Monday, December 30, 2013

Year End Joy

I hadn't written about this yet, was waiting for the article to come out, but hadn't seen one.  But, I wanted to write about this before the end of the year.

I have some amazing news to share, something I never in my wildest dreams thought I could do.

I finished the 2013 OB Cues Ladies Tour Season ranked SECOND (2nd)!  My highest ranking in the point standings EVER!

I know that some things fell in place for me to get that ranking, but I will take it!  Because I DID have a great year of high finishes that propelled me to this astonishing ranking.  :)

(I'm still in shock as I write this, even tho I've known about this since November 3rd!).

I finished second (2nd) place in the first two events of the year, and those were my highest finishes ever on the ladies tour.  And my bestie Amanda Lampert won those two tourneys.

 Amanda and I

But then I had to miss the 3rd stop due to a much needed garage-sale (that was a neighborhood garage sale). Further, I was real busy the weekend before, and was traveling for a week the very next weekend.  So I decided I should not drive all the way to Houston for the tournament, even though it was a tough decision

This year on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, there was only 6 stops total, so that miss I figured would be crucial (and hurt my rankings).  But, it was the right thing to do.

Here is a link to the 2013 rankings, even tho not all the stops are on there for some reason.

At the 4th stop, I managed a 7th place finish in Austin.   Whew!  At that tourney though, fellow players Natalie Mans and Tara Williams finished high and were on my tail feathers!

Amanda Lampert had won the 3 of the first 4 stops, so she was pretty much guaranteed First Place, but I was trying to keep that 2nd place ranking in tact!

At the 5th stop in Oklahoma City at Jamaica Joes, I finished 9th.  Tara didn't show and Natalie finished 3rd again (her second in two tournaments).

So when the final stop arrives, I'm a nervous wreck!  I want to so badly finish the year well and so of course I put a lot of pressure on myself.  But who wouldn't?!  I wanted to remain in this coveted ranking that I have never been seated in before!

You all have read that title tournaments freak me out and so of course this felt the same way to me!  My boyfriend just kept telling me to have fun, and I tried to focus on that... even though it was tough, lol!  But he was right.  Have fun and enjoy playing.

Tara didn't show up again for some reason, and she was a real threat.  But Natalie was also a threat to my points.  And of course, my very first match is against Natalie!  Wow! 

But I managed to keep it together and I WON!  I was SO ecstatic!  But I told myself it's not over and to keep going.  Nothing was over til Sunday - and so it was way early to start celebrating, there were still a lot of factors.

But, I ended up lasting until Sunday!  And then I finished higher than Natalie and I that secured my SECOND PLACE RANKING!!!! OMG!!!  I finished 7th in the tourney and had to go outside and CRY!!

I did it!  Second Place on the OB Cues Ladies Tour!  WOW!!  My highest ranking EVER!

I am still shocked, yet very happy and honored.  :)  And to win it along side my bff is icing on the cake!  Amanda Lampert so deserves Tour Champion title, as she won 5 of the 6 events!!  I am in great company!!

First and Second, Baby!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Journey to the Mosconi Cup!

I have been going to Vegas (my favorite city) every year for 22 years straight.  Sometimes more than once a year!

I have never driven to Vegas, though.  Never really had the time (had to be there at a certain time to play in the BCAPL Nationals) or the trip didn't coincide with being able to take enough time off to play in Vegas AND drive.

Well, this year, for the Mosconi Cup, everything fell into place for me to drive to Vegas for the first time ever!

Usually the Mosconi Cup falls on a weekend, well this year the dates were December 2-5, A Monday through Thursday.  And with Thanksgiving the week before, I already had that date off.  So, the dates and weekends just fell into place for a longer-than-normal trip.

So, my b/f suggested we drive.


"Sure.  Have you seen the Grand Canyon?"

"Um no," I say with a little sparkle in my eye.

"Well, then we have to drive!  And I'll show you some other cool places, too!"

And the plan was set!  :)

I have to say it was the best road trip ever!  Sure, Vegas was fun and the Mosconi Cup is always a treat, but to drive and see all these cool places I had never been was THE BEST.

Here is my trip in pictures and words:

Day One (Wednesday, Nov 27th):

Drove from Dallas to Amarillo where we ate at the famous steak place, The Big Texan.  Home of the 27 ounce steak.  We were not impressed AT ALL with the steak we tried.  :(  But, I HAD to eat there - it's famous!

Then drove to Albuquerque.

Day Two:

Drove to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.  OMG that lake is BEAUTIFUL!  And we made a little fire by the lake!

Day Three:

Next day we drove to the Grand Canyon.  when they say you have to see it in person to appreciate it, they ain't lying!  These pics do NOT do it justice.  It was SO cool though because there was snow on the ground, too!

We also made a camp fire there in the campgrounds and even cooked steaks and had a really sweet dinner of beans, steaks and a salad.  Of course, it was in the 20s and we were COLD!  Our steaks had to be reheated b/c they kept cooling off, lol.

Day Four (Saturday, Nov 30th):

Drove to Lake Havasu, Arizona, in Lake Havasu City.

WOW!  It was in the low 70s and we got to walk around easier to see the water, sights, and amazing small city with breathtaking views!

This is also where we played in a little tourney that Sat night. and then later that week heard they looked me up, lol.

Day Five: (Sunday) Drove to Vegas, Baby!

We visited all the pool rooms in Vegas that most everyone frequents:  Pool Sharks, Best Billiards, and the Cue Club.  Mosconi Cup started Monday, so we walked the strip and did a little gambling before settling in.

Days Six- Eight:   Mosconi Cup.

USA didn't fair too well and lost to the Europeans by Day 3 (even tho there is 4 days slated for the tourney) FROWN.  However, it's still an awesome event to witness in person and I dare say a Bucket List item for pool players for sure!

Here are some pics from the event:

Fans getting autographs from the USA players during commercial break, and Jeanette Lee saying hi to Buddy Hall and Nick Varner.

 And me, drinking a Mai Tai during my breakfast at the Venetian. Hey, it's Vegas!!

Day Nine:

Drove to Tuscan, Arizona for some pool and spent the night there.

Day Ten:  
Drove to Midland/Odessa, Texas.

Day Eleven (Sunday, December 8):  
Drove back to Dallas/Fort Worth.  HOWEVER - the whole metroplex and 250 miles around it was ICED over.  It took us literally 10 hours to drive from Midland to Fort Worth, normally that would be 5 hours, but we had to drive SUPER slow on all that ice.  Honestly, we shouldn't have drove at all, but it wasn't about to thaw out any time soon so we risked it.  Eeeek!

I know the pictures don't do the trip justice, but I had such a great time seeing the USA like I had never seen it before!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Missing 8 Ball

I played on my Thursday ladies league last week at the other team's home bar.

The other team informed me as soon as I got there that the second table (we use two tables every time), was missing the eightball. Someone had stole it earlier in the week!

There is only two tables in this bar, so I stood there stunned, thinking, "Uh, we will be here ALL night trying to play all our matches on one table!"

I called one of my teammates and she had already left the house (she had a set of balls at her house, but was already half way away). 

Another option was to "borrow" an 8ball from another bar down the street.  They had already called and that was an option.

Then they said, "Well, we do have an extra ball.  It's just not an 8ball."

"You do?"

It's an extra 4 ball.  And we colored in the "4" with a black marker to indicate it's "the 8ball" not the 4 ball.

"Well heck, that will work!"

I admit it was tricky at times that night if you were solids, but not one person made the 4 (I mean 8 ball) out of turn. 

I love solutions!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from me to you and your families and loved ones!

How apropos lol

Friday, December 20, 2013

Team League Shirt

For some reason, and I honestly do not know why, one night on my women's team league night, one of the player's says, "Wear your shirt next week," to all the teammates.

I didn't really hear her or understand why she said that.  Maybe because after ACS State in October, since we didn't get a team pic that's why we were to wear it?

So, I wore it and sure enough we took a team pic with everyone in their cool blue team shirts!

However, over the next few weeks on Thursday night, my teammates kept wearing their blue team shirts.

Well, except me.

On this league, matching team shirts are not required on the nights we play league, and the last 3 years on the team, we never wore our shirts during the week, only at State and Nationals.

Of course every Thursday someone always says something, "Where is your shirt?"

Or the next week I would show up in my work clothes (black slacks and a nice top) and would say, "Damn I forgot again!" after I see my teammates walk in with their blue team shirts on.

I seriously would forget because I wasn't used to it!

We had our league Christmas party last Tuesday.  We all met for dinner and then exchanged our secret Santa gifts. 

Everyone was all dressed up nicely and some had Christmas themes going or super dressy.

I was THIS close to wearing the blue team shirt THAT night!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Maximum Coverage

Okay, "just" Maxim coverage but still, super cool to get this kind of publicity!

Maxim magazine is sought after - check out this video clip for their online mag!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Does a Nickname Mean?

At the Jamaica Joe's tourney I went to back in November (in Oklahoma City), Stan Tourangeau was there from Seattle.  He's a real nice guy and a heck of a player!

I asked him on Saturday night how his last match went, as I didn't know who he played or how it went.

He said, "I won, but it was a real close match.  The guy played real good and it went hill-hill."

I said, "Oh, who did you play?"

"Hippie Dave.  He doesn't have a nickname for nothing, ya know."


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mis-Ranked or Not?

Because I run a handicap tour (the Omega Billiards Tour), when I play in league and weekly tournaments, I joke to the players all the time about their rankings.

So, let's say they make a really tough shot, I'll banter, "Well, I need to move you up to an 8 now," lol.  They always look at me funny, wondering if I'm joking or not, lmao.

Or if they miss an easy shot I may say, "Oh man, you are overrated," as they laugh with me.

So, it was funny the other day when I played an Omega player during league.

I had talked to him a couple of months ago about lowering his handicap from a 7 to a 6.  A 7 is kinda like an Advanced player, and he hadn't placed well so I talked to him about moving him down.  I saw a few of his matches on the Tour and he didn't play as good as I thought.  He said he wondered why he was a 7 but didn't want to complain.  I told him I had mis-ranked him and so we agreed together he should be moved down to a 6.

So, he was happy I brought it up to him.

But, during the league match I have against him a month or two later, he breaks and makes a ball.  He starts his run and makes a few more balls.

Then he makes a few more.

"Whoa!  Maybe this guy should be a 7 after all," I'm thinking to myself! 

He hadn't made a mistake yet and is about to run out - a definite sign of a 7-ranked player!

I'm already to joke with him after he runs out, "Yep, gonna have to move you back up, buddy."

He shoots another ball and gets perfect.  He only has two balls left and then the 8 ball.  He shoots and instead of having a shot on the two ball next, he HOOKS himself!

"Yep, you're a 6,"  I say to myself.  lol.

Monday, December 16, 2013

First Time For Everything... Getting the Line

At the small tourney I wrote about before that I went to out of state in late November, even though I signed up as "Melinda," my b/f would say out loud, "Nice shot, Trigger!" after some good shots.  People at the tourney were confused - was my name Melinda or Trigger?  lol.  But I shared that "Trigger" was just my nickname.

Anyway, the guy I played for 3rd said if his wife wasn't sick at home, that he and her would like to play scotch doubles with my boyfriend and I.

Wow, Really?  Bring it!

After how well I played in the tourney, I was surprised he would even offer that, lol, but that told me maybe his wife played well, also.  But, I also knew that we would still win.  lol.  How's that for confidence!?

We had to leave the next morning, so my b/f got their phone #.

My b/f contacted them during the week to coordinate the discussion and all of a sudden they guy tells us he and his wife won't play us after all.


He says, "I was drunk when I said that."

So he counters, "well, then just play my girl some." 

"No, can't do that either."

"Why not?"

"We looked her up.  She plays good!  Trigger/Melinda/From Texas."

I couldn't believe it - my first time someone looked me up to get a line on me!!  LMAO.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Overcoming Nerves Encore

Every once in a while I get comments on my posts, and I thoroughly enjoy getting feedback!

Just this week, someone commented on a post from 2010!!

He said, "I play 8 ball in the UK and I have recently started to use some of the techniques that you suggested to control nerves. It seems to be helping me my game, so thank you very much for the good advice. Happy pool playing!"

This was the post he was referring to back from May 2010:  Overcoming Nerves.  I thought that it was really awesome he found the article he drew from, and so wanted to share it with folks again in case it helped others. 

Reminders are always good for me, too!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Out of State Weekly Tourney

I drove to the Mosoni Cup that was held in Vegas, my first time to EVER drive there, and I have been going to Vegas for 1-3 times a year for about 20 years, lol.  I'll be sharing pics soon of my travel there because I stopped at a lot of cool places I had never seen before.  :)

On one night, my b/f and I went to a local $5 tourney in Arizona.  I wanted to play in it to see how I would do, to test out how I would play in front of strangers.  Normally my heart beats right out of my chest and I think too much in these type of situations.

However, although all eyes were on the out-of-towners, I still played really freaking sporty!  Every guy I played, people would tell me, "he's plays good" and then I would win 2-0, lol.  I was really coming with great banks and shots!

I even impressed myself, lol.

The tourney was on open bar tables at a bowling alley, and the players were really nice!

I ended up playing my b/f in the hotseat.  I broke and ran the first set and was about to win the 2nd, but instead of playing conservative, I got too cocky and wanted to show off a little, and instead of taking a long shot on the 8 ball, I tried to be fancy and move around the table and missed.  He got out and broke and ran the last game to win.  Ugh!  One shot cost me a seat in the finals!

I lost the next match 1-2 and got $21 for third place and $5 for last lady (which they paid me about an hour before, lol).

It was cool to play so well in front of strangers.  Everyone told both of us how well I played.  It was cool.  :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Horse Could Have Made That Shot

So, most people know that my nickname is AkaTrigger, or Trigger (click here to find out why).

If you are over a certain age, then you know that Trigger is a horse of cowboy star Roy Rogers.  If you are younger, you prolly never even heard of Roy Rogers.

When I was given the nickname, I didn't know who Roy Rogers was, lol.

So, I'm at the Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas in early December, and many of the people I know there who also came to watch the USA pros versus the European pros, know me from the AB forums as "Trigger."

So as I walk down the hallways in Vegas, people say, "Hey Trigger, how are you?" not "Hey Melinda, what's up?"

On the first day of the tourney, Mark Griffin (CEO of BCAPL and CSI) is sitting right behind me in the stands. 

One of the pro players misses a shot, and Mark says, "Even Trigger could have made that shot."

I laughed out loud and turn to look at him with amusement. 

And the guy next to him says, "Uh, you mean the horse?"


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Earl Strickland Interview

I really loved this interview of Earl Strickland that they showed during the Mosconi Cup!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Team Spirit

I mentioned that I switched teams and joined a Sunday league.  I picked this team for two main reasons:  they are fun and they play good.

Well, there is a third really cool bonus!

The team is SUPER supportive!  I mean, more than most that I have been on.

I do really well with affirmations, and when you make a good shot on this team, a few of the players are vocal about it, "good shot Melinda!"  Or "Nice one, Melinda."

So of course it make me speak up when they come with a great shot, too.  Feels wonderful to support each other.  This is what I crave during my women's team events, but they are usually quiet lol.

Even the wife of one of the players supports the players, including me, when we come with great shots.   We all really appreciate the good shots and say something about it after the shots and it really is awesome to hear!

It pumps me up, and further, I know they are watching and caring.

I really love this new team!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opportunity Missed

The other day during my Sunday league, somehow it came up that one of the other players on the other team would prolly gamble with me.


One of the guys would play a girl?

Normally it's tough for me to find a game.

I had already seen how they played and knew it was a good match-up so I was excited about the opportunity.

I won my first 4 games with excellent play, but faltered the last two games due to too many spirits, lol. My team had already won the match and most of my teammates were already feeling good, also, lol.

After the match, they asked the guy and he said yes.

He wanted to play last pocket 8 ball, though, and I told him no.  I don't feel comfy with something I haven't played before and I have heard it's not a real easy game.  So, I stood my ground and would not play it.

Then he left to go talk to his friends, and, then came back up to me and said, "Okay, I'll play, but BCA rules."

I said, "Sounds good.  I have to go get my boyfriend who is just down the street playing league because we carpooled.  I'll be right back."

He said, "Let's just play now, race to 3 for $100."

I wanted to, but I needed to pick him up; and I wanted him there when I played.

I stressed, "I'll be RIGHT back," as I flew out the door to my car.

As I got to my car, my boyfriend texted that he got a ride and was on his way.  I told him I might have a game and he told me to get back inside and play.

I walk swiftly back in, and, well, it was already too late.

He had talked to a couple of people about me even though I was only gone about 5 whole minutes, and found out I played better than he thought and so he wouldn't play.

He did ask to play last pocket 8ball though again, and again I stood my ground, "Sorry, regular 8ball."

Neither of us would budge.

But, the point is, I missed my opportunity.  I should have played right then!  My b/f said he obviously would have understood and would have rather me played.

Next time, I have to jump right then at the chance.  Even 5 minutes can cost a good game.