Sunday, October 25, 2009


Since the US Open 9-ball Championships ended this Saturday with a repeat winner, Mika Immonen, I used it as inspiration for this weeks PoolDawg trivia question. Congrats to fellow Mezz rep Mika Immonen for his second consecutive US Open Championship title!!

Who are the other players that have won two or more US Open Championship titles??

Please name all of the past multiple winners. Be sure to leave your email address along with your answer in the comments. The first person to answer correctly gets a $10 gift code for PoolDawg! Thanks PoolDawg for your continued support!

Thanks to Justin Collett for the picture!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do You Remember?

This week as I was looking around on the net and I came across a video that I thought was pretty cool. It made me wonder if any readers here can relate. Do you remember the first time you met your idol, reached a goal, or rose to the occasion when it was needed?

This video is of a 12-year old that got a chance to hear Tiger Woods speak at the opening of his new golf course. Tiger asked if anyone wanted to drive. Out of the crowd the boy confidently said "I will.". He proceeded to hit two perfect drives. The interview showed what a once in a life time opportunity he just had. I also like how Tiger compliments him and asks him to do it again. Notice how fearless only kids can be!

Here is the video:

View more news videos at:

Now my answer to my own question. I had a moment kind of like this. I remember walking up to all of the top pros at the BCA trade show back in 1993. I was 10, almost 11. I played a challenge game with every pro that I could. When I was young my favorite player was Vivian Villarreal. I think my parents might have paid her off or something, but she came to watch one of my matches during the Junior Nationals. I was nervous as can be, but wanted to prove that I was a pool player. I won my match and got to meet my idol. Knowing how different I was at that age, I probably told her to look out for me when I grow up!

I had a moment too during my first pro event that I felt like this kid. He said he didn't want to top the ball, I didn't want to embarrass myself. I actually won a match and lost two hill-hill matches, so just like him, I was surprised but I rose to the occasion.

Please feel free to share any stories that you have about yourself or your kids or anyone that has had a similar experience. They can be very uplifting and I can't wait to read them!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Last week I didn't get a chance to post the winner of the movie trivia question. I am happy that the person with the first answer was honest in saying that he had already won this month and wanted me to pass it on to the next person. Thank you for that! So the winner, with the answer Goonies, is Justin Harris! I have sent your PoolDawg gift code. I hope you enjoy it!

The winner of this weeks trivia question is Ron! The correct answer is Seaside, Oregon. I have also sent your PoolDawg gift code. Here is some proof that it is the correct answer! Look closely.

Thank you to PoolDawg for sponsoring the trivia and thank you everyone for participating. I'm glad I could give a little bit of a history lesson. Next Monday there will be another question!

To see all of the places I have visited so far in 2009, please check out my map at the bottom of the blog. Each place has a description and a picture. Remember, be sure to scroll all the way around the world!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winners, Losers, Oregon and Questions.

What a busy week! I wasn't anticipating not having internet access at the hotel in Lincoln City. I was stuck using my phones to do small updates on Facebook and Twitter. Sorry for the delay. First I will start with last weeks trivia winner. I have a little problem. The answer I was looking for was The Goonies. Now the problem is that the first person to answer was right but didn't include their contact info so I can't send the code. If the person could please contact me so I can pay up! If not, the winner will be the second person to answer correctly. I actually got a chance to visit the town that The Goonies was filmed, Astoria, OR and Cannon Beach, OR. You might recognize one of the pictures from scenes of the movie.

Now on to the trip. This was my moms first trip to the Pacific Northwest and I believe my fifth or sixth. I absolutely love Oregon. I think it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever had a chance to visit. Over the years I haven't had a chance to see much more than Lincoln City. Luckily, Mom needed a vacation so we got to see the sites! First, the view from the Chinook Winds Resort...After some rest and relaxation and a tip on where to visit we decided to head to Depoe Bay, Cape Foulweather, Yaquina Head Nature Reserve, and Newport. All of these places are within 30 minutes of Lincoln City. First, mom and I at Depoe Bay. We were right outside a whale museum. Depoe Bay is one of the top places to see gray whales. Unfortunately, we didn't see any.
The next stop was Cape Foulweather. It is a pretty high cliff with a gift shop. Supposedly it served as a lookout during World War II.
Next up, Yaquina Head Nature Reserve. This is the site of one of the most photographed and oldest lighthouses in America. We got there too late to do a tour, but got a chance to walk on the black rock beach and take plenty of pictures! Here is the lighthouse and the beach...
It finally started pouring rain and getting kind of cold so we headed to Newport to eat and see the Harbor. There is a pretty cool bridge, great fish and chips and sea life right on the dock. It was the first time I had seen sea lions in the wild! I had no idea how loud they could be!

After a day of taking things in it was time to get down to business. This tournament always has the annual meeting and banquet followed by the Pro-Am. This makes for a very long day and an early start. I forgot my camera at the banquet but the Tournament Directors award was given to my buddy Caroline Pao and the Hall of Fame honored Robin Dodson. After a good meal and catching up we all headed to the Pro-Am. It was a really great turn-out and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my team didn't win! Here is the team.
My first match was at 1:30 against Belinda Calhoun. I was feeling alright going into this match. I have played Belinda many times with success but I know she is a great player and is very capable of beating anyone at anytime. The match was an ok match. I'm not happy with how I played. I started out really slow, even missinig ball in hand on a two ball! I finally woke up a little and finished the match. I believe the final score was 9-4.

Later that night I played the second round match against Nicole Keeney. She is an up and coming player that just keeps getting better and better each event. I started really strong, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. After that, I decided it was nap time. Suddenly, I was down 6-5. It went back and forth and luckily for me, she missed a 9-ball that would have put her ahead 7-6. I got a little bit lucky and won the match 9-7. I got a break until 6pm the next day.

My next match was against Jasmin Ouschan and live on the PoolDawg live-stream. I have only played Jasmin one time before and coincidentally, she won that tournament too even though I beat her 9-7. This time I wasn't sure what to expect. I have been fortunate that the right Sarah has shown up when it matters considering how inconsistent I can be due to lack of practice. The match started out with a mistake for me the first game, then a 9-ball break from Jasmin. The table we played on had the nine headed to the pocket every game! I know Jasmin made some mistakes and I think I capitalized on most of them, definitely not all. One thing I know is that my break was suffering. Scratching on the break three times is not excusable! I felt like I played well but a couple mistakes late hurt me. The games I gave away ended up coming back to haunt me. I lost the match 9-8.

Since there were two days of ESPN taping this event instead of losing the match and coming back the next day we had to continue playing. I was due to play the winner of Monica Webb and Veronique Menard. Monica had been sick all week with the flu and I guess it got really bad since she forfeited her match. I played Veronique and it was very hard to get focused after the tough loss. Lucky for me, she made some mistakes that led me to a comfortable 9-4 win. Once again, I made it to the redraw! I walked over and drew Gerda Hofstatter.

I'm not sure what was going through my head while playing Gerda. I am comfortable playing her and we have a pretty even track record over the years. I started out ahead 2-1 then it was all Gerda. She played so well that I cannot even be upset about the loss. It was one of those matches where you are in awe of what is happening! She played great and ended my tournament run by beating me 9-2!

Overall, I am happy with the 9th place finish. Maybe I am somehow becoming a little bit consistent. I know that I am right there and with a little hard work, I can be a contender. I have made a promise to myself to practice hard before the final tournament of the year and the World Championships. Not only am I going to practice, I am going to get myself in shape and get healthy. No more excuses!

I got a chance to hang out with some of the girls. Melissa Herndon and Jennifer Barretta were kind enough to get a group of players together to go sing karaoke. I have only done karaoke one time in my life and that was in China were no one could understand me! Needless to say, I wasn't singing tonight. Most of the girls did though and I must say, we have some hidden talent within the WPBA! Here is the majority of the WPBA group singing "We are Family". Thanks for inviting me girls!
Sunday was the last day to do some site seeing so my mom and I head north up the coast. It was very strange that Thursday night a History Channel episode of Modern Marvels was about Highway 101. There was a bridge mentioned that was in Astoria. I think it was described as one of the longest bridges in the US. Mom and I drove the 120 miles or so to the bridge that would take us into Washington. This was the most beautiful drive I have ever taken!

We made our way to Astoria and the Astoria Megler Bridge. Here is where I will mention that I have a serious fear of bridges. The type of fear that you can't breathe, have some cold sweats, and turn very pale (yes, I can get whiter than I already am!). So it wasn't cool to drive over this bridge but I did it! Technically, I visited about 10 miles of Washington state. Does that count? Here is the bridge and my white-knuckled driving across the bridge. Regardless of my fear, at least I got to see where the movie Goonies was filmed!
On the way back to Lincoln City we stopped in Seaside. They have a really cool downtown area with all kinds of restaurants and shops. The beach was beautiful and full of people flying kites. On the drive back there were quite a few places to stop and take pictures. Possibly the greatest place I have visited was about 50 miles from Lincoln City. It was described on all of the placards that it is where sea, sand, mountains and sky meet. The road sign and the beauty!

So that is my Oregon trip. I really enjoyed myself. It was nice to get a chance to see some things and take in the natural beauty. The people are friend, the food is good and I remember that a beautiful day can mean a lot. I hope everyone enjoys the pictures and the little stories. One last thing, since I was traveling all day on Monday here is your trivia question. It has to do with Oregon.

In what town did Lewis and Clark end their trail??

As usual, the first person to answer correctly will win a PoolDawg gift code. Please remember to include your email address so I can send you your prize! Good luck everyone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Adventure and Trivia!

The trek to the WPBA Pacific Coast Classic has begun. As I type this my mom and I are hanging at the airport in Peoria, IL awaiting our day of planes and automobiles. My mom finally listened to me and decided to take a break and see the beautiful northwest! Hopefully this flight goes better than the last few times.
Over the weekend Jason and I made the trip to Cape Girardeau, MO to play in the first annual SEMO Open at The Billiard Center. I did not play well at all! It was a good tournament though and I hope they continue to hold some great tournaments considering it is only 4 hours from Bloomington. Jason ended up splitting the tournament and we barely made it home in time to pack for our separate trips and very early flights. I think I am getting too old for this staying up all night stuff!

Last tournament I got the experience of flying on my first prop plane. I was scared to death! I am pretty sure that won't be happening this time. Here is a look my first ride from Durango to Phoenix.

I am pretty excited for this tournament. Oregon is one of my favorite places to visit. The scenery is beautiful, the people are friendly and there is so much to see! I wasn't playing too bad when I practiced last week either so that is a little exciting as well. Be sure to watch the live-stream and check the brackets on the WPBA website!

Now on to the PoolDawg trivia! Just leave a comment below with your answer and email address. The first person to answer correctly wins! Here is this weeks question:

What 80s movie was filmed near Lincoln City, OR?

My flight is boarding! Thanks PoolDawg and good luck everyone!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Observations and Ramblings

Last weekend I went to the Houston Open. I am not pointing fingers at that tournament in this rambling. I am talking about observations that I have made over the past 13 years or so that I have been competing in pool tournaments. That covers the lowest level and the highest level. Alright, to get to the point, I have noticed the vast difference between men's events and women's events. Why are women just there to play and have fun and the men are there to compete? That is the question I ask.

I have noticed more lately that when you go to an event that has an Open division and a Women's division there are many differences. One being the entry fee. The men pay anywhere between $60-$100+ to play in a weekend regional event. The women pay anywhere from $20-$50 to play in a women's division. Now I understand that there are maybe 100 men playing and only a handful of women, but why is it acceptable that a man who might just be a "field filler" pay so much and think it is okay. The women have to have such a low entry fee to even have enough players to play! Are women smarter with money and they don't want to waste money? If they aren't confident they are going to cash they don't enter? Why is there such a big difference in the thinking of men and women? I have heard so many guys say that they would gladly pay up to $100 to play against the best players. Many guys are getting ready to pay $600 to play in the US Open just for that same chance. I hope that some of the women who don't feel like they have the confidence to jump in there and play realize that it will help you get better. It took me years and years to do well in tournaments. Along the way I learned a lot though. Take the risk, who knows, you may be better than you think you are!

The second thing is the attitude of the players. This doesn't go for every area. It seems that the women in certain areas are very, very competitive and others are not. I have traveled all over the country playing in a variety of tournaments. Maybe the men have a ton of pride and are there to compete. Maybe it is the manly thing to compete to relax. Sometimes when I go to women's tournaments I can pick out the few girls that are there with that competitive attitude. Then I can look around and pick out the majority that are just there to relax and catch up with friends all while playing pool. I am not against making friends or catching up with friends but I am not going to do it while playing in a tournament match. So many times I have seen women sharing pictures or telling stories to catch up. There is plenty of time to catch up after the match. It kind of holds up the tournament and the girls are forced to play shorter races. You are supposed to put up a wall that blocks out friendship while you are playing. I'm sorry, you may be my best friend off the table but I guarantee you are my enemy while we are playing! This doesn't go for all tournaments of course, but there it is a huge difference between the men and women.

Third, the added money. I understand that you want to draw the guys so you add anywhere from $1500-$10,000 for the men, but why do you only add $500 to the women? Of course you aren't going to get a great turn-out even if you have a ton of good women players in the area (by area I mean about a 6 hour radius) if you only add a small amount of money. Most of the women's events I go to hardly cover expenses to get there and stay for a couple days. Therefore, I don't travel as much as I did in the past to play in tournaments. If you are holding a tournament somewhere and you know you have a high concentration of female players, why not add a little more money. Make it worth it for the girls to show up. I can't guarantee that tons of women will show up, but I know I would be willing to go more often.

Lastly, women are catty. I know this, I am a woman and I admit it. When I go to tournaments in other areas it is like I am the enemy. The guys don't look at someone like Shane Van Boening showing up at a weekly tournament as the enemy. They are all hyped up to get a chance to play him and learn from him. The women seem to have the attitude like "Oh well, is here I can't win." I was a beginner once too and for a little while, I thought that way. I quickly learned the lesson that anyone, at anytime, can win one match. When I started playing on the WPBA I had that thinking. "Oh great, I drew Allison. I'm going to lose." Then the matches would get closer and closer. One day, I realized I could win just like any single person out there can win ONE match! Please girls, quit being beat by the names. Have a little faith in yourselves! Plus, I will let you in on a little secret, all of the pressure is on that good player that shows up. They have everyone telling them that they are going to win the tournament. They start shaking in their boots when someone gets close to beating them or beats them.

I know there are people reading this and saying, "quit complaining, you could always just play in the Open division." That is true and usually I do play in the Open division if I can play in both tournaments and it doesn't conflict and I do play a lot of Open events that aren't too incredibly far away.

These are just my observations. It is hard to see a sport that women have a chance to be equal with the men but yet we are still kind of held back. I am not saying anything bad about the people that go to tournaments to relax and have fun. I just don't see why the only market for women's tournaments that are held with open tournaments to be the women that either accompany their significant other or those in the immediate area. I hope that it changes. This is a sport that has a mass appeal to all people no matter what age, sex, color or physical ability. I just hope that the women can grow and be somewhat equal in the future. This is a tough sport to make a living. Please remember that the girls are paying travel expenses to get to these events too. I know everyone would like to not only win the tournament but walk away from winning the tournament with a little bit of profit!

Alright, that is my rant. I hope I didn't offend anyone. As always, I am open to comments!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trivia Winner!

Congrats Chris Nunley for guessing the correct answer this week! Pink Floyd has been my favorite band since I was about 8 years old. I guess that is what you get for growing up in a pool room! And just for the record, I have never done drugs so that is not the reason for liking a "stoner" band!

Those of you that guessed the other guesses...Jay, I have never been much of a boy band fan. Although, I did have a short period of time when I was about six that I really liked New Kids on the Block. I try to forget those days. I did like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson too when I was about the same age. Village People never really made it onto my radar...I guess it just isn't my style unless I am at a sporting event and they are trying to hype up the crowd.

Thanks everyone for playing and thanks to PoolDawg for the gift codes! Enjoy yours Chris! I'm not sure if next weeks question will be on Monday. My mom and I are traveling to Oregon on Monday. Hopefully I can think up a question and get it posted during all of the travel. I will be back tonight or tomorrow with a non-trivia post.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Yes, I realize it is Tuesday, not Monday! I went to the Houston Open over the weekend and on the way there and the way back it was full of airport nightmares! Of course, I was so smart that I didn't have the computer with me so I couldn't post. Sorry for the delay. This weeks question is just one I thought up real quick and it has nothing to do with pool.

What is my favorite band?

Thank you to PoolDawg for bringing you the chance to win a gift code! Just leave your answer along with your email address in the comment section. The first correct answer wins the PoolDawg gift code!

As for the Houston Open, I didn't do all that great. I played in the Open division and finished one spot out of the money. In the womens I got third. I had flashes of brilliance in the beginning of the day and then flashes of stupidity at the end of both days. Maybe it was sitting in the smokey pool room for hours on end that did it or maybe I should consider practicing! Either way I live and learn and move on to the next adventure! If you are ever in the Houston area check out Legend's Billiards. They have a mix of Diamond and Brunswick tables and no shortage of good players!

Good luck everyone!