Monday, November 30, 2009

Up, Down and All-Around!

I apologize for leaving everyone hanging. It was a busy month of November, to say the least. I know everyone already knows the outcome of pretty much everything, but no harm in rehashing it in my own words. So, as the title of this posts says, I have been up and down emotionally and all around the world, all in the past month!

Lets start with the second weekend of November. My younger sister Kaeleigh, came back home for a week. If you all remember, she went off to school in Phoenix this year. Since I was going to be traveling for Thanksgiving and she would be back in Phoenix my family decided to have Thanksgiving a little bit early. I think my past posts have proven that I don't argue much when food is involved! I didn't take any pictures of the food but here is my family...well almost the whole family. My dad snuck the picture.
The siblings...yes, I was trying really hard to keep my eyes open.
And last, me, very, very, very full!
After all of the eating it was time for the long drive to Hollywood, Florida. Yes, I drove, along with my boyfriend Jason and our travel buddy, Chris Bartram. The total drive time was about 24 hours. Of course it doesn't make any sense to drive to Florida then fly to China and back to Florida then drive to Ohio...but that is the plan we went with. We made the trek and didn't have too much rest before the festivities began.

First we had the meeting and short awards ceremony. Congrats to Veronique Menard for winning the Rookie of the Year Award and Denise Belanger for winning the Most Improved Award! After that, the Pro-Am. I have to say that this is the biggest, most star-studded Pro-Am of the year. The Seminoles have a way of bringing in the big names. My team didn't win but we did have a really good time. The star on my team was Mark Duper of Miami Dolphins fame. Here is my team... Thanks for playing guys and it was great to meet everyone!

After all the fun, it was supposed to be time to get serious. I'm not sure where I got lost in between the fun and seriousness, but I did. I could make a ton of excuses but I won't. I know what I did wrong. My first match was Vicki Paski. I mean no disrespect when I talk about this match or before the match, but I'm sure it will come across that way. I took things for granted big time. I hate myself for doing that. It is the one thing that I tell everyone not to do and the one thing that I try my hardest not to do. I never talk about my draw. For some reason this time I did. I noticed it wasn't as difficult as the others I had this year. I was also remembering how great things went at this venue last year. All of this was a recipe for disaster. I played absolutely horrible. I can't say that I didn't have a chance to win, I had plenty. The worst part about the match, the straight in 9ball that I missed. Not a long, straight in, but a short, not even two feet from the pocket, cue ball two feet from the nine. I know everything that I was thinking while I was shooting. I was beating myself up. I was telling myself "You idiot, you don't deserve to win this match. You haven't been practicing, you played horrible the whole match, you should just miss this nine." This is not a new experience for me. It happens often. The difference is, I can usually keep my dark emotions in check. I can force myself to stand up and start over. This time I just got to learn a lesson and move on to the next day.

The next day I thought I got myself under control. I went into the match with Liz Taylor feeling confident and ready. Things were going alright, I was playing alright and I was ahead the whole match. I got ahead 8-5 and it seemed to be smooth sailing. Instead I choked. My dark little friend crept up behind me and took over. I had a chance to win every game and found a way to talk myself out of it. Liz made a great out to win the match hill-hill.

So, I went two and out for the second time in my pro career. The sad part, I wasn't really upset. I kind of felt like karma or something caught up with me. All of the time that I didn't spend practicing, all of the things I could have done to prevent this. I will never take things for granted again! I got to hang out with some friends though in Florida. Caroline helped console me after my bad finish...And Justin was giving me the punishment that I deserved!
Now that I have shown my totally psychotic side to you all, imagine how I felt after this horrid finish on my twenty-some hours of travel to China! I will fill you in now that I was not looking forward to the trip so much after all that happened. I was wondering if I even deserved to go to the World Championships. But at 6am on November 16th I boarded a plane to Chicago, then the Shanghai, then to Shenyang. Oh yeah, I have to mention the flight from Shanghai to Shenyang, a two hour flight, was delayed about ten hours. Good start! I will also fill you in on the fact that I forgot my camera charger at home, bought a replacement and it started my camera on fire...sweet! All of the pictures I am using are courtesy of Angel Paglia. Thanks for taking some extra pics for me Angel! Alright, enough complaining!

At 3am on November 18th, I arrived! The streets of Shenyang were dead and the lobby lights at the hotel were off when I arrived. This definitely wasn't Shanghai! The hotel was beautiful though. There was a welcoming banner for all of the players and a board for everyone to sign. If you all remember from the last trip to Asia, I roomed with Kelly Fisher and I did the same this trip. She arrived before me and was all checked in. I got my key and thought I was going to bed finally. All of a sudden, all of the lights turned on and I had to sign the board and have a picture taken. Yes, at 3am with about 27 hours of travel on me. I looked beautiful! Here is the autograph board in the lobby...I finally got a little bit of sleep and was wide awake at 7am. That would continue the entire week. Yes, it is the first time I have seen 7am that many days in a row in about ten least! We went to the press conference, which was a really big deal. There were a lot of speakers, sponsors, the mayor, etc. Even better, tons of photographers. It really made us all feel like something special. Here is a look at the panel of speakers... and a view of the room, players and press.... After the press conference there was a dinner party for all of the sponsors, refs, players and guests. It was really pretty awesome. The food wasn't too suspicious looking or tasting and there was some pretty cool entertainment. Here is almost the whole room. As you can see it is a really nice party... and here is the entertainment. This girl caught bowls and silverware on her head while surfing on the board. There was also a contortionist....
The draw was done and at noon the next day it was time to head to the arena. None of us really knew what to expect. We had about a 30 minute bus ride to the venue and when we pulled up it was a huge university. We got a tour of the venue and to everyone's surprise, it was amazing! Two TV tables and six outside tables. Comfortable seating to watch and plenty of spectators to fill the seats. The only complaint, which we had at the hotel too, was that it was way too warm in the playing arena. Probably about 80 lie! Here is a picture of the outside (meaning outside the TV area) tables... My first match was against Sabrina Naffschnigger from Austria. I didn't play all that well but I capitalized on some mistakes that she made. I won the match 7-2. That moved me on to the evening match against one of the Chinese players, Gao Meng. When I got to the match I knew I was in for something difficult. I know all of the Chinese players are top notch. What I didn't know until later and until after she beat Jasmin in the single elimination stage, was that my opponent was only 14 years old! I won the match 7-5 but I know that there were some very uncharacteristic mistakes made in the short race. One of my lucky rolls was making the nine on the break when the score was 6-5. That was an expensive nine-ball since it moved me on to the single elimination round of 32 and put me in the money. Yes, I had to go all the way to China to cash in a tournament during the month of November.

Before the round of 32, Kelly, Allison and I decided to go to the market. We thought it might be just a small night market type thing. We got there and it ended up being a huge, underground mall. We lost track of time and then got news that we all had to play at 7:30. That wouldn't be a problem except it was already 4:45 or so. We all had a serious panic attack trying to make it from the market, to the hotel, to the shuttle and to the venue. With a little bit of stress, we made it. Little did we know how disastarous this would be.

My opponent in the round of 32 was Pei Chen Tsai, the winner of the China Open. I played her at the Amway Cup and didn't feel like much of an underdog. I was ready for the match and started out pretty well. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the match well. I lost 9-6. I had so many chances and just couldn't capitalize. Oh well, live and learn. I finished my tournament run with a 17-32nd finish. I wasn't in bad company though. It seemed like the wheels fell off for the majority of the WPBA players and the strength of the young Chinese players showed.

Since most of us were out of the tournament we turned to hanging out and having a little fun. Ga Young Kim took us out to a pretty cool night club. Nothing like hearing popular music translated into Chinese! It was a really good time, thanks Ga Young!

After the fun wore off we only had one non-Chinese, WPBA player to cheer on, Karen Corr. If you have followed the results of most of the overseas tournaments you will notice that Karen's name is right there at the top every time. She was really playing great all tournament and it looked like she was on her way to winning her first 9-ball World Championship (she was runner-up three times previously). After escaping a 9-8 win over one of the top Chinese players, she got the pleasure of playing yet another young Chinese player, Lui ShaSha who beat Xiao Ting Pan 9-8 to reach the finals. Here is a view of the finals table. Notice how packed the place is! Karen seemed to be on her way to a victory. She was ahead 5-1 in a race to 9. She missed a six ball that game and that was that. At 5-2, Lui ShaSha showed what she was made of. She broke and ran five racks like it was nothing. Suddenly the score was 7-5. A scratch on the break gave Karen another chance at the table finally. Unfortunately, she couldn't capitalize. With the score 8-5, Lui broke and ran out with ease. The whole time the crowd was roaring. Karen was left as the runner-up for the fourth time and a new Chinese champion was crowned. Did I mention she is only 16?!?! Here is the winner...
How do I feel about my trip? It was definitely worth it. It was great to play in such a well run, classy world championship event. I hope to get the chance to do so many more times during my career. I got to experience new things, eat some funky food, hang out with old friends and make new friends from all over the world... Thank you to everyone who helped make my trip possible!!

I would like to say I made it home without any delay but of course, that was not the case. My travel agent, aka, me, did a lousy job of checking times. I needed to get from Shenyang to Shanghai...almost an hour by mini bus to the airport then a two hour flight. Then I had to wait about ten hours in Shanghai. Shanghai to Chicago with only about an hour to spare before the flight to Tampa. Not a good plan since it takes a long time to go through customs! I got redirected to Orlando, another two hour flight and voila, I'm back with the boys. Oh yeah, that's right, then we had a twenty hour drive back to Ohio! Oh the joys of jet-lag!

I spent a couple days trying to sleep and get back to normal (is that even possible??). After that we had a nice Thanksgiving meal at Chris's house and we were back in the car for the annual Thanksgiving tournament in Hudson, Ohio. This is a weekend of zero sleep. The singles event started Thanksgiving night around 7pm. There were 26 women in the 8-ball and 105 guys in the 9-ball. I got very lucky to win the tournament. My opponent made the eight in the wrong pocket when the score was hill-hill. I got to sleep about 8am. I was pretty excited because this was my first time to get to play on a team. I've never had the pleasure of doing so before. Thanks to Deidra, Sandy, and Dana for inviting me to play with them. The first day went well, we won two matches. Then there was a scotch doubles tournament. Jason and I got third. We got to bed about 6am. Play started at 10am. We played all day to reach the final day of the tournament and got done with the team event for the night around midnight. Then another scotch doubles event. Jason and I battled all night to win the tournament...we finished at 10am. Oh, did I mention, the team event started back up at 10am! Unfortunately our team lost a nail-biter to another Columbus, Ohio team. We finished 4th though! Thank you again for inviting me to play!

I made it home and back to normal...well kind of. Of course, just like last time, I ended up sick after all the lack of sleep and traveling around the world. I slept for about a week. Then I got a call from Billiards Digest. I'm not sure if I mentioned before that they will be doing a feature article on me! Mike Geffner interviewed me a few months back. I wasn't sure when it would be published until this week. On Friday I got to do a photo shoot in Chicago. The article will be in the January issue!!

After all of that, I slept....a lot! So again, sorry to keep everyone hanging. I hope you enjoyed the recap of events!!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Ah, palm trees, what a sight to see when it is getting cold at home! That is what I am headed for tomorrow, sunny Hollywood, FL for the WPBA Nationals!!

In honor of this tournament, I will give you a semi-easy question this week!

What are my finishes in past years at the WPBA Nationals??

Thank you PoolDawg for sponsoring the trivia and thank you to the readers for playing! Be sure to leave your email address along with your answer in the comment section. Good luck!

I will be back to post more about the weekend and my feelings about going to Florida later tonight. For now, I have to get back to work!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Last week I was contacted by a pool player here in town, Mark Otto. He told me about the pool club he was allowed to start at Chiddix Junior High in Normal, IL. I thought it was pretty cool. When I was a freshman in high school, I proposed a pool club or pool being added to the PE curriculum. I was laughed at. Of course, pool has such a bad reputation, at least that was the school boards excuse. I was happy to find out the Mark got something going. Hopefully it will grow into something more and eventually all of the local schools will give pool a chance!

The first day that I went to help out was last Tuesday. There were only three kids that attended, Will, Deion, and Zack. The flu has hit the schools really hard and there are usually at least ten kids in attendance. It was fun and I got a chance to play some challenge games, do some trick shots and answer questions. Here is the Tuesday group:
I was supposed to go back that Thursday but I got stuck standing in line waiting for the H1N1 vaccine for four hours! Sorry I missed it kids. I had to take the precaution for traveling and having a chronic illness.

So today (Thursday) I went back and took Jason along with me. Wow, what a turn-out!! Sixteen kids showed up. We got a chance to meet and play lots of games. Thank you all for being so nice and willing to learn about pool! Now for the list of everyone there, Sam, Kenny, Robbie, Jordan, Kevin, Michael, Juan, Michael, Katy, Adison, Oliver, Brysen, Dylan, Omar, Colt, and Daniel. It was fun guys and I will definitely be back!
One thing that Mark has is something that can help people learn to play pool. He has a training aid that helps show the where to aim on virtually any shot. He showed it to me last week. I think it is something that can help any beginner. I would say it is a hands on tool that is similar to the ghost ball method of aiming. I highly recommend it to anyone that is just learning or is interested in learning. Here is a picture of the trainer. Each trainer comes with a DVD that will help explain. Please check out his website and keep this tool in mind especially if you are planning to teach your kids how to play.

While we are on the topic of kids playing pool, the WPA Junior 9-ball Championships began today in Nicaragua. You can click here to watch the live-stream and see score updates. Good luck Team USA, Nick Tafoya, Skylar Woodward, Jesse Engel, Landon Shuffet, Brendan Crockett, Briana Miller, Nicole Jaynes and Liz Lovely!! All of them were winners or top finishers in the 2009 BEF Junior Nationals.

The other excitement of this week was doing a radio interview. Brent and Kevin from the radio station B104 originally contacted me when I was in Taiwan. I couldn't make it that time since I was in Taiwan so we scheduled it for this past Wednesday. It was just a short interview talking about visiting China and how I got started. If you would like to listen it will air Tuesday, November 10 at 7:40am cst. Here are the links for the radio station B104 and the page that links directly to Brent and Kevin in the Morning.

All in all, I would say this was a pretty interesting week. Thanks again Mark and all of the kids that participate in the pool club! Thanks B104 and Brent and Kevin for inviting me to be on the show! I really appreciate it.

**edit: Sorry I left Brendan Crocketts name off the list of competitors from the USA. I apologize Brendan, good luck!!


The winner of this weeks trivia was BrklynJay!! The first world championship that I played in was the WPA Junior World 9-ball Championship. Since I was the only girl junior at the time to qualify, I got to play with the boys. The tournament was held in October, 2000, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. That was also my first time out of the United States. From what I remember Quebec City is a very historic place to visit. I really enjoyed my time there even though it was pretty cold!

Congrats Jay! Enjoy your PoolDawg gift code and a big thanks to PoolDawg for their continued support of Sarah Rousey Trivia!! Thank you to everyone that played. Come back next Monday for another chance to win!

I will be back tonight with a post. I have been doing a couple of interesting things in the past couple of weeks. I went to teach at a Junior High School (pics later) and I am going to do another session today. Sorry for the lack of updates, I was trying to get both sessions in so all of the kids would be pictured. I also did an interview with a local radio morning show (links later) that will air next week! I'll be back with details later!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Happenings and Trivia!!

First off, I have to congratulate last weeks winner Tim. Thank you for playing Tim and thank you to everyone else for trying. Good thing Monday comes around once a week!

Here is the PoolDawg question of the week. In honor of getting the chance to go to another World Championship in a couple of weeks:

Where and when did I play my first World Championship?

Be sure to leave your email address along with your answer! The first person to answer correctly wins a $10 PoolDawg gift code! Remember, everyone that shops at PoolDawg can also use the code ROUSEY to get 5% off your purchase!

Now, this weekends happenings. I went to Brickyard Billiards (formerly Airport Billiards) in Indianapolis. They had their semi-annual bar table 9-ball tournament. I did not do so hot!

A few weeks ago I kind of decided that I hate the bar table. It is the type of hate that I imagine addicts have. They hate the way it feels, but they have to try it again and again. That is how I feel about bar table pool! Sometimes I don't mind playing on the bar table, other times I can't stand it. I have had my fair share of success and I think that is what keeps me coming back. Something about the inconsistency of bar tables gets me. Sometimes you can play on really nice ones (Diamonds) or really crappy ones that are not well maintained. Sometimes you get a good set of balls, other times you get a mismatched hodgepodge. Sometimes you get a good cue ball, sometimes you get a mud ball. It all doesn't help when you play pretty horrible too!!

Needless to say, I didn't play all that well and pretty much did horrible in the tournament. I did get a chance to practice a little on a nice Diamond nine footer. That was a good thing since I don't get a chance to practice on nice equipment.

If you get a chance to visit Brickyard Billiards, do so. The new owners have really made the place look nice and if you are looking for a little action, you will definitely get that!

Good luck everyone with the trivia! Thank you PoolDawg for sponsoring the weekly trivia!