Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Steller Last 12 Months

I saw a friend of mine over the weekend.  She wanted to buy me a drink, to toast my recent State Title win.  She was super sweet and I really absorbed the kind words, as was going through a tough time lately with the competitive side of pool I recently wrote about.

She has always been complimentary of my game.  And I have always appreciate her support.  I have also really enjoyed following her successes and pool journeys as well!

She told me I had "a stellar year."

I was like, um, it's only April and that's all I've done.

She explained, "I mean the last 12 months.  All of your accomplishments."

I tried to again discount her, "Two of those were women's teams events."

"Yea, but you were still a part of those teams!  And let's not forget you finished the year ranked SECOND on the OB Cues Ladies Tour."

Wow, I did have a great 12 months!!

She told me I am am inspiration to her. (blush)

It really meant a lot to me because I feel like my wins, accomplishments, and titles are not for myself.  She kinda proved it right there for me.  I feel like an I am an ambassador of the game, not just a player of the game.  I like to help people and pool, and feel it's my niche.

A HUGE thank you to Julie for making my day, and reminding me what a great year I had.

Here we are toasting!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Character Not Believed

I wrote last year and the year before, how I had really bad experiences with a couple of fellow competitors during big events.  Well, it happened again the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships.  :( 

When bad situations occur, it makes me really start to wonder if I should play pool anymore.  I'm tired of not being believed, or my character is being questioned.  But I'm more upset that I hurt people, my friends.

I walked by one of the girls on that Friday, who I upset a few years ago, and she looked me dead in the eye, and didn't say one word to me and kept walking by me.  Wow.  :(  I waited to see what she would do.  I guess I should have said hi and smiled, but I could already tell by her body language she could care less if I existed.

This year, I was told because of a certain instance, that I was sharking someone.  And, I was.  :(  I had no idea I was doing it.  As soon as my friend indicated to me that cheering for my teammate bothered her her, I felt like shit right away.  I sunk into my skin and felt horrible!

I was so into helping my teammate gain confidence, I didn't even realize I was cheering for my teammate while my opponent (my friend) was down on her shots.  I felt SO badly the rest of the day and was ashamed I had hurt a friend.  I apologized several times and she said rightfully and very stern, "Don't do it again," after we finished our match in the team event.

I stopped cheering for my teammates the rest of the tourney the next two days.  I felt so horrible.  :(

I apologized to her on Monday again, and wanted to wait til I got on a computer so I could type things out and not be limited to text messaging.

She had read my post about how these guys were talking during one of my singles matches and they should have known to be quiet, and she said it was ironic I wrote about that.

Well, I DID know that, I just didn't realize it.  :(

She felt I was deliberately sharking her and I have to say that that really hurt me.  I have never ever deliberately sharked anyone.  And we are friends, and I would never do that to her (or anyone, but especially a friend).

I presume my character will once again be talked about and it hurts me to the core that people think I would do things like this deliberately.

But I told her I was very thankful she put me in my place.  I needed to be because I did not realize what I was doing.  But to think I would do that deliberately really bothers me.  Because I am not like that AT ALL.

I have hurt our friendship beyond repair and for that I feel horrible about because I wasn't paying attention.

She pointed out that because of my years as a board member and because I have been bothered by others before, I should have known what I was doing.  I understand what she is saying but I also know I didn't realize I was cheering and being so disruptive when she was down on her shots.  I wasn't even looking at my opponent, I was trying to help my struggling teammate by yelling "good shot!" when she would execute a good safety or tough shot.  I don't think I would have been so engaged in my teammate if I wasn't the captain but I felt like it was my role to pump her up because she was struggling.

But these accusations keep happening and I keep hurting people and losing friends.  I won the Texas State tourney, but I felt nothing like a champion.  I just feel like quitting pool.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Don't Look at the Crowd

One of the best advice that Joe Salazar has ever given me is to not look at the crowd.

He shared with me that he won many tournaments against other great great players with this tactic. 

I try so hard not to look at the crowd when I'm in any matches - whether the first match of a tourney or the finals. 

I have captured a glimpse of something or someone and it affects me the rest of the match.  And it sucks!

No one means to affect us or do anything to disrupt us, but sometimes we just see things or hear things.

Case in point, I'm trying not to look in the crowd when I was playing in the hotseat match of the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships.  But about half way through the match, I notice a friend come and sit near Tracie and I's match.  He's always been super supportive of me and my game so it was cool.

So I thought.

After a good shot by Tracie, she walks over to this guy (for some reason) and high-fives her for her safety and they laugh together.

I see this and am thinking, "What the hell?"

I thought he was my friend.  (childish much, Melinda? lol)

Now, this isn't what normal people think on a daily basis, but it IS sometimes what competitors think in the heat of battle.  It's a very tricky little mental thing we go through with ourselves.

We want support; we don't want negatives.

I tried to tell myself that it didn't matter; he is my friend too, he isn't AGAINST me. 

But this is the type of thing we can accidentally see.  For all I know she was high-fiving him because he was still in the winner's side of his division.  Who knows! 

I know what you are thinking, "WHO CARES!"

Well, that is easier said than done when you are competing.  You all know what I'm saying.

Think about those few friends when they walk up you feel immediately comfortable.  Now think of those few people when you see them in the crowd you kinda cringe.

So, I just try not to look at the crowd.  I don't WANT to know who is watching.  It just gets me thinking too much.  JUST LIKE Joe said.

So, if you see my not turning around, or you try to get my attention and I don't respond while I'm in a match, that is why.  I'm trying to focus all my might, mind, and energy looking at the floor and on the playing this already mental game.


Stay Away Please

On my way to the hotseat match at the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships, I walk by a friend of mine from the Fort Worth area.

While he is a friend, he has also always rubbed me the wrong way and judges my play.  He used to comment about my mistakes after matches.  I call him "Straighty" in this blog entry I wrote about 2 years ago.

As I walk by him he says, "when do you play Tracie?"

"Right now,"

"Oh really?"

"Yep" as I keep walking.

I think to myself, "OMG please DO NOT come watch us play."

I would be too worried about what I'm doing wrong in front of him and what he would say to me later, instead of playing my game.

Luckily, he didn't watch.  Whew.

I was safe.

It's amazing how much certain people can affect us so negatively when we play when we have had bad history/experiences with them. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Like a Champ

On Friday morning, April 4th, I got a text from my good friend Rebecca in the morning, "How do you feel?" she asked me.

I replied, "Like a Champ!!"

It was the first time I had ever said that.  The first time I even thought about saying that.

I texted it right away with no thought.  Why?  Because I finally felt like a champ!!


It took Susan Lucci 18 years to win her Emmy.  It took me about 8 years to win the all-sought-after title I've always wanted to win, and always talked about it in my blog every year around April.

This is of course the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships tournament.  The one I have wanted to win so many years in a row; the one my friend Monica always told me: "you are the one to beat"; the on where I ALWAYS mentally psyched myself out and got jitters and could not win because I wanted it so badly I didn't play pool - I put too much pressure and "want" on myself.

As I mentioned before the tournament, I hadn't been playing too much pool, so I wasn't really prepared (I thought) but I did refresh on my mental toughness and 8-ball strategy (that I have hammered over and over already lol).

But why was this year different?  I can only guess:

  • I had no pressure because I hadn't really been practicing,
  • I had A LOT of support from my friends who couldn't make it (esp my friend Rebecca from Houston),
  • I know the game of 8-ball well,
  • The tourney wasn't packed full of Advanced Players (lol),
  • It was my time to win,
  • Mental toughness was always on my mind,
  • And... I had played with a great scotch doubles partner for an entire day before I played in the singles tourney.

I don't like to look at the brackets, but while I was resting in the hotel room about 2 hours before the women's singles division started, I see someone tagged me on Facebook and said they were playing me first on the stream.  Well, so much for not wanting to know who I play, lol!

I played that friend first and her game has improved so much and I was nervous, but I was somehow able to win.

My next match, I shake my opponent's hand and say, "Hi, I'm Melinda."  She states back, "I know who you are."


So I say, "Well, what's your name?" And then wished her a good match.

And good match it was!

She would tell me throughout the entire match how nervous she was to play me.  And I could see she was nervous.  But I tell you what - she played JAM up!  She was the only player to go to the hill with me and I honestly thought I was going to lose.
I was up 2-0 then 3-1, but then she she surprised me and broke and ran, ran a rack on my dry break, and then ran again after what I thought was a good safe.  She made a ball hill-hill and I saw her out and thought I was DONE.  But, I couldn't be upset - she played GOOD!

But, I was able to get to the table again and after a few safes back and forth, I finally won.  OMG I became very nervous as she kept getting out and getting out.  But I was able to hold it together and tell myself I wasn't doing anything wrong, just keep at it if I got another opportunity to play.


I want to take a minute to give her a shout out as she placed a VERY impressive 4th in this event!  Congrat's Jody!

In my 3rd match, I go up 2-0 against a good friend and good player, but then I make silly, stupid mistakes.  I get upset with myself, but try to reflect on what is happening so I can get back into the game right away.  I didn't want to lose because I was making mistakes!  Just like Brad Gilbert talks about in Winning Ugly.

I realized I was distracted and moved chairs so I could regroup and refocus because the score was 2-2 and I did NOT want her on the hill first!  Esp after being up 2-0!  I then won 4-2 by refocusing and figuring things out.

As this tourney was in Texas, I would have to play yet another friend!  We had a great match and she has improved a lot as well.  I won 4-1 I think.

I then have a VERY long wait ahead of me as the match I was waiting on hadn't even started yet.  I had my friend Dana go check the brackets to see what table I would be on, as I didn't want to see where I was on the bracket.

I waited and waited. 

I finally had an opponent, fellow National Teammate, Tracie Voelkering, who won this event last year.  So I knew my hands were full.  But her and I are such good friends, we were just happy we were both still doing well!

As what happened a few matches before, I got ahead 2-0, but then lost focus.  Ugh.  I started to make really stupid mistakes and reminded myself to figure out what was going on.  Get mentally tough again and stop being distracted.  But those mistakes cost me my lead and now the score was 2-2.  I could feel the tourney slipping away from me again like always!

I recalled Brad Gilberts' words of advice and refocused.  Recognizing early I needed to not get comfortable I was ahead and instead refocus deeply again.  As before, I didn't want my opponent on the hill first after I was playing so good to get up 2-0.

And then I won 4-2.  WHEW!

I go see what time I play next.  And I start crying!  OMG I just won the hotseat!!!  OMG I had never been this far before!  I had never been in the finals!  OMG!

I didn't give a flip I was crying - I was elated and ecstatic and could NOT believe it!!!  The tourney director tells me, "Hey Melinda your nose is red."  lol.  I told her I didn't care haha!  I didn't care who saw me, I was SO happy!!!

I had no idea where I was on the brackets!

I text my scotch doubles partner and tell him that I was in the finals and I KNOW it was partly because of playing 7 winning matches with him the previous day.

The next day I try not to freak myself out like I normally do.  I wrote before how I went to Texas Roadhouse at 4pm to re-read my notes, my fav sections on Brad's book (Winning Ugly) and had a margarita to calm down a little.

The finals wasn't until 7pm so I had plenty of time to relax, read, and then hit balls.

I go hit balls about 6pm or so and I can already tell that the finals will not be starting on time at 7pm lol.  Both players (who I had already defeated) were playing their little hearts out and it went hill-hill.  Angela Garza had a great tourney getting 3rd and I would be playing Tracie again, this time in the finals and this time on the stream.

I hit some more balls, read over my notes some more, practiced my banks.

Go pee a lot (when I get nervous I go pee a lot), but I never thought ahead.  I tried so hard not to even THINK that I was in the final.  Even tho I was!  I just tried to remain in the present only.

But, Tracie would have to double dip me and I knew I would put up a fight.

We finally start at 8pm on the stream table. 

And I did put up a fight.

And I won 4-1 in the first set to win my first ever BCAPL Texas State title!!


I remained calm.  Cool, collected.  I didn't think ahead.  Even though I could FEEL it inside me I was really going to win this time, I held it together and played POOL.

I didn't jump up and and down like I wanted to after I won, but I was VERY happy inside.  I was proud of Tracie for being in the finals after winning last year - now that's a lot of pressure!

SO many people shook my hand and congratulated me.  Roommie and teammate Janet was there and I told her not to hug me or else I'd cry.  She could only stand it about a minute and ran up to me and of course I cried!  And she whispered in my ear, "Your Mom sees you and is very proud of you."  I was already thinking about her and wanted to dedicate this win to her - my lovely Mom.

I called my boyfriend right away and was sobbing.  He was SO happy for me!  He told me, "I knew you could do it, Babe."  I was on cloud nine even though I could tell it hadn't really hit me.  Even now as I type this 3 weeks later, Wow, I'm really a Texas Champ?  WOW!

I saw Monica and she hugged me SO tightly, "I knew would do it, I knew it.  You were the one to beat!"  She has always been so supportive of me!

Two days later during the team event several people would stop and congratulate me.  One person in particular, Helen Hayes, stopped me and said, "I heard you won.  That is really a great honor and I am really happy for you.  It's a great feat!"  I could tell she was SO genuinely sincere AND that she knew in her heart how important it was.  It meant a lot she shared that with me, as I felt she knew how awesome it really was and how tough it can be to win it.  :)

Also during the team event, people would walk by as we were practicing and say, "Hey Melinda, congratulations" or "Good job, Melinda."  Finally Janet says, "What did you do?"  In this really sarcastic voice lol!!  I cracked up - she was so funny!

She would send me texts while sitting across from me at dinner or lunch and say, "hey guess what? You're a champ!"   It was cool to room with someone who was so happy for me.  :)

I can't believe it!  I'm the 2014 BCAPL Texas State Champion! 

For the past 3 weeks, every once in a while my b/f will catch me off guard and say to me, "Hey Texas Champ"  lol.  He's so proud of me.  :)

I admit I'm proud of myself.  All these years playing and all these years wanting and yearning to win this VERY tournament, I finally won. 

I had SO many experiences in tournaments that led me to this.  If I hadn't of played in all those tourneys, I never would have been able to collect all those experiences together to finally pull this off!  This game is so mental and normally I lose before I ever step in the tourney room because I would think too much bout what I wanted.

But I did so good this year!  No expectation, but still prepared by reading since I wasn't hitting balls.

I don't recommend JUST reading, but if you can't hit balls, you can still help yourself.

I joked with a lot of people I can now retire from pool.

Funny thing is.... I mean it!

But they would all say, "you'll just have to win nationals in Vegas now."

Uh, I don't think I'm that good, lol.  That isn't even a tourney I have ever fathomed I could possibly win. 

Texas State Champ.  WOW!

Still shocked....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No Smoking within 15 Feet

My favorite sign at the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships was this one:

Usually you just have to "go outside" with no restrictions.  This meant all us non-smokers would have to walk through smokers to get to our cars or come inside.

So, I REALLY liked this sign - no smoking within 15 feet of the building.  WOO HOO!


For non-smokers, this was pure awesomeness. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Decorated my Chalk

I think I'm so cool, lol. 

I saw this tape and liked the colors so decided to "mark" and decorate my own chalk! 

Especially since I kept losing that 'one' piece of god blue chalk at the State tourney.  Ugh!  So annoying when you find a good piece then it gets lost in the mix of all the other blue chalk on the table.
My friends had done this before - made some esp for me (awww!) and one of my other friends sells them to raise money for fans for the elderly:

Little did I know how TOUGH it is to wrap little pieces of chalk in freaking duct tape!!

They aren't perfect, but they are mine.  :)

Thank you, Phil Capelle!

I have attributed my vast knowledge of 8-ball to one book, one person, Phil Capelle, who has authored many books, but it's his Play Your Best Pool 8-ball section that has resonated with me most.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this post about little 'ole me on Facebook!

"Congratulations to Melinda Bailey for winning the women's open singles competition at the BCA Texas State 8-Ball Tournament. Melinda and her partner are also in the finals of the Scotch Doubles on Sunday. Melinda has been my webmaster for since its inception, so her win is especially sweet!!"

I was SO touched!!  

I shared his post and wrote:  

"I can't even begin to describe how much this means to me. I read the 8 ball section of Philip Capelle's "Play Your Best Pool" book twice before coming to this event to get ready.  So to get a shout out from the author who helped me with my 8 ball game all these years means SO MUCH to me. Thank you, Phil!"

 (Click to enlarge)

Phil and I have been friends for many years.  I am his webmaster, but we are friends first.  And he genuinely cares about me and my game.

I have turned to him several times in pool, and in life.  Once with how to handle embarrassment when yu play pool (focus on your pre-shot routine and fundamentals), for tips on 8-ball (I don't need to repeat this), straight pool tips, and even sometimes leaning on him and getting advice about life - like when my mom passed.

I feel like we have been on this journey together.  Thank you for your unimaginable support, Phil!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I will write about this in more detail later, because I want to capture down in words my most sought-after title, but I WON the Women's Singles Division of the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships back on April 3rd!  :)

Yep, I finally did it!  


However, a couple of recent comments have perturbed me.  And as you know, I write about good things and things that bother me as well, in this blog.  As, Pool is a Journey.

As I've stated before, pool is not all positive things, there are also down times and frustrating times, as with all sports and competition.  And I want to share all sides!

After I won the tourney, I of course went to FaceBook to announce my win.  Well, actually, I didn't say what I won, all I said was:
Omg I did it! My personal biggest pool goal/obstacle in the last 10-15 years! Wow! Thank you for all the support and love!
I got many congratulations and sincere comments for my accomplishment, but of course one little comment perturbed me:

"Good job Melinda! Looks like hanging around that new guy is paying off a little! lol"

I was like WHAT?

I was actually deeply hurt.  My new b/f does play good pool, but we don't even practice together and I've actually only seen him play 2 times in 6 months.  So, I didn't win because I am dating a good player!!

Then, just at league on Sunday a week later, I am playing 8-ball and playing some mean safes because there is no way to run out with all the clusters.  So, I'm playing smart 8-ball.

My opponent, who knows who my boyfriend is, says to me, "Who YOU'VE been practicing with?"

I snip back, "I've been playing safeties like this for YEARS."

I mean really, give a girl some credit!  

I've been playing pool for over 25 years and my game has gone up in the last 3-4 years because I finally solidified my fundamentals people!  Not because of who I am dating!

Quite honestly, my b/f and I don't even have time to play pool together. 

And trust me, if someone helps my game, I will FULLY admit it.  I have mentioned SEVERAL names in this blog when I get help and how it's helped me.  I'm not shy to admit it.

But to not give me credit hurt me, when in reality, I've worked really hard on my game and take pride in my accomplishments.    

The guy on Facebook said he was just kidding and "...I definitely deserve all the credit," but it still hurt a little because this title meant so much.

I finally won something that REALLY means the world to me, that I had YEARNED for for so long in my life, to only be credited to someone else, not myself.  :(  And when I play good at league you can't think it's because of my years of hard work?  That it's because of some guy I don't even play pool with?  Sheesh. 

Actually, people should be lucky I DON'T practice with him!  lol. 

But, I'm not going to focus on those the negatives.  But people need to realize that just because you are dating someone doesn't mean you are even playing pool together!  


Monday, April 14, 2014

My Biggest 8 Ball Advice!

I have said this a thousand times, and have kinda proven it helps, but people still don't do anything about it.

I have recommended to help your 8-ball game to read the 8-ball portion of Play Your Best Pool by Phil Capelle.

I became a Master player in 2002 because I read the book.

After a hiatus from competing, I was moved back down to the Open, but then I re-read that 8-ball section several times and won ACS Texas State Women's Singles in 2011, and then won BCAPL Nationals Women's Team event in 2012 and 2013. 

And most recently, placed first at 2014 BCAPL Texas State Championships.

I am more agitated about all this because of two recent things:

(1)  I saw the way some players played at the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships, and
(2)  A recent post on FB got me all riled up, lol.

(1) I was very perturbed as I sat there at the tourney and watched players do all sorts of crazy things because they have not learned how to play 8-ball.  It can't be learned from 9ball or by playing league.  I played for 12 years and never knew these things about 8-ball, UNTIL I read just that small section of his book.

And I do not really like to read - and it's a VERY easy read! 

Every page has a diagram on it, and Phil Capelle explains what you should or should not do in certain circumstances.

For instance, I saw these things at the tourney (and also during league):

  • Player makes all their balls and leaves their trouble ball last. WRONG.  You are suppose to try and get your trouble ball out early!  If you can't, then at least STOP making your balls!
  • Player doesn't take advantage to remove one ball of the two balls that are on the same bottom rail.  WRONG.  Omg please read the book!  When two of your balls are on the same bottom or top rail, it's almost impossible to get shape on them both at the same time, unless you happen to get ball-in-hand or get lucky.  Instead, eliminate one, then come back later for the other.
  • Player doesn't improve their balls, they just play safe, not realizing they should move their ball around to a better position.  WRONG.
  • Player keeps making their balls, when they should instead play safe.
  • Player doesn't even think about the ball they are going to use to set up on the 8ball ("key ball").  WRONG.
  • Player doesn't see they can break out their ball with a safe because their opponets' balls are tied up.  
  • Player doesn't realize they "should" leave their opponent a shot, so THEY can break up the cluster.

I could go on and on!

The book helps so much of what I did not know and would NEVER have known just by playing league or even just playing in tournaments.

Now, I'm not saying there is only ONE correct way, but there are very obvious choices at certain times in a match that a lot of players still do not know.

And that's okay!  

How are we suppose to really understand these amazing things about 8-ball on our own?  It's strategy, which is why I love 8-ball.

And I think the MAIN reason I saw all this this past week is b/c I refreshed myself on 8-ball extensively before the tourney by reading his 8-ball section twice.  So, it was all very fresh in my mind.

I swear I feel like I should put on a little clinic, lol!

(2) Then on FB a friend of mine asks how he can improve his 8-ball game.  He felt his 9-ball game was good, but wasn't sure why his 8-ball game wasn't.

OMG, I was SO shocked by some of the responses!

  • "Practice more."
  • "It's mental."
  • "Focus on your pre-shot routine."
  • "Think ahead."

OMG people!  Those reasons are NOT why his 9ball game is better and those things will NOT help his 8ball game.

I know I sound passionate and a little harsher than normal above, but I am frustrated because the answer is so simple, really.

And here is a perfect example:

A friend of mine (Cindy) posted on Facebook during the same tourney a few times about defense:  "I have decided it is just going to be a defensive weekend. "  And "...shot like crap had to play defense just to win." 

Her and I talked about this in between matches and she said she's finally figured out what I've been trying to say for the last couple of years (lol) about defense and strategy in 8-ball.  She played in the B-Division and placed an impressive SECOND! 

I asked her about Phil's Book for this blog entry (so you don't think it's all coming just me, lol):

"I took up pool very late in my life (August 2010) and was reading quite a bit of information but I was all over the place and was trying to do things way over my head. Then Melinda Bailey came along and suggested Phil Capelle's books. First thing I noticed was how it was laid out. It didn't matter whether I was a beginner or advance player; it was perfect. The suggestions asking yourself why for things such as missing a shot or losing a game. It mentally prepares your mind if you can take the time to read sections before tournament play. Before reading the books, I would look at the table like it was a bunch of skittles. No plan or map. I still have a lot of work to do but I am getting there. To sum it up in a couple of sentences, his books have helped me mentally, strategically, and with my confidence. It has slowed my game down which allows me to make better decisions at the table."

Thank you, Cindy!

Now, I am not saying you will magically become an 8-ball beast. You still need to have good fundamentals and still be able to make shots.  But even if you don't have those things, you will see an 8-ball layout in SUCH a different light.  You will see things not many people see.  You will love the game more because you understand it more.  And you WILL win more games. 

Because I am such a firm believer that it will help, I will do this:  If you buy Play Your Best Pool by Phil Capelle online, shoot me an email and then I will GIVE you $7!  I am serious!

I have some on-hand because I am Phil's webmaster.  If you buy it from me in person, you will get an even bigger discount, but obviously not everyone lives in the DFW-area.

Either way, I'll either give you money or give you a discount.

Please help yourself people!  You will THANK me, and be much happier with your game.  I PROMISE.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Resume for Stream

My scotch doubles partner and I, Marty, found ourselves in our VERY first match on the stream table of the scotch doubles event in Temple, Texas for the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships!

Lucky us.  Lol.

Luckily I've played on the stream many times, so I was very comfortable.  So comfortable in fact, I posted about it ahead of time on FaceBook.  If I was nervous or apprehensive, I SURELY wouldn't advertise it, lol. was the host streamer and I liked them A LOT this year.   I wrote last year how I didn't like the male commentator but the ladies this year did a FABULOUS job!  I was very impressed!  And glad they were there to showcase Texas' talent all week long.  :)

Before we began, the hosts wanted the players to fill out this form.  I guess so they could say things on the stream like, "She plays with a Custom Jim Buss Cue" or "His best advice is to 'Do all your thinking standing up.'"

So, Marty and I filled out our "resumes" and so did our opponents.  And so did every player who would be on the stream for the rest of the week.

As I turned in the sheet, and saw what Marty wrote down.  I was curious because he kept saying things like, "what have I won worthy" and "why would they want to know this" in his dry humor that he has.  lol.

The last question was "Most Valuable Lesson Learned."  I didn't understand what he wrote SO MUCH, that I took a pic of it so I could ask him about it later.

Here is our form (again please ignore my bad handwriting, lol)

(click to enlarge)

His response to that question was "Doesn't mean anything if they don't look like a player."

After our scotch doubles win, I asked him about it.  

"Uh, what did you mean?"

He said, "Just because they don't look like a pool player doesn't mean they aren't."


haha.  I get it now.  True!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Checklist. Check!

While I was reviewing my notes, highlighted sections, and tabbed pages in Winning Ugly to prepare for the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships., I decided I wanted to jot some notes down from the book so I could easily review them later.

I have made checklists before, and I really like being able to review things easily at my fingertips.  I can't really carry Winning Ugly around and flip through 30 pages that I tabbed, lol.

So, I wrote some key things down.

This list was different than my usual ones.  It didn't really list reminders I came up with for myself, but instead listed things I wanted to remember from that book.  So, these were more "killer instinct" mental reminders, than "pool" reminders.

I also tabbed the BOTTOM of the pages for what I needed to remember for this particular tourney, too.  I didn't want to re-read every single highlighted section for a 3rd time, but wanted to re-read the most important parts for my mental game for this tournament.

And there I was at Texas Roadhouse at 4pm on Thursday, right when it opened, in Temple, Texas, reading my notes, and reading my bottom-tabbed pages of my fav mental book.  A little refresher for me, if you will.

Why was I doing this?  I have only *touched* on it in my blog, but I found myself in the finals of the Women's Division of the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships!  My first time ever!

So, I was relaxing with a good meal, a margarita (match was scheduled for 7:30pm) and took my sweet time as I had a few hours til hit balls.

I sat there peaceful, although missing my boyfriend, peaceful and quiet and re-reading my notes.  Preparing myself mentally.

I have mentioned before I have written notes.  I am a firm believer in it, but I admit I haven't written any in some time I don't think.  I just knew because I hadn't been competing or hitting balls, I kinda needed to do this to help me.

I took my notes into the convention center and sat them next to my pool case as I slid out my cue to hit some balls.  Usually I hide my notes.  I think in the past I felt like people would judge me for needing help.

Well, not today!  I NEEDED the help and I honestly didn't care who saw I had notes.

A couple of people asked me if they could read them.  I said sure.

I even walked by my "mental coach," Joe Salazar, and shared it with him.  He reminded me I didn't have a very important one written down, "Don't look at the crowd."  Ooooh!  I added that to the bottom of the list right away. 

Tracie and Angela finally finished their hill-hill match and I went to wash my hands.  I took my notes in there with me.  I sat them next to the counter and was reading them as I was washing my hands.  A girl comes out of the stall and looks at me funny, seeing me hunched over reading something over the counter.

I don't care.

I didn't care who saw I was reading notes.

At the end of the day, I sit the notes down on the desk in my hotel room and my roommate and teammate, Janet, asked if she could read them.  "Sure," I said.

I didn't really realize how many people would WANT to read preparation notes.  I'm glad I wasn't shy and kept them visible because a lot of people seemed to really appreciate reading them.  Maybe it will help them in competition, too.

Here is a close up, you can click the photo to enlarge.  Please do not make fun of me about my horrible handwriting, tho!  lol.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Boot Dedication (photo)

Some people are very dedicated to pool.  And clever!

The boots are made for walkin'.... around the pool table!

Monday, April 7, 2014

You Can't Take the Scotch Out of the Double

I decided to play Scotch Doubles this year at the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships.

I just needed to find a partner.  Luckily he said yes!  As I wrote last week how I played with league-mate and top shooter of our league, Marty.

We didn't play one single game together, as we lived over an hour from each other.  The morning of the event, we each practiced alone to get used to the tables, not each other.  I knew we both knew 8ball well so wasn't worried about that part at all.  For long-tome readers, you've heard my philosophy on practicing for scotch doubles.

We win our first two matches 4-0.  Nice!

Then we falter and only win 4-2. (sarcasm on)


We barely win hill-hill at
AND 8pm.

WOW!  Close ones!!

But, that meant out of 40 teams, Marty and I are sitting pretty in the finals!!  Wow, really?  How cool!!  In the finals?!  :)

This was a Tuesday, and Wed and Thu was singles, teams was Fri, Sat and Sunday. So, we had to wait on other doubles teams to finish among all those other events, to see who we would meet in the finals.

The finals finally started about 2pm on Sunday.

I had played badly the last 3 games out of 4 in our last match in my women's team event and barely won those 3 games. Playing badly all of a sudden shook me up a little.  So, I could tell (and was worried) I wouldn't play well in scotch doubles, even though I had done good just 5 days before.

And, I did falter.  :(

Our opponents would have to double dip us.  And they also had to race to one extra game.

We got up 3-1 in the first set (we would have to race to 4 the first set), but they really, really came with it to win the next 3 games to win the first set.  The Advanced player came with some amazing shots!  Marty and I thought for sure we would get a shot at the table but he would make these fantastic caroms and shots to win, and she would make great banks to set him up on other great shots.  We didn't really have much a chance once they got to the table.

I felt bad I tried this one bank and sold out - then they won those next 3 games.  :(

Being on the TV table makes for embarrassment run through your veins, too.  It sucked - my knees were weak and shaky.  Ugh!

In the next set, the race is now one game shorter.  We go to 3, they 4.  WOW that's a short race.  But the match seemed to last very long in my mind for some reason.

The first game we run out after a chance at the table!  The next game we are running out and I miss the freaking 8ball in the side! OMG.  :(  I felt uncomfy too - I should have stood back up.

We had another chance but I missed a simple little shot to try and get shape on two balls.  UGH!  We find ourselves down 1-2.  :(  When in reality, we should have already won.

I kept trying not to freak out, but I was.  Then they won another.  And another.  YIKES!

All I could think of was how I dogged it for us.  How Marty had a chance at this Texas State title and I dogged it for us.  On the tv table.  In front of my friends.  Missing shots.

Marty would tell me, "I'm still happy to be here in this position with you (the finals)."  I smiled with his comforting words.

And he would tell me after I missed the 8ball and apologized, "You are still a Texas State Champion."  I was like, oh yea!  lol.  He was a very calm partner.  Not only with words, but smooooth as silk on the table.  Truly a joy to play with.

We finally get a shot at the table and I'm left with a VERY tough 8 ball.... and I miss.  But it really was SUPER tricky.  I had to thin cut the 8... and not scratch.  Even though it's my fav shot, the nerves could not keep me steady... and I missed :(

I left them a bank and the male player shook his head as he approached the table and looked at the bank I left him.  But he hit it perfectly playing a two-way shot.  He missed it barely and left the cue ball on the other end of the table.  But..... it scratched!  OMG a roll!

Now it's hill-hill!  Still a little life in us.  Whew!

I was still upset at my "easy" misses as I stood there watching them run out after our dry break.  :(  Again they each came with good shots as they continued to play well together.

Then!  We caught a break when the male player had to jump for his last ball.  I couldn't believe we had a chance again! 

I was a nervous wreck - I didn't want to dog it any more than I already had.  UGH.

First shot I had was a ball-in-hand safe.  I don't stop my ball well but this time I gave it all my might and actually stopped the ball perfectly nudged between the rail and the 8ball so they couldn't hit their last stripe.

After we got ball-in-hand again, I played everything VERY safe (I didn't want to take any weird risks that would make me miss), while I left all these tough shots for Marty (SORRY!).  But he was so solid and still and made all these tough shots for us to make our run.  I had to shoot the 8ball last, and it was a cut, but I breathed and took my time, and MADE IT!

WE WON!!!!

OMG we won!!

Texas State Doubles Champs!!

I'm still in shock how we won!  I did play some good safes, I suppose, and obviously I made some good shots, not just missed those few, but I just can't believe we won because it seemed like we were "done" so many times.

All week, anytime someone asked me who my partner was, each person said Marty would be a great partner, and he was!  He was calm, cool, collected, played REALLY well and smart, and had a very solid and smooth stroke.  And he knows the game VERY well.  I learned a lot from him which will lead to a future exciting blog post (to come).

Marty said it himself when he said "We did not have any free rides.  Three double-hill matches out of six on our way to the finals.  Then two more double-hills with the second place team.  But we kept shooting, never gave up, and prevailed in the end."

What an honor!  I'm so glad he said yes when I asked him to play!

Marty Jones and Melinda Bailey, 
2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Scotch Doubles Champions!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Memories During Matches

I was playing in our 3rd round match this morning in my women's team event at the 2014 BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships.

Minding my own business, while focusing on my opponent, I look to my left and am in complete and udder shock.

While I was kinda stunned by but what I saw, but I was also at the same time very humbled.

Here was this elderly woman playing pool next to me.  And she was on oxygen.  She had a little pack to hold the portable oxygen tank and she was slowly moving around the table trying to play pool.

She talked loud, and I could tell it seemed like she was having fun.  Even though I could also see just how weak and exhausted she was.

I would find out later she was deaf and that's why she talked loud about her shots.

I don't even know how I was able to play pool seeing her.  It was TOUGH on me to focus.  I fully admit.

She reminded me SO much of my Mom!  My Mom was on oxygen, my Mom had the same bruises on her arms, she too was weak, frail, skinny, hunched over a little, exhausted just by walking slowly around the table.

My Mom even wore glasses and has the same hair as this women, Linda.

Emphysema is a terrible disease.  Hard to live with it, hard to see someone you love live with it.  Not being able to take deep breathes and be always weak is torture.  :(

I was able to finish my game, but watched her other match later on in the set.  I also asked if I could take a pic of her oxygen and noted I was happy they made them lightweight now (well, for as light as they still can).

Brutal match for me.

But at the same time, so happy to see her TRYING to play pool.  Not caring she is on oxygen and has this plastic line over her ears and under her nose.  Most people hide at home, but there she was playing the game we all love.

I heard this may be her last year to play, and I could tell how tough it was for her and how much energy it took.

Gosh I miss my Mom.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Please Be Quiet

I got surprised during one of my singles matches on Wednesday.

I'm playing a friend of mine in the 5th round, and it's getting late in the day, about 630pm or so.  Doesn't seem late, but with players playing and drinking all day, it makes for a long day.

By drinking I mean, the guys to the right of our table were pretty lit.  I recognized one of the players but all his friends watching I did not know.

About the middle of our match, they start to get loud.  Their friend had just lost the match and so they were talking more.  And talking loud.

I noticed it, but tried not to let it bother me, and just focused on my game.

Then all of a sudden, my opponent's husband walks over to them and asks nicely to talk softer because we are still in a match.

Now, this may seem normal, really.  But, my friends' husband isn't a big guy, and the guys who were talking real loud WERE.  Two of the 4 were big guys, but he didn't care.  He didn't want them to distract his woman or I.

I whispered "thank you" as he walked by.

I was REALLY impressed!  He did this all on his own, without any provoking from either of us.  He just recognized what was going on and took the initiative to ask them for us.

He sits down for about 10 minutes and then gets up and leaves.  As he leaves, I heard one of those guys say, "He's prolly going to get a ref."

I was ticked!


You are STILL kinda talking loud, and we are in a match, and you are getting miffed he might get a ref??

He didn't get a ref, and came back and continued to watch us play.

About 15 more minutes pass, and his wife is at the table.  One of the guys is hitting balls on the table next to us and all of a sudden he says, "I can't cross into that area right there.  He's staring at me."

I shook my head and so did her husband.  He says to him, "What?  I'm not even looking at you or your way."

I was dumbfounded.

Really I was.

I shot at an 8ball soon after that and the guy I recognized was in my line of sight.  I made the ball then went up to him all smiles and said, "thank you for not moving!"  Trying to calm the situation down.

I didn't know if it was the alcohol or what, but it could have got ugly for no reason.


I didn't hear any other comments.  Thankfully.

I just didn't understand why the guys didn't recognize they were being loud.  Most people would have been quiet, or left the area.  They wouldn't have been upset about it.


Asking Questions Leads to Angst

It's amazing to me how much I rub people the wrong way sometimes.  I don't mean to, but it happens.  

Before starting in the scotch doubles tourney, I looked at the brackets and noticed that none of the "Advanced" teams were noted.

Last couple of years, an open player could play with an Advanced player, but they would just go one extra game.  Which is cool to let them play!

But since both my partner and I are Open players, I admit I didn't want to play an Advanced team even, lol.

So, of course I asked about it.

And they changed the races for the players who had an Advanced player.  And of course those teams weren't very happy with me. :(

I tried not to let it get to me, even though I could over hear a few players complaining they had to go one extra game.  I figure if I didn't ask, someone else would have eventually.  Right?  

Well, I hope so.

Shiny Balls

As I mentioned, I'm at the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships this week in Temple, Texas.

We are using the Cyclops balls, as was used at BCAPL Nationals last year in May.

I show up to the convention center in Temple, Texas on Monday night about 10pm to hit some balls, but they are about to shut the room down so the Tournament Directors can get some sleep.  It would be the ONLY night they would be able to get to bed at a decent hour, lol.

I admit I was in shock, as I really wanted to hit some balls on the Diamond Tables like I like to do.  But, luckily they opened 2 hours early before the first 10am matches the next day, and I was able to get some time on the tables then.

This was a new venue for this annual event and everyone was anxious to see what it looked it.  Here is the layout:

You'll notice that there are no overhead lights above each table.  The lighting was already bright enough that individual table lights weren't needed.

Before they closed the doors, my of my girlfriends said, "Check this out," as she grabbed some balls from one of the tables to show me something.

She says, "check out the glare on the balls."

I look at them and see the lights are reflecting bad off the balls!  I was like, "Wow!"

Now, I don't think I would be looking at the glare/reflection of the lights, as I would be concentrating on hitting the right spot on the balls, but I wished I hadn't been told that.  I don't think I would have noticed!  Even the next day someone said the high lights cause a shadow around the balls.  Really?  I don't notice crap like that.  Stop telling me things!  Lol.

Here is a pic of the balls from Wed, and you see the reflection pretty easily on the balls (click photo to enlarge):

The next day, when I finally get to hit balls, I mention it to one of the good players there.

I told him, "I wish someone wouldn't have pointed this out to me, because I didn't even notice it myself, but check out the reflection of the lights on the balls!"

Crap!  I didn't have time to stop myself from talking.  As soon as I said, "I wish someone hadn't pointed this out to me" I realized I shouldn't be pointing it out to him,  Ooops.

His reply shocked me, tho.

He said, "Well, that's with all new ball sets.  Picture old balls - you never see the reflection."

Oh wow - good point!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Beauty of Online Brackets

I am playing in singles event of the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships this week (along with scotch and teams).

After I won my 3rd round match 4-2, my opponent says to me "I wonder when I play next?"

I confided I didn't know.  I knew I played in about 30 minutes, but wasn't sure of her next time (because I didn't look at the one-loss side times).

She says, "Well, I better check right now in case it's soon."

I was putting my cues up and collecting my stuff and noticed she didn't get up to check the brackets on the other side of the room.

She was on her phone.

I said, "OMG what are you doing?"

"I'm looking up the time online on my phone so I don't have to walk all the way over there."


Clever girl!

As I walked down the aisles the last couple of days in the Convention Center in Temple, Texas, I've actually seen MANY players looking at brackets on their phones .  

It's pretty cool actually!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm Still a Tennis Amateur

I'm playing in the Scotch Doubles tourney of the BCAPL Texas State 9-Ball Championships this week here in Temple, Texas.

I am playing with a league-mate, Marty Jones.  He was always at the top of the league but this year he sits in the #1 spot for the first time (and there are close to 200 people in this league).  I played him in a little 8-ball tourney a while back and came to appreciate his game even more.  So I asked him if he would like to play with me and he said, yes.

Since I am in a rut, it made for an interesting day yesterday, tho!

It reminded me of a tennis game I played once against a friend of mine when I was in my late 20s.

She had played tennis in high school, I had not.  But we wanted some exercise so we decided tennis was the way to go and it would be fun too.

Since I hadn't ever really played tennis, but it looked simply enough to bat the ball over the short fence (net), I was all for it.

I would just hit the ball over the net.  I had no accuracy, no control, and my only goal was to get it over the net.

What did this mean?

It turns out my girlfriend got a lot more exercise in than I did!

I meant that she was running back and forth the whole time!

She was busting ass trying to hit my wild balls....while she was aiming the ball right towards me the whole time.  I recall kinda just standing there, easily hitting the ball over the net.  I hardly had to move around or run.  But her!  She was running left and right and back again and up and down and left and right trying to retrieve my balls!

We never played again, lol, but that one time.

This is how I felt yesterday in my scotch doubles matches.  My partner was getting me perfect shape; leaving me easy shots.  I was struggling and would therefore leave him really rough and tough shots a lot.  Long shots, long cuts, tough shots that required a very steady stroke, etc.  He made 99% of them tho!  But it was just like that tennis game I played 15 years ago - he was making all the tough shots and I had all the easy shots!

I noticed this about half way through the day, especially when I started to get tired and he was making all these fantastic tough shots.  I even said something to him about it and he jokingly replied he could leave me the tough ones and he could start shooting easy ones, lol.

Thank goodness he played well, while I played "decent," because we won the hotseat last night!

Finals are not scheduled because of the other events but we have to be doubles dipped and we WILL make it tough for that to happen!