Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Champions in any field have made a habit of doing what others find boring or uncomfortable" ~ unknown

I can’t believe we’re in May!  How did this happen?  As crazy busy as I am, May brings on a LOT of pool.  A LOT of it.  And I’m stoked!

My pool calendar in May has me booked 22 days out of 31.  That leaves me 9 days to get all non-related pool things done ~ ppsssh, as if!  On top of my full-time job and my other full-time job I’m sitting here wondering how best to organize my life, if that’s even possible.  Let’s just say that my goal for tonight (after league of course) is to get my damn house in order since that’s been neglected for awhile now (oh right – due to pool).

The consumption of pool is sometimes greater than what one would call normal.  But isn’t it?  It comes with the territory, right?  I mean don’t we all who indulge, indulge whole heartedly?  I know I do.  My last post was “somewhat” J geared around how I’m starting to view other players…..and the everyday learning process is a bit brutal at times.  I’ve also realized that some of the players who I know and play with really don’t see the pool world as I do.  I’m so engaged, I used to think everyone who played was. 

Think again captain….. 

I found myself having a conversation with a fellow pool acquaintance about pool.  This is a bright individual.  Who plays a lot of pool.  Who has been playing a LONG time.  As the conversation grew and we began to talk about miscellaneous tournaments around the country and some of the pro players, I realized this person had no clue what I was talking about.  This person went along for a bit and slowly would change verbiage to slide into something more general in the pool world.  I was a bit lost and confused as to what was really going on…..and it got me thinking.

Am I so involved into something that I love, that it could be called an addiction?  Or obsession?  That I could possibly be a bit insane to be so infatuated with this world?  See, that fact that I’m nowhere near and expert in this field, but that I love it so, seems so natural to me.  I don’t think twice about it.  Its become a lifestyle.  I twiddle my thumbs, bored out of my mind when league is on break.  Or when there isn’t some tournament somewhere.  I’ve been playing in the same measly Saturday night tournament at a home bar for years now – since before I really knew how to play.  I never questioned myself about what I was really doing. 

After this conversation, I began to look at myself (and I’m still contemplating) and see what it really is that I love about this world that only a few know.  This world, where outsiders look in and think we’re all nuts.

“It’s just a game, you’re so intense”.
“Well why not?  You’re so intense about your _____ (fill in your hobby here).”
“Yeah, but I don’t let it consume me”
"OH. I do".

Monday, April 18, 2011

you think you're bad ass..... you're not!

Once again, all intentions to jot down my thoughts is on my to-do list….it just never seems to happen.  

A bunch has happened since my last post, but I won’t bore you with the details.  Let’s break down it in quickie…

-watched a weekend full of pool with big boys from all over.  Amazing pool, ice cold beer, friends old and new, and hell of a lot learning about who to trust and who not to. (That’s a long story – saved for another day).  A big thanks to omgwtf for buying my last adult beverage of the weekend….it helped cancel all the noise made by idiot conversation about every shot!

-played in the women’s annual charity tournament.  Played great the first day and was 2 and on the second day.  Lessons learned: #1 – Play your game and no one else’s.  They wouldn’t do it for you.  #2 – even your closest “friends” will talk shit when they lose to you.  #3 – People will make excuses for EVERY aspect of their game when they play like ass, and it really just sounds like f’n whinning….tell people to shut the F up or charge the iPhone longer so that music lasts through all the bullshit.  

-league has come to conclusion. Team finishes: was out of playoffs by one game on Sunday league.  Got second on Tuesday league.  Took first on Thursday league.  Playing playoffs this week for the team I sub on which will take place this Thursday.  (Yeah, I have no clue why I took on a sub position for another team on a night I already play on….but whatever).

-work is OUT OF CONTROL.  I’m slammed busy!!!  I barely catch break all day long.  On the up-side, the days fly by and my week is over quick.  Before I know it, I’m back in on a table all weekend long.  

-my other job is OUT OF CONTROL too.  I am so far behind, I don’t even know where to start on my to-do list is 4 pages long.  (That is NOT an exaggeration). 

-homemade cooking and food has been fabulous lately  :)

So yes – I’ve been busy.  Very busy.  But each day is a new day, and all I can do is keep truckin’ along. 
Let me go back to my pool world real quick….I’ve been privy to a lot going on around me right now.  I’ve become more aware of the environments I’m in and who I’m really playing.  The biggest thing I’m learning about people is about their attitudes, and how they want to play the game.  I find it so different than what I find in myself about game – and I don’t necessarily like it.  It annoys me.  I want to tell them how ridiculous they sound.  How selfish they’re being.  How cocky they act.  How after so long – the sound like a whining f’n cow (or whatever animal whines for no reason).  SHUT THE FUCK UP!

I know that this is nothing new to the pool world.  I’m not ignorant to the fact that people are who they are.  Hell, I know I too am not the perfect little pool player either or princess etiquette.  But lately, dealing more and more with of this all, has really made not want to talk to anyone about pool – at all.  Not while we play, not at the bar, not over dinner, not if I run into you on the street, not through email, not ever!  

With more major tournaments around the corner, I’ll hopefully find a way to drown out the bullshit and just play.  It’s all I really want to do anyway......

Thursday, March 24, 2011

......so selfish!

As I mentioned in previous posts, this past weekend was the largest, most looked forward to, ‘B’ player tournament in town. Players practice all year for this tournament. There are some mad bragging rights that come along with this tournament. Format is 9-ball, limited to 64 players, race to 6, and involves a LOT of $$$.

I spent my entire Friday night there (after working my first full week at my new full time job). There was some great pool and some not so great pool. I love watching how different I see so many people play in tournaments. The player who can kick your ass on a regular basis suddenly freezes. And players you watch fire around a table seem to have a whole new calm dimension to them. A few of my closer friends did really well and moved on to Saturday. I spent another 10 hours there on Saturday (before I ventured off to my own little local Saturday night tournament of course). As the night moved on a long (through modern technology) we find out who else is eliminated and that two of our friends (the closer ones I mentioned) have now made it to Sunday.

It’s getting down to the nitty gritty and the best of the best is slowly weeding out the “not-so-best”!

Well Sunday was going to be an interesting day for me. I had already pre-registered for a local qualifier for a local league here. Winner takes a spot in Singles for Nationals in November. This particular qualifier is cut-off at a certain skill level and I squeeze in at the limit. It was going to be a bit rough as I’m giving up a game to almost every player I play…..considering who I play of course and there are 2 others at my handicap. On top of that, I was dying to get back to the location where the main event was going on.

Well yeah – Sunday was rough. I gave up a game the ENTIRE day! In EVERY match. I took it for what it was worth and focused. I played hard. I took my shots to a new level and it was working. It was probably some of the best pool I had ever played!

Fast forward and I’m in the hot seat. Not only am I in the hot seat, but this 16 player tournament is taking FOREVER!!!!!!!! Mind you, I had been there since 9am (my day really began at 7am – so that I could enjoy a hearty Sunday breakfast with my girl beforehand, because I have an extremely hard time eating anything while I’m in tourney mode). I figured on a good 7 hours for this tournament to be completed – being generous with the handicaps in this particular qualifier and double elimination and two tables. This calculation meant I would be back at the main event in plenty of time for the finals. Think again captain!

One of my super-duper good friends had made it to the final round over there and I was sitting in another bar WAITING to play. All focus had been lost.  My phone was blowing up like I was a freakin’ pimp! “Where are you”? “You’re missing all the action”. “Did you know that he made it to the finals”? I was ready to immediately take my hard earned cash and bail. But that little voice inside me said – are f’n crazy…..YOU GOT THIS!

Well I didn’t. That’s rite….all my hard work paid off to a nice 2nd place, a few cold beers, and a bus ride home! A ride which consisted of more texts….”He won”! “How could you miss this”? It went two sets and almost double hill”. “Where are you”?

I (or the beers) debated if this made me selfish. A friend, who not only is an amazing player, but taught me SO much about the game I just lost, had won his biggest title in a long time. And I, mad at myself for missing all the action, was angrier at me for losing my match. For losing my focus. For losing my mind over how I could’ve played so well and been taken so out of my element. Ugh!!!

Live and learn………I and the beers are still debating that one.

Now that I’m all worked up again – I’m ending this post here. There’s dinner to be had and practice to be played. I’m sure I’ll have more to say after this weekend when the big boys come out to show their stuff in the open player tournament.

That is all…….miSsioN fail.

Monday, March 14, 2011

....whirlwind kinda week

It’s been quite a week…..and I need a break. It started off with a job offer which I couldn’t say no to! For background information, I’ve been freelancing for over a year – and I’m scared to death to go back to a real, full-time job. I like the idea of being my own boss, but the position (and money) was something I really couldn’t turn down. I REALLY contemplated this and call me crazy, but I like the challenge. All this really means is I’ll be working more hours, trying to keep up with our website (and all that goes with it), playing less, sleeping less, and letting the laundry get even more out of control. Well see how long it is before I’m in need of a major vacation.

The past two days was a long weekend of pool. We had our third stop of the tour, handicapped 9-ball over two days (since the location we held it at only has 5 tables). I finally placed in my own tournament – geez! It’s about freakin’ time! (Just for the record, playing – and trying to play well - AND putting up with players when trying to run a tourney is not exactly the easiest to do). I took 5th – 6th so yes, I’m still pissed at myself for losing but I’m okay with where I ended up because I know I played well. I had some great matches and I was happy that my composure stayed intact. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on – not getting upset after missed shots, staying in the zone, not getting excited if I reach the hill first, playing each shot one at a time.

Another thing I’m trying work on is not taking my opponent for granted or think that I’m the underdog when I play someone of a higher skill level. It’s such a mental distraction that it actually affects my game with a dimension I need to eliminate. I’m trying hard to play the table not the player. One day all these things will fall into place…..together.

I also have been watching some great pool streaming from Valley Forge. It always amazes me how effortless the big boys make their matches seem. I wonder sometimes, if their heart is pounding away on the last ball for a match! AND – what I love the most, is that even when they miss the winning ball, even if it’s hanging in the pocket, they NEVER give it away. They will ALWAYS make their opponent shoot. I respect that. In my eyes they’re not saying to their opponent “ you might miss – go ahead and shoot”. They are saying “you’re are one of the best – you won’t miss”. I look at that as RESPECT.

My bf is actually there this year for Rally in the Valley and is getting to watch some of these live - PUNK :) One day I’ll make it there.

First big tourney of the year for our hometown happens next weekend……I can’t wait to sweat some matches. As I mentioned in my last post this is the first of three coming up back to back – so I’ll be posting updates as they come!

Friday, March 4, 2011

.......i'm here, i'm here!

Yes!  SLACKER I am!  Don’t hate…..  (I actually wonder how many posts this year will start off with me being a slacker).

Life as we know it has taken over as usual, and I can’t seem to catch a break.  I’ve been working my ass off on some freelance projects and have been proposed to take a full time position.  With a few different companies .  Because I kick ass at what I do.  ;) Oh – what to do, what to do?!?!?!  Let’s just add more things to my plate and see if can still breathe…..yep – that sounds fun!

On the pool front, I really haven’t been playing as much as usual.  I will say though, that the times I am playing, I’ve been very happy with my game.  It’s not always all there, but in the scheme of things I’ve been playing a hell of a lot better – I’m just hoping it stays that way.  Since my last post, our Vegas Billiards Tour had another stop with our largest field yet.  It was handicapped 10-Ball and an amazing tournament with some GREAT action.  We’re already gearing up for our next stop which happens in next weekend.  Updates will follow…..

On top of that, March is filled with some amazing pool here in town.  Two of our largest tournaments happen near the end of the month.  First being a ‘B’ player tournament, 9-Ball, limited to 64 players which is always a great tournament.  I still don’t have the confidence to turn myself in for this one, but every year I watch as some our friends battle it out for the title (bragging rights are pretty big here - lol).   Second up will be the ‘A’ player tournament, 9- Ball, limited to 64 players.  This tournament has to be my favorite of the year to watch! The big boys (ahem - and girls) in town, and from nearby, plus a few pros come out and it is one of the best weekends in pool here!  I’m so excited for both of these. 

On top of these two, there will be a women’s tournament (which started last year) and I WILL be competing in that one.  Another 9-Ball tourney which is a charity event to benefit a women’s shelter here in town.  This one is handicapped, so I feel I have a bit of an edge to compete.  (Now, let’s just hope my game keeps up with me until this tourney rolls around).

On the home front, I’ve been cooking up a storm - another favorite of mine, besides just eating :)  Just for kicks, here's our famous homemade hamburgers that me and the bf cooked up last week.....

And yes - they were delicious!

So all in all, I've been working more and playing less.....but damn it - at least I'm eating well! And to a certain someone, I promise to try to be here more!  Yes, just for you ;)  It is now my miSsion....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

....play the game stupid

Yes, I'm already slacking here.  I have all intentions of being here, and somehow time gets the best of me.  Thank you to Mr. kbcnc for putting me in place. 

So January has proven to be so-so in everything I said I was going to do.  My goal of 7 hours a week of practice hasn't quite made it to the big 7, so I'm keeping that goal front runner.  Staying organized and keeping things simple in my life started off great, and slowly starting slipping.  This has to change.  Keeping my life on track will only make for a better (and happier) me!

In the lovely game of pool, my game is a bit stagnant.  I play well on some days and others....you'd think I'd never picked up a cue.  It's my favorite friend "inconsistency" that keeps creeping up once in awhile just to remind me that improvement is always up for grabs. 

Last weekend we had our first local tour stop for Vegas Billiard Buzz and it was a success!  Scotch doubles 8-ball.  We had 38 teams all together, so managing 76 players can really take a toll on your game and your mind.  (The bloody marys seem to help a bit with that).  We handicapped the team limit at 16 which we feel keeps teams somewhat at the same ability seeing as the higher ranked players have to find a bit lower ranked player and the middle ranks can pair up.  This was also 8-ball, so yes - it takes a wee bit longer, but we believe gives everyone a chance (instead of your typical 9ball runouts).  I guess you'd have to ask the players, but the format seems to work for all.

To be honest I really DON'T care for scotch doubles.  I don't like the pressure of letting someone else down.  If I F up my game its one thing, I don't wanna F up yours!  If I get outta shape in my game, I'll figure out my  new plan.  Unless we're on the same brain wave lengths.....I don't want you to have to figure out what I need you to do next so I can take the next shot.  There are only a few select people in that really know my game and vice versa, and that I would play with at anytime.  My partner this weekend was not one of them.

I paired up with a friend of mine who is one of the top in town.  His game has improved greatly over the last few months and already being near the top of the spectrum, he's inching closer each week.  So I know playing with him I basically have to make a ball and let it roll out.  He can take all the harder shots, play the safes, and we'll do fine.  WRONG!  Even when we got on a few good rolls, he too, would take these immensely ridiculous shots to leave me closer....or better....or straight.  Wtf?!  Now, I'm not saying I good at his level, but dang it - I know I can still play.  And this my friends is why I don't like scotch doubles.  I have one of the best players in town, and he feels he needs to do better for me.  I'm not one of the better players in town, and I feel I need to do better for him.  Ugh, the all around pressure is just too much.  (I"ll take another bloody mary now).

Now, I will say our second place team, did not know each other at all.  Both showed up without a partner and both just wanted to play.  You know why I think they did so well.  NO EXPECTATIONS!  The were forced to play the game....to play the table.  They had no clue how each other played and therefore couldn't do anything crazy.  Couldn't try to get better shape, or closer, or take a shot hoping their partner would play the safe.  Nope - they played P O O L.  

Huh, what a concept!

There is a lady in my ladies division (good player too) who just said this past week "I don't look at my partner, I play the table".  I have heard this before, but I really admire this.  There are many who say "study your opponent", "get mentally ready", "your opponent is just as scared, nervous, confident, as you are".   But you know what, your only real opponent IS the table.  You control how you play.  You control how your partner plays by the way you play.   When you F up....YOU F'd UP!  No one else. 

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” ~ Buddha

Sunday, January 9, 2011

define 'reality'.......

I played in a local 9-ball handicapped tournament this weekend, or rather “I showed up”.  I played like complete ass!  Maybe it's having taken some time off that has completely got me off rhythm, or maybe it’s the fact that I just was completely un-focused, or maybe it’s the fact that it was Friday night and I had a really bad week and I was more interested in ordering another beer than I was sinking the 9-ball.  Whatever was going on with me – I’m chalking it up to NOT being in a mental state of “being at the table”.

Last November my team made it to Nationals for one of the smaller leagues that we play in.  Knowing that I really shouldn’t have to play as I’m a lower skill level on the team and the handicap limit for the team total is decently high, I still came full force……just in case.  And sure enough, I played.  During three of my matches, I played to the effect of – I will win, no exceptions.  Not the prettiest pool played, but I played smart, got out and won!

The next day, the first round was make it or break it.  If we lost we were out and had no chance at the second chance tourney, if we won we had some money coming back to us.  Guess who it came down too, again?  (TEAM: Not for nothing, but aren’t you guys supposed to win your matches so that I’m not pressured again?  You are the better players you know?!?!)  During this match, I felt it……I was in “the zone”.  I HAD to win.  I could see nothing around me and hear nothing but the balls on other tables being hit around.  I played smart.  I played safe.  I knew every shot.  And before I knew it I was down in the match and he was on the hill.  Yes – HE was on the hill and I still need 2 more games to even get there.  Somehow, some way…..I wasn’t even frustrated.  Wasn’t mad, wasn’t sad, wasn’t scared…..I was still there.  Still there to kick his ass!  And I did  :)

Next match – thank you once again to my team for putting me in the situation of HAVING to win.  (Gosh you guys are great).  As I played this one out, I was once again feeling as if I was just going through the motions and this surreal world was taking over.  It gets to double hill and my opponent’s sloppy missed shot leaves me one of the most ridiculous back cuts into a corner pocket that I’ve ever attempted.  I take a time-out, confirm I’m about to take the right shot on this and get into position.  Oh yeah, by the way, there is the 8-ball left on the table.  I’m out if this goes, he’s out if I miss.  Ready, aim, perfect execution, my ball drops and the cue ball……slowy…..doesn’t stop…..and rolls back into the side pocket.  I lose.  I give him f’n ball-in-hand on the 8. WTF?!?!?  As my teams is still excited we got some money back and played well all weekend, I pack up my cue, shake my opponents hand and walk out of the tournament room.  As I started to see and hear reality again, I feel tears of anger swelling and I swore I’d never play again.

Just as I was beginning to feel (more like KNOW) I had played some of the best pool in my life, it was ripped from me - straight from the heart!

Present day:  Knowing that not playing again was really only in my head (though I probably didn’t play for almost a month after that horrid scene), it has finally occurred to me that the metal state of being in that ‘zone’ is something I need to learn to control.  How do I get there when I NEED to get there?  I’m not talking about focusing to win on league nights or every time I get on the table to play.  I’m talking about when I’m playing and I WANT to ultimately kick your ass!

Hhhmmm, miSsioN underway!