Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Boo!  Happy Halloween from me to you! 

May your pool journey be filled with cat like reflexes and calm when needed.

Rawr or meow?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pics from Daytona Shoot-Out from 1999

In 1999 while living in Florida, I drove to Daytona Beach to take photos for AZBilliards.com of some players battling it out in the open air for everyone to watch/see/cheer, during bikefest in Daytona Beach.  I ran across these pics the other day and I thought I'd share:

Steve Mizerak, Jeanette Lee, Ming Ng and Mike Sigel!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Excitement from Interviews!

I am finding that my after thought that I had long ago to do interviews, has become more of walking dream!

I had no idea how much conducting interviews and bringing you all (the pool fans) the answers to little  but meaningful questions, has ignited my spirit and helped my soul.

Every time someone says yes to being interviewed, I get happy.

Then, after I read their responses, I get ecstatic!

In the past when I would think about how I wanted to do interviews, I didn't really, truly realize how much I would enjoy them and how happy they would make me.  Instead, it's been bringing me pure joy to be able to be the conduit between them and you.

If you haven't read the recent ones in the online magazine Billiard Buzz from pro Dennis Hatch or Mike Page of FaroRate, find them at this link:  https://pooljourney.blogspot.com/p/billiard-buzz-columnist.html

Next up is Melanie Archer!  (Johnny Archer's wife)  I am so excited!  I already love her answers and can't wait for the September issue to come out.

We are all learning so much from others.  I am excited for us all!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Carrying Upsetness to Next Match - The Danielson Series, Oct 2017

Danielson placed well in his last tournament (Omega stop at The Hideaway) and had another very consistent finish, placing 17th-24th. 

Last year he never placed 17th or higher (not even once), and this year he's placed 17th three times and twice higher than that!

When I asked him if he had any thoughts about the tournament for this blog post, the tournament still stung two weeks later, "No thoughts.  It was just pure self destruction."

Wait.  What?

In Danielson's 3rd match, he was on the wrong side of rolls and it was enough rolls to "put me on tilt," he described.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't have enough time to recover from being upset. His next match was called right away and the anger and frustration from the previous match carried over into his next match.

Seeing things from the outside though, he won two tough matches to finish 17th, but it's difficult for us to focus on any good when we feel we could have finished even higher and played better.  

But, let's face it, in competition we don't want to be "consistent" we want to do better each time.

He shared (finally, after some prodding), "I didn't even want to play my next match... and it showed... the aggravation lead to embarrassment... that's why I stormed out after."

"I just robbed myself of another opportunity.  I didn't play well... I wasn't focused... and I got what I deserved," he confided.

You can feel his pain, too, right?  Ugh. 

It's very tough to not let a previous match affect our next match.  I only know of two types of advice:  (1) go ahead and feel the emotions so you get them out of your system and (2) remain in the present - if you do, then the past match has no consequence.  Easier said than done though for both, as you sit in your chair and think about the missed opportunities and that you shouldn't be in this current position on the bracket, blah blah blah.  But, the key is to remain in the present and remind yourself you are STILL in it!

But, it's very, very difficult.

Kinda like getting into an argument with someone.  The feelings and emotions don't just go away right away, it takes time to calm down.  And in Danielson's' case, he didn't have enough time to calm down in between his matches.

This is actually a HUGE learning experience. 


I know, it seems weird I'm excited, lol, but we all need to have these painful experiences... so we can LEARN from them.

This is why playing in more and more events to experience these tough situations is crucial - for the next time.  Next time Danielson will remember this transitional match and remember how badly he felt.  And he wont want to feel that way again.  He will have a talk with himself and demand he focus on the match at hand, not the previous match he has no control of anymore.  He will prevail.  And he will remember to "remain in the present and focus on the shots in front of you."

I feel very hurt along with Danielson.  I know how it feels to be playing well, and yet not finish higher than we could have because of emotions getting in the way.  This mental toughness shit is HARD!

I have much faith in him and I know from personal experience that he has already learned so much from the two losses that day and it will propel him in his future tournaments because he will have had this tough experience already under his belt.

I want to state again it was a GREAT finish!  17th place is tough on the Omega Tour.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Distractions During Practice - In Stereo

I  sparred with my friend Tina a couple of times in early October.  Here we are before the bloodbath:

Both times we met up, we were distracted by another player.  He came in all cocky, and he had his own personal stereo.  He was listening to music, but not via headphones.  Instead, it was clipped on his shirt or something and everyone could hear it.

It was very annoying.  If he turned toward us to shoot, the music was louder.  As he turned away to shoot, we could still hear his song of choice, just muffled a little bit.  He mostly listened to 80s music, but not hip hop like I'd of preferred, lol.

It may seem like this shouldn't be a bother, but it really was annoying for some reason.  Sure, people play music on the jukebox all the time I may not recognize or like, but for some reason that never bothers me.  This guy - bothersome with his personal stereo system we could all hear.  If he was just walking by it prolly wouldn't have been an issue, but it was lingering around us for over 2 hours.  Even when the guy found an opponent (not sure how), he didn't turn it down or turn it off, just kept on his little own world.

I didn't say anything to Tina the first Saturday about my thoughts about him, but when he walked in again the second Saturday, I noticed we both kinda grimaced at the same time lol, and then we talked about how he was a distraction.

Here's the thing about this guy and his personal karaoke system:  I'm glad he showed up!  The whole reason to practice in a pool room is to experience the same non-controlled atmosphere we might encounter at league or in a tournament.  It was almost the perfect set up!  Except, I would have chosen a different annoyance, lol.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

If I Was a High School Athlete

I have wondered at times throughout my pool journey if I had been more active in sports in high school, would I be a better pool player sooner in my pool journey?

My Dad wanted me to focus on my grades in high school, so the one sport I was in for maybe 2 months (basketball) I had to quit.

I don't regret his advice (i.e. demand) at all, as I was able to get into college first stab because I was in the top 10 of my high school class (out of 650!).  #bragger

I do wonder, though, would I have excelled sooner in my pool journey had I taken up sports and been competitive in high school?  I would imagine it would have to be more advantageous for people who were in competitive sports in high school (heck even middle school).  They would have more mental toughness, right?  That's what I think (wonder).

While I guess high school athletes may not have necessarily have more mental toughness, they definitely would be introduced to it sooner.  Heck, I didn't really even understand mental toughness til my late 20s.  And didn't grasp it until my low to mid 30s.  Had I been in a sport in high school and was active in it, I would think it would have helped me understand and harness my mental toughness much, MUCH sooner than 10 years into playing pool.  Right?

Sure, the mechanics of playing pool would have still taken me as long to solidify, but mentally, I could have been so much farther ahead?

I do also wonder had I taken up golf, would my mechanics been more solid sooner?  Following through and staying down are also key to golf, just as in pool.  I do know people who have played golf well in high school or golf now, and they are not running away with pool titles, but I think my mechanics would have been more solid sooner.

Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVE my pool journey and all the amazing different steps and adventures that brought me to a state and national champion in my 40s.  I wouldn't change my path for anything.  I just wonder if there is a benefit for other players who were athletes in high school.

Just for kicks, here's me in high school!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dedicated Pool Playing Friend

A friend of mine picked me up last week for a hike and as I got in her car, I saw this in her car door:

Magic Rack!

Now that's a dedicated pool player!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Learning Styles

Everyone has their best style of learning for themselves.  What helps you best with remembering things and or learning?

Some people are "show me" others are "let me do it" type of people.

I thought it'd be interesting to share the different levels of learning and how passive and active learning is different:

Whatever category is best for you, apply that to your pool improving plan to get your best results.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Different Kind of Shark (vacuuming )

I heard once that Tiger Woods' Dad used to make him play golf in the rain.  Why you ask?  Because at times in his professional golf life, he would be having to play golf in the rain.  He was preparing his son for adverse conditions.

It's a pretty cool little thing actually.  And I have written about this before that I would rather practice at the pool room than in the comfort of my home every.single.time.

I want to hear the music from the jukebox that I didn't play, I want to deal with distractions, I want to hear and feel the little bits of atmosphere of a pool room that I might have to deal with during a tournament.  I think one of the worst things players can do is practice solely at home in their slippers and comfy clothes - i.e., clothes they wouldn't wear to a tournament.

You must put yourself in the same environment as those you will be competing in.  This will give you great practice at dealing with distractions.

When I sparred with my friend Tina again the other day, our distraction was front and center!  The cleaning lady comes in around 9-10am and cleans around the pool room, which is the same time we show up ironically.

Here are the cords to her vacuum cleaner, yep right next to our table:

Tina and I have to watch our step and carefully shoot our shots around the cords. 

I even captured this photo, to show you how she vacuums right next to us, which is loud noise we deal with, also:

Now, granted these are extreme examples, but it shows that practicing in a pool room is actually a great experience. 

You might be thinking, "How is this great?"  It's great because we dealt with the cords and the vacuuming and we kept playing pool.  We focused on our game and our shot selections on the table, not on what was going on around us.

GREAT experience.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Hair and Pool (video clip)

This is EXACTLY how I react, too, after a guy makes a great shot playing pool:

All joking aside, I love seeing pool in mainstream commercials!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sweet Accolades

If you hadn't read yet in my blog, I announced I can no longer run the Omega Tour starting next year (read that HERE).

The loud begging for me to change my mind about running the Tour is sweet, but the outpouring of support about how I ran the Omega Billiards Tour has been really awesome and heart warming most. 

Here is one example I received via email that I thought I would share, because it really means a lot to me and really captures the type of feedback I am receiving:
"I was sad to hear that you were ending the Omega Tour. You did an amazing job and provided a incredibly organized venue for a huge community of pool players of all skill levels. What a success story! You should be very proud of what you've done all these years. To offer a tournament that constantly fills up months in advance is evidence of how everyone loved the tour. Now is your chance to take some well deserved time off.  I personally have enjoyed all the events I played in."
Such kind words.

No, still not changing my mind, lol.

But, truly, TRULY means a lot.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Love Affair

I wish I would have thought of this on my own, but I did not.  Dang it.  lol.  I read this in a book over the weekend and of course as most things I read, I relate it to our journey with pool.

What I read was about a runner who after he successfully finished running an ultramarathon (51 miles in this case), he compared it afterward to the lost desire to run his next regular 26 mile marathon, “just like when you lose the initial crazy feeling you have when you fall in love.” 

If you think about it, our pool journey is really a love affair!

In the beginning, just like in most relationships, we can't stop thinking about pool and every aspect that it brings into our lives. Just like in a new relationship, we savor every word, keep every text or email, and fall asleep thinking about our new relationship.

In a new relationship, you go on dates to certain restaurants or do things together, the same goes for pool.  So when you see a certain restaurant, you reminisce about that first date, or when you drive by Temple, Texas you think about the state tournament you competed there for several years.  And this goes for sad times, too, like when you go to Vegas and you see that the Riviera has closed its doors, it's a similar feeling of missing someone you used to love. 

Just like in all relationships and just like in pool, there are highs and lows.

Similarities between a love affair and our pool journey is actually pretty astonishing to me. Even now, as I step away from pool, it makes me a little sad, just like if a relationship is not doing well. If pool has been integral in our lives, then stepping away from pool can be a similar pain as when we leave a close relationship we had with someone we adored.

And remember when you gave a relationship another shot?  You get back together and it felt like old times and you smiled a lot realizing how much you missed the person, right?  Well, when I practiced this past weekend (I sparred with a friend of mine), glimpses of that love affair I had with pool came right back and reminded me why I loved it so much.  I would run racks, break well, see the outs, play good safes, etc.. 

But then of course there are arguments in pool and also in relationships - even in the deepest love affairs there are arguments - and then we get sad/bad/upset feelings.  That’s how I felt two weekends ago when I tried to play pool and it didn’t go well. I didn't put effort into my pool game, just like it takes putting effort into relationships.

A love affair with a human is something that is tough to even put into words.  Just as the love affair we have with our pool game is tough to describe, as well.

I simply call it our journey with pool, tho.  :)