Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Golfer Showing Emotions

Golf seems to lately be more in the headlines about players acting up or getting upset or, gasp!, showing emotions.

I realize golf is traditionally an honor sport where everyone acts professional and courteous, but lately a few things have hit the news about players.

What's funny to me is, these "antics" are so uncommon for golfers, that their actions actually make headlines and articles are written about them.

O.M.G.  I saw this every single weekend of a billiards Tour stop.  Although we aren't happy with players acting like ass's, it's not out of the ordinary.

But oh!  Have a golfer barely shake someone's hand and you make news!  Read the article here.

Hey people, he was upset!  He showed emotions, and so he didn't give a firm handshake.  They even called him "classless."  Now, I agree he could have tucked his emotions aside and gave the guy a big hug and kiss (kidding of course), but it's funny how when a golfer shows emotions, it makes such news.

We deal with this all the time at pool tournaments.  Sure, we aren't happy about it either, but it's not front page news.

I admit when I ran the Omega Tour I ended up putting in place some rules and regulations for sportsmanship because players kept getting out line.  But a limp handshake?  That just proves you were beat!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sleep is Key

I noticed the past few weeks that I haven't been getting good sleep.

I usually fall asleep pretty easily, but lately I am staying up an hour or more past my normal bed time.  And I am still waking up in the middle of the night, too.

Why do you care about my sleep patterns?  You prolly don't lol.

But, it makes me glad to know I'm not playing league right now.  The number one most important thing I need to play good pool, to give me a chance to play my absolute best, is the all-allusive SLEEP!

So, since I've been tired lately, I am just thankful I'm not playing league or have any big tournaments coming up.

I actually used to get anxiety when I couldn't go back to sleep or didn't get good sleep because it was so necessary for my game.  If anything, not playing has allowed less anxiety and I actually sleep better with less worry about how tired I might be.

Am I making sense?  lol.

Bottom line:  get some shut eye, folks!  Rest helps.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Enjoying League Again

A few friends of mine have confided in me that they are dreading league because there is some drama going on.  Whether that's from players arriving late consistently, people not getting along, players getting jealous and acting up, or people not agreeing with the captain - the pulse is the same:  they aren't having fun at league and dreading going.

Every time my friends vent to me, I just smile inside and am grateful I don't have to deal with all that anymore.  It kinda reinforces my decision to not play pool.


"Oh, here comes the howevers…." you are thinking lol

However, there have been a couple of recent instances where some friends have shared they are actually enjoying pool again.

Wait, what?

Turns out, they are no longer feeling pressure and therefore they are having fun again!  They have joined teams that are about having fun, and not about trying to be in first place.  Further (and most importantly), they no longer HAVE to show up to play league, no longer feel pressure to win, and no longer have teammates that are getting on to them if they happen to lose a match.

I admit, it was a nice change of pace to hear some GOOD news about leagues and my friends renewed joy again in playing the game we all love.  :)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Doubles with Dave

I had another big smile moment last night.

I met with a VERY dear friend of mine for dinner.  She is moving out of state in a few weeks and so we met up to catch up and say our "temporary" goodbyes.  I plan to visit her in the coming years and walk in the Ozarks with her!

She is one of these women in life that we judge before we know them.  She was tough to play because she was so intimidating and I because incorrectly assumed sometimes rude.  What I would find out was she was raised in a tough world, which made her a menace around the pool table.  What I didn't know 10 years ago was this tough gal had a heart of gold and a love for life that most of us can only hope for.

She is one of those people that once we get to know the real them, they turn out to be a gem in the world and we find we are lucky if we get to be a part of their life.  She has made a huge impact to me personally and even though I don't see her that much, she still has a part of my heart.

She has lived in the area (Dallas-Fort Worth) for over 30 years.  And she mentioned last night that my friend Dave Faver and her used to play scotch doubles together about 20 or 25 years ago!  I just smiled and smiled :)  I love that so many people are still sharing stories about Dave with me.  Warms my heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Saturday Versus Sunday Noise

There's a lot of things a Tournament Director handles that many of the players don't even realize.  And, by the way, this is just fine to us!  We would rather you all focus on just playing and not worry about anything related to running a tournament or the nuances of running a tournament.

One of the things players don't really realize is the noise level difference between Sunday play and Saturday play of a 2-day tournament.

Saturdays are JAMMED PACKED with players and spectators.  We are trying to whittle down from a field of around 100 to 24 (or less) the next day.  So, the majority of the players are there all day on Saturday wall-to-wall with only a handful of players left on Sunday.

Tiger Woods recently dealt with (again) a fan yelling during his swing.  You can read about it here.  

Golf is like pool on Sundays.  It's very quiet on Sundays of a pool tournament, less hustle and bustle and less players.  However - the crowd of golf is like a pool tournament on Saturdays.

Okay, let me get to my point before you all go leave me to go read the National Enquirer.

The point is, on Saturdays Tournament Directors are mostly focused on running the tournament smoothly and efficiently.  On Sundays, though, because there are less people around, less matches playing and less fans watching, the room is much more quieter - which means noises are more of a distraction on Sundays.  And that directly relates to a TD being more active to ensure there is less distraction for the players on Sundays.

Hear me out (of the irony of noise lol).  There is so many people around on Saturdays, literally elbow to elbow sometimes, that a full event seems like one big non-stop noisy atmosphere.  If someone was to fall off a chair, most of the room may not even know that happened.  But on Sunday it is so much quieter, more open spaces, less people, fewer matches, and that all leads to less noise.  And that person falling off the chair on Sunday makes the entire room suddenly look around because it was so quiet.

The article I referenced went on to talk about the tradition of golf and the quietness of that sport.  He asks, what if that changed, though?

The guy said, "Noise isn’t the enemy here. Silence is."

And that reminds me of Sundays of a pool tournament.  We get less distracted in a room full of people while we play our matches on Saturdays.  On Sundays, though, there is so few people and it's therefore so quiet, the poor, innocent guy who is just trying to place a food order gets under our skin because he seems so loud!  lol.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Interviews Overlapping

The July interview in Billiard Buzz is out.  Andrew Cleary was my fun and clever interviewee!  It is a great interview and I highly recommend it.

In order to prepare for future editions, I'm usually working on the next interview in time for it to be ready for the next month.  Case in point is the interview for August.  I'm working on that month now and I get so excited about the interviews!  It's actually tough for me to keep a secret who I am interviewing!  And August is no exception - I can't wait for you all to get to know this player better.

If you happen to actually read my interviews (which I hope you do as it's one of my greatest joys in life), then you know I ask some of the same questions to each person:  Who helped your game, what is your favorite tournament, what was your favorite match, etc.

As you may recall back in June I published the interview about one of my best friends who passed away in early May (Dave Faver).  What is SUPER cool about the August interview is when I asked the player, "What is your most memorable match?" he shared a story and it was about Dave Faver!  I just smiled and smiled and was so happy to read that.  :)

Sorry.... you all will have to wait until mid August to read it.

I know, Imma tease!  But, had to share this really happy moment with you all.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2018

League and Fun and Friends

A friend of mine recently hadn't been playing league.  Either due to choice of not playing on certain leagues anymore, and/or because another one of her leagues was in between sessions.  So, she just wasn't playing league right now.

Well, one of her friends convinced her to play on their team.

And what she found was - she REALLY needed the time with friends and time away from the "real world" for awhile.

I think a lot of people look at league as something they have to do - their team needs you or you need to put in weeks to qualify for State or Nationals or the team is short and you have to play (no matter what!).

But league becomes more fun when you can play on your terms.  

And my friend actually needed a break.  She wondered at first, "Do I even have time to go to league tonight?  I have so much to do."  But what she found was she enjoyed the break, enjoyed playing the game she loves, and enjoyed being around her friends.

When league because a "I have to go" (for whatever the reason) to "I am just going to go play," it becomes fun again!

So happy she said "yes" to the new team.  :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Losing the Touch

One thing I realized while at ACS Nationals in May was:  my pool game is rusty.

One of the very few matches I was watching, one player had 2 balls left, another 1 ball.  Only other ball on the table was the 8ball.

I was standing there wondering what Player One was going to do.  How would she play safe, what would be her best shot?

I had an answer in my head, and then she shot a safety and it was not something that even came to my mind.  And I realized, "Damn, that was so obvious, too."

I didn't stick around long, instead had a break from working the front desk and wanted to put in some time on the casino gambling tables, but it sure showed me that not playing pool has hurt my memory/ability to see good safes and/or correct shots.

I watched another match a few days later and I could guess the safes right away, so maybe my memory muscle was already being worked seeing that other match.

Does this make me want to play pool again and keep up my skills?  Sorry, boys, NOT.

But, it's okay to share people are correct - the more time I stay away, the more it will effect me.  Oh, and I'm okay with that.  :)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Reasons for Recent Successes

I've always been fascinated when a player all of sudden finishes really high in a big tournament.  If it's an up-and-coming player, it makes sense because they are usually working on their game.  But when a seasoned player all of a sudden does really well when they had been missing from the podium for a while, it makes me want to find out the scoop!

I'm talking about players who have always played well, but hadn't had many high finishes the last few years, and now all of sudden placed high in a big tournament.

That happened to two of my friends recently and so I started my investigation right away for you all!  I want us all to learn from them. :)

The first player I reached out to is a good friend of mine and so he was chatting with me honestly about his thoughts on why he had propelled in his latest big tournament.  When I ran the Omega Tour, he only placed in the top 4 maybe once (when the tour first started), so what was the reason for the recent top finish?

He said he actually hasn't been playing hardly at all, especially the last three months.  I told him sometimes not putting so much into practicing can actually help us with no expectations, which allows us to enjoy the game again.

He relates and replied, "Yes I agree.  I was at a point where I was putting too much pressure on myself and overthinking.  I was able to keep things simple for most of the tournament weekend.  And also I want to have more fun when I play.  That got lost somewhere for me along the line."

I was SO happy to see how well he had finished.  So happy for him :)

At that same tournament, I noticed another player who had a higher-than-usual finish.  Then at his next big event, he had yet another top finish!  So, I reached out to congratulate him, too.  And while I did that, might as well ask what he's been doing to help his game.

After the kudos, I asked him, "Have you done something different with your game?"

"No, not at all... just gotta be positive and realize I can run out and beat anyone in the tournament."

That didn't help us, did it?  lol  So, I prodded, "But is this new thinking?"

"No, not really," he said.

Ugh.  There has to be something!

He then continued, "Just gotta do it and also stay focused through the waiting during the tournament.  The waiting just sucked the life outta me in the past."

I still wasn't satisfied with his response, lol.  I asked him, "So you just came to aha thoughts about what you need to do as far as your thinking?"

"Pretty much."

So, let me translate this for you peeps, lol.  I think he got frustrated with not finishing well, knowing damn well he has the ability and talent.  He gave it some deep thought as to WHY, and what he realized was he needed to be more positive about his own game, and also remain focused throughout the entire event (and not get frustrated with long waits, etc - things you can't control).

Pretty good translation, huh?  It's okay to be impressed.  j/k!  :)

The difference between the two is almost opposite.  The first player I talked to stop thinking too much and started to enjoy the game with less pressure.  The second player thought about why he wasn't finishing well and realized it was his attitude after much thought.

I think both are key to successes.

Congrats again to my friends!

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Rabbit Talk

I was watching a player in a match last year on the Sunday of an Omega tournament.  He really studies the game and practices, and it shows in his increasingly high finishes, even though he's not yet one of the top players.

I am very impressed with how much he has improved and how well he knows the game.

In this match, I saw him miss a crucial 8 ball.  He was trying to get shape on the 9ball, but he went for a tough shot on the 8ball and missed it in the side pocket.  As soon as I saw the shot, I thought to myself he should have used a different route to make the 8 ball (an easier shot) so he would for sure have a shot on the 9ball.  In other words, he took a risky shot and because it was a tough shot, it was missed.

Because I really like the guy, I decided to share with him (at the next tournament) my thoughts on his shot selection.  You have to realize I can't just walk up to some dude and start giving advice, I actually have to be careful how I even broach the subject.  Some guys take offense to a chick trying to show them something, so it can turn into a dicey thing.  But, I think you all know me well enough to know I am careful with how I word things to not embarrass him, upset him, or make him think I am better than him.  I am just offering advice.

Long story short, the conversation went very well!  We chatted about the different options and he explained why he made that shot selection (he wanted to get perfect on the 9 ball) and I explained why I thought it was better to go a different route (easier shot and still have shape on the 9ball).

After the great discussion, I shared with him I was glad he accepted my opinion so well, as sometimes guys don't react as receptive as he did.  He then shared something really cool with me.

He said that it's just like taking advice from a rabbit.

Uh, what?

He said in his country (Peru) there is a saying that you can listen and take advice from anyone, but it's up to you to decide if you want to use it or not.

I loved it!  But then I asked, "Uh, what about the rabbit, though?"

He smiled and explained, "Oh, the reason why the quote mentions a rabbit is because in Spanish it rhymes.  Un consejo hasta de un conejo."

I always find it fascinating when someone uses a phrase or quote from their childhood or country.  Makes me feel like they remain connected to their history and they let me see a part of it.  That day was a cool day for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Being a Team Player Can Hurt - Project Hunger Games

I admit it.  I feel bad for my friend, Katniss of Project Hunger Games.

You see, she has a lot of talent, potential and love for the game.  However, she has a bit of a disadvantage.  What is this disadvantage I speak of?  Well, unfortunately, her own teammates.  

You see, she confided in me back in May that she doesn't get to play all 5 of her games on league night because she has teammates who complain about wanting to play, or feel they deserve to play, or whine they aren't being played more.  So, she gives up her 5 chances every league night to improve her own ranking on the league so her teammates get to play more.  Even though she's the top player on their team, she still does this selfless act.

So, what happens when people complain?  We get in a foul mood, get a bad attitude, and therefore can't compete well.  This in turn (oh the irony!) upsets her teammates because she's isn't winning all her games.  Little do they know, they are the ones affecting her play!

So, she is sacrificing not playing as much, not playing her best because she's upset and it not only affects the team standing, but her individual stats as well.

Katniss shared, "I get to the point that I don't enjoy competing....its not fun anymore. So I don't try, because I'm dreading it."

But a month later something really awesome happened.  She struggled with her unhappiness for many weeks and then decided to do something about it after giving it some thought and talking over options with her husband.  

She decided to have a team meeting and they set up ground rules about who should play and why (based on stats and future incentives).  This is another ironic thing as it not only helps her, it also helps the weaker players to give them incentive to help their own game so they get to play more!  So it was a much-needed change/decision that ended up helping the entire team!

Being on a team is one of the highs in life, but it can sometimes come with conflict and drama.  Once those are ironed out, watch out - fun times and better play ahead!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quieting the Talker - The Danielson Series

Have you all wondered where Danielson was?  Yea, me too.  Finally heard from him, though.

The other day I got a text out of the blue, "You busy?"

I hastily replied, "Not really, just sat down at a poker table in the poker room of Winstar Casino lol.  What's up?"

Turns out he was about to play a guy who was a real talker - one that had in the past got under his skin for being kinda cocky, crappy,and just talking too much when they played.  I guess you could say their banter got out of hand and became personal and rude, instead of fun jabbing among friends.  And now it was down-right sharking.

Danielson said he wanted to talk about the match with him.  I told him via text, "The goal is to shoot his nuts off.  Doesn't matter who your opponent is.  If he talks smack, punish him.  And focus on 3-ball-shape, you'll be fine."

His reply was, "Gotcha - best way to shut him up is to run out."

I reiterated, "Yep.  Punish him for talking."

The thing I failed to remind him was to not get upset.  When I say, "punish" someone, it's not an upset reaction, more so you are laughing at them, I'll show you not to talk to me that way hahaha by running out.  

I asked Danielson a few days later if my golden words of insight were helpful (I'm an only child, feedback is key for us only children, lol).  He said it was when he thought of it, yes.  So, I patted myself on the back and typed up this blog entry :)

Btw, he ended up losing only hill-hill, so I consider that a success!  From his perspective it wasn't, as he lost, but to overcome an adversary who you know ahead of time can get under your skin, is a success, not a defeat.  Then again, that didn't affect my pocketbook, so I can call it a success easier than Danielson can lol.

Remember people, punish them with your art on the pool table.  Quiet them and don't let others affect you.