I'm alive, but I needed a break. To be honest, my thoughts and feelings about the pool world have really been mixed lately. I needed to get away from it all for a period of time and rethink everything. The lack of tournaments and the lack of pool in general in my area has really sucked. I started to question whether or not I should even play anymore. I didn't play pool for nearly two months. Now, there are some tournaments approaching and I have something to look forward to. I know, everyone says that you should practice anyway. Stay on top of your game. I agree, but it is possible to just get burnt out from time to time. This was one of those times.
I don't think I have posted anything since before Vegas. So I guess I will start there. Everyone get in your time machine and go back a couple of months to the BCAPL National Championships in Vegas. I was invited to play in the US Open 10-ball tournament and I worked in the MezzUSA booth. I got to meet a lot of really cool people and hang out with old friends at the booth. I can't say that I played all that well in the tournament though. I drew one of my favorite players, Ralf Souquet. I was in awe of who I was playing, a huge mistake of course, but I had never played him before. I had lots of chances, but I was playing horrible to be honest. I got beat 9-3. My next match was against Jeremy Sossei. I had a big lead and blew it. I lost the match 9-7. It was a bit upsetting since I was ahead but it taught me that I need to work on closing matches. The highlight of the tournament for me....Jose Parica forfeiting first round. He misread the time on the bracket and showed up late. It isn't the way I would like to win a match, but it happened.
I did get to watch a lot of great pool though. Jason qualified for the World Pool Masters and finished in the top 32. The 10-ball event was full of great players. It was possibly the best field I have ever seen in an event. LeeVan Corteza was the eventual winner.
I got the chance to stop by the pawn shop where Pawn Stars is filmed, of course it was closed. We also ate at another Man Vs. Food spot, Hash House a Go-Go. Here are a few pictures from the trip....
My favorite part of the whole summer came after Vegas. I got a chance to do a charity event in New York City. If you have been following my blog you know that I love NYC. The event was put on by New York Giant Justin Tuck and it was for Literacy. It was held at Slate Billiards. I've never been around so many famous people! I got to meet Justin Tuck, Paul Sorvino, Melle Mel, lots of football players and my favorite, new Chicago Bulls player Carlos Boozer!
I also got a chance to hang out with all of my NYC friends and try some new stuff. I went fishing for the first time ever and it was awesome! I think I am hooked.....literally...yes, that is a hook, with bait on it stuck in my hair. A big thanks to Caroline, Rob, Supi, Justin and Jason for going along with the fishing trip!
I also got a chance to go to a Yankees game. I originally wanted to go to both a Mets game and a Yankees game, but I only got a chance to go to one. I can mark off another ballpark on my list to see! It is really a cool place to visit. We even got lucky and scored awesome seats by chance.
Another cool thing about NYC is the number of friends I have. Caroline was so nice to let us have a cookout every night. Another friend and Heartbacker, Chris Kurzwiel was nice enough to send us a bunch of meat from his farm, including a Turducken. If you aren't familiar with that it is a turkey, layer of stuffing, stuffed with a duck and a layer of stuffing, stuffed with a chicken!! Here is a pic of the turducken, the people who demolished it and part of the cooking crew...
After the fun in New York it was back to life as usual...back to work. I decided to take about a month off and just work. I got to root Jason on in the Canadian Championships. He won the 8ball and did well in the other divisions. Then he went off to Qatar for the World 9-ball Championships. Again I got to root him on from home. He did great there and finished 9-16th!!
I also decided to make a big change. I have been growing my hair out for about two years so I could donate it to Pantene for Kids. Finally it was long enough. I went and made the big cut about a week ago and had 11 inches of hair to donate!
And now we get to what has made me want to play pool again. I got the chance to help out at the Billiard Education Foundation Junior Nationals last week. I got to see a lot of kids that I have watched grow up and I got to meet a lot of new people that are so hopeful and excited to be playing pool. It was so refreshing to see kids that want to do nothing other than have fun playing pool. It was a reminder to me that that is what it is supposed to be about. There are some really amazing players out there and the future looks bright for American pool. Congrats to Landon Shuffett and Briana Miller for winning their divisions and winning their fourth National title in a row!! Congrats to Liz Lovely for winning her second straight title and to Billy Thorpe for winning his first. Each will get a chance to play in the World Championships in Reno in November! Here are the top finishers.... I also got to meet seven year old Eric Roberts from Florida. This little guy plays pretty good! I had to get a picture because there aren't many people out there that I can pose like this with...
Now it is time to start practicing hard again. The WPBA US Open is coming up July 28-August 1 in Norman, OK. I'm excited to have a tournament come around finally! I also just got news that I will be playing in the World 9-ball Championship in ShenYang, China and in the China Open in Shanghai, China. One tournament is in August and the other is in September!! Jason has also been invited to play in the World Cup of Pool again this year in Manila, Philippines. He will be teamed up with John Morra for team Canada! It seems as though it will be a month long trip to Asia!
If you would like to become a Heartbacker to help me get to these events you can donate on this page by clicking the donate button! I have plenty of t-shirts left for those of you that donate. I am really excited to get this opportunity again this year and hope to do as well as last year, if not better.
Well, that sums up the past couple of months. I apologize for leaving everyone hanging but like I said, I really needed a break! I will be back to doing at least weekly updates, if not more. Check back in a couple of days for a PoolDawg trivia question!