Monday, October 31, 2016

5 Lives Matters

At the October Omega Tour stop one of the tour players stopped me and shared that he was looking around online for mental toughness topics about pool and ran across my blog.  I smiled and listened and was pretty pleased because he was giving me kudos about my blog and that he learned some things.

And then he halted my happiness in its tracks and said, "I saw your post about how you couldn't believe one of your opponents thought that you were at 5."

(The Omega Tour is a handicapped Tour and the rankings range from 5 to 9.  I am a 6 and I blogged that my opponent thought I was a 5.)

Back to the story....

I wondered where he was going with this and he tells me very serious, "I'm a 5.  You know, all fives matter."  And he and his friends start laughing, lol.

I told him I was going to blog about it which I am obviously right now.  :)

But I think it's interesting because I was pretty offended that one of my friends, my opponent, thought that I was at 5 when in fact that implies to other players that are fives that I was talking badly about them.  It's making me realize that I need to be careful no matter how funny I try to tell a funny story.  

And for the record, Casey, five lives really do matter!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Video Review of a 9-ball Run by Paul Guernsey

My first-ever video review!

I thought this was a great run to discuss because it has so many great elements to a 9-ball run.


I am hopeful that some players may see some things in this run to learn from (I know I did):

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sly Video Capturing of Good Player

One thing I'm trying to do on the Omega Tour is to do a video compilation of matches/shots during a tour stop and then putting it all together into one little youtube video.  Here's an example video compilation from the Omega stop in September.

Obviously, I have to be careful when I'm taking video.  I stand there and I hold up my phone and I'm trying to ensure that the players don't see me, but sometimes they do.  I sometimes feel like I affect their play so I've been trying to videotape people in such a way that hopefully they don't see me or maybe they think I'm just taking a picture with my phone (which is less distracting than realizing you might be video-taped).

During the October stop I was videotaping a good player and he was on the ball before the 9 ball.  I am trying to take the video and a couple people next to me make remarks that I am sharking him.  The guy next to me joked, "I can't believe you're doing that while he's shooting - it's a pretty tough shot."  And I replied softly, "well I know this player really well and he's not gonna let anything bother him if he's distracted.  He will back off of the shot and prepare his pre-shot routine before getting back down on the shot.  He only shoots when he's 100% dedicated and prepared."

The shot was a very sweet shot actually and glad I captured it on video.  Then I found out he was on the hill and that's scary I could have distracted that key moment!  Yikes.

I asked the player afterwards if he saw me.  He replied, "yes, I noticed you standing there with your phone, but because you were not moving around, it didn't distract me and that allowed me to just focus on the shot."

Here is the video I captured of him (Mike Voelkering):

You can see he did indeed get back up before he felt comfortable about the shot.  He's a very disciplined player (we can all learn from this! - get back up off the shot if you don't feel prepared or 100% committed):

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Venting at the Position

A friend of mine got bitched out the other day from a teammate.  The players' feelings were hurt and by the time she let her hurt known, there was raising voices and pointing fingers and expressing pain.

My friend is the Captain of the team.

She was upset about the entire thing (who wouldn't be) and while expressing empathy, I also tried to tell her it comes with the territory.  As Captain, we are in a position to get yelled at and when feelings get hurt, or players are upset, they most of the time take it out on the Captain, the person who is "in charge."

Case in point is being a Tournament Director.  I get yelled out and chewed on a lot.  Players show their frustrations to me and cuss at me (yes) and get mad at their situation while raising their voices at me.  Or sometimes players send me day-long texts about why they are upset with the handicap system or what transpired that day they got upset.

It just happens to be the position we are in.  All Tournament Directors have an unwritten line in their job description that reads, "will be bitched at."  LOL

I get it.  I do.  Players lose, they vent.  Players get hurt, they vent.

Players are competing, it gets emotional, money on the line, rankings, etc.  I understand so completely about losing and venting.

While I admit it's tough to be on the receiving end and handle sometimes, I would rather players vent to me than to all their friends and bad-mouth the tour (or my friends' team as another example).

It's just the position.  And it's part of the "job."  It's not the time to take anything personal, retaliate, argue back, etc.  Sure, it bothers us.  As turmoil or conflict normally does.  But not taking the venting or hurt towards us personal is the true leader in ourselves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Making Dreams Come True

"Good luck this week!! I know at times it will be stressful and players may complain, but remember you are making dreams come true, allowing players to compete and win titles they've dreamed of!  Adore you and all you do! "
I sent this message to one of my friends earlier this week.  She's running a big State tournament coming up and I know it's going to be a lot of work for her running the tournament and dealing with so many players.  She may also be on the receiving end of complaints, too, which may hamper her spirit. 

But I wanted to remind her that even though at times and she may not get a lot of appreciation, the bottom line is she is creating State Champions because of the work she is doing;  she's making dreams come true.

When I won my State Singles Championships, besides being overcome with amazing emotion, I knew that the reason why it was even possible for me to win those titles was because of all the hard work people do to run those types of tournaments.  It was truly the main reason why I was even a State Champion. 

Let's face it, all the years of training and preparing are for naught if there is no tournament to play in.  The dream or goal of becoming a State Champion are only put in our hearts and minds because of the people creating and running those State tournaments to begin with.

Think about it.

I, for one, appreciate their hard work!  As I know many others do as well (they just may not hear it often).

Monday, October 24, 2016


There is good in every situation.  Just takes time maybe to see it... but it's there.

Every loss, learn from. Every scratch learn from.  Every mistake, figure out why.  Learn - see the optimisms everywhere!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tournament Director Punching Bag

I was telling a friend the other day that there have been some recent arguments and conflicts during matches (or after) during the last two Omega Tour stops.  I also mentioned a few players were giving me grief about handicaps.

He told me not to lose sleep over it because there will always be complaints about the handicap system and you can't make everyone happy.

He also confided that he didn't think that I would be able to handle running the Tour.  He said that I had thinner skin in the beginning (I did) and that he thought I was too nice to run a tour full of men because it was a handicapped tour, and those are the very hardest to run.

I thought it was really weird to hear.  I honestly never even imagined the Tour wouldn't be successful or that I couldn't keep running it.  Failure wasn't even a thought - it was always, "what can I do better for the players."  It was weird to hear that would cross someone's mind, as it never crossed mine lol.

He told me he was super proud of me and the Tour and was very happy to see it going well, thriving, and how I handle things (even I admit it's tough sometimes).

Another friend told me also I was too nice.  When a whiny player or venting player comes up to me and raises their voice, or vents, or storms off, he feels I should be harsh with them.  I am of the opinion that it's not me being too nice, instead I am in a leadership role.  I am showing empathy and showing respect.  I am treating the players like I am a friend or maybe a mentor, and show understanding and let them talk and express themselves.

I think it's like running a business or being a supervisor.  And I wouldn't bitch out my employees or treat them with disrespect if they were upset.  I would show empathy, listen, offer advice (if a good moment to do so), etc.

Are there times I wish players wouldn't yell at me?  Well, of course.  Do I wish I had super thick skin?  Yes.  But players venting to me or getting into arguments with each other doesn't happen all the time.  And every time a situation, conflict, venting session, etc, occurs, I learn from it.  :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hearing About Good Sportmanship

The U.S. Open 9-ball Championships is going on in Norfolk, VA.  People are talking about Earl Strickland and Darren Appleton who forfeited in the middle of their matches.  You know, we are hearing about all the bad antics, which leads to players saying that's what's wrong with our sport, and why we aren't mainstream.... (I despise this way of thinking by the way)

And then I read this on Facebook from the USA Mosconi Cup Team Captain who is in person at the US Championship:
"Adrenaline is still going on here with the entire U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship. These players have raised the bar of excellence once again with the Republic of China leading the way. I find so much inspiration and respect for their approach to the sport.

Ko Pin Yi has so much class, professionalism, and style, that I am more impressed with him than if he had won against Shaw.

He single-handedly displayed the character of a true champion and quiet professional, after a stinging loss in which he did nothing wrong... no excuses or lame Facebook posts, he played his heart out, he knows it, and he has my profound respect for his courageous display. 

Ko Pin Yi did more for the sport last night by his example and leadership, than he is aware of or recognizes. He motivates me to try much harder to improve our sport...I will forever be a Ko Pin Yi fan."

I have no idea what happened.  It's evident that Ko Pin Yi lost a heart breaker match and didn't act like a child, tho, huh? 

It think it's VERY refreshing to read about how a player handled themselves WELL after a match and how it impressed someone, rather than hearing how bad players acted. 

This is so wonderful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Dog Ate My Homework

I was promised my friend Ann that I would give her my Play Your Best Straight Pool book by Phil Capelle.  I left it out upstairs a week or so ago so I wouldn't forget it for the Omega tourney this weekend.

I came home Monday night to this:

So, I had my dog, Lily, write a note to Ann publicly via Facebook:

Dear Ann.

My Mom told me I need to write you an apology letter. I'm really, really sorry I chewed the book she was going to give you. She shouldn't have left it out where I could get to it! I didn't know it was for you, I just saw easy access to something new! But, I was mad at her for leaving me for a few days and saw my opportunity to get back at her. It's really her fault.

Sincerely, Lily.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Help During Matches with Paper

There was recently an article on poker about a player that pulled out instructions on what to do during certain situations.

It kind of reminds me of when you're at a blackjack table at a casino, you're allowed to pull out the little card that tells you what you should do in certain situations (take a card, split, double down, etc.).

However, this was at a table full of poker players for a lot more money at stake than just playing a couple hands of blackjack.

A lot of people have pool mantra's or a pool prayer that they read before matches.  I actually have a list of tips I've written down on a piece of paper and I read them before a match because I needed to remind myself of things and maybe calm myself down.  

We aren't allowed to use cell phones during matches because you can technically text for someone for advice or get some comfort which is considered cheating and illegal, but what about pieces of paper during a pool match?  What is the rule on that?  I guess it's considered getting advice/help.

And how would you feel if you saw your opponent sitting next to you at the poker table pulling out sheets of paper or your pool opponent pulling out a sheet of paper to pump himself up or calm himself down?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Reactions When Bothered

Last month two players were having a verbal altercation during their match.

As the Tournament Director, I intervened and told them to stop talking, only play pool, no more breaks and to not do ANYTHING (move or talk) while their opponent is at the table.

Turns out one of the players was bothering the other player by mumbling while his opponent was trying to shoot, moving, and going to the bathroom more than once.  So, it got under the players' skin.  By the time he finally spoke up, he was pretty vocal and it became an argument.

Afterwards, I overheard someone say that the player should have told his opponent right away that he was bothering him, and then he wouldn't have reacted as he did (upset at the guy).

I told the guys talking that while I agree, sometimes that's very tough to do.  You don't know until it's too late that a culmination of things have bothered you to the point you have to speak up rudely.

Or, maybe the first bathroom break was no big deal.  Maybe the first movement was no big deal.  Maybe by the time he heard the mumbling, it was already too late to bring up his concerns "early."

And while they thought he shouldn't have reacted so upset, in my opinion while I agree, sometimes we can't control it as our emotions are swirling and we feel like a poked bear.  And when we finally do speak up, it isn't pretty.

Not everyone handles their upsetness with calmness.  Especially when competition is on the line. 

I don't necessarily mean that raising your voice is "right" or "correct" but I will defend that fact that everyone handles being upset differently under different situations.

BTW, after the match they talked and the one player apologized for bothering the other player.  He admitted he had no idea and felt bad about it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Do I Miss Playing?

A lot of people ask me if I miss playing pool.


I am still around pool, but I do not miss playing.

I even went to BCAPL Nationals in Vegas in July and visited a few friends the first day I got there (Friday).  I was apprehensive at first trying to locate them at their tables, thinking I might get the pool bug and the tug of wishing I had signed up and was playing. 


I felt nothing.

Not even one smidgen of myself was envious or had feelings of regret that I didn't play.  It was actually really weird.

Sometimes when I spar with a friend and play good I think about maybe going to State, but then by the time I even get back in my car the feeling goes away.

However, I thought it was REAL weird last month when the feeling of playing overcame me.

I happened to catch my scotch doubles partner from the last 2 years play in a match during the Omega tournament when I was walking around taking photos.  I watched him play a rack and for the first time, the desire to play tugged at my heart.

That was such a weird feeling... first time I felt such an urge to play.

I'm still not playing, tho, lol.