Friday, August 29, 2014

Tougher Than it Seems

I went to the lake over the weekend and went swimming and hiking during the day.   It was really, really fun and beautiful!  On one of the nights, my bf and I went to a little bar down the street because we heard they have karaoke.

As I walk in, I see they have 2 little bar tables.  Oh cool!

I don't play for fun but it's cool to watch drunk people play, lol.

After singing "You Look So Good in Love" by George Strait, I go back by the bar area to watch pool.

Long story short,  we get to play doubles for money!  Woo-hoo!

While I stated earlier I don't play for fun, I don't.  But this is gambling.  And gambling is business. Plus, as many know gambling can also help your game (by putting yourself under pressure).

And playing $100 a GAME was pressure enough for me lol.

The thing is, I know how to play pool.  Good.  And the guys we were playing were not good.  If I play too good and they see that, they may not play us another game, or they may get mad/upset.

So, imagine my surprise when I need to act like I can't play.  And to help that, I kinda pretend like I'm drunk, just like they were.

Might seem easy, right?

Miss tough shots, but play smart, but don't make all your balls even if you can run out, take your time, swagger, act drunk, smile a lot (that's what drunk people do right? Smile a lot), act super surprised when you don't scratch or act excited and giggly when you make the winning shot.

Well, I did all that and it was TOUGH!  It's really not easy at all to stumble and act drunk and then get down on the shot and go from drunk to a steady hand, keep your head still, and stroke well to make critical shots (like the 8 ball I had to make).

I tell you what, it would have been much easier to be my old 25 year old self when I whacked at balls and jumped right up from my shots and didn't take my time (that's kinda how a drunk person plays pool, right?).  But, I had to bear down and make shots....all the while I'm trying to act like a drunk idiot.

Guess I acted well enough.   We won both games.  :)

But dang was that tougher than I thought!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rory Quote About Outcomes

Rory McIlroy has had a hell of a year as a pro golfer.

He's winning tourneys and majors left and right.

LOVE these words from him from a recent interview:

"I can't control the outcome.  I can't control what other people do.  So do I expect to win. No.  But do I expect to do all the things that I know I can do and control?  Yes.  And I know that if I do those will,  there's a good chance that I'll win. "

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Stay Healthy at Tourneys



It IS kinda funny but let's think about how true this really is.

When you remain in a big tourney til Sunday for a weekend tourney or til the end on an all day tourney, you tend to take care of yourself more.

You do not eat not too heavy so you can focus better (too much food in the tummy takes away from brain oxygen), you don't drink a lot of alcohol because you want to give yourself a better chance,  you keep hydrated with lots of water, etc.

And if it's a weekend tourney and you last til Sunday, you will more likely not stay at the pool hall and get drunk nor stay out late on Saturday night.   And you won't be eating your sorrow loss away with a stupid heavy meal.  You'll get to bed at a decent hour so you get plenty of sleep (if the tourney means anything to you).

So the moral of the story?  Stay as long as you can in the freaking tourney.  Lol.

I know it helps me.  I've ate plenty of pasta or greasy hamburgers after losing out of a tourney to drown my sorrows, lol.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bad Practice and Two-Stroking

I mentioned that I played poorly during the BCAPL Nationals this year in July.

I have been trying to figure out why.  One of the reasons is because I didn't get enough sleep .  But truly, the other reason, once I thought about it, was because I was practicing bad.

I have written numerous time how I hadn't practiced not even ONE time before my two recent big wins (BCAPL Texas State Ladies Single title and ACS 9-Ball Ladies Single title).

Well, this time I decided to practice before the BCAPL Nationals.  While that may seem like a good idea, it bit me in the ass instead.

I thought practicing straight pool would help me, but it did not. 

While straight pool is suppose to hone you in and help your rotation games, I ended up two-stroking my shots (literally only stroking only TWICE and then shooting) b/c I was playing by myself (no pressure) but more so because the shots seemed easy to me.

I no longer had that good stroke that everyone talked about.  And two-stroking is NOT good for me.  Hurts my shot making ability 100%.

I was even playing bad on my Thursday night ladies league before Nationals.  I knew something was off, but I didn't know what until in Vegas I was missing shots I don't normally miss b/c I was back to two-stroking.

"Any day of the week, no practice is better than bad practice."

-Randy Goettlicher, Pool School Instructor
Once I figured this out (too late during that big event), I have been playing much better at my ladies league and even played well in the last Omega!  Got 17th out of 80 players :) :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Posting Excuses Before a Tourney

People think they are so clever.

Especially when we see posts BEFORE a tournament where players proclaim their ailments, problems, worries, or excuses before hand.  Before they even get to the event!  Before they even PACK for an event!

That's one thing I just do not do.  Sure, I can provide you a million excuses after I place or play badly, but I don't normally foreshadow my own worries and concerns for all to see.

When I read all those posts and proclamations, I just think to myself they are getting ready for failure.

But, if you think about it from a psychological view, in reality they are also preparing themselves and their friends for why they didn't do well.  That really puts LESS pressure on them, right?

"Well, I did real well at the last event, but since I explained on Facebook I'm not ready because I haven't been playing and my car broke down and my right pinky nail is broken, everyone will already understand when I don't do well this time."

Obviously,  I'm exaggerating,  but I've seen these posts by at least one player before every single tourney.

I asked a psychologist friend about this and this is what he said:

"There are several reasons for people to behave like this. 
  1. The most obvious one is that they are making excuses before hand for a poor performance. They are setting up a situation where playing poorly is excusable, and if they happen to perform well, they are pleasantly "surprised" 
  2. Depending on the person, it could also be a situation where they want people to feel sympathy or guilt. Possibly in order to gain some advantage psychologically when their opponent feels bad or they just want a pity party from everyone they compete against, where an opponent might make uncharacteristic errors as a result. 
  3. Or it could just be that some people simply like to draw attention to themselves and they achieve this through their "excuse" behavior. Always bringing attention to their "excuse" whether they perform poorly or well, despite their excuse."

Some of these reasons can seem harsh, but why DO people advertise ahead of time their excuse already?   Does it help them?  Hmm..... Maybe it does...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Emotions Can Harm

I have written before how when you run a Tournament and also play in one, that you have to be able to turn off your emotions immediately if you suffer a loss in a match to start back running the tournament.

There's really not much time to vent or internalize the loss.  Because even though we are human, we have to kinda not deal with the loss and instead get to work right away and be professional at all times.

The thing is, this is really the case after ANY loss anywhere, no matter what you are doing.


Some people need time alone, or walk outside to scream (or cry), or some people bitch out their significant other because they are so mad.  Or maybe we snap at a friend who witnessed the disaster, because we are embarrassed about our loss.

Or sometimes, we walk away from supportive friends instead of being nice, because we are SO upset with ourselves.

That's what I did to a dear friend in Vegas.


And I feel terrible about it.

I was I n the middle of a Monday morning winners side match when I saw a dear friend from Florida.  I walked from the inside of the roped-area to give her a hug in the aisle.

She said she couldn't believe I had done that in the middle of my match, but don't normally get to see my friend Heather.  I told her, "of course I would!"

I got back to my match and I am struggling something awful.   My friend was super sweet to watch me in my match.

But because I should have already beat my opponent and was struggling, it wasn't a very pretty match for her watch lol.

We chatted several times quietly while my opponent was at the table, so we got to catch up a little.

After I lost, I was really pissed.  I mean really pissed.  I should have won.  Ugh!!!  I was very upset at myself.

I put my things together... AND LEFT!

I feel so badly.....I didn't tell Heather bye or thanks for watching or nothing.  I was so upset with myself,  I honestly couldn't speak, much less say anything nice.

And feel bad for just leaving like that.  Not really like me at all.

I know she understands,  but it's still not acceptable from me.

This how emotional the game is for us....

Monday, August 18, 2014

Call Your Safes

Sometimes I feel really silly in a tight 8 ball match when we each keep playing safe back and forth, and I call "safe" every single time, even when the safe is obvious and when the past 5 to 10 trips to the table I've already called safe.

But, I have found myself in a couple of pickles in last 2 months.  Once in Vegas and once in league.

In both matches, we keep playing safe.  Obvious safes, too.

But at one point in each match, I played a safe, didn't say "safe" out loud because it was very obvious I was going to make contact with my ball first and continue the safety battle.

Well, I made my ball!

You may think this is no big deal, but most of the time in 8 ball you want to leave as many of your balls on the table as possible.   AND THEN it was my shot again!  When I had just made a ball by accident, and now have to get out of my own safe!

If I at least would have said "safe" they would have had to get out of my safe, not myself.

Sheeeesh, Melinda.  Learn already, lol.

In Vegas, it was REALLY brutal.  I only tried to "hit" my ball.  In my mind, there was NO chance I would make my ball so I didn't call safe.  Well, I hit it SO badly, I made my ball.  I sat down, ready for my opponent to shoot, but she's looking at me funny.

OH SH!T!  It's still my shot!

I was playing a safe in my mind, but she didn't know it, and so it was my shot next.  Ugh.  Even one of my friends who was watching said after the match, "I was hoping you'd stop making your balls."

I replied, "I know - it was an accident, lol!"

Luckily, I was able to play an even better safe that time (and yes I said "safe," lol).

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Three Hundred Sixty Degrees

I thoroughly enjoy better players watching me play pool.  I love to pick their brains after shots or matches.  It either confirms I played a shot correctly, or maybe there was another option I could have played differently that would have had a better outcome.

This happened during my Sunday league playoffs in July.

My friend Greg was watching our team, and we would talk about shots and I would ask him questions.

After one of my matches, a very very long safety game where I had the upper hand but ended up losing, we talked about my last (failed) safety.

He said that it was obvious to play safe the opposite way I did.  He said if I would have walked around the entire shot, I would have seen it.  Most people watching were looking at the shot from his view also, and they all saw the better safe, too.

But not I.

I was frozen to my ball, and only saw a few safes.  And I actually studied it for a long while because I didn't see an obvious good safe.  But the better/obvious safe was one in which I didn't see.... because I didn't walk all the way around the shot.

360 degrees people!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Take Your Time When Struggling

When you are struggling, it's very good to exaggerate your fundamentals.

I remember during a state tournament when I was two-stroking shots because I was nervous.  But... I didn't know I was.  My boyfriend at the time told me, "you are two-stroking.  Take your time.  Stroke more."

And like magic, I started to play better.  I was nervous, heart was racing, I felt a lot of pressure,  and my adrenaline was going wild.  While I know to take deep, deliberate long breathes when my adrenaline is fast, slowing my breathing was not helping my stroke, lol.

But, stroking more and taking my time calmed my fast pace.  And it helped me out.... immensely.

So when an Omega Tour player named Dylan told me two weekends ago, "yeah, I learned you should exaggerate your strokes when you're struggling."  It was a great reminder.

Because as you can all picture in your mind right now, when you feel pressure, you stroke fast, stroke less, jump up easier,  etc.  You can feel all that can't you?  During a high pressure situation?  Right?


But after you have been in many of those situations,  you learn to take your time.  To not play fast.  To not rush yourself.  You find out that taking your time and stroking more during pressure allows you to stay down and get the job done.  Nothing worse than rushing a shot, dogging it, and losing a match or key game.

Exaggerate those strokes!  Take your time!

Time is your friend, my friends.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Asking About a Foul

I had a very good learning experience during my BCAPL singles event.

I think it's important to share.

Long story short.... I make the 1 ball on my first shot (I'm first at the table), but then find myself frozen on the 6 ball.  So I had no other option but to play safe.

I called safe.

As I walk to my chair, my opponent asked me if I hit the 6 ball.

"Well yeah.... I was frozen to it because I messed up. "  I thought to myself disappointed with my shot.

I replied to her, "yes I did."

As I go to sit down, I don't see that she has picked up the cueball.

But then I don't see it on the table anymore and she has it in her hand.  I thought to myself,  "wow, I didn't realize I scratched."

After she surveyed the table well, she puts the cueball down... but is about to make a solid.

I jump up to stop her.  "Wait, wait, I'm solids!"

She says to me very honestly, yet confused, " I asked if you fouled. "

At this point, I don't understand.

She didn't ask me if I fouled, she asked me if I hit the 6 ball.

Which I did.

Turns out, she thought I made a STRIPE (not the 1 ball), and therefore she thought I was stripes.

And therefore, when she asked if I hit the 6 ball first, yes I did and it was true.  But since she thought I was stripes, she thought it was a foul.

Follow me?

So that's why she picked up the cueball.

(I didn't scratch after all).

The moral of this miscommunication story for me is to remember in future matches to ask if it was a foul, not if a certain ball was hit.

Because I can totally see this happening to me,  too.

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Personal View of Ivory

As many of you know, my Mom passed away almost 3 years ago this month (I hate August).  I have mentioned her a lot in my blog, as she was a very important person in my life (and vice verse).

One of the more personal things about my Mom I haven't shared here (but is very apparent all over my Facebook page), is that my Mom loved elephants.  She loved all animals, actually, but for some reason she really loved elephants.  I even took her to an Elephant Sanctuary in 2008, before she could no longer walk far.

Photo op near an Elephant statue, and then real elephants walked up to get in the pic with Mom!

My Mom was a very compassionate for animals.  She sent money to several animal organizations to help animals endangered or in distress.

So, imagine my surprise when I'm designing my 4th custom cue in 2009 and the cue maker sends me a mock up and written detail of the design I came up with.

Where I put "white" he changed to "ivory."



My Mom LOVES elephants.  I can't use ivory in my cue!

I told him I wanted holly, not ivory.   He said that ivory would make the cue more valuable.

Well, I could care less about that.  And I hadn't planned on ever selling the cue, anyway.   But bottom line, I could never have ivory in my cues.

He obliged, luckily.

I'm having another custom cue made and my description included this, "Also, this may sound silly, but I don't want ivory on the cue where I've asked for white.  Personal preference."

Honoring my Momma every day!

One of the many stuffed animal elephants I bought my Mom for her hospital rooms.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Did I Miss my Match?

I heard something really funny after the June Omega Billiards Tour stop.

One of the players drank a little too much on Saturday night of the tourney.   I saw him play next to me at one point, when each of our matches were next to each other.

I noticed he was talking more, and a little bit louder and interactive with his opponent than I was used to,  but I haven't really seen him play a lot so didn't know if this was normal for him or unusual.

I did hear him say at one point,  "I'd be beating you more if I was sober.  Just wait til tomorrow! " Or something like that lol,

A couple of weeks later at another tourney he's telling someone about that night and how drunk he was.

He shared, laughing,  "Yeah I was really drunk that night.   So drunk that when I woke up Sunday morning,  I woke up late for my match!   I couldn't believe it.  I quickly checked the brackets that were posted online to see how late I was.  And I saw that I had actually LOST that last match that night and wasn't even still in the tourney Sunday like I thought!"

LOL!  That's hysterical.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wearing Your Emotions

People either hold in their anger or show it during/after matches.

I overheard this exchange at one of the Omega Tournaments this year:

"If I get mad, it's not at you.   I just have to let it out.  I can`t keep it in like you," a player told his opponent right before they started their match.

His opponent would tell me later, after I asked him about it, "oh I'm sure I get just as mad, I get just as mad inside tho; I just don't show it on the outside."

Another time, I handed a player their envelope with cash in it, and he ripped it right in half in front of me.


But, he was just upset he lost and only got about $50.

Many people are judged when they show emotions when competing when in reality, we just all show it differently and handle it differently.

Being raised verbally abused, I know what it means to show anger and to express yourself loudly.

And I used to show my emotions also when I first started to compete in pool.

In my career/job,  I took many of the leadership classes and finally learned after years and years of maturing, learning, life experiences, and trying to be a better person, I finally learned to not spat off at people,  not raise my voice when I'm angry, and be more professional at all times (even during very tough times).

And of course this carried over into my pool journey as well.

I also saw how others looked when they "acted up" after they lost or got a bad roll and I didn't want to be that person anymore.

It also helped to be a Tournament Director, as I had to be a rep as well.

However, where I struggle sometimes is I recognize that emotions are part of the game.  However, reacting badly and causing a scene is actually bad sportsmanship.  As a Tournament Director, where do I draw the line and have to say something?

(View the rules of Sportsmanship on the Omega Billiards Tour:  HERE)

I should have talked to a couple of players when I ran another Tour for over-the-top behavior and rudeness. But venting and showing too much negative emotions can be construed as bad sportsmanship.   But, that's just how some people show their emotions, while others show it later on the drive home or by walking outside fuming lol.

I know how tough it is to NOT show emotion. And some people are simply OK with showing  their frustration, even when all of us look at them like ,"there they go again. "

I think taking all those leadership classes has helped me deal with all the different situations that can come up during events.  I'm pretty lucky.   And I suppose the players are too, lol.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Pool Player - But So Much More

A few years ago, I was sitting in a local pool room, about to play in a match, and this girl walked by and stopped by my table.

She introduced herself and told me she was my biggest fan and always saw me, but finally had the courage to talk to me this night.

I shook her hand before she darted off, and blushed the whole time we chatted.


I'm just a little pool player.

At this point in my career, I hadn't won a dang thing!  No titles; no awards, nothing.  I was just a little pool player in a big city.

Eventually, we would become friends!  We would hang out at big tournaments, see each other more in the pool rooms, etc.  We were even on a team together last season on Monday nights, by accident!  It awesome getting to know her better over the years.  Although, we didn't really hang out away from pool.

So, imagine my tearful surprise when I got this message on FB from her after I won ACS Nationals:

"We don't see each other much. Yet I still miss you. It's's only because you aren't in the state. I'm so thrilled and elated for all of your amazing accomplishments. You have done some amazing things this year Mi Linda. Everyone is right, ya know. You're an amazing person and it's deserved. I can say I have never heard you speak down about anyone, something I cannot claim for myself. ...You are a person that one should strive to share similarities. Someone to look up to, and I do admire you. I admire you as a person first and foremost, you as one who sets and obtains goals, one who is passionate about loves their career, and of course your pool abilities. Which while earned via hard work and dedication, despite what you think, is also done through a natural grace and talent for the skill of the game. Good luck, congrats and be safe coming home!"

I admit I got a lot of congrat's after I won.  But... this post... meant SO much more to me.  

She didn't just congratulate me, she talked about my character as a person; not as a pool player.  This meant more to me than anything.  Because I am a good person/friend before being a pool player.  I strive to be a good, warm-hearted person who cares about others.  That, to me, comes before being a pool player.

I would rather be remembered for that, than for any pool accomplishments.

My Mom would be SO proud of the person I have become, I think.  

Here is my dear friend, Tami, after our team won first place last season:

And here she is being cool and funny, in the front in the white shirt:


Thank you for making me sob with your kind words and open, warm heart.  I am so glad you approached me that day over 4 years ago.  You are so amazing and kind!  I look forward to many more years as friends!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Be An Example At All Times

I posted on Facebook my disappointment with my bad play at the BCAPL Nationals,  both in scotch doubles and singles.

I said after my first singles loss:  "I hate playing badly.  Oh well."

Then after my next match, where I was put out of the tourney I said, "I love playing badly!  At least I had fun.  33rd place out of about 250 players."
I was going to rant more, explain more, vent more, but the two posts I put up, several responses reminded me of a couple of important things.

  1. Some people, actually look up to me.  And I am a representative of the sport.
  2. I really do need to be careful how I word things so I do not discourage anyone. Honesty is good, so everyone can relate to bad play, but careful wording is important IMO.

Some people, actually said things like this:
  • "You've accomplished more than 99% of players will ever accomplish in their life. From this point on, it really doesn't matter how you play."
  • "One trip at nationals doesn't define you as a player."
  • and from the editor of Billiards Digest, "Sorry. But, to be honest, it was gonna be hard to justify writing about you and posting photos of you again!!!"  (he is super funny and cool)
And they were all correct.  So what?  I had a bad tourney.  So what?  I didn't play well.

Doesn't mean I need to spew off about my bad play and discourage people.  I wanted to instead be an example that bad play happens to us, and we are still human for that.  And, that it's not the end of the world to play badly.  

So, I added this to FB the next day: Reflecting on my tourney.... I knew coming in I was playing badly, but still disappointed with my lack of good play in both events. I love the BCAPL Nationals so much and wish I would have played better, that which I know I'm capable of. But, I was blessed to hang around great friends, tho, the whole time and run into a lot of friends. I laughed a lot and had fun with them. Bonus part of the trip for sure!!"