll know in a minute if I'm hooked or not by the way I shoot the ball."

I just don't get it.  I admit it used to get under my skin, but now I just laugh at it. 

I wonder what people think of what I do:  I play safe, and walk away WITHOUT seeing if I hooked you good or not.  Yep, confidence.  lol.

However, at ACS Texas State in October, something happened I hadn't see before and was pretty comically miffed.

I was in the team event and was playing a close game against a slow player.  I went for my last shot to get on the 8ball and I knew it was risky - I may not have a shot at all afterwards, but still took the chance.

I shoot the shot, make it.  And walk over to where the cueball is to see if I can see the 8ball through all her balls.

As I do this, she quickly walks up to the table and gets between me and the shot to see if I'm hooked!  She walks up so fast, she actually sees the shot before I do!

I stand there, looking at her dumbfounded.

I should have asked her, "uh, am I hooked?"  lol

Instead, I'm thinking to myself: "Why are getting our of your chair, Lady?  It's not your turn at the table.  If I am hooked, you will know it.  Go sit down and get out of my way."

She then looks at me and says, "Sorry, just looking" as she scoots away from the table and sits back down.

I got lucky I could see the 8 ball so clearly, as I really thought I was hooked behind her balls.  I then made the far 8ball beautifully.

It may not see like much, but her timing was bad and she didn't need to approach the table during my shot.

Sure, play safe, see if you "got me," but don't interrupt my turn at the table.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

People Surprise Me

I have seen a lot of creepy things in the pool world, but also a lot of great things as well.

The other day someone really, really surprised me.

A few times I backed my ex in some gambling matches, because he hadn't gotten paid yet but would have cash by the following Monday when his check came in.

However, a lot of people assumed I was forking over the money myself all the time.  I didn't appreciate this very much because people were making assumptions, and I don't think it looked good on either of us that people thought that.

But imagine my surprise the other day when I told someone we had broken up.  The guy got quiet and then told me a little story.

He said, "You know.  I could tell it was your money."

And I said, "well, not really - just until he got his paycheck."

"But still, it was your money.  Do you recall I stopped gambling with him?"

I recalled, yes.

He explained, "that's why I stopped.  Because I thought it was your money."

I was VERY taken aback about this for several reasons.

One.  Of all the guys we gambled with over the years, everyone kept coming back for more and didn't give TWO SHITS it was my money (even though it wasn't).

But here is this guy, making a decision to not to try to win money because he thought it was my money.

Was it because I was a girl?  The girlfriend?  I dunno exactly why.

But he showed me right there he has a heart.  And I will always look at him differently for telling me that, but more so, for not gambling with my ex anymore.

It makes me a little miffed that no one else stopped, but if I put things into perspective:  gambling is about trying to make money.  That's what everyone tries to do, NO MATTER who was backing or paying it off.  So, I can't be mad about that.  But, I CAN be appreciative of our friend stepping away and no longer gambling with us because it didn't feel right to him.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Showing the Love

I mentioned the other day that a friend of mine had decorated chalk for her teammates to match their team shirts, on her ladies team.

Well, it's not just females that do thoughtful things like this!

One of my friends, Juan, is on a team, The Hitmen, from the Dallas Fort Worth area.  Before the team event though, Juan played in the singles event on Friday of the ACS Texas State tourney and got 2nd place!  

However, he drove all the way back to Dallas that night (about 2am I think I heard?) to get back into town so he could join his Mom's Team MVP at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure that started Saturday morning!

His Mom is a 43-year 2-time survivor!  And although his team event had started Saturday morning, also, the walk was obviously very important for him to be a part of again.

I call his Mom, "Mom."  Every time I see her I give her a huge hug!  She has always been extremely kind to me and always had thoughtful words of encouragement about my Mom, so she holds a very special place in my heart.  And Mom is the perfect word for her!

Here are some photos of the Race for the Cure and Mom:

Here is Mom

The Parra family showing support for Mom! (click photo to enlarge)

The story doesn't end there.

After the walkathon, Juan and his girlfriend, Veronica, drove BACK down to Killeen to join the team in the team event.  That's a 3-hour drive TWICE in about 12 hours.

And when he showed up, "the guys surprised me with the pink bandanas in support of my Mom. She was "with us" during each game of every match."

I saw the guys all weekend with the pink bandanas and I would smile each time as I knew they were for Mom.

We don't know who's idea this was, but it was awesome and an amazing gesture!

BTW, The Hitmen WON the tournament!  They went hill-hill in the finals against another great DFW team, but came out on top and are now ACS State Champs!!

 Scott, Ross, Scott Sr, Larry, Juan, and Coy Lee

Congrat's, Guys!  And Love ya Mom!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Being The Clutch

I can recall distinctly a team event I was in at a State tourney in 2010 where I had only 3 balls left on the table.  And yet I was SO nervous!

We needed this win to move on.  Otherwise, it would be hill-hill and another teammate would have to play it for us and be put under the pressure.

I so desperately wanted to win, but I was SO nervous!  And I dogged the 8ball.  An easy cut, too.  I was mortified.  I jumped up and down and said out loud, "I was so nervous I spun the ball!"  I tried to explain why I missed it because I was so embarrassed. :( 

That was a pivotal point in my pool career.


That shot has cropped into my mind a thousand times when I play my team events now.

I didn't stay down, I didn't breathe, I didn't take my time; I let the pressure get to me for sure.

But, I LEARNED from that mistake.

The very next year, same event, I had to play a hill-hill match in the team event and stated in that blog recap, "I am glad I played that nervous game last year full of anxiety and stress.  Because it allowed me to NOT let that happen in this clutch game.  :)"

And since then, I have come a LONG way.


What I find interesting, is that I don't mind being the clutch at all.  I now welcome it and enjoy being the hill-hill person.  I think it's a combination of several things:  I'm playing better than I ever have, I have a lot of experience now in those situations, I don't mind being put in that position for the team, and I am fairly successful at it because I'm playing so well.
the crucial moment that comes between winning and losing

being able to perform under extreme pressure

Since 2012, I have probably played 15-20 hill-hill matches for my team in team events.  Most were in large tournaments on big stages:  ACS and BCAPL Texas State tourneys, and BCAPL and ACS National tourneys.

Just a couple of weeks ago my team had "the comeback of the year" (that's what they keep calling it, lol) at the ACS Texas State tournament.  We were down 1-5 in a race to 10, then 6-9.  But my teammates and I am kept fighting and we found ourselves still in it at hill-hill! 

"Melinda, you're up."

"Okay, cool.  Am I breaking?"

lol.  I knew I wasn't breaking, haha, we were the "visiting" team.  But I asked that for effect.  :)

After several innings and many safety battles, I ended up winning the hill-hill match for the team!!  High fives and hugging all around - it was awesome. :)

 (Click photo to Enlarge)

Just at Nationals in July I had to come with a great out hill-hill there too.  In May prolly 5 hill-hill matches for those team events.

It's amazing to me that that one single game in 2010 where I dogged it, has propelled me to being comfortable in this position for my teammates now.

But I learned SO much from it!

Do I still get nervous?  ABSOLUTELY!

Do I win every hill-hill match?  NO (but most of the them lol)

Do I wish I would have made that 8ball in 2010?  HECK NO.

Do I like being in this position?  I am comfortable taking the heat, YES.

Obviously, it has helped in my single matches, too.  Pretty much all pressure matches.  I now breathe better, stay down better, remember a smooth stroke, take more practice strokes, etc.

I'm not successful all the time, but I have such a MUCH better handle on my adrenaline and have the tools to tame it.

"Melinda, You're up."