An Open Letter To Pool

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Dear Pool,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, and we need to talk. I’m starting to think that our relationship is one sided and unhealthy. Don’t get me wrong…the good times are fantastic. In those times you build me up and make me feel invincible, and nothing has ever made me feel that way before. I truly appreciate those moments and I will cherish them forever, but what we really need to talk about are the other times.

You know what I’m talking about. I love you with all my heart and your indifference and downright cruelty toward me are an unnecessary betrayal. You keep me away from my friends and family for days at a time. You take my money and rarely pay me back. At times you humiliate me in public. You relentlessly point out every one of my flaws to show me just how insignificant I am in your world. How could you be so horrible to me when I give you so much of myself? I’m constantly working on this relationship, but nothing is ever perfect enough for you. I’ve been thinking about leaving you for good.

But who am I kidding? I am still hopelessly in love with you. I am under your spell and I don’t have the strength to leave you. I am a broken person, and sadly, I will continue to take all the abuse you have to dish out. All I am asking is that you ease up on me before you completely crush my spirit. I don’t know how much more I can take, but I can’t leave because in my heart I know there is so much more in store for us. I can feel it! As crazy as it sounds I want to be your number 1. I want to be everything you expect of me and more. So it is with this letter that I am professing my undying love for you. I’m too invested in you to throw it all away for something that will never make me as happy as you can when things are good. Please take it easy on me. We could be great.

All my heart,

Jennifer

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Motivation

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Reasons not to practice:

My back hurts
I’m tired
I need to do laundry
I’m hungry
I want to watch my son’s karate class
I need to clean my apartment
I already practiced 16 hours this weekend

Reasons to practice:

I want to show my son that anything is possible

Back to work.

2011 World Mixed Doubles

It’s only been 2 months since I went to Hangzhou, China to compete in the Dragon Promotions 2011 World Mixed Doubles. I’m finally getting around to writing about it for one reason only. Jury Duty. More specifically, Grand Jury Duty. 30 days of sitting in a courtroom deciding whether to indict citizens of New York. I know it sounds like a long time, but it’s only 3 hours a day, and for a once aspiring prosecuter (me!), the whole process is fascinating. Anyway, as you can imagine, there is quite a bit of down time, and that extra time has allowed me to read, write and do the other quiet things that can be achieved on an iPad when you’re not in a noisy pool hall or sitting at home with a 5 year old that demands the iPad to play a game of Cut The Rope.

So anyway, back to China. When I got the invite to the tournament I didn’t know who my partner would be. Good chemistry goes a long way in a doubles tournament, so when I found out my doubles partner was Hunter Lombardo, I was thrilled. Hunter and I have know each other from around the pool scene for many years, and while we never played pool together, every time we are in the same room we end up laughing until our sides hurt. I like people who are open, impulsive and can go with the flow, so he was the perfect partner for me. Imagine my surprise when we discovered that we both travel with the same exact hair dryer. A match made in heaven.

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Considering we never played together, we played pretty well. Good doubles partners never point fingers, and help their partners get out of messes. We did that well, and when we lost, it was as a team. We ended up losing our first match to a team from Taipei. We played well, but so did they, and we ended up losing. Our next match was televised. The TV arena was on the ground floor of a mall in Taipei, and the production was extremely well done. I’m always impressed at how Dragon Promotions does live events so seamlessly. Recently I got some photos from that match that ran in a Chinese newspaper..

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In the next match we played team Japan, and got off to a great start. We played really well together and got a big lead. Then while we were on the hill, the wheels fell off. We both started making mistakes, and just couldn’t get out. In the end we couldn’t get it done, and we lost. We finished 9-12 out of a field of 16, but I think we had more fun than the other players.

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And we definitely had the best hair.

My New BFF’s!

You’d probably never know this, as scarcely as I update my blog, but I love to write. One of the reasons for my lack of blog entries is that I am stretched very thin, and it’s difficult to find the time and the peace and quiet that are required to write something meaningful. Thankfully, my new BFF’s at Pooldawg have commissioned me to write articles every 3 weeks. If there is one thing that motivates me, it’s big brother breathing down my neck, so every 3 weeks I will be delivering a short manifesto that you will hopefully learn something from, or at least enjoy reading. The following is a link to my first article. Enjoy!

Thoughts from the Electric Chair

10 things that tell me you’re a great player…or not.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written, so luckily, Samm Diep recruited me to post a top 10 list along with many other pool industry bloggers. Strangely enough I had already planned to write this post, but just needed a little push, well ok, maybe a big shove, to get it done.

My top ten things are mostly tongue in cheek, but there is at least a grain of truth in each one. Of course these are all generalizations, and there will be exceptions to every rule, so please refrain from telling me about your mom’s second cousin’s ex husband who is a world champion even though he regularly snaps cues in half when he misses.

10 Signs You Are A Great Player…Or Not

1. A great player doesn’t whine. Do people run from you when your matches conclude, especially if you lose? Do you go trolling for the first sympathetic ear that wants to listen to every layout, every roll, every game you gave away? News flash: Nobody wants to listen to that. Great players know it, and when they are asked about matches they usually respond in 3 word answers. I played bad. He played great. I got lucky. Any more than that is TMI.

2. A great player always takes responsibility for losses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people cry about losing to their opponents rolls. Hell, when I was a younger player I used to do the same thing (sorry to everyone who had to listen to that). Let’s face it, yes, people get rolls in pool, and yes, sometimes they seem to cost you the match, but it’s very rare that you have no opportunities or make no mistakes. It’s just part of the game, especially when you’re opponent is playing well and you’re not.

3. A great player sees the match clearly, and gives credit where credit is due. If your opponent is running racks and you miss a 2 ball in one of your three opportunities at the table, you should recognize that you were outplayed and you didn’t lose because you played like crap. Which leads me to the next point…

4. A great player either speaks kind words to their opponent at the end of a match, or shakes hands and says nothing at all. They don’t say “I played like shit” or “you got so lucky” or the cringeworthy “wow, I played so bad I can’t believe I won.”

5. A great player never throws temper tantrums at the table. Unless they’re Earl Strickland.

6. A great player has contempt for their opponent on the table and respect for them off the table. It is ok to want to bludgeon your opponent with the dull side of an axe while you’re playing, but great players never engage in fights, name calling, or the silent treatment simply because they lost the match.

7. A great player usually plays with a fairly simple cue. Top players are usually sponsored by cue companies that make cues for the masses. Occasionally a great cue maker will sponsor a player, but usually they really don’t make enough money to do so. People with large collections of expensive cues, or people who switch cues like Imelda Marcos switched shoes are probably not great players because great players know that it ain’t the arrow, it’s the injun.

8. A great player is a great sportsman. Everyone has their own line to draw here, but truly great players will call fouls on themselves. Most will tell their opponent if they are shooting the wrong ball or breaking out of turn. Many will give advice on shots that came up during the match when they are playing weaker players. All of them will look their opponent in the eyes and give a firm handshake at the conclusion of the match, win or lose.

9. Great players don’t disparage other people’s games. Most great players know how difficult pool really is, and know that there is a slow progression to greatness. Most of them remember being at the lowest levels of the game, and remember what it took to get to the highest level. Players who cut other players games down are just projecting their own insecurities.

10. Great players have fans, but more importantly, haters. Yes, that’s right, you haven’t really made it into the upper echelon of pool until someone you’ve never met is disparaging you on the Internet. So the next time you’re on the pool forums and you read about how someone’s grandma could give you the orange crush and your girlfriend looks like Jocelyn Wildenstein, just sit back and revel in the fact that you’ve finally made it.