Saturday, July 30, 2016

Did I Hook You? Who Cares!

Every one has one pet peeve (or more, lol) that really gets under their skin. 

For some people, it's not setting correctly the chalk "up" on the table.  Others it might be someone simply practicing on the table next to their match that really gets them upset.  There are a TON of things I could mention that gets under player's skin, but other people don't even notice or care or even give two thoughts to it.

Mine is simple and easy:  If you hook me, whether intentional or not, when you check out to see if I'm hooked, instead of just walking to your chair, THAT is my pet peeve.

Why not just go sit your ass down?  Do you think it's really cool to get in my way so you can go see if I am hooked or not?  Do you think it shows professionalism and etiquette to check if you just shit-hooked me? 

You will know soon enough if I am hooked or not by how I shoot at the ball.  But my question is this:  DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

If you hook me, what does that mean to yourself as you finally walk to your chair? 

Seriously asking that question, lol.

To me it doesn't mean much because I can still hit the ball either on the edge or with a kick. 

It's even funnier to me (i.e. more annoying) when people walk around the table to check out the shot they left me when they ACCIDENTALLY might have hooked me.  Listen, we have all played pool enough to know when a safe is intentional or we got lucky and hooked our opponents.  No reason to be mean and see if I'm hooked "good" or not by pure luck, lol.

You will never, ever see me "check" to see if I hooked you (intentional safe or not).  It's not even in my being to be that rude to you.  I would prefer to get out of your way and sit down in my assigned seat.  My shot is over; it's your turn.  I go away, you come to the table.  I will know soon enough if you are hooked or not.

What is your pet peeve?

Friday, July 29, 2016

No Pool In Vegas

I went to Vegas last week to hang out with friends who were playing in the BCAPL Nationals.

I had decided a few months ago not to play in the tournament itself, so was only really going for vacation (which turns out I desperately needed but didn't realize how much I needed it) and also to see some friends I only get to see in Vegas every year for that event.

As I made my way to the Rio on Friday morning of the event, which scotch doubles was going on, I slowly made my way into the venue, a tad frightful of how I would feel.  Even I admit I was afraid that seeing everyone play the beautiful game of 8-ball on the fine-ass diamond bar tables was going to pull at my heart strings and made me wish I was playing.

I was surprised - I didn't get even one feeling or twinge of "I wish"! 

I was so relieved! 

It was obvious I had made the correct decision to not play.  I got to just relax on my terms and with no time constraints.  I did not have to worry about setting an alarm clock, did not have to mentally prepare for matches, did not have to rush to the venue, was not stuck in the convention center for hours, etc.  Instead, I got to walk the strip, have great meals with great friends (or solo), sit by the pool, gamble, shop, etc. Oooh, sounds like a vacation! 

While it saddens me a little to break my around-20-year-streak of playing in the event, I was happy to be able to have a vacation not involving pool.  I AM glad the event was going on because I was able to spend quality time with a lot of friends, tho.  For that I am grateful.  Had a lot of wonderful talks and catching up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Checking Racks of Friends

I had a very interesting conversation with a player the other day.  He was basically saying there are two people he plays regularly that he completely respects their game and never checks their rack.  However, as much as he respects their game, he has noticed that he doesn't quite make as many balls against one of them anymore and he's wondering what is going on.

He shared that he felt like if he checked the rack of this one particular person who he deeply respected (mutual respect, too), that it would actually come across as disrespectful.  And he wasn't quite sure what to do about it.

I took in all of his words and concerns and I expressed my thoughts:  I told him that he needs to do what he needs to do to win his matches.  And if looking at the rack for a split-second will make him feel better about the rack or see if something's going on (like balls aren't touching or crooked rack), that he needs to that. 

I also shared with him that I don't think the other player would consider it disrespectful or even notice anything different.  The player I was talking to looks at everybody's rack anyway.  And he doesn't take a long time doing it - he probably looks at the rack for less than 2 seconds.  He kinda walks by briskly and peers into the rack and then walks quickly away to break.  I think if he studied the rack and was down their deciphering it to death, then yea, the guy would notice all of a sudden.

I'll let you know after they play or match-up against each other if he did indeed check the guys rack quickly or not and how he felt about finally doing that.

But you gotta do what you gotta do and sometimes think of yourself, even if your opponent might feel disrespected.  But I can tell you that I honestly feel this guy won't even care that his rack is being checked.  He knows it's part of the game.

What's also interesting about this is not only that he feels he might make the opponent feel disrespect, but what that makes HIM feel.  It's a fact that affecting someone else's emotions can have a personal effect in you.  And when competing, we need to not be distracted how the other person is feeling because it takes away from our own focus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Giving 9-Balls in Return?

I was taught a long time ago never to give up the 9-ball (or 8-ball), even if it's straight in, even if it's easy.  It was instilled in me over and over again by June Hager Walter back in the mid 90s, so I just don't give the final shot away in my matches.  I always make my opponent shoot the money ball, even if it's an easy shot.

I've actually stuck by this "personal rule" my whole life.  The few times that I didn't, which I can count on one hand in the last 20 years, was because I was super pissed and gave them the shot lol.  Otherwise, it can be straight and you can be up 6-0 on me and I'll still make you shoot it.

I played in a match in the last Omega Tour stop and my opponent was not making me shoot the easy 9-ball shots.  But when he got perfect position for an easy 9-ball, I sat in my chair, and still made him shoot it.

It got me thinking.... does a player all the sudden feel that because they're not getting the same respect in return that maybe they won't give away 9-balls to that opponent anymore?   Or do they still give the easy 9-ball shots anyway?  Because that's the type of person they are?

I've actually seen someone miscue on a short and straight in 9-ball.   I've also seen where someone shoots the money ball so hard it flies off the table.  


I'll take it!

But, again, I wonder when I don't give them the same mutual admiration as they are doing to me on easy 9-ball shots, what do they feel about it?

Seriously.  Do they think, "well F her, then, I'm gonna make her shoot ALL the easy 9-balls from here on out!"  Or, do they not even care, and still don't make me shoot the easy 9-balls?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Age and Muscle Memory

It's always interesting to hear from players why they think they don't play like they used to.  

One of the Omega Tour players shared with me his take, and I was quite taken aback by his comment.

He asked me, "I wonder if I'm just too old?"

I was surprised he said that.  Most people don't really share those type of inside thoughts.  Especially to someone who isn't a good friend lol.

If I had to guess, he's prolly in his late 50s or early 60s.  

And then he added, "I used to play 20 years ago and I played pretty good.  And now I'm back at it for the last couple years and I really think my muscle memory is just not as good as it used to be."

That is a very interesting concept he had, and I'm glad he explained further his thoughts about age.  

And I wonder if indeed it is true.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Silver Investment

How much to do you like silver?

Well, Tiffany and Co thinks somebody does/will:

If you have close to $1,000 to spend, this could be yours!  Even saw a matching silver chalk holder.

Pretty neat with the Roman Numerals, too. 

Go ahead - put it on your wish list and maybe Santa will see it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Pool Q

$100,000 question!? 


While this comes naturally on the table to make a run in 9-ball, I had to stop and visualize the color of the balls for this.  What about you?  Okay, maybe it's just me, lol. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why Ask Me?

While being slightly offended (in a funny way) during one of my matches last weekend during the Omega Tour, nothing really compares to what happened with another opponent.

I swear I can't even make this stuff up.

Yet, it does give me blog material, lol.

In my second match over the weekend, I look at the charts and see I have to play a guy I defeated during the Omega stop just last month.  I was very happy I beat him last month as he is a tough cookie.

However, this time was a completely different outcome.  He kicked my ass!  I think I only got 1 game.  He played GREAT!  I missed only a few balls, but he got out every time.  If I played safe early in the game, he would simply find a way to make that ball and then he ran out.  I didn't have many chances at all this match-up.  He played really good!

However, after the match he says, "now we are 1-1."

I admit I didn't think that was too friendly.  Why even say that after you beat me?  I didn't get upset over it, just thought it was kinda weird to say it out loud to me.  However, nothing would compare to what he would say to me the following day.  NOTHING.

As Tournament Director of the Omega Tour, I figured out early from its inception that it's best to play the final 24 players on Sunday.  They are all "in-the-money" and it works out best for a 2-day tournament with 80-100 players.

The guy who defeated me the previous day loses his first match Sunday morning.  Then he wins his next, but falters after that.  He still did great, though, placing 13th out of 83 players.

After he loses, almost 30 minutes later or more I would guess, he comes up to me.

So, let me set the stage here.  There are about 40 people in the pool room at this moment.  And he comes up to me.  ME.  And says this:

"How can I play almost perfect against you yesterday and today I can barely play well.  Does that happen to anyone else?"

I sat there dumbfounded.  The guy sitting next to me turns away and starts laughing he's so shocked.

I look down, and try to compose my thoughts.  I then look up at him fairly quickly and say, "why in the world would you ask the one person you played so well against and beat down yesterday that question?"

He stammers and doesn't know what to say.

I then stop thinking of the way I'm feeling and be a good steward and add, "yes, we all go through that.  We all do that."  I share, trying to reassure him.

And then he seems surprised, "Really?  It's not just me?"

I am taken aback by his reaction.  Does he REALLY seriously think he's the only person that happens to?  The man is like, I dunno, 60 years old or something.  He HAS to have experienced this before.  He HAS to know he isn't the only one who doesn't play well consistently from match to match.

The guy next to me also shares that it happens to him, too. 

I added, "yes, it happens to everyone."

He seems relieved and then he says shyly, "I'm sorry if I came across wrong, I didn't mean anything by it."

You don't mean anything by it?  There are TONS more people in this room you are friends with and yet you come up to me to ask that question?


I just told him, "it's okay."

I am trying to indicate, obviously, that I'm not really the right person to ask that after you kicked my ass the previous day, lol, but in all honesty, I really didn't mind.  It was simply confusing he would ask me of all people.

But, I think he just needed to vent his disappointment that he felt bad about how he played that day.  I told him, "at least you won one match and defeated Phillip - that's a tough opponent."  Trying to point out he shouldn't feel all that deflated and he did have some really good moments today.

Still funny, though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Aren't You a Five?

During my first match of the Omega tournament last weekend at Pucketts in south Fort Worth, Texas, I'm playing against a friend of mine, who is a really good player.

As I mentioned, I played really sporty in this match!

The Omega Billiards Tour is handicapped and the rankings range from 5 to 9.  If you are a 6, for example, then you race to 6.

I am a 6 in this tournament and my opponent is a 7.  I race to 6, he races to 7.

I find myself up 4-2 and as I make the 9-ball he comes up to me to shake my hand.  I look at him funny and he says, "Isn't it over?"

I looked at the score and move my coin to 5, which puts me on the hill and I so needed one more game.

"No, it's not over yet."

He asks me gently but seriously, "aren't you a 5?"


Uh, NO I'm not 5!  OMG he thought I was a 5?  Don't I play better than a 5?  I thought he knew me!  lol.

I replied nicely, "No, Imma 6."

He says, "Oh, I thought you were a 5.  When did you move up to a 6?"  And he's serious!

OMG.... lol

"I've always been a 6....." I share with him, in disbelief.

At this point I'm seriously trying not to be offended and just trying to focus solely on the fact I need only one more game to win the match.

Luckily, I do in fact win the next game and yet still shocked and funny he thought I was a 5.  I swear I don't play that bad!

I told this story several times to friends over the weekend and they all laughed at me.   lol!

Monday, July 11, 2016

I Played Pool. Wait, What?

I mentioned I had been taking a hiatus from leagues, and kinda from pool in general.  But I also mentioned I needed to play in 4 Omega Tour stops to qualify for the Season Finale.  It has at least $4,500-added, so I gotta get eligible for that, right?!

So, while I may not be actively seeking to play pool, I do still occasionally play.  I say this because a few people this weekend said to me, "oh, you played this weekend?  I thought you quit."


Well, I swear I'm trying to!

However the pool bug bit me this weekend.  LOL.

Maybe I'm secretly hoping to play bad so that I no longer have the desire to play.  But, I played well this weekend!  And now I kinda wanna play some more.  Doesn't mean I'll actually dust my cue off before the next Omega stop, tho, but you never know.

I know what helped me play well, too.  On Friday night I ventured out to watch a big set.  I watched about 4 solid hours of pool, and by the time I played my first match Saturday afternoon, I was still in "pool" mode from watching the night before.

I not only saw the layouts and paths well, I also executed the shots and position very well - I shocked myself lol.  What really helped was my safety game.  Watching one pocket Friday night really helped that for the following day.  I played jam up against a really good player and won my first match.

I admit the crowd might have affected my opponent a little, as they were rooting for me and talking about my good shots openly.  I tried desperately not to let their words get me overly confident (which can easily happen to me), and instead tried very hard to simply focus on the table, not that they were watching and "impressed."  (their words, not mine).

I then played a guy I beat during the last Omega tournament, but he got me this time with near perfect play (which I will write about soon).

In my next match I'm playing super sporty still!  I was VERY tired, but I was still playing well.  I jumped ahead 3-1 and felt good about my chances and then here he comes!  He starts playing better and gets ahead 5-3.  I did make a couple of mistakes, but overall still played very well and was happy for that.  I ended up making a comeback and tied it up hill-hill!  But alas, I broke dry hill-hill and the pecker ran out!  It was a nice run, actually.

I felt good for hanging in there, tho!  I never gave up and was giving it my all with a good attitude.

And I got $50 for Last Lady!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sleep and Pool

For me, the number one key thing for me to play at my absolute best is to GET SLEEP.

It just helps me so much to be rested and feel refreshed.  It helps me physically (of course) feel better and it also helps me mentally.  Getting a good nights' rest has been proven to help our decision-making processes.  And hey!  That's what's important in pool, right?

I haven't slept well in YEARS.  At least, not consistently.

I either wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep for a couple of hours, or can't fall asleep right away and toss and turn for hours.

When I had league several times a week, this would really cause me anxiety.  My teams needed me to show up with 100% dedication and be ready to play well.  But if I was tired, I didn't perform my absolute best.  And, I didn't feel excited to be there because I was exhausted (and thinking about how I needed sleep for work).

So, not getting good rest for a few nights in a row, I was already worried I wouldn't perform up to par for the team.  Actually, I did still play well, but I could have played BETTER and been in a better mood, more smiling, having more fun, playing stronger, etc.  Instead, I would be tired.  And we all know when we are tired to get a little grumpy, too. 

And not getting a good nights' rest even with league once a week, say just Thursday, was still getting to me because I knew it was a domino effect.  By the time Thursday came, I'd be exhausted.

Now, though, I have no worries since I don't play any leagues!  If I don't sleep, I just get it the next night.  I don't fret over it at all, and I just kinda accept it when I can't go to sleep or can't go back to sleep.

I actually now have a feeling of relief when I don't get enough sleep.  Sounds silly, I know, but because I know there's no pressure anymore, it's all just acceptance with no worry.  And, normally I had no choice but to go to league tired.  Now if I'm tired, I just, well, come home after work to rest instead of being out til midnight.

There is benefits to not playing league.  This is a big one for me because of my bad sleep habits.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Well, you may be wondering - did she or didn't she play in the local ladies event two weeks ago?

Nope, I didn't. 

And, I'm GLAD!

I heard it lasted WAY into the wee hours of the morning Saturday.  At another ladies event the same weekend, there was MUCH talk about sharking and bullies.  I was just grateful to decide not to even be around that type of atmosphere.  When it's no fun anymore...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

We Can Learn from Dogs Panting

Over the 4th of July weekend, my dog (and probably yours) was going crazy because of the large popping noises from the fireworks!  I felt so bad for my dog, Lily, as she was scared to death trying to find solace on top of my head lol.

(if you have a dog, you will feel bad for the poor fella's trying to nudge against us while climbing on us trying to find safety).

You also probably noticed that your dog started to pant.  I know I did.

If you don't have a dog, here's what happens.  When a dog gets scared or stressed or has anxiety, their natural body reaction is to pant.  They have no control over it at all.  Their heart races so fast, they naturally just start panting to help resolve the stress.  It's their bodies defense mechanism and natural reflex of a racing heart and anxiety. 

This is the same for humans, except we don't pant (well, most of us :).

Yet, we kinda SHOULD!

We could learn so much from a dog in a stressful environment.

When we get nervous, feel pressure, stress or anxiety, our body shows/indicates that with an increased heart rate and adrenaline.  However, we don't pant to relieve it.  As a matter of fact, we do not have a natural solution to stress like a dog does.  Therefore, we need to come up with a solution on our own.

The best way for us humans to combat stress and pressure and the feeling of adrenaline is to breathe deeply to slow it back down.  That's what a dog's body is doing.  And we should do the same!

I talk a lot about how to slow down your adrenaline by taking in deep breaths, holding, then slowing letting the air out.  THE best way to help calm your nerves, slow down your heart rate, and help your adrenaline.

The key is to cognizant of when stress increases so you can do deep breaths.  Our body is trying to tell us when we feel pressure, but we sometimes don't do anything about it while competing when in fact we SHOULD.

Feel your body.  Listen to it.  HELP it de-stress by breathing.  We don't pant automatically like a dog during pressure, so we need to be more aware and take actions on our own.

Again:  Deep breath in.  Hold until you can feel your heart beating through your veins, then let out slowly.  You'll be absolutely amazed how this slows down your heart rate so you can get back to playing good pool again (otherwise we have wobbly arms and shoot too fast when we are stressed or feel pressure).

Remember our poor puppies during thunderstorms or fireworks: