Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A New Clutch

On my women's teams for the last several years, I have been the clutch person.

I do not mind at all anymore, and would prefer it for two main reasons in tough competitions:  (1) I feel like I can play under pressure, and (2) If I don't win, I'd like to be the teammate that can handle that disappointment.

I've written about these two things before (mental side and experience).  And the only reason for BOTH, is because I have been in those situations enough to be able to handle them now.

I mentioned to my captain the other day that we should rotate the clutch spot to a few of the girls on our team.  They get nervous when they are in that position on LEAGUE night.  Well, if they get nervous just on a league night, how are they going to be during playoffs or state events?  Sure, I would still be the clutch in those positions, but MANY times I have already won my match and we are waiting on them to finish.  This means their match is very crucial still and now they feel pressure to win and perform.

So, I suggested she rotate that final game on league nights so the girls get more experience at playing in tough situations.

Usually the best player on the team is put in the clutch position.  But, in order to get better, we need to be put in tough situations.  It doesn't magically appear - it's from lots of competition. 

As I have learned - I am only good under pressure because I have been in the position a 1,000 times now.  Because I have dogged the 8ball on the hill and learned from it.  Because I finally know what to do because of all my experiences.

So, let's not keep me in that spot all the time - let's rotate it out and give everyone the experience of being in that position.  Even if they lose, league nights are not the end of the world.  I think it's the perfect opportunity for them to practice it, actually.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Apology Accepted, and Impressive

A couple of months ago, I was running the Omega Tournament and an exchange between two players caught my attention.

During one of the matches, one of the guys was getting animated and expressing his disappointment verbally when he would make a mistake.  Or sometimes even physically by slapping his hand on the table.

He would eventually lose that match and afterwards he shook his opponents' hand and quickly walked out of the area with his things.  He didn't stick around at all and bolted.

He was pretty upset with himself.

After about 30 minutes, I hear his voice behind me.  He had walked back in (I thought he left the scene of the crime) to talk to his opponent.

"Hey, I've cooled down now.  Wanted to say I'm sorry I got so heated, but that was really a nice match and you played well.  And I wanted to wish you luck now that I've calmed down."

I thought it was really cool that he came back and talked to his opponent.  He could have easily just left and drove off, but this player isn't like that.  He genuinely likes to congratulate his opponents and wish them well, he just wasn't in the right frame of mind to be nice and friendly right after his tough loss.

He needed to cool off and after he was calmed down and no longer super upset at himself, he turned his attention to his opponent to wish them luck in their future matches.


And, he complimented his opponent in front of several people.  It was very nice of him.

More Desire For Change

While I won all five of my matches last Tuesday AND last Thursday, I did not fair so well last night.

(editors note:  I wrote this blog entry last Friday)

I put pressure on myself, which didn't help.

I was sneaking up literally decimal points away from the top shooter in the league with my 5-0 last week, so each game this week was crucial, and yet I only won 2 games.  :(

I was in a pool room I hadn't been in in MONTHS - maybe over 8 months actually.  They had a tourney and so I saw people I hadn't seen in a long time.  While I gave hugs and said my hello's as time went on in the night, I realized so passionately that I did NOT want to be there anymore.  I don't want to hang out there, I don't want to spend my time there, I don't want to waste my time there.

Then I ran into people I didn't want to see, that affected my pool game.  I realize *I* let them bother me, but I am just at this point in my life that I just don't want to be around certain pool players.   And when this girl wouldn't move out of my way for me to shoot, or when she came over to read our score sheet - she shouldn't have even been around us.  We weren't even playing against her - she just came to visit certain people (I guess).

I am pretending so hard to want to be at league, but it's not working.  And, I think that's unfair to my teammates.  They aren't getting my full potential, and I'm also very quiet and well.... melancholy-acting.  Who wants to be around that?? 

I was upset after the league last night because I'm tired of coming home late, tired of smelling like smoke, tired of drama, tired of not being happy after I leave league, etc.  I lost sleep because I know I need to do something about this unhappiness.

I have a lot of things I'm trying to work on and playing in this league is not top priority for me.  I feel bad about it because I feel like I'm letting my team down, but I'm just not happy going to this league.  And life is too short to do things you don't really want to do, right?

One of the guys there asked where I had been, and I said I was slowing down playing.  His reply was, "Yes I understand, I was in a rut too."

I countered with, "No, I'm playing really good, I just really don't want to play that much anymore."  I wrote about this before back in April.

He then went on to say he had been playing in all these weekly tourneys at local bars and placing well lately.  All I could think of is that is NOT what I want to do anymore with my evenings.

I guess it didn't help that I had looked at the ACS Texas State rules and decided I really didn't want to play in singles this year.  So, why go down just for teams? (I haven't just played in teams in a state tourney in over 15 years).  Therefore, I don't need 6 weeks on this league any more, and even mentioned to my captain last night I may not go to ACS State.  I just can't see myself spending all that money on a hotel with no reward.  Thinking of my finances for once.  

Maybe part of my angst is that I want to try and get out of debt, travel more for outdoor things, be more healthy, work on my soul (not my pool game).  I also think that because I'm not drinking, pool isn't that social for me anymore.  And, it's not fun for me.

Sure, I know lot's of people that don't drink and love league and love to play pool, so I don't think that's the main catalyst of me wanting to step away from pool.

I honestly think the main reason is (1) there are now unpleasant people in my pool circle and I just simply don't want to be around them, and (2) I just want to do other things with my life now that I have been lucky enough to have been successful the last few years in the pool arena.

Even when I won all five games last Thursday, I still couldn't wait to get out of there and get home and rest up for work.

I've said before - if I hadn't of been so successful the last few years, I'd prolly still want to play.  But I really do NOT want to be in bars playing pool into my 50s.  MAYBE every once in a while, but not every week for the next five or even ten years.

Last night was tough on my heart.  Being around people that annoyed me, not winning all my matches, wanting desperately to leave and go home, not smiling or having fun, only wishing I could quit.  And, I'm afraid that is where I am heading with this league.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting Trumped

I mentioned that I went to the doc to try out mono-vision contacts.  (see the follow-up here).

I mentioned to my new optometrist that it was important that I made sure my dominant eye was fitted with the correct contact, because I played pool.

He's looking at the big back-in-the-future-like wheels and making adjustments on them in front of my eyes and asks me.

"You play pool, huh?


"Do you play well?"

"I think so."

"That's good.  Pool is a fun game."

At this point, I feel it's necessary to explain it's not a recreational sport for me.  It's a serious game!  And I can't afford to mess that up with these new contacts.

"Yea, I've won state tournaments, and a national tournament just last year."

I really don't like talking about myself, so I was speaking soft and trying not to sound like I was bragging - I was merely trying to express that I played fairly decent and this was important.

"Oh yea?  You must play pretty good then."

He seems surprised and impressed.  So then I got a little giddy. 

I laughed, blushed, crack a slight smile, straightened my back to be a little taller in my chair because he was impressed and replied, "Yea, I guess so."

He counters with, "When I was in San Antonio, Vivian Villarreal was one of my patients."


Bubble bursted, lol.  I slouched back down in my chair.  No longer feeling like super woman, and feeling all of a sudden deflated.

"Well, she plays much better than I do...."  as I duck away from the convo, lol.

If he knows her, then he's not impressed with little miss state-and-national-title-girl, lol.

Vivian is a good friend of mine, so it makes the story that much funnier to me!

Friday, June 26, 2015

PlayGround Bullying

I was pretty lucky as a child.  I didn't get bullied frequently like I hear other kids are bullied nowadays, or even in the past.

However, what I have realized is, there is bullying going on in the pool room.

I know you can all relate.

Some players just, well, bully us.

They are verbal, rude, harass, intimidate, etc.

What's weird is, I didn't really have a description/word for the players who made my friends and I feel uncomfortable.  It was just something we talked about; something we dealt with; something we felt.

Then one day at work I came across an article about bullying and I realized, "Hey!  That describes those players exactly - they are bullies!"

They are the adult version of bullies in the playground.  But our playground is the pool room where we compete and try to earn titles and maybe even some cash.

And, it's not fun to play against bullies in tournaments.

We try to avoid them at all costs if we can.  Barely even saying hi.  We may say hi as we pass by them, but in reality we are just glad we aren't in a match with them because it's too unnerving and stressful.

When we look at the tournament charts, we hope and pray they are in a different bracket so we don't have to run into them.

I am copying this from the article:

More people than ever are aware that bullying exists. Bullying can be defined as a series of aggressive, inappropriate, or unreasonable activities directed at an individual or group of people. Some typical bullying behaviors include:

  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Humiliation
  • Exclusion from a peer group
  • Harassment

Personally, I think it's pretty sad we have to deal with bullies while trying to compete, but unfortunately, that's how things are sometimes. 

And, we all know who they are.  It's no secret which players my friends and I would rather never play in a match.  While pool is competitive, it's also a tad fun, right?  But it's miserable when you play a bully.  And how can we focus on playing our best when we are dealing with sharking and verbal rude comments and tension from our opponents?

All part of the game, I know.  But, I wanted to at least address it.  It's something definitely out there we have to deal with at times.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mono-Vision Update

Just a follow up to my previous post about trying mono-vision contacts, since many have asked:

I've stopped my mono-vision contacts already.

While I could see BEAUTIFULLY close up in all situations (computer at work, reading menu's in dark restaurants, looking at my phone), because my eyesight is SO bad, everything far was very fuzzy.

I couldn't handle how fuzzy everything was at a distance (including signs when I drove, or everyone was fuzzy in crowd, or the fuzzy balls at the end of the pool table), so I am back to my -6.5 contacts in both eyes and can see clearly again far! Whew.

I figure I can grab my reading glasses to see close up, but there is no other fix to see things clear far away, so going back to non-mono vision is best for me for now. 

Some asked about me getting Lasik and my eyes are too bad and I'm simply not a candidate.  Luckily contacts don't bother me - been wearing them for almost 30 years it seems.

One final little tidbit - I didn't notice an improvement in my game with the mono-vision.  I only noticed the balls were fuzzy at the end of the table b/c my eyes/brain were trying to compensate for the mono-vision.  I think if my eyesight wasn't so bad, mono-vision would have been a great option.

Glad I tried it - now I know.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Mind of a Gambler

Last night during league, this guy walks up to one of my teammates and asks, "Is this a tournament?"

My teammate responds with, "No, this is league.  We'll be done in about 30 minutes."

I immediately say under my breathe, "You're suppose to ask if he wants to gamble.  Uh,hello."

Funny how I see things differently now after spending time with someone who gambles and gets games lol.

Here's the deal:

If a guy is asking if it's a tourney or league, then he doesn't really know what is going on and prolly LOVES the game and would maybe want to shoot a little bit for $20 or maybe even $50.  Who knows if you don't ask!

Perfect opportunity lost. 

And why didn't I ask the guy to play some?  Because I'm shy and an introvert with people I don't know.  But if I was a hungry for a game to gamble, I would have asked and stepped out of my shell.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Table Presentation (photos)

This is how one of the pool rooms in our area sets up their tables for their patrons.

Notice even the cueball is put on a pedestal, I mean chalk. 


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Time For League

When I play on my Tuesday league, we get down in about two hours.

When I play on my Thursday league, I get home 2 hours later.


I suppose it IS because on Thursdays it's an all women's league.  I guess women really do play slower. 

Not all women, but some. 

Sure, we play safe like anyone else, but for some reason it takes much longer on Thursdays to play league, and both nights start at 7:30pm.


I'm too old now to be staying out so dang late on a work night!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trigger Caught Trigger

I went to Destin, Florida in early June for a short vaca after a work trip and went on my first EVER Charter boat fishing trip!

Had A LOT of fun!

Caught LOTS of snapper!

After the ten of us on the boat caught a lot of snapper and met our limit (each boat as a limit), then we went to another areas to catch additional/more fish.

We all weren't catching as much fish as before (the red snapper were biting constantly and we were catching them EASY!), but every once in a while someone would catch something in this new area.  We threw most back, including one I caught.

I asked the shipmate, "What is that I just caught?"

"A trigger fish," he replied, as he took it off my hook and threw it back in Gulf of Mexico. 

WHAT?  OMG!  I caught a triggerfish!  Trigger caught a trigger!

I didn't snap a pic of it, but here is what the little fella looked like:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I'm at that age where I need reading glasses.

Which is fine; I don't mind at all.

But, as the years progressed, it's actually becoming a pain to see even at the most ordinary times.

So, I got mono-vision contacts.  One is for far, one is for close up.

I can now read menu's in the "soft" light of restaurants, and even see things on my computer screen at work now without grabbing for my reading glasses.  When I print something at work, I can see the fine print without glasses.  It's nice!

However, I DO notice that my "far" vision is hampered and a little fuzzy.  Not sure I like that so much.  I'll try this out for a few weeks and see how things go.  Because my eyesight is so bad to see far, I am not sure I'm a good candidate for this mono-vision (b/c it's hurting me see far clearly), but I will try.

I found out I'm right-eye dominant, and so he put the "reading" contact in my left eye.

Tonight I play pool for the first time with my new super-vision-power.  Hope I do well!

Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Straight Stroke Still

I mentioned in a previous post that I was put in the box while out of state recently.

An older gentleman was watching us play, and I saw him leave for the night as the night went on.  He seemed nice and quiet.

The next day, my Partner in Crime (PIC) saw him at the pool room in the afternoon.  They were talking about the night before and he singled me out (after he said we both played better than the people we had gambled with).

He said, "your girl really plays good."

He replies, "she does, doesn't she?"

The guy continued, "She stroked really well and she stayed down.  She had a straight stoke, too.  I tried to tell the guys to watch her because she didn't move when she was down on her shots."


I consider this SUCH a great compliment because I have worked on it for some many years and to know it's still there after not playing much the last few months really ticked me!

I was glad my PIC shared all that with me.  He could have kept it to himself, but he did not.  Really meant a lot the guy said something to him about my fundamentals.  :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Shape of Pros

I admit that I pride myself on trying to get good shape.

If I'm really playing well and focusing on the game in front of me and I'm giving it my best, then I'm walking around more and seeing where I need to be on the next ball to get on the third ball. This is simply called 3-ball shape.  What this means is it's best to get on the correct side of a ball in order to get to your next ball in order to get to your third ball because if you get on the wrong side of a ball then bad shape can curtail a run.  And then you find yourself with tough shots because you got on the wrong side of the next ball to get on the next ball.

I hope I'm making sense lol.

So I was surprised the other day when I was playing a top player from my area and I was paying close attention to his patterns.  At one point after he shot the first ball he didn't even walk around the table to see what side of the next ball he needed to be on. So I stopped him before he shot and I asked him why he didn't walk around the table and check out his angles that we're coming up.

He said very matter-of-factly and simply, "well, all the balls go and I didn't see any trouble spots." 

It really got me thinking about how he could do this and be such a top player. 

I remember back in the 90's a professional said one time to "just get in the center of the table."  Between me and you I can't just get in the center of the table to run out.  Further, if the balls are open and they all go I still need to figure out what my CORRECT angles are to get on the next ball well for a run.

So after watching this top player play a few more racks, it dawned on me very vibrantly why he didn't have to worry about angles when the table was wide open.  Bottom line:  top players and pros can move the cue ball much better than amateurs.

He could maneuver the cue ball no matter what shot he had in front of him.  Whether it's drawing full table, coming around a different way than expected, going forward and getting below the ball, or power stroking, whatever it was that the shot required for him to get on the next ball, it just didn't matter because he can do anything with the cueball because he is so talented.

I fully admit that a couple of times he had to really come with it and he did.  So, if he did look more at angles then he wouldn't have to come with shots.  But because he has the stroke, knowledge, and experience, when the table is wide open he doesn't need to walk around and analyze 3-ball shape like I constantly do when I'm playing.  It really was an eye opener to witness such great cue ball control no matter where he was on the table.

I, on the other hand, will need to continue to look at my angles for 3-ball shape lol.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Put In The Box

Last week I was out of town for work and my Partner In Crime (PIC) and I went to the local pool room.  The town was very small and so there was only one pool room.

League was just about over and my PIC was able to get a game with one of the league players.  After he won (one set for $200), somehow scotch doubles came up and it was agreed we would do a race to 5 for $200.  But then right before we started, they wanted to raise the bet to $300.

Okay.  We're game.

I was trying to impress my PIC and so I didn't play too well.  What sucked it, coaching was allowed, but I wanted to impress him so instead of asking what I should do, I went for some shots and got him bad shape a few times.  Ooops.

But we still won 5-2. 

After that match, one of the scotch doubles players of the other team came up to my PIC and offered to play me for $160 for a race to 5, again in 9 ball.

I agreed to play and I think I surprised my opponent because I played much much better sparring with him, than when I played scotch doubles.  He didn't know I played decent because it didn't show up in doubles.

I felt pretty good being put in the box and having the faith from my PIC.  He can read players well and even though we didn't know our opponents, he knew it would be a good match up for me.

A few days later I was put in the box again, this time in another state on a nine foot table playing 8 ball. I won the first game for $50 but then lost the next two and was down $50.  My PIC suggested I not play anymore because it was too tough of a game, but it was still cool again to be put in the box. Especially since I hardly ever gamble;  much less gamble strangers.