First off, I have to say the Sky Ute Casino and Resort is absolutely beautiful! I did a post while I was there that showed my room and the view. Here is another look at the view from my hotel room...
I didn't get a chance to go see Durango or any of the surrounding area. I know I really missed out. Maybe next year I will get a chance to do all of that but for this year, I was pretty happy to still be focused on the tournament and in the tournament long enough to put off sightseeing!
My first match was rough. I played Dana Aft who I have known for a little while from the time I spent living in Atlanta. She has come such a long way! I think we will be seeing more of her in the future. I had a lot of trouble getting going but I finished well.
My second match was against Morgan Steinman. If you all remember, she is the one who eliminated me from the US Open in August. It was my turn to get revenge! Again, I was down in the match, 3-1 I believe. I came back and it was neck and neck until 6-6. Finally, I pulled away and won the match. I didn't feel real good about how I played. I knew I was making too many stupid, simple mistakes at the end of the rack. I was giving games away and that is not a good feeling. I felt very lucky to win that match.
My third match was against the number one seed Monica Webb. I think a lot of my readers got to watch the match since it was on the PoolDawg live-stream. I won the lag and looked to have a very easy run out. Then of course, I tried to get cute and show that I can play lefty instead of using the bridge. What did it get me? How about a miss on an easy six ball! I can't exactly remember what happened but Monica played a rail to rail safety on the nine. I looked at it for a minute or so then decided that the safety and going for it were equally tough so I went for it. Here is the shot:
Anyway, throughout the match I was getting a little fortunate but I was also playing well. Monica made some uncharacteristic mistakes that allowed me chances at the table. I felt pretty good about it and think I took advantage of about 90% of the opportunities I got. Not perfect, but not too shabby!
That win put me in a situation I have only been in once before...coming into the final 16 on the winners side! I had a whole day to not do much. I got to meet with the PoolDawg guys, Mike, Keven and Brent. We took care of some business matters. For example, the new promotion being run by PoolDawg. If you use the code SRCUEBALL and spend over $100 you can receive an autographed Sarah Rousey cue ball! I had to sign lots so please support them! Okay, back to the tournament. I went to witness the draw at 4:30 and my name was one of the last ones to be picked. The people coming out of the losers bracket were absolute killers, Kelly Fisher, Kim Shaw, Yu Ram Cha, Jeanette Lee and a four others (sorry I can't remember all 8). So it came down to Kelly Fisher and Jeanette left and my name hadn't been drawn. Of course, Jeanette draws my name. She yelled out "Oh but I wanted to draw Vivian!" in a kind of whiny voice. I couldn't help myself and in return yelled back "Oh darn, that's too bad." So our match was set to begin at 5:30.
I took my time getting ready and practiced and felt pretty good. I know playing Jeanette can be a task not only because she is a great player, but also because she puts on quite a show. I have said before, I respect what she does for the sport, but man, that is brutal! Jeanette really played great. I had a really slow start and only kicked for the first four games or so. The only games I won were games that she made a mistake. That only happened a handful of times. Her safety play, kicking, and shot-making were all working in unison that match. I lost 9-4 and my tournament run ended with only one loss. Jeanette went on to get her match with Vivian that she wanted and won convincingly, 9-3 I believe the score was. I guess you do get what you ask for!
The topic has come up before with the single elimination from the redraw and whether I like it or not. I have only experienced coming to the final sixteen from the winners side once before this event. Both times I have lost my first match. I have had a lot more success when coming from the losers side to the redraw. I think the person coming from the losers side gets a warm-up match. They are loose and awake and ready to go. Perhaps ready for their second chance. The person that comes from the winners side hasn't played a match in around 24 hours. I talked to one of the other players, a top player, about it. She felt the same way. It is nice to get a break, but very hard when your day isn't starting until 5:30 or 7:30 pm after playing your last match 24 hours earlier. Maybe we should go back to almost true double elimination. Who knows? For me, I have mixed emotions. I love it when I'm coming from the losers side and so far hate it coming from the winners side!
I spent a lot of time relaxing after I was done with the tournament. I did the last of the PoolDawg live-stream commentary along with Melissa Herndon, Jennifer Barretta and Michell Monk. Doing the commentary is always awesome. I love getting to chat with all of the fans and actually offer some insight into what is going on. After all of that, I just hung out. I wish I would have made it to Durango but the only shuttle service would have stranded me there for hours and hours. I got to catch a little bit of the finals by the time I got done being lazy. From what I heard Ga Young played incredibly well. She is making her mark as the real deal on the WPBA. I think it will last for years to come! Thanks Anne Craig and the WPBA website for the photo!
Here is were I would have some really cool pictures, but since Casino security was so tight, we couldn't take any pictures in the bar. I tried to sneak in one but the security person came over immediately and made us delete all pictures that were taken! Anyway, the really awesome part of this, which I would like to think is because we are all friends and like hanging out opposed to thinking that we were all stuck in the casino with nothing to do, but a big group of players got to hang out. It was nice to hear and tell stories of all of the different experiences we have all had. I will try to remember everyone in attendance and make a list...here it goes, Myself, Val Finnie, Kelly Fisher, Helena Thornfeldt, Julie Kelly, Karen Corr, Xiao-ting Pan, Ga Young Kim, Morgan Steinman, Anne Craig and Linda Pault. It was really so much fun. I wish I had pictures. It is nice to see that while we are all so competitive, we can all sit down, have a drink, share stories and just have good old fashion fun!
All-in-all, this was a great trip. Sure the altitude was a lot to get used to and we were kind of in the middle of nowhere, but hey, that's okay! I learned that sometimes a break from things is what you need. I didn't spend much, if any time practicing. I know that is not a good thing but I really needed a rest. I don't recommend doing it every time and I am going to try to squeeze in a bit more time on the table. I also learned from this trip that it is good to go in with no expectations. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I don't only want to make myself happy but I like to make others happy. I know that I have a huge support system out there and I thank everyone for that, Heartbackers and everyone else! I need to go in and expect to only give it my best. That could mean even if I am feeling like crap, maybe had a low blood sugar and don't feel like functioning, give it my best. Or if I am feeling great, give it my best. Just do what you can, the best that you can, no matter what the situation is!
I would like to thank my sponsors, MezzUSA, PoolDawg and the Heartbackers for the support. You guys are really awesome and thank you for your undying support! Thanks to my dad and sister for making the long drive from Phoenix to watch and to my mom for sweating it all from home! Thanks to everyone for watching the live-stream. I hope you guys thank the sponsors for making it available!
Finally, check out CueTable, the website that provided the diagram in this post. It is really a great way to communicate what you are thinking when it comes to shots and game situations! Support PoolDawg for providing the live-stream and me! And last but not least, keep checking out the live-stream and bracket updates live from the WPBA tournaments!
Since I am doing this post from work (sorry momboss) I will try to find some pictures when I get home to add to the post. Thank you all!