Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bystanders Smoking

One thing that bothers non-smokers is when smokers light up their cigarettes near our matches.

If it's an opponent or someone playing on another table, we just try to adjust our seating arrangement to anywhere the smoke isn't coming into our face (which we all know the smoke has a B line to the non smokers, lol).

But what do you do if a smoker is near you but they are not playing in the tournament?  What do you do then?

Sometimes I just move, or deal with it (although I admit it's SUPER distracting), or sometimes I might say something (which in itself is a distraction - future blog topic).

It's actually difficult in general to ask someone to move their cigarette.  Most take it offensively or react badly to a request.  I shouldn't feel bad for asking that, but hardly anyone replies, "oh I'm sorry, sure I'll move my cigarette," with a smile on their face. 

If anyone has a suggestion for how to ask this, please let me know!

Now - back to pool  :)

During the August Omega tournament I overheard a player ask a bystander to move because they were smoking close to their match and it was bothering/distracting him. 

What was different this time was he explained the situation, which I thought was a smart idea.  Maybe explaining this helped so the guy didn't take it wrong.

After he asked if he could move because of the smoke he explained, "I'm playing a match right here and I can't move.  You can move, though, because you aren't playing, and I would really appreciate it."

I really like that approach!  Maybe I'll use that while in match if a bystander is smoking near me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mika Immonen Quote

One of the players I learn from the most online because they share so much with us (we are so lucky!), is World Champion Mika Immonen.

Recently he posted right after the finals of the China Open that he played "solid all week, lost a heartbreaker quarterfinals last night 11-10.  Nice win/loss ratio @ 50/30.  Lotsa world-class opposition."

12 hours later he would post this gem, as he usually does after some reflection, for us (again, aren't we lucky to learn from him!).  I decided to make it into a graphic:

Follow him on twitter and be impressed.

Pool Table in a Casino?

Can you imagine your surprise and delight if you are walking through the floor of a casino and run across a pool table?

Well, welcome to the Encore in Vegas!

I'd be snapchatting pics of this to the world if I ran across this myself!  Maybe when I go to Vegas next I make a special trip to that casino to see this for my own eyes.

In the meantime, check out the article about how they are trying to make the casino a mixture of casino, game room, and lounge (which includes shuffle board, as well).

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Like Making It To The Finals..."

A friend of mine and great pool player, Dave Favor, found out in early July that he has throat cancer.

I keep tabs on him and call him often to see how he's doing.

Friday he had surgery and they added a port for his chemo and also a feeding tube under his belly into his intestines. 

When I called him on Sunday to see how he was doing, he was still in the hospital and after some time, he finally admitted he had had a rough day.  He was in a lot of pain and had been throwing up a lot (and as you can imagine, with throat cancer, it's tough for fluids to go in or out of his throat and it's pretty rough when he vomits unexpectedly) (he has been on a liquid diet, too).

After he finally admitted to me he wasn't doing well or feeling well, he then all of a sudden piped up and says. "But I'm going to be okay, Melinda."

I got tears in my eyes and then he said, "It's kinda like being in the finals of a big tournament.  You've already won when you get to the finals - you are guaranteed 2nd place - that's a big feat already."

I sat silent on the phone as tears ran down my face listening to this man who was having a horrid day (and many more to come) say it would be okay!

He added, "I've had a great life.  Just like getting to the Finals; I've already won.  But I'm not going anywhere, Melinda."

I told him so many people could learn from his optimism and positive outlook.  He replied, "Well, I'm going to fight this.  If it takes me, I've lived a great life. But I'm fighting and not giving up."

Here is Dave just from May from a tournament he won (he's in the middle in the green shirt):

I started a GoFundMe for him to help raise money for his living situation as he goes through chemo and radiation.  He has been overcome and emotional (as I have) with the outpouring of support for him.  Proves pool is family and we look out for each other.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pool Table Like a Hot Tub

Someone mentioned something funny the other day.

We were talking about home pool tables, and how people usually practice on them at first, and then they pretty soon become a spot to put your laundry. 

One of the players said, "It's kind of like getting a hot tub.  You are all excited at first and use it in the beginning, then you never get in it again until friends come over."


But, spot on! 

The few people I have heard that actually practice on their home table regularly are really not in the norm at all.  And they should pat themselves on the back for using it as was intended, instead of an expensive laundry basket like most.  :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tournament Director is Like a Supervisor

One of the things I have learned by running a large tournament, is it's very similar to being a boss or supervisor at work or a company.  The players are kinda like coworkers and many things can be going on in their lives.  As a supervisor or Tournament Director, we have to take care of tough situations (bad behavior) and also be friends and understanding to those who are going through tough times.

I think people just show up on weekends and play pool and think it's easy to run a tournament.  But, there are not only the logistics of running a tournament, but there are some leadership principles that much be utilized.  Especially empathy, servant leadership, speaking up for others, communication skills, understanding, etc.

To give a flavor of the type of situations that can come up, that not many people realize, I'll just list a few from the past 3 months.

I want to be clear I am not complaining about my role - if anything I think I have the temperament and leadership experience to handle situations.  Further, I also learn quickly which helps in this role.  What I am trying to do is just express there is much more to running a tournament than just moving names around on a bracket, calling matches, and figuring out the payouts.  There are PEOPLE and EMOTIONS and LIFE involved.  And as the Tournament Director, you are kinda responsible for handling these situations that may come up.

Again, just in the last 3 months:

  • One of the players found out two days before a stop he has throat cancer.
  • A player contacted me that there was a restraining order against her ex, who might show up at the tournament.
  • Someone had a tough break up who helps out with the Tour.
  • Someone got married.
  • Someone tried to forfeit at the end of the tournament in front of a large crowd.
  • A player lied to the Tournament Directors.
  • A player snapped at one of the helpers of the Tour.
  • A player called the week before a stop to let me know he could not play because his wife has lung cancer.

You can see the range of emotions and life situations that came up in just the last 3 months.   These are NOT examples. 

Just a different perspective to think about....

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pool in Their 70s

There are at least two players who play on the Omega Billiards Tour regularly who are OVER 70s years old!

Blas Andrade is 78 and Michael Vaught is about 73 years young.

I remember the first time Micheal saw Blas at one of the tournament stops.  "Well, darn, Melinda.  I see Blas over there.  I thought I would be the oldest player here." 

It was quite cute to hear him say that, actually.

Michael has a very dry sense of humor with a soft voice, yet when he laughs, it comes from his belly and his eyes light up.

Even Blas will elude to his own age (being in his late 70s) and still out competing in the game he loves.  I guess when we get to that age and we still get out, we kinda brag about it (hopefully I will have the humor at that age to see it's cool to BE that age).

Blas will comment to me in his (also) soft voice (and ALWAYS with a smile) how he is still walking on his treadmill every day.  "Walked 30 minutes on the treadmill yesterday, Melinda, after I got home from work,"  he tells me bragging :)

Here is a photo of Blas:

And here is a photo of Michael:

One other player is in his 70s:  Charlie.  I believe he is 75.  Charlie shows up at almost every tournament (only has played once; he normally just watches).  He also has a REALLY great laugh and talks often about his multiple girlfriends lol.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Amanda Lampert in Lights

My bestie Amanda Lampert has won NUMEROUS titles in her short pool life.  Just to name a FEW:  Houston Open a few times, Texas Open a few times, OB Cues Ladies Tour stops a few times, OB Cues Tour Champion, Regional Tour Champion, BCAPL Open Champion, etc.

However, I think I was MORE proud of seeing this!

She was so honored when CSI/BCAPL asked her last year if they could take her pic for the Walk of Fame at the Rio that they put up during BCAPL Nationals. 

2016 was the first they put it up and she was right up front!  Where she still belongs (and in life).


Monday, August 15, 2016

Learn From Others' Pain

I was quite impressed the other day when a high-level instructor shared his heartache (and lesson, tho) out in public on Facebook.  It is really great advice, and I wanted to pass it along to others via my blog, too.

From Randy Goettlicher, Professional Billiards Instructor at Pool School:

Just want to share a Life Lesson that just occurred.

I have just finished Team competition in Las Vegas. Our team played outstanding. I played way below my skill level.

This past year I had many great things happen to me. Whether it was family, China, and of course I was extremely busy in Pool School or a lot of golf, I failed to do what I preach. I went into competition thinking that I was going to play at a high skill level. Boy, do I ever teach it correctly.

I had abandoned my three times a week practice routines. I didn't even play on any local pool stops, I didn't need to. I have played for 55 years, why do I need to practice! Well I just got my ass kicked and I don't like it.

All Champions hone their skills daily, That's what makes them perform under pressure. But no, not me. I forgot how much I love pool.

So, starting on Sep 1st, I go right back to my old practice routines. I will practice my drills and test my skills. I am ashamed of my performance. I just hope my team will have me back.

Thanks for listening. Playing like that is embarrassing.

Never happen again, NEVER!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Nagging During Tournaments

I know I've written about this before, but since it came up with a friend over the weekend, I thought I would write about it again.

I fully admit I have been a bad girlfriend in the past.  I wasn't very understanding at times, I nagged a lot, and my timing to pick a fight was not very smart to my boyfriends.  I was selfish, immature, and wanted attention at all times.

So, because I dated pool players, that meant that they were playing in a lot of tournaments.  And, that also meant that they were gone a lot on the weekends.  That gave me a lot of time to sit at home and wait for their calls and texts, only to get upset when I didn't hear from them often enough or quick enough.

Being immature, I didn't realize that if I was upset about something, I could just WAIT until they were either out of the tournament, or at the end of the tournament to pick a fight to let them know I was upset.  It was all about my emotions and how I felt at that EXACT time.  I didn't realize that because they are competing, I should wait to express any frustrations or disappointments.

Over this past weekend, one of my friends had to forfeit out of a big tournament because his girlfriend was chewing him out via text in the middle of one of his matches.  He was obviously upset, distracted, could not focus, was mad, and irritated at the fact she was in a fight with him while he was trying to compete.

My only quesiton to him was, "how old is she?"

"22," he replies mad and frustrated.

I just shook my head and told him, "she's too young to understand that she should wait to express she is upset."

He went on to say, "I couldn't play at all!  I had to forfeit and go home and handle the situation because she kept chewing me out."

Now, I don't know why she was upset, but they are still together and after he came home and they talked it over (after some words) they were okay.  That tells me it could have waited.

There is nothing I can put in this blog to help females (or males) understand that it's okay to wait to express you are upset.  That when a guy is competing for money, he needs to focus on pool.  It doesn't mean he doesn't care about you, he just needs to focus on the game at hand.  You ARE still important, but right now he is trying to make money and compete - and that's okay, right?

Don't get me wrong, I was the constant texter, too.  I would get on to my boyfriend all the time and he was a pro!  It was his lively hood and yet I still didn't understand to not bother him while he was playing in tournaments.  Not sure why he stayed with me for 5 years over 20 years ago, lol.  I wasn't very understanding and nagged all the time at him when he traveled. 

I didn't realize I should be more aware of his situation.  I was more so not aware that it really IS okay to NOT have to state your anger right then and there.  It's actually better to wait to express yourself because you give your head and heart some time to think about your hurt (or whatever is going on).

This isn't just about pool, I hope people see.

I'm not denying your emotions or pain or hurt, I'm just saying as you get older you will see that it's okay not to vent right away.  It's okay to reflect for awhile.  It's okay to WAIT.   Your feelings wont go away, and if you allow your sig other to go through their important day, and not ruin it, it will be best for you both.

I am the first one to admit it took me a LONG time to figure all this out.  WAY into my late 30s.  WAYyyyyy.

Takes time.

Good luck :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Humor Among Friends

A friend of mine emailed me on Monday and he has a great sense of humor (and a way with words!).

He stopped by the Omega Tour Stop last weekend to watch some of the great matches going on.

He tells me:

Apparently Barry Emerson has had a long run of getting beaten by Tony Sulsar, apparently 8 times in a row!  

Two strong players, for sure.  

So this time Barry beats Tony, 8-2.  

Barry’s comment to Tony is classic pool humor among pool friends. 

Barry to Tony: “Nobody beats me 9 times in a row!” 


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Sports in 2020 Olympics...but...

"We" didn't make it into the Olympics again.   Heart was racing when I opened the link below, only to be disappointed.

One day maybe billiards/pool will make it?

Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe someday?