Friday, March 30, 2012

March Catch Up

No, I'm not talking about a condiment. It's unfortunately been a recurring theme lately... I've noticed that once again I haven't posted in a while, so I figured I'd address that with a big heaping buffet-o-topics covering what I've been doing and/or working on lately (instead of posting to my blog). I've been busy on several fronts.

Eye update
My eyes have been through a lot in the last year or so. You may recall me mentioning in December that some sagebrush attacked my right eye. What wasn't mentioned in that post was... a few days later, just as I was regaining sight in the eye (I still didn't feel I could see well enough to drive)... a baby attacked the same eye! WTF? I had a 9-month old sitting sideways on the table in front of me at Joe's Crab Shack in Phoenix, and she suddenly spread her arms in reaction to someone else at the table trying to get her to clap - and jabbed my open right eye again with one of her sharp little fingernails. A slobber and food covered fingernail, of course. She's lucky she's so cute.

I'm happy to report that my eyes are doing pretty well now, but I still haven't gotten the post-LASIK touch up to correct the less-than-stellar correction that the first round of LASIK gave me. They wanted to wait until my eyes stabilized, and that sounded like a great plan to me... I'm a "don't rush, get it right" kind of guy, especially when it comes to something like my eyes. My eyes were stable in December until some sagebrush and a baby's finger destabilized them again, so now we're rolling up to my one-year anniversary of the original surgery (I distinctly remember getting it on March 31st last year because I considered waking up the next morning (April 1st) screaming that I couldn't see.

I've been hitting tournaments fairly hard lately, at least every single weekend at a bare minimum over the last couple of months. I once managed to squeeze in four tournaments in a single weekend - three of them in a single day! The dirty little secret here is that I got knocked out of some of them fast enough to get to the next one(s) but shhh!

One of the tournaments was the APA Regionals at Main Street Billiards in Mesa, AZ. I won some and lost some there, didn't qualify for Singles Nationals, unfortunately (which was the whole point of going). The loss that knocked me out was a stupid one - we were hill-hill, my opponent broke and was left a tough shot which he missed. I went to the table and worked my way through a not-so-straightforward run-out... got decent shape but a fairly long shot on the 8-ball. After such a nice run, I confidently fired it in instead of shooting it nice and easy, and it rattled out! Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

I was happy with my performance overall, though. The losses were close, and the wins were solid. A referee made a point of coming over and giving me kudos on my play after a match, and an opponent made a point of dropping by to tell me "good luck" again before he left the pool hall for home after I knocked him out. Overall, I've been shooting well and definitely improving.

I'm sad to report that PoolSynergy seems to be on hiatus for the foreseeable future. Although a few of us are interested in keeping it going, several of the past regular writers have either dropped out completely or have simply been too busy to contribute lately. You may have noticed that we didn't do it this month (March) for the first time in something like two and a half years. We're taking a breather and haven't decided if we should try to regroup in the future or not.

New League
As another part of my self-imposed "self improvement" program, I've thrown myself into the fire by getting into another league... this one being BCA-sanctioned (which has been my goal for awhile). I started out with APA a few years ago, and I think I'll continue with it for a bit longer... still have a few unfulfilled goals... but I'm wanting to get my foot in the door elsewhere.

I say "thrown into the fire" because it's a non-handicapped league and I chose the toughest division available. While I chose the division partly because of my schedule (it's a good night for me)... I mainly chose it because many, if not all of the best players in town are in the division. Take last week, for example: one of the players on the opposing team was Max Eberle. Enough said?

Max missed a tough cut on the 1-ball in one of his games allowing his opponent to run out. Max then did something that impressed me: He set up the same shot and tried it over and over again until he started making it consistently. He probably missed it 10-15 times in a row while everyone looked on until he had it nailed.

Pool legend Jimmy Mataya is also in the league. I don't expect to kick butt anytime soon, but I know I'll get some great experience and I'm sure I'll have my moments. I was in a similar situation the first time I played in the Masters division of APA, and surprised everyone by ending up with the best point average on my team!

When describing this new league to my girlfriend I jokingly said, "I'm not even sure if I qualify to be their water boy to be honest, I'm just thankful they let me on the team and I'll be happy to play every now and then." As she often does, she came up with the perfect analogy, "so you're like Rudy, huh?" I laughed and said, "Yep - exactly!"

VBB Scene
Probably the biggest drain on my "spare time" over the last month or so was the creation of a new online discussion forum for the Las Vegas pool community. This is something that I've felt we needed for some time now so I recently teamed up with Amy Encinias, president of Vegas Billiards Buzz, to bring it to fruition. It's similar in function to the bulletin boards hosted by AZ Billiards and Billiards Digest, but we're focusing on pool in the Las Vegas area. You don't have to be a Las Vegas resident to participate - anyone traveling to or having an interest in billiards/pool in Las Vegas area is more than welcome to register and join the action, so drop by and check out the VBB Scene!

New Pool Adventure
If all of this isn't enough, I'm headed across the country to Baltimore in a couple of weeks for a brand new pool adventure. I'm really excited about it; anxiously hopeful that it works out well. I'll most likely write about it in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!

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