Friday, January 23, 2015

Are They Really Sharking You?

During the Omega Tournament in January, I was sitting at the tournament desk on Sunday and all of a sudden I hear someone talking very loud at me.

I look up and a player is visibly upset.

He's about two and a half tables away, but he was still standing there upset, and raising his voice at me.

"You gonna let him go take a cigarette break?   Really?  I just won 3 games in a row and he has to take a break now?"

I didn't really understand completely what was going on.

But with what I knew, I replied over the tables, "Yes, he can take a break."

"But right now?  He's obviously trying to slow me down because I just won three games in a row and now it's only 3-4."

I stood my ground, "Everyone can take a break each match.  Whether it's to smoke or go to the bathroom, they can take a break."

He was STEAMING.  I could see it in his eyes.

His opponent came back quite quickly, even for a smoke break, and they continued their match.

I would find out later that his opponent had him down 4-0, and he came back and ran 3 games in a row and that's when his opponent took a break.

My optimistic side automatically says that the guy who took the break prolly just simply needed a break.  He was up 4-0, now he's down, and they are playing on the non-smoking side, so he took his break to go smoke a cigarette.

If I was pessimistic, I could see how I would think the guy was deliberately taking a break to slow down his opponent.

I just don't believe a lot of people do "mean" things intentionally.   My heart tells me that the guy just wanted to take a break because HE needed one.  I'm pretty naive, huh?  Or, do I just have a big heart?  I just don't think that way.

But, maybe I'm wrong.  Players do take breaks at "convenient" times, huh?

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I hadn't really thought of this before until I heard Tony Romo and Jason Witten mention it several times this past season, but POISE is an important part of playing well under pressure.

I don't think we stand up there at a table in a tough match of the finals and think, "Have poise, dammit."

Instead, what I think happens it poise is part of handling situations under pressure.

You don't see many people win matches or tournaments or games without some sort of poise.

Basically, Jason Witten, tight end of the Dallas Cowboys, said that the team made less mistakes this year because they had more poise.

What does poise do?  Poise is confidence.  Poise is not being nervous.  Poise is handling the pressure without mistakes.

You can imagine this well when we think about how the Cowboys had a better season this year.

What happens when time is running out is, quarterbacks will have more interceptions.  They rush and feel rushed.  They are trying to hard to get more points.

Poise with Romo and Witten and the rest of the team caused them to handle the pressure better; to still take their time.
Witten said, "I think we've always been tough. I think being poised is what we're doing a better job of. Not panicking when we're down at (the) half.
I think poise is what most champions have during important, stressful, pressure situations.  Actually, if you feel poise, then you don't feel pressure - you simply rise to the occasion and play well.  And further, you make less mistakes, too.

See Romo talking about their poise with this video clip.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Money Learning Experience

I had a very good learning experience this past weekend.

While running the Omega Tournament, a pool player, who I have known forever in the pool world, says he needs to talk to me.  He was out of the tournament on Saturday, but he was at the pool room on Sunday for some reason.

Long story short, he wants to borrow $20.

I gave him $30 and said "Merry Christmas," because he said he wasn't sure when he could pay it back.  So, I kinda just gifted it to him.  He recently lost a family member and I felt bad.

A couple of hours later, he wants to talk again.

This time, we talk outside.

He asks for more money, saying he needed to go see his family, which I understood, and he said though that again he wasn't sure when he could pay me back.

He asked for $20, but I said to him, "Do you need more, though?  Would $30 help?"

He said yes and looked very solemn admitting it, looking at the ground.

I then asked honestly, "Do you need more?"  Realizing that most people who ask for money normally need more than $20 or $30.

I felt for him, as I know how it feels to lose a family member.  He said, "Yes, I could, but I want you to know I have no idea when I could pay it back."

I told him I understood.

He asked that we keep it between us (hence the reason for no mention of names).

Long story VERY short, I gave him a certain amount of money, and then found out later that that was the EXACT same amount he bet on a football game that afternoon.

He lied to me.

He also lost the bet.

But, I fell for it.

I fell for his lies.

And it was a HUGE learning experience for me.

Even as I type this, it's tough to even admit that I was swindled (well, I feel hustled). 

I didn't say anything to him after I found out.  Even though he was at the pool room into the evening hours, I just let him be.

I am hurt and kinda ashamed about it all, honestly. 

I figure the time will come when he asks again.  And at that next time, I will say no and explain politely why he CAN NOT borrow any money from me ever again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wanting Your Handicap to Go UP

I have run the Omega Billiards Tour for 2 1/2 years now and it's a very interesting thing to run a handicap tournament. 

Besides all the COMPLAINTS I get, there have been a few surprises.

Nice surprises.

I think I will see more of this as the tour gets older:

Some players WANT to move up.

The Omega Billiards Tour has a handicap from 5 to 9.

Almost all of the players are practicing more and getting more time in and want to improve IN THE TOURNAMENTS.

But there are some players that want to improve enough to where they get moved up with their handicap!

Wait, who does that?  Who wants that?

Man, I'd love to stay a 6 in this tournament the rest of my life.... but in reality, if I move up to a 7, what does that really mean?  That means I would be better than I am right now.  WOW!  However, I can't even fathom that.

But there are players who are rated as 5's that WANT everyone to see they are improving and WANT to do well enough that we have to move them up. 

It's an interesting concept really, because I don't know one single 7 or 8 that wants to move up to an 8 or 9.  Yes, they want to win a tournament.  Yes they want to do well and place well.  But they would rather not be moved up, lol.

The 5's that are improving, though, they want to improve enough to be FORCED to move up.

Interesting, huh?