Thursday, December 31, 2009
Let's see - where to begin........I'll try to recap as short and as sweet as I can.
November had it is ups and downs. My new business venture, the website, (along side my real job) completely took over my world. Busier than I could've ever imagined, but I loved every moment of it. My business partner and I made more connections than we really knew what to do with but we established ourselves and now business is booming!
A small break for Thanksgiving had my bf and I out of town to visit his family. A wonderful weekend of food, family, and fun. The drive home - no so! Our truck broke down, we spent two extra days there, ended up having to fly home and I was just trying not to breakdown. I have no clue on when and how I'll be able to come up with the money to fix it and how we're gonna get around..........UGH!!! AND I was dying to play some pool. (Yes - our truck is still there)
Work is crazy, outta control, busy!!! I'm an event planner by day and January is slammed, so that means TONS of pre-event work in December. This is the part of my job I can't stand. In my personal life my best friend's father passed and it was an emotional week of memories! (RIP R.B. - I love you!) Holiday parties, pool league end of sessions, work, practice........I'm not sure how much sleep I actually got in the first three weeks of December, but I do know that I was beat. Dead beat tired! I was so emotionally drained about so many personal issues that I didn't actually think about Christmas until I had looked at a calendar on the 18th and realized it was a week away! During that week, a family member ended up in the hospital. UGH, this wasn't turning out to be a very merry christmas. By the 24th (yes - christmas eve) I realized I HAD to get myself together. Positive thoughts and life ONE DAY AT A TIME!
Christmas day was spent with family and my bf. A nice day - mellow and calm.....and I vowed to not let all the bad in my life haunt me. Early the next day, my bf was off to visit his sister and I have now been alone for almost a week. And as much as I've missed him - this has been a week of solitude that I needed. For the most part, I've slept. Really slept. I think that I've been in bed more in 5 days than I have all month. Literally.
AND, I'm back on point with pool ;) All of the above has left my game in some much desperate need of some TLC. My game had completely gone down the drain and I'm just now getting back to where I know I should be. And it feels good. REALLY good.
Last night a friend convinced my to go play with her in weekly tournament here in town. I had been in the house too long she said (I actually was enjoying my quiet time thank you very much). But I tagged along since I really did want to hit some balls. This was what I call a "Big Boy" Tournament - like a tournament with REALLY good players. Handicapped 9-Ball, 9' tables, and handicaps ranging from 3-10. Like I said earlier "big boys" - so most of these players fell on the 7-10 side of the handicapped range.
Um, I'm not sure if the hiatus of not playing on a regular basis was the trick or what - but I played. WELL. On 9foots. I never play 9foots. I came back to win a game after being down 0-8 and he was on the hill. No winnings, but did make it to one outta the money. I played well. And was STOKED.
So after this shitty ending to a crazy year.......Cheers to a NEW one. I'm vowing to take life ONE DAY AT A TIME. To practice hard and improve my game. To stay healthy, spend quality time with the people in my life who matter, and enjoy the ride.
Enjoy the new year......I'm oN a miSsion to do just that.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My bracket was one of the smaller filled ones, which I didn't mind so much. I didn't play as well as I know I could have (or maybe my game is less than what I think it is). Here's the quick run down, I have a race to 2:
I won 2-0
I won 2-0
I came across someone who I had seen play before.....a new player in the league but he's a good shot. I missed an easy safe and gave up my first game of the day. (0-1) So now he's on the hill. UGH! He gets a good break, and drops two balls. As he's bearing down to win....I'm thinking I'm going to the one-loss side. I got a lucky break when he rattled a ball in the side. With only two clear shots for position I end up playing safe to leave him bad instead of going for it. And it worked. I got ball in hand and ran the table. Hill - hill and I take it.
I take game one. In a really bad second rack I get up to shoot after he misses and realize I'm lined up for a 2 ball and the 8. As I walk to the table, I notice the score sheet says I have to to go to 3 games, my opponent to 2. Um, I'm sorry?!?!?! WHAT???? So I ask before I shoot and sure as hell, this guy is one skill lower. The race is 3-2. I'm gonna have to play another rack. I'm not sure if I let this get to me or if I just played really poor. I let him get this game and I'm pissed. Score is 2-1 and hill-hill. I decide to not let it bother me. I play fierce and capitalized on each mistake he made. I think this frustrated him because he started missing - bad. Really bad. I'not sure if he was nervous or what, but his game changed, not for the better.
I won 3-1
Now, I still haven't looked at the board all day, but I'm figuring I've gotten pretty far. As they announce the next match for my bracket, I hear them call my last opponent to play for 2nd and 3rd....and I know I've made it to the hot seat!!!
In true double elimination, my opponent must beat me twice....race to 2 each match. He breaks and begins to run out the table. Hhhhmmmm - not fun. As I watch him shoot, I get the impression he's not "focused to win", but has the attitude of "Oh, I got this"........... He's shooting quickly, not paying attention to the layout of the table, and pretty much firing away. With two balls left and the 8, he calls a kick shot to move the 14 ball 3 rails. Wow! Okay! Now I'm not your smartest player, or the most talented, but this ball does NOT go. Maybe he knows something I don't.....but with all my balls near the 14 I can't imagine what he's gonna do. He fires away - It doesn't go.
I immediately look at all of my balls. No real good shot, I've got most of them up near the top rail, so I take the open shot and play safe. He has to kick and misses. I play safe. H goes for a cut and misses. I play safe. He's no longer firing away (what a concept!). Through out all this I slowly clear my balls since I've gotten them in front of pockets with all my safes. I have the 1 and 8 left. I have a pretty steep cut down the rail and the 8 is hanging. I f'n hang the one. HANG the one!!!!!!!!! I could've sneezed and it would've fell. UGH. He wins 1-0
He breaks and scratches. I continue my play, in not such a slow play, but focused, concentrated, and smart. As a group of his friends near the table to watch, he gets into conversation. Annoyed at the laughing hyenas, I stay focused. I'm down to 2 balls and the 8 and say SAFE, this gets his attention and he realizes if he doesn't make his next ball, I'm out. He cannot play safe and he stares at me. Hmph!. I end up winning and we're 1-1.
I'm on the hill...he needs this to stay in. I break, two balls fall, and I begin to layout my path. He has now moved away from his friends, and is watching closely. We go back and forth and he's on the 8. He has to cut and misses. I have two balls near the top rail, one I can cut, but one on the rail. I'm gonna have to slow roll the hell outta the cue ball because I can't hold it at that angle. He smirks, mumbles to his friends, and my horn come out. It's ON!!!!! I execute perfectly and I'm out! 2-1 and a few dollars richer!!! ;)
Just for laughs.........3 days later.........
My bf had league so I tag along. We're get there a little early so we're practicing on our own tables. The other team starts to trickle in. I start to over here two guys talking:
Guy A: "How was that tournament?"
Guy B: "Oh, good! I took 2nd. I should've had the last one too, but some chick beat me. She got so lucky. I played so good and she was just firing away make balls fall. I felt bad for her, she really didn't know what she was doing so I'm okay that I let her win"
LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????????????????????????
I seriously wanted to laugh out loud.....but didn't. I did however have a HUGE smile on my face. Just as he was about to break, he looked over at my table. I smiled bigger than I think I ever have. He looked at me with such a blank stare, you would've thought he'd seen a ghost.
Guy A: "What's up man? Break already"
Guy B: "That's her. And, uh, she plays a good game........mumble, studder, muble......
Not only did I have no clue who my bf's team played that night, I was more than happy I came. Overhearing that, was probably sweeter than my victory as I got to sit quiet, smile, and know that I KICKED HIS ASS!!!!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Over the course of all this bad play, I knew what I was doing wrong (for the most part). And the more I tried to correct it all, the worse it got. The question became: Why was I doing it? I would get down, see the shot, line up correctly, and change at the last minute. The bf and I had endless arguments about what I was doing, why and how. I could've ripped his head off on many occasions, but I really don't have time for jail right now.
I already have a hell of a time listening to unwanted advice. There are times (most all the time actually) I really just want to hit balls, be left alone, and talk to no one! Please just let me be!!! I mean can't we just play and you not criticize my every shot. I'll figure it out - and when I can't, I'll ask. And I know he really is just trying to help.....i just don't need to be talked to like I'm 5 and don't understand you. Thanks for your understanding!!!
I took a little time off....a little. But those days really did make a difference. Last Sunday, the bf and I went to practice (which we do often on Sundays, because we can play our little hearts out with no interruptions). I finally felt like I was back to my old ways. Hitting what I knew, practicing what I didn't, making good shot selection, and getting out of not so great table layouts. I 100% think, that because I was getting good outs, I felt confident in my play again and automatically didn't think of all the negative thoughts I was having. I didn't once focus on the "what if's' and 'maybe's" and just PLAYED. It was a good feeling again. And now he was the quiet frustrated one, as I silently kicked his ass ;)
I got a new tip put on last night!!! I play so much that my tip actually gets down to about the width of a dime sometimes before I actually decide to fork out the effort to change it. I know it sounds crazy, but I do think half the time I don't even realize it and have become so used to it that even shaping it some changes my game. Crazy - i know!
Anyhow, I put a LePro on for the first time. When I first started playing (really playing) I had Triangles. It's all I knew and I could've cared less and not known the difference if it was anything else. Then of course, the more I learned about pool - and all the equipment to go with - I was told to find what works for me. Liking the medium-hard tip I was used to, my last change was to a hard. (Water Buffalo, I believe). Just to see if I liked something new........... For the first two or threes weeks I wasn't comfortable. It was like hitting rocks across a parking with a bat. Then with slight adjustments, I got used to it and was fine. I decided to change again, to maybe just see what else was out there - and the fact I was playing so bad (event though I got back on track) I was looking for anything to fix my game - and that didn't help my mental decision. So I went LePro on ya! Now I've heard there isn't anything different between this tip than a Triangle, the LePro could actually be worse. One person told me it's the worst out there. But I've heard good things as well and so we shall see. I mean seriously it's just a tip and can always be replaced. Are there any suggestions for any other good tips for your average, run-of-the-mill, player???
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It has been a crazy few weeks in my world. CRAZY! But I'm still here - hangin' on by a thread. As work and life keep moving along, my pool world has been.......eh - okay. I seem to be kind of just trucking along. Playing when I have to, practicing when I can....it's all just been so-so. THIS HAS TO CHANGE.
I got asked to play in a three-man tournament. Handicap 9-Ball. Two out of three matches wins. I'm honored that these two individuals would consider me to play, they both are slightly above my level. Needless to say, I have to get some serious practice in. The tournament is 1 month away. Lately, when I do jump on a table for practice, I find myself hitting solid shots too softly, and light shots with way too much stroke. I know I'm doing this and as I try to compensate for it, I'm over or under hitting on the wrong stroke. I've also been finding myself getting some decent runs.....and then I'm on the last ball. I STARE at this ball FOREVER. Even when its dead in the whole. I have no clue why, but I have this fear lately of "what if it doesn't go? What if I over do this or that? Why I'm scared?" A hundred and sixty-nine things start running through my head and I can't control it. And if it's league night, I then have a whole team staring at me saying "What are you doing?" Its all really frustrating. Really, really, frustrating. So I definitely need to figure out what in the hell is going on with that.
On a lighter, happy, much less depressing, whoa is me note - I'm taking on a new task with a good friend of mine. We've decided to start a website for our local players. We cover our local tournaments, have a calendar that you can view weekly tournaments around town and upcoming larger events, photos, stories, feature local players, some miscellaneous all around pool news, and more. You can also sign up for a weekly e-newsletter to get your "quick" news which is sent out every Thursday. It's been a LOT of work. But as both of our passions are pool, it has all been worth it. We've got great support from friends and players around town. We want to promote and support this game we love so much.
If you get the time, check it out vegasbilliardsbuzz.com
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
On my 9ball night I had lost my match. I was running down to the 7, 8, or 9 - missing - and giving my opponent ball in hands for the run out. It was ugly. I attempt to blame this on this night being my first night back to league and really not having practiced as much as I would've liked. But I can't, I just played horrible. We ended up short a player and in this particular league you can play "team survival". The opposing team can choose anyone on our team to play the last match. Guess who lost and guess who they choose? Ugh..............
I'm up against a player who is two skill levels higher than I. Its a race to your handicap so I'm getting some weight. I shot well. He missed a few good shots and let me get to the table a few more times than I should've. Redemption at its finest. I won - with style too! ;) So thank you, opposing team. Thank you for letting me redeem myself and complete my mission of kicking your ass. I appreciate it.
A friend of mine and I had some business to attend to so we decided to meet at a local bar where she would be playing in a new tournament in town. 9ball, handicapped, race to 4 on the winners, 3 on the losers, alternate break, rack your own, 3-foul in effect. During our meeting she had convinced me to play. I was extremely against it. The players in this, men and women, are all big boy ballers who can play. I was going to get some mad weight. I finally decided, I can play and get some experience against these guys, play my heart out and see what happens. Just please don't laugh at me! And please pool gods, just don't let me get stomped all over.
Weight is a magical thing (when it pertains to pool of course). My first opponent is one of the top players in town. Of course I would be matched with him. He being the rock star he is - I was getting the call 7,8. Nice. He of course played well, but the alternate break was giving me some chances. He also missed - at the wrong times. Before I knew it I was up 3-0. WTF?!?! He scratched giving me ball in hand on the 8 and I win. 3-1.
It was all down hill from there. My next two game were a mess. I played two girls, whom I know from around town. Both extremely good players, but I knew they were both beatable. And I gave up. I missed my first shot in my first match and I automatically felt myself giving up and saying "I can't do this". I have no clue what my problem was, but I missed the same shot all 3 times to give my opponents ball in hands to combo the 9. I REALLY need to work on that shot. Or f*n realize that that shot didn't work the first time, so maybe take it another way. Perception off or error on shot - it doesn't matter. Don't take it again. But I did. And my little mission through this tournament was over.
The issue now........I WANT to play again in it. There something about losing that has me wanting to play again. I'm not sure if it's because I think I can beat the people I lost to. If I know deep down I can play better than that. If I desperately want to be as good as the players in there. I WANT IT!!!!
So when do you live, learn, and let go? And when do you say F that s#*& - I can do better?
Monday, August 31, 2009
YOURS TRULY! ;)
My first win in a semi-large, local, singles event!!! Ha - the sound of me winning first place, still makes me giggle. But before we get to that......
It's been a random week of pool. League session got done a little over 2 weeks ago and it was nice at first to have a break. No commitment - play at our own free will. No pressure - just good old ball bangin' and practice. But by the beginning of last week, I knew we were all bored. Almost all of us who play together, though we're friends even outside of league, we're at the bar playing. Every night. League is starting again this week and I'm actually a little excited to get back to it. I'm also going to be doubling up - two different leagues. On the same night. Crazy. I know. I am happy on the league I play on for this particular night. A friend of ours got screwed over and left high and dry......so he asked me if I'd play with them. Different league, one I've played before and it would mean I'd get the chance to qualify for larger national events. I told him, my skill level was moving up some so I didn't think I'd quite be the "lower level" player he needed and I wouldn't be able to make it to all nights seeing as I'm committed to keeping my spot on my other team. He was completely fine with all of it. Decisions - decisions.
I said yes. What the hell....what do I have to lose?
Speaking of large National events.....APA has come and gone yet again! Another year of team events, chaotic masses of people, and some organized sense of an unorganized mini tournament room and people watching GALORE!!!! Lots of galore! If you have never been to APA Nationals - IN AUGUST (the April one really doesn't compare), please be ready to see some of the most unimaginable people in your life. It really might be worth the cost of travel just to trip out on people!
Due to something called work and a "real" job (whatever) I wasn't able to play in many mini's this year. I haven't played APA in a session or so, but I knew I was still eligible to play. We had friends in the team events, both 8 and 9 ball and lots of friends playing minis. (One of the great things about living in Sin City, is that it is a pool mecca and we get all sorts of great events here). I took a half day on Thursday and Friday last week to just hang out down there. Thursday was partly because a friend of mine and I wanted to buy into a Ladies only, Scotch Doubles event on Friday. And we did. I wondered around aimlessly for a bit, watching some friends play. Mini's are always full if you don't get there in time to sign up so I took my chance in a hope for someone selling their spot. I got lucky.
9-ball and most all my opponents had to spot me some balls. (hey, I'm still learning).
I lost :( All mini's are single elimination. So no matter how well you might be playing....one, two, a few mistakes can cost you the match before you blink your eyes! Oh well - only 358 days until APA is back!
My friend and I also were out in our Ladies event. We actually got our money back so I guess 5th outta 32 teams isn't so bad, especially for our first time ever playing together, but we really thought we could take that one! Hmph!
Aaaaahhh! There is something about playing pool on Sundays that makes me happy. I'm not sure if its the relaxing feeling I get on Sundays no matter what I'm doing, the slight hangover from playing in our weekly little bar tournament every Saturday night, the smell of the 6 cups of coffee I'll enjoy until noon, or the thought of brunch - filled with tons of yummy good food, bloody marys and champagne.
Well on this particular Sunday, the bf and I had an end of session league party to attend to. You claim your trophies and monies (should you have placed) and then there's an all day tournament to play in. Quick tournament, 8 ball race to 2 - double elimination. (3 if you're a rockstar and tap out on the handicap list). A not bad entry fee of $10 which includes your green fees and $100 added to each bracket. They divide the brackets up by handicaps and the bf is skilled higher than I so I know we won't meet up. I'm oN a miSsioN.....
I'm called to play - one of my friends. I mean everyone in the pool world (especially league) is friends. SHE PLAYS ON MY TEAM. TWO of my teams!!!!!
Well that got things off to not so great start. We've had to play each other before and I guess that's what happens when you're the same skill level. We just hate it. Of course I want this win - but I really would love to see her advance as well.
I won 2-0.
I'm surprised to see my opponent at the table. She's a good shot, but I had just watched her previous match and the guy she'd played should have beat her hands down! WOW - she's on today apparently.
She breaks, nothing falls. I make a couple good shots but am having a hard time controlling the cue ball. I miss an easy cut to get on the eight and she finishes up. 0-1
She breaks the next rack and had nicely left all solids in position. I'm gonna have to play some good safes. I run a few and then get locked. I go for the safe and it rolls out too far. UGH! During my time at the table she's talking to a friend how she's happy she' up one. She lost her previous match with only a few balls to spare. hhhhhmmmmm...................WHAT?!?!!? She's looking at the lay of the table, getting ready to shoot and I say
I'm sorry - did you say you lost that last match?
Yes. I'm in the loser's bracket already.
Then I believe we shouldn't be playing.....I won my first match.
She stares blankly at me with piercing eyes.
Would you mind if I ran up to the desk and check the bracket with the tournament director?
Sure enough - they had mixed up winner/loser from my first match and I'm playing the wrong person. My opponent eventually comes up and agrees to replay the match with the correct person. She made the comment that she was ahead a game, and I truly felt bad knowing that she was on a mission to win that next game, so I guess I lucked out.
match 2 - again.
My new opponent had also won - against the wrong person - so he was a bit irritated to replay the correct match, but agreed. I play him in league and know he's a decent shot. He's also tall as hell so leaving him a long shot reach safe, doesn't really count cause he can reach! (I wish I was a lil bit talla, I wish I was a balla)
The first game is ugly. I make one on the break but then get hooked. I kicked and missed. He is running out, but I stay focused and see he's going to hook himself. He ends up scratching and I run out. YAY me! 1-0
Next rack We both play well and run down to our last few balls. He misses a straight shot and I have two balls left and the eight. I slowly find the pattern I like, get on the eight and miss! WTF?!?! Its a slight cut into the top corner. Yes - I'm shooting from the bottom rail, but this is makeable. I choked. Because I missed it left him a bit long and he misses to. Again - I have a slight cut on the eight to the other top corner, but the cue ball is closer. I fricken choke AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He ends up running out and we're both on the hill. (Geeze, these little races to 2 are killin' me)! 1-1
With all the focus I have (because now, I'm hungry) , I stay in this game. This last game draws some spectators. Some of whom want to chat. I'M PLAYING A MATCH HERE.....CAN'T YOU SEE?!?! If I haven't mentioned this before or even if I have - let me explain: When I'm playing a match, I'd really rather not speak. TO ANYONE! Please, just let me be. I can see when I miss and do not want you to tell me what I did wrong. I know when I make a good shot or get good position, I do not want you to re-confirm that. If you'd like to speak to me, please wait until I'm done playing and please let it be about what's for lunch or if I'd like a beer......do not bring up my game. THANK YOU!
I win. 2-1
As I'm walking to my table for my match I over hear my opponent tell her friends that she hasn't lost a match all day. Hhhmmm. She is one of the better players at my level, but I know I can take her. Let's see if I can stop that winning streak. ;)
Holy safety games!!! I have never played as many safes as I did in this match. Screw the first two games. They were okay. We're tied 1-1
I break, nothing. She starts to run out. She misses a bank shot and now has two balls left. I begin to run as well. I miss a long shot and the ball slides close to the eight. As much as I hated that miss, it probably saved my game. She can make the other two, but cannot get position on that eight anymore. So she takes the first ball and but calls defensive down. So look at the lay of the table. Safe. She has to kick or jump. She opts to jump. She touches it but misses. I know that I can make at least one of my balls but there is no good position for anything else, or to break apart my ball and the eight for me to keep running. And I'm NOT breaking that eight out for her. Safe. She's irritated, but jumps again. Misses entirely. I have ball in hand, but again cannot get good shape. Safe.
This chess match goes on for about 8 innings. I know she's pissed, but I don't care. I will not give into my impatience nor my usual "make every ball" attitude. In the midst of all this the eight has moved to a corner pocket. It's pretty much hanging on for dear life. She touches her ball, misses the shot and I'm left with a long shot on the only ball I can really see. Safe. This safe leaves the cue ball on the rail near the side pocket with one of my balls between her and the eight. I was really trying to leave the cue tied up with mine, not so great safe. Damn. She'll jump and win. She only has to touch that eight and it's falling. She goes for a kick!!!
WHAT?!?! No way....after all that jumping you're going to kick a ball in when there's not angle to come off a rail?!?!?!?! You only have to touch that eight. It's falling no matter how you hit it. My safe left you a touch shot. Nope - she kicked. And that cue ball fell right in after that eight! :)
So 3 1/2 matches later, I'm in the hot seat and proud of how I played today. My last opponent....another friend. She played a little off her game, but it ended up a decent match. I pulled a run out on the last game to win! The pool gods have definitely let some light shine on me today.
Gaining this win has boosted my confidence some. I realize now, that I CAN do this. I CAN win. No help, all on own! And it's a great feeling. ;)
Oh and on a side note - as I was caught up in my own world of wonder......my bf ended up winning his bracket too. We we're both overly stoked, celebrated at our home bar and thought to ourselves "what a great day"!!!
Monday, August 24, 2009
It's been a week since I've returned from my 5 day mini vaca. With pool a close second...there is nothing nicer than quality time with family, good friends, and good food. My family lives nowhere near me, so with reason to party - we made the most of 5 days and rocked it. I got to my brothers one day earlier, so for a little sibling catch up time - we hit the bars and completely lost our minds. (It's funny when you can look at your little brother, have a drink with him, and actually have adult conversations - well until you've had that last shot...or the next one)! On my mission to stay away from pool while on vaca, I was there all of 1 1/2hours and pick up a cue. UGH. Yes - I'm addicted! We were at a place with nice 9 foot tables. I haven't played one on in a long time so I knew I would be a bit off (not to mention I was already 2 beers and 2 patron shots deep). Surprisingly I didn't do so bad. Was it because I was enjoying myself and surroundings? Not taking the game so seriously for the first time in awhile? It felt good to run a good rack - 9 foot style!
With a vow to not play while there.....I did pretty good after that first night. There's a corner bar about 20 yards from my brother's front door (uh - on the corner?!?!) with two bar boxes at .50 cents a piece. Sweet! But I decided against it. Quality time with the family right?!?!
I lasted until my very last night. I actually hadn't thought about playing during the days so much as I did about shots. During quiet moments - I did a good amount of analyzing shots in my head from recent league nights and weekly tournaments. I made mental notes and thought about what I really needed to work on. And then couldn't take it. My last night there, I said goodnight to my family as they headed back out of town and marched down to the bar with my brother and his girl. Couldn't resist and picked up a cue. AAAAHHHHH!!!!! The clouds parted and a light shined down ;)
I played decent. Didn't try to focus too much and just ran a few racks. Played a few games with innocent by-standers, won, and won again. It felt good to play people I didn't know and play well. No one behind me second guessing my shot selections and not asking why I did or didn't do something. Maybe I should play out of town more often.
back to reality....
I had missed my own bar while gone. The tables, the stench, the drunks. There's something about playing in my own environment that is somewhat comforting. Second night back and HAD to hit a few balls. 5 hours, 3 beers, 2 blue chalked hands later - it was good to be on home tables.
Yesterday was a first real practice day again with the bf. I was playing okay. Won some, lost some, but felt like I had really slowed down some. My ball speed and stroke seemed to be working together for the first time in a long time and I liked that. I 'm wondering if my small break from the game brought back a little bit of the focus that I had let slip. Maybe I need to take a little mini break a little more often. I'll see how playing goes the rest of this week and then make that decision.
Does determination, focus, and clarity return when you've freed your mind? We are the only ones who can control our minds....in turn our bodies.....in turn our souls.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
My bf played in a team national qualifier this past weekend. Interesting. I didn't pick up my cue once to hit a ball. I watched and observed and made a few new assumptions on why a person plays this game. I saw VERY good players in our town miss, scratch, lose. I also saw some beginners do extremely well and make good shot decisions. What I've boiled this all down too (in my mind that analyzes too much) is that your environment has A LOT to do with how well you play. My last post talked about how much is too much to be playing with someone or a team and this weekend confirmed thoughts about that. If you're playing a team event and your team could care less if the team wins or loses......you are playing with the wrong group. Especially if you have the heart, believe, and want to play this game getting better each time you shoot, and win. The desire to win is sometimes enough to put your body through the motions to actually win. The negative thoughts about losing are things that should never enter your mind. Unless you don't care of course!
a new mission presents itself
I play on a few nights a week. One of my teams has been together a little over 3 years now. We're not only a team, but friends. Friends that hang out outside of pool. Until last night. We changed leagues at the beginning of this session for a bunch of reasons that I really don't feel like explaining right now. We all were in agreement. A few weeks ago, our captain mentions he's going back to the original league. "oh that's good" , I say...."I've been thinking about it too. There are more options for different national events, I kinda miss being able to qualify for those. But, I would never abandon this team, I might look for some new people to play with."
Last night - we find out that he's abandoning us. And not only is he going back to the other league on the night we play on, but he's asked 3 others from our team to go with him. Now, they all said yes, thinking our whole team was moving back. Uuuhhhhh, NO! He didn't even ask some of us let alone just let us know. Dirty! The rest of us have decided to keep our team on this same night in this same league we're in now and gain a few new friends. I'm happy with that.
I told my bf that I have no problem whatsoever that they all want to go back. My problem is - that as a CAPTAIN of a team, more so a FRIEND, you would think he'd have the balls to just mention it to us. Not go behind our backs and straight leave.......with half the team. This will not end our friendship in any means, but have some f'n respect for your "friends". On a positive note, I'm good. If this is how you really want to be, then take your happy ass and all this sneaky, bullshit, high school school drama with you. I have no room to waste my energy on drama......I have more important things to focus on. Like my pool game ;)
This is our last week of the session (we're in 1st place too mind you) and then we'll be off to begin our new mission with a fresh start!
I'm leaving tonight for a mini vaca. I'm hoping to really get some good time AWAY from pool. I highly doubt that I won't pick up a cue should I happen to stumble into an establishment that has a table and some crappy bar cues....but I am going to try. I need a good refresher and hopefully when I get back I'll be focused again! I REALLY need this! ;)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I sometimes have to look at myself, my surroundings and wonder if I'm not just a little bit bored. I play on two teams - each which consist of mostly the same people. I also tag along to another two nights of play on which my bf plays. Then there is our weekly tournament which holds about 90% of regulars. I think I need a new set of faces to play with.
Last night I played extremely bad. Missed straight shots, played safes that didn't stay safe, and I let a player pretty much take advantage of every missed shot that I took. (I know that's the point of this game, but it sucked....BAD)! The more I think of reasons why I'm lacking motivation, the more I miss the game. Funny how that works! But all in all, I believe that I have pretty much exhausted my resources in which I confide on this mission. There are 3 main players on my teams who I'll always listen to for advice. These 3 players play VERY differently. Let me give you a quick run down:
My other half - A very smart player. Very technical. Thinks things through all the way. Plays a mean defensive game. Hates to lose. Underestimates his ability and will take advice from those who he believes are better than he....no one else. Also the person who I spend the most time playing/practicing with so I would say I play most like him.
My captain - Very good player. Been playing for years. Can make almost any shot on the table and gets out of very tight situations. Takes a few fliers and random shots, but 95% of the time - those work. Believes in himself and believes in you and for the most part is light-hearted about the game........[unless its a tournament ;) ].
The highest rated player on our team - VERY good player. Also been playing for years. Can run a rack before you blink your eyes. Gets shape on every shot he takes. Good coach and will tell you straight when you're messin' up and how to change it. Also will make you play cautiously when he doesn't believe your shot making ability. Hates to lose. His attitude can get in the way when he's losing and not much faith when the team is losing. Will show you new things to improve your game.
Now, because they all play so differently - when I find myself when looking at a shot I'm not sure how to take, all 3 of them run through my mind.....what would they do? Of course my bf, but the other two as well - I love. We're all great friends and I'm comfortable asking any of them what I should do or how to change it if I miss. The problem I'm facing, is that now that I can play, have my own style and know what I would do.....I hear the same thing over and over and over from them. "Why didn't you? You should have... Take it this way.... " I'm starting to believe that I have absorbed all I can from them. They have their own styles and are pretty much set there. I'm still learning and I don't know how much more I can learn from them. Would I learn from others? Am I already stuck in MY way of playing?
How do you know when you're ready to move out of the comfort of you own home, leave all that you know, and face the world on your own???
Friday, July 10, 2009
Life has been a bit stressful. Not like "oh, i spilled coffee on my shirt, I was late for work, I need gas" stupid crap stressful......but like "life is F&#$ed up right now" stressful. I won't bore you with details. Pool is usually my savior. Kind of like surfing used to be when I lived back home - before I moved to the desert. (Which by the way has officially reach disgusting 100 degree plus summer heat). When doing things I LOVE....my mind slips into a state of slight coma and nothing enters or leaves my mind. I get into rhythm and let my body do what its supposed to. I don't think about anything....I just do it!
For the past week or so, I've played decent on league nights. Not great, could use improvement, decent! Won all of my matches - both 8 and 9 ball. Not great wins, just wins. I'm one of those who thinks that even if I won, I feel like I played bad when it applies. I also know when I've played well.....even if I've lost.
Then there's practice. I some how have let everything but pool enter my mind when I'm at the table. EVERYTHING BUT POOL. Why you ask? Beats the crap outta me? How is this happening? Singing along to the music overhead, wearing the iPod, FOCUSING on my shots - nope! Nothing is helping. The minute I get my mind back on pool, my shot, the table layout, my last shot.....it all slips away. I just cannot stay focused.
...are you kidding me?
I was at a practice table one night while my bf was playing league - a team I'm not on. Was playing okay. Took some shots that I knew probably were not the best shots at the moment, but took them anyway (its practice right?) and managed to still win my games, though not in the best possible way. I also made some ridiculously hard shots work and got a few glares from opponents. Whatever! No one had stepped up to play after I won the last one so I decided to keep throwing balls on the table and keep shooting.
About 30 minutes goes by and a guy from the opposing team my bf's team was playing walks up to me -
Wanna play a quick game?
(Ugh ~ NO but okay. Only because you're actually playing league tonight and this is the one practice table available.)
I break, eh - nothing special but manage to drop 3 balls. Three stripes. I take solids. (What? They were laid out nicely and I knew if I played right, I'd be out.) I didn't even stand up from my first shot and
You know you should have taken stripes? There were already 3 stripes down?
No shit....really? (I musta missed that part since I broke!)
Yeah, and if you had......
I kept shooting. Didn't look up once. Shot. Shot again. Shot again. And again and again. I got a little out of shape on my last ball.
Let me know if you want any help!
(One - I don't know you....two - I will NEVER ask you for help. I'm perfectly fine on my own and it was you who asked to practice with me since I had won and had the table ....remember. UGH!)
I shot and got PERFECT shape on the 8 ;)
I stood up - looked him in the eye - a fired the 8 in like a bat outta hell.
I'm sorry....you were saying?
The best part about that win is I knew in my heart that I didn't play well. That I can play much, much better than that. I guess I should get some practice in ;)
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
On the other hand....its things like this that make me wish I still played. There are so many opportunities to play in Nationals with the league we left.....and I've basically given it all up. I'm in the process of debating which is worse? Playing for a league who's operator in our area CANNOT stay organized, playing against opponents who absolutely have nothing better to do than bitch, playing for a league who has cheated our team out of money, but yet getting to participate in tournaments, qualifiers, nationals........
keeping my dignity and playing pool for and with others who actually respect the game. Now this league does have opportunities to play for their Nationals. Its just not as large of league and they're not as dominant in the industry.
I feel like I've invested A LOT of time and money into this part of my world. I guess its just frustrating to know that for as hard as I've worked....its not as attainable to be able to play and try to see where I stand against others.
I guess I'll just have to keep working at it - get better - and kick some ass elsewhere ;)
Friday, June 26, 2009
I found out this morning that they're holding a qualifier TOMORROW for fall regionals - singles. Yes - they only gave 1 days notice. Ugh!
Well due to low funds and a bunch of byes for league I haven't played a whole heck of a lot in the last two weeks. So what's a girl to do? Do I practice tonight and go for the gusto tomorrow? I mean - what's the worst that could happen? I lose? Ugh - I hate that!!! On the bright side - I guess I would still have decent practice in for the week. And I was planning on practicing some tonight anyway. Or I can practice tonight and show up tomorrow with my "A" game and win......hhhhmmmmm.........
I guess I wouldn't be having second thoughts about this if I had actually played a little more this week. When I don't play for awhile I tend to think that every time I get to a table I'll mess up. My confidence drops to -20 below. I would feel much better knowing that I was playing well. I have nothing to gauge myself off of right now.
Also, they're going to be playing the qualifier at a local pool hall which consist of nothing but Diamond Tables. I actually much rather play on diamonds verses the crappy bar boxes at another pool hall we normally have to play our local league tournaments on. But shoot - 95% of my practice happens at my little neighborhood bar which has bar box tables. Decent ones....but nowhere near a Diamond bar box!!!
What would you do?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Um, no! I wasn't asking those questions for my health.
As a lower player, I'm going argue, ask questions, and want to know why. I think its natural. Wouldn't we lower players not ask if we knew what we were doing....or knew what the hell you were talking about?!?!?
When people talk to my bf and I about pool in general, I've always said: He's the technical one - I'm the creative one.
I'm sorry, is there something wrong with that?
When I say technical....he learns very different. He needs to be told something once and he will practice that shot, safe, whatever it is - over, and over, and over until he gets it and knows why. He can read something and then execute. If he doesn't know the answer or why to something, he will research, read, and read some more. He remembers shots that he misses and will practice until he gets it. There is nothing wrong with that.
Now I on the other hand......
Creative. I need to be shown whatever it is we're talking about. I need to touch, feel, see....all of it. I want to be told where to hit and how to hit. I want to see it done before I even try. I can read something if it speaks to me. If its technical - I lose interest and start skimming. I also remember shots that I make. I feel like they work and the more I do them, the more comfortable I become and better I'll get with them. Only the major, MAJOR, game winning, heart pounding misses do I remember. And I'll never take that shot again. Why? Because it didn't work out. And I HATE to lose, remember?
We've argued time and again about how and why each other plays. Because we don't see things the same way - we just go around in circles.
So he comes across this article the other day and tells me to read it. It comes from Tom Simpson: An industry figure, who has been playing since he was 12. He's a professional billiards instructor (BCA master instructor) who runs his own clinics.
Holy crap - it is EXACTLY what my bf and I have been trying to say to each other and seem to continue to argue about when it comes to teaching, learning, and playing. Now....its just in terms that we can both understand.
It probably doesn't hurt that someone else is the one saying it all so now we believe it ;)
You can read the article HERE along with many other great articles from him. Everything I've read from him - just makes sense. Definitely get your read on with him.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
We didn’t win. We didn't play our best, didn’t listen to each other, we fought aimless battles with unforeseen circumstances, we lost composure, and we didn’t win.
8-ball city tournament
Things started off with our league operator telling us that one of our players was ineligible for play. We had made a valid effort to make sure that he had enough games in during the regular session to play in the city tournament so our team captain spent the first 20 minutes handling that situation. While in debate, our league operator also tells us that another player of ours (who happens to be my other half) can’t play! My other half is one of our strongest players.....this is not going to be good.
What?!?!?! What in the hell are you talking about?!?!?!
Our league operator tells us that he owes money. For what?! He claims that my bf’s team for another night was short on funds for the session. So you don’t let him know this – hhhmmm, I don’t know – maybe during that session! You couldn’t have picked up the phone and called us about this? You couldn’t have said this during the 8-ball or 9ball tri-annuals that happened last month and you let him play in? Or maybe during the 9-ball city tournament that you allowed him to play in 2 weeks ago? But now, during 8-ball cities where we know we are going to have the best shot at this, you want to tell him he can't play.....one of our strongest players.....hhhmmmmm....... Whatever!!!!
Things are off to a F*&%$# up start!
The tournament is modified singles and 3 out of 5 games in a wins the match. The first team we play is a strong team. They have an even spread of handicaps and all shoot well.
Game one – we lose.
Game two – we lose.
Game three – our captain plays. He’s down 0-2 and his opponent is on the hill. F!!! Well our captain, bless his heart….. doesn’t give up and comes back to win! What?!?! We’ve got a chance.
Game four - Haha. Just kidding. The pool gods decide that our captain’s game was just to tease us a bit and we lose. I HATE THIS GAME!
Since we’re in a modified single tournament, we get one more chance to play. We end up with a bye spot and advance one round. We sit around for a good 3.5 hours before our next match. We’re tired, we’re cranky, we’re hungry, and we’re losing patience.
Game one – we win.
Game two – we win.
Game three – we win.
What?!?!?! Sweet deals….we come back tomorrow.
I played the first game in match 2. I feel like I played okay. Nothing great. I got lucky a few times when my opponent scratched and gave me ball in hand. I still over cut A LOT of balls and seemed to roll a little short of everything. I’m not sure if this is because I tried to slow down and play cautiously or if I just couldn’t find the umph to put into my shots.
We’re up against a team that we’ve beaten countless times. We don’t take them lightly, but know how they play and think we should have the upper hand. Wrong!
Game one – we lose.
Game two – we lose.
Game three – we lose. GAME OVER.
I played and lost the first game. I followed balls in. I scratched cross sides. I couldn’t make straight shots. I have no clue what was wrong with me. I REALLY wanted this. Even when I was down, I thought "you can do this...you can come back". UGH!!!! I of course had faith in my team mates to pick me up. Even after our second loss....not once did I think it was over.... I thought there are 3 other players to win the last 3 games. We got this!
My captain on the other hand - lost all faith and was pissed after that second match. Hell - I knew he was mad when I lost my game. He straight said "that's it - we're done". I looked him dead in the eye and said "Really? That's some great team spirit! Have some faith! You came back and won a third match for us yesterday. What happened to believing in your team? If you dont' give a shit....then why the F are we here?" ....... and walked away! Probably not the best way to handle the situation, but I was pissed. Now at that point there was one more match, but I refused to sit with all the negativity. Of course we were down 2 games, but lets be real about the situation. No one, NO ONE, woke up that morning and said "I'm going to lose today". So have some f'n faith in your team and lets win the last 3!!!
Well it didn't happen. As soon as it was over - our captain turned in the score sheet....and walked out. Didn't say anything to us and was gone. Half of us didn't even know he left. Well there's some love, huh?!?! Don't get me wrong....I love our captain...I love our team. We're not just a pool team, we're actually friends and hang out together - even outside of pool. So I was beyond a little annoyed with his attitude. WE ALL WANTED TO WIN!!! YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!
Sometimes I wonder......
If you believe in something SO hard - then why do you change your mind about it when it's sitting in your possession?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
My opponent, same skill level....didn't seem to pleased when I won. And I wouldn't have been please either. Besides hating to lose, I took shots that if an oppenent did to me, I might have drop kick them. I combo caromed a nine between two other balls that you could barely see through and was back-cutting at, and combo banked another that took extreme low left - a hell of a stroke - and had to travel the full length of the table. I also played extremely well and ran all of my balls when it was my turn at the table on the other games. Are you f'n kidding me.....who does that? Who shoots like they've been playing their whole life. The big boys do!!! Not me! Not lil' ole me. (The girl you don't want to play cause I'm a GIRL, right). Hahaha - YAY ME :) Now - the tables sucked ASS. There was more table rolls then I had ever seen. Two tears in the cloth (not minor either). Balls with chips. Horrible racks. Could someone please fix these damn things. Hell - replace them!!! This poor bar needs some luvin'. Despite all the bad.....my head must have been in the right place, cause I played like a champ. Okay, I'm done patting myself on the back now!
As I continue my mission to keep practicing 9-ball.....I've had to switch missions this week and focus on 8-ball. The city tournament is this weekend and our team has secured a spot. Shoot - we've secured a spot the past 3 years. Never been to Nationals. We've played down to the final game twice in those 3 trips and we lost. Twice. This year.....I have a good feeling. Besides the normal obstacles of daily play - who's playing good that day, who's not - who has to work and can't play - who's PMSing - who's wife pissed them off and they shoot every shot like they're going to kill someone - who's drinking - who doesn't want to listen to timeouts .......we also ALL know how bad we all want this!!! Yes - it is up to us to get it done - but believe me, the pool gods will be hearing from me A LOT this week. Hopefully they're in agreement that maybe, just maybe, this is OUR year!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I began to play a new format of 9-ball last week in a different league for a mini-session. Now, this 9-ball isn't much different. Play your game, sink the 9 (no matter how it goes) and you win. Its a race to your handicap. (you're a 3- you gotta win 3 game, you're a 6-you gotta win 6 games, etc.). Difference - it's call-pocket 9-ball. Hhhhmmmm......................I'll let you ponder on that one for a minute.
Are you done yet?
So as you would expect, why should this change the game any? You still make your shots, get postion, play safe, what's the f'n problem?!?!?!?!? I dunno either! But I'm struggling with it. Bad!!!
For some reason, instead of playing shape to run racks.....I'm now looking at the 9 ball on every shot. Can I make it? How can I play position to get on my next ball and combo the 9? If I miss a shot do I leave my opponent the 9 out? A combo 9? Now for all you big shot players....this probably seems mindless and a waste of energy for me to be typing this. For me, it's affecting my game and my mind. Lets just say this now: I HATE TO LOSE! My team says "don't worry, you'll get. You'll win next time." Winning next time doesn't make me feel better about losing today! Yes - I won't win every game I play. But what's wrong with striving to be better and figuring out what it is that got me to lose today?
This is how my evening went:
Game 1 - I break. Run the 1-5, play safe on the 6. He kicks the 6 and scratches. I have ball in hand on the 7, and f'n scratch. Down 0-1
Game 2 - He breaks, runs down to the 8 and misses. With ball in hand on the 8 I make the shot and get position on the 9. Not a hard shot......a long drive down the side rail. I miss. F@#%. Down 0-2
Game 3 - He breaks, nothing goes. I run down to the 6 and get hooked behind the 8. Now what?! I take a long kick and miss. Ball in hand for him. The 9 is in front of the 8 and BAM - combo 9, game over!!! He only needs 3 games and wins: 0-3
Opponent: Good game.
Opponent: No really. Good game.
Me: Really?! Because you won. I don't see much "GOOD" in that.
Opponent: Well, I mean, you play well for a .......
Me: For what? For my handicap? For a GIRL? just because I'm a girl, doesn't mean you can take me any lighter. So I played like a crap and you won. End of story. I'd appreciate if you didn't speak anymore!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Inspired by all the pool blogs I read out there combined with the love of the game, I’ve decided to create my own blog. More than just my thoughts, my rants, raves, vents, and frustrations….I guess I finally wanted keep my “pool world” in one place and hopefully find soul redemption in the world in which has taken over my life.
I’m just your average player..... student of the game.....leagues.....tourneys..... I’m also the bitch in the corner, stubborn as hell, trying to learn, get better, and fight for MY game. I’m on my own miSsioN not to be the player YOU want me to be, but the player who I know I want to be.
And let the miSsioNs continue……