Absence Makes the Stroke Go Yonder

•April 1, 2013 • 6 Comments

Sooo, I most definitely have been MIA. What’s happened since we last left off…

2013-01-19 - NYCGrind - BrianLeong - Steinway Predator ProAM - 00771. I have played next to ZERO quality pool.  How am I suppose to write a pool blog without any pool to discuss?  My time is just the Predator Pro/Am Tour stops, a few Amsterdam & Society Team 9-Ball matches and 2 Straight Pool matches at ABC.  So, in about 3 months, I’ve played, hmmm, say 40 hours of pool.  All in competition, none in practice/drill mode.  And my results showcase my lack of dedication.  You get what you put in and any match I’ve won, I probably didn’t deserve to win.  There’s a BIG difference in me winning a match, and my opponent losing a match.  I usually don’t count the latter … unless I don’t like you.  Then I revel in it.  MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  <- Evil laugh.

I am more eager than ever to play.  It’s been hard to stomach playing far below my ability.  I was on a good roll in the late Fall.  Got raised to the ‘B’ and felt pretty invincible.  Well, as invincible as a B can feel, then WACK!  A new big client and tax season sucked my time away from the game and POOF, I feel helpless.  DAMN YOU INCONSISTENCY! 

I’ve always felt I had rather good fundamentals and this solid foundation has bailed me out of some hairy spots when I hadn’t practiced in a while.  But this is such a long period of hiatus and I’ve seen even my fundamentals slipping.  I’m jumpy on shots, I constantly lift my bridge hand before shooting and I rush the last stroke.  These things WILL be corrected post tax season.

I’m looking forward to the month of May.  I’ve got extensive drills and practice sessions I’ve laid out as prep for Vegas in July.

Samm Diep Proof I'm a Piggy!!2.  I’m hella out of shape.  I haven’t worked out, for real in at least 6 months.  It’s pathetic.  I’m disgusted by it.  And I’m not interested in hearing anyone say, “Oh Gail, you look great, blah blah blah.” NO!!  It’s gotten out of hand.  Play time is OVER.  I’m ready to feel the pain, taste the sweat and eat bananas for salvation!!  I’m joining Crunch gym on April 16th.  Game over fatty.

Kim Meyer & I - Humane Society of NY Fundraiser3. The Predator Pro/Am Tour seems stronger than ever.  Last year we switched the tournament format to a split chart A/Bs on top of the bracket & C/Ds on the bottom and they only met up at the end of the tournament.  We had great success with this division in ranks for basically a year, but over time, many of our players improved their game so much that the A/B bracket started to overflow.  We were selling out the A/B bracket, resulting in us turning away players.  I hate doing this, the tour hates doing it and it’s not good for room owners.  So, we’ve now eliminated the split chart and are averaging 60-100 players per event.  It shows that NYC pool is stronger than ever these days. Players are improving and challenging themselves with the strong core of tournaments and leagues the tri-state has to offer. 

If you want to improve your game, you MUST challenge yourself and the tour is a great way to do that.  It hosts the strongest players in all of the Tri-State. 

I’m thrilled with what Tony and I have done for pool in NY.  We cater to nearly 1000 players in our area through the tour and league. (www.PlayNAPL.com).  I feel like we’ve helped the sport survive and grow and I’m proud of our success and contribution. 

Kayci Kool Kicks4. On a personal/professional level, Tony and I were both tested.  Tested on patience, sanity and humanity.  As I’m sure any business owner will tell us, with success comes a backhand of animosity from those not included. Along the road, the test of vengeance dangles in front like a carrot on your path.  An eye for an eye, or maintain humanity in war?  Will you bend to their low forms of behavior, cater to their need for attention, succumb to that which is beneath you?  Be the ringleader amongst the clowns.  Or? Don’t visit the circus.

I’ve learned that once you garner success there will always be people that want to bring you down, either for their own betterment or simply to watch you burn.  Some people just want to watch the world burn as the mighty Alfred (Batman’s Butler) would say. 

Evil intentions only prevail if there’s a “weakness” in your armor.  My takeaway from the experience?  Those who talk the most, usually have the least to say.  A healthy block has given way to peace of mind again.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  But throw my back against the wall and I’m quite scrappy.

My Fiance5. Oh, and last, but most important of them all…..

Tony and I are engaged to be married.  We wed Oct 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  I am marrying a man that fiercely loves me.  Lucky girl I am.

Happy Birthday My April Fool!  Smile


Provoke Stroke Choke

•November 10, 2012 • 4 Comments

10 in the sideI love the George Lopez show & I don’t understand how it was ever cancelled.  On a Nick at Nite rerun last night, George dreams that his mom Benny (who normally is a ruthless, insulting, mean old broad) was actually a sweet, gentle, loving mom who coddled a young George through childhood.  In this upside-down dream, George is the one who plays second fiddle to his best friend Ernie when usually it’s the other way around.  Ernie is married to hot Angie instead of George.  George is the simple factory worker instead of the factory boss and George is unconfident, weak & introverted — all polar opposites of what his character usually portrays on the show.  He wakes from him dream thankful that his mom was rough on him during his childhood because it toughen him up for the challenges that life threw at him in adulthood.

People & challenges in life actually help you grow stronger, help you manage the tough times better and navigate the unchartered paths in life with more ‘COJONES’ 

IMG_2579I was recently raised to a ‘B’ in Team 9-ball.  I’m pretty sure it was an accident but it’s ok.  I’m putting on the brave face of ownership.  It’s kinda stupid the way the mind is sometimes.  A routine 4-ball out when I was a C+ was kid’s play before but now, I look at it, and my peripheral vision sees judgment all around and I SWEAR they are saying, ‘Let’s just see how much of a B she really is!!!”


A D+ donkey move escapes my body and boom, I sit in my B speed imposter seat and watch my cool, calm, collected, rock star opponent seal the deal in oh so smooth fashion.

It’s all in the head.  The balls aren’t different.  The stage is the same.  The actors of the play haven’t been recast. It’s all identical, but my damn head isn’t understanding this.  It just sees the letter B and it’s FREAKING out!

I see veteran players in the league and do the math in my head and my ‘OH SHIT’ meters starts wailing:

Virginia BeachI only get 2 games playing Wan Tom in a race to 8?  I gotta give Naomi 3 in a race to 8?  I don’t wanna play LSU Tony even!  No way, I gotta give weight to Her! HIM! Them!Who?



As a captain, it’s my job to tell a newly raised teammates, “It’s just another game dude.  You can do it.  Don’t even think about it.”  But they’re just words and words often can’t permeate the brick wall of fear that builds with a freshly raised handicap.

It really is just one game.  It’s just now you gotta OWN the mistakes you make and acknowledge that each additional mistake at the B speed may just cost you the match now. 

I’ll forge on because frankly what choice do I have anyway.  I’m too passionate about the game to not continue and there’s a part of me that LOVES that I got raised.  I have been playing better and more consistent and for some computer program to take note of that, well, I’ll accept the digital compliment. 

Hurricanes in New York City?

•October 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

IMG_2694The last 72 hours have been an overload of 24/7 news reports, flooding, power outages, no mass transit and mostly just the inner walls of my apartment with Tony & KC.  Cabin fever is in full effect.

But we are very lucky.  Some pool friends went through horror stories during the event.  One friend was stranded helplessly on the 2nd floor of a neighbor’s house desperate for rescuers to come.  Another saw the 1st floor completely flooded while cars floated by.  So many don’t have power.  So many just want a warm shower, safe water, a moment alone with a charged IPhone.  The friendly sound of a television.  Gas lines that aren’t miles long.  Hell one friend went to a Chase Bank blocks up to share a charging station with strangers.

Lower Manhattan is flooded and without power.  Hoboken has a curfew.  Embers still smoke at Breezy Point.  People are still missing.  Central Park is closed because so many trees are down and dangerous.  Subways are not operating yet.  You can only drive over a bridge or tunnel into Manhattan with a minimum of 3 people in your car. 

Both Battery Park, part of the FDR and West Side highway all were under water.  Nearly 2 MILLION people don’t have power! 

We rode our bikes through some of lower Manhattan and it’s eerie.  There’s very few cars.  No functioning street lights.  Businesses are closed due to no electricity.  We were there around 5pm, typically rush hour, and we had so many roads completely to ourselves.  It’s like a ghost town.  Then dark falls and it’s flat out scary.  So dark you can’t see your own hand in front of you unless a car’s headlights happen to drive back or a person wearing a makeshift miner’s headband. 

New York City, quiet.  Didn’t think THAT was possible.

We live on an elevated part of the island.  We didn’t lose power.  We watch the news and are reminded how lucky we are.

Hurricanes that hit Florida in 2011: 0   NY: 1

Hurricanes that hit Florida in 2012: 0  NY: 1


Below are pictures we took in our area.  I’ve included some pictures I saw online that floored me. 

Count your blessings and God Bless. 

Surrender to Your Fears

•October 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment


At times I’ve been frozen in fear by what others might say or feel about me, my family, my friends, my business. I’ve been vulnerable to any form of perceived attack.  Scared of my own insecure thoughts spoken from the lips of actual real people.  I’ve often put more value in someone else’s opinion of me, rather than my trusted friends or even my own. 

One of the most valuable lessons I’m learning though is the ability to “not care.” That sounds harsh, but it’s empowering and a necessary survival skill in life & pool.

Of late, Tony and I have worked together to disassociate ourselves with what we feel are negative forces. 

Being in pool though, this goal is quite difficult at times.  While I love the game, the world-wide view of scumbag’ism in pool isn’t completely off base.  And I do believe the majority really are great people, the shady ones just talk louder and more often and this can skew public opinion.  I wish the loud mouths would leave their ‘daddy didn’t pay enough attention to me’ crap at the entrance of the pool hall.


Jen Barretta once told me, “Having Max (her son) put so much into perspective and a lot of the petty parts of my life just began to fade away.  Max and what I can do for Max is all that matters.”  (I paraphrased)

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, how is this pool related.  Well, outside of the obvious encounters most pool players have with the random D-bag that plays pool too, I felt the need to address why some pool players NEVER get better….

Fear.  They don’t stand up to their fears.  Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of success, fear of their opponent, or fear of public scrutiny, fear holds us all back at some point. 

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.  ~Brian Tracy

Someone came up to me and mentioned a tournament that we are running and said they would not compete in it because they felt they were the underdog.  As someone who has a good deal of experience both playing and running tournaments, I can confidently say this isn’t logic talking, it’s fear.  Fear of failing.   

I’ve been there.  I’ve felt that and you know what I’m learning?

 The only times you’re really alive are the times you’re the underdog clawing your way to victory. 

My greatest memories are those times it seemed there was no hope.  I was defeated.  I had my back against the wall and instead of crumbling, I fought.  Fought with energy I didn’t know I had.  Energy fueled by adrenaline and blood-thirsty determination.  The feelings were raw, savage, gritty.

You may not always be crowned the champion, but you’ll be that much closer. 

In tournaments I see three kinds of players. 

  1. Those that show up and say, I’m here for the experience and to have a good time. 

  2. Those that wanna steal the tournament & if it can’t come easy, they don’t wanna play so they sit on the sidelines bitching. 

  3. And then there are those that don’t give a shit who is there or what their rank is … they are there to play hard and do what they can to win.  There are no obstacles, just a finish line, and they plan on crossing it.

Be the latter.  It’s respectful.  It’s honorable.  It’s beastly.

Frank at the Predator Tourney

You MUST throw yourself in the deep end and learn to swim amongst the sharks if you’re gonna be anyone.  No excuses.   I see some people in pool that haven’t improved in five years!   Now some of them don’t care about pool and that’s totally cool. They aren’t looking to get anything out of the game but fun and competition.  These social players are in it for kicks, not accolades.  I get it. 

But those that vocalize a desire to improve & compete in tournaments and NEVER think to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone?  Ugh.  You’ll NEVER get better and you don’t deserve to either!  Anything worth a damn ain’t coming for free kid. 

I’ve been afraid, I’ll be afraid again, no doubt.  But I simply got tired of backing down to people, pool, challenges, life.  You can be a doormat in pool, or hold up the trophy.

Williamfuentes.comThere will ALWAYS be someone bigger, stronger, but you decide who wants it more.  You gotta be in it to win it and you know what?  You might be surprised how strong you are when you test yourself. 

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. ~Gustave Flaubert

So to those that back down from the challenges that pool can offer, I say the sooner you face them, the sooner you’ll laugh at fears that once were.  Don’t be afraid.  If you lose, so what?  Everyone has lost.  Everyone has missed the winning shot.  Everyone has missed ball in hand. Everyone has failed.  Everyone has been hurt by failure.  Everyone has been embarrassed.

But not everyone succeeds.  The ones that succeed are the people that never give up.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growin ~ H. Stanley Judd

Post Coital Miss

•August 8, 2012 • 5 Comments

gabby-douglas-jumpWatching Gabby Gold, watching Kerri & Misty, Kellie Wells, Bolt … I’m inspired.  Misty & Kerri are on the road to claiming their 3rd Gold while Gabby seems to be faltering so soon after the glory of the Team USA Gold and her All-Around Award and it got me thinking….

Back in 2010 when I won the Singles Nationals Championship my confidence took an immediate hit.   And when I say immediate, I mean 2 days later I was scared of balls hanging in the pocket! 

I had just won the National Title in Singles not 48 hours earlier and yet had I NO CONFIDENCE in my body or talent.  None.

My body, my stroke, my presence at the table, everything felt different, uncomfortable, foreign and I was all nerves during that first team match.  Meanwhile, two days earlier I was playing in the finals as calm and tame as can be so what the hell gives?  Why the sudden nosedive in confidence?

KISS_OF_DEATH-KOD09m---48I vividly remember Emily, Borana & I talking on the steps of the Riviera Hotel’s back entrance in what we called the KOD meeting spot. It was the beginning of my shoulder malfunctioning and right after the first match of our team event. I lost two racks and pulled myself out to be replaced.

Afterwards, Em & B mentioned the pressure of success and while yes my shoulder was in pain, maybe I was also afraid of failing so soon after I’d succeeded so much. 

Emily talked of the pressure she felt to be on the WPBA tour and to prove the move to NY was worth it while Borana, from a different perspective, noted the pressure of being a cover girl for Inside Pool and feeling the need to prove to the public why she was chosen. 

These wisdoms took me a while to register … but they were right.

I came home from Vegas that year to a game that was hardly living up to my “National Champion” status. 

TEAM-WTF-6-21-2012---40I reached for the champion who’d just done the impossible on the big stage of Vegas Nationals… and found a scared, insecure little girl.

I couldn’t win squat.  And worse, it felt like because of all the attention I was getting from the win, there was an even bigger target on my back.  “I wanna beat the National Champion!”  

This just compounded my turmoil.

The pressure to prove my performance was intimidating as all hell!

Tony related that after he won the BCA in 2004, he too felt an enormous amount of pressure to showcase these Champion qualities and played some of the worse pool of his life post BCA Championships.

Then I got to watching the reigning All Around Gymnast Champ Gabby Douglas this evening competing in the Balance Beam Finals, post her last place finish in the Uneven Bars, and I felt a sense of understanding & sympathy.  Perhaps she too was intimidated by her recent success…  While I’m quite aware that her stage is FAR bigger than my own piddly little title, I think athletes in general go through the same emotional trials no matter the sport or stage. 

Can I ever do that again? 

Am I really that good? 

The utter terror that maybe that glorious victory was a lone moment, frozen in time’s past & it may never happen again. 

So why does this happen sometimes, intimidation after success?  I couldn’t tell you for certain, but I surmise it’s a self-esteem thing.  While Tony showcases some of the strongest self-confidence of any man I’ve ever dated, it’s interesting to note he too swam in the pool of self-doubt. 

Am I really that good?

Some easily believe they are, others I guess need more coaxing.

It’s reassuring that my upside-down emotions are…normal.

Naldo's Bday22I often write this blog hoping to reassure other pool players that the emotions they feel are quite common, natural and are steps toward improvement.  When I was younger, I think I felt guilty for many of “growing up” emotions I encountered- sadness, sexual desires, jealousy, fears, dreams .. I was embarrassed by so many of these feelings. 

I wish someone had given me a good shake and forced me to listen to them voice & rebuff all my self-loathing concerns. Knowing they had felt those same feelings would have released so much guilty weight from my emotionally laded shoulders. 

So I write to compartmentalize my own emotions & hope I may provide relief to other doubtful minds alike.  I like a good smack of reality sometimes …. and then some.

And I’m not ashamed to admit it either. 

Social Not-Working

•July 24, 2012 • 7 Comments

The social effect in pool is quite daunting sometimes. Competition in any sport brings out two distinct reactions to success …. respect & jealousy. 

William Fuentes FXPeople that respect a competitor’s success have matured their ego.  Their #1 competition in life is themselves.  They don’t invest time in the social network of their sport and with blinders they search for that next level of achievement.  The pressure of success lies on their own shoulders and they place little value in the power of the sports “gods,” handicapping and outside interference.

And when they see another succeed it’s proof that anyone could achieve this level should they choose to apply themselves appropriately.  It’s inspiration they feel, not resentment.  We are not equals.  Some must work harder than others to succeed.  Genetics, politics & social standards demand it.  Some people do work harder than others.  Some are better equipped.  Some are more natural for the sport and some are just luckier.  That’s not sports, that’s life.   The grounded ego recognizes this & accepts it.

They don’t let short-comings in any aspect of life stop them from reaching their goal and they respect other players who do the same.    

Then you have the Green Monster Hosts…  And I speak from experience as a witness, victim & guilty party. 

You’ve won a tournament?  YAY! … but just beyond the roar of applause, said champion hears from the back row, “He got lucky!” “He didn’t deserve it!” “It’s not that big a tournament!” “Look who they played, Come on!” “Did you see the rolls she got?”  

You got a new sponsor! … Woohoo!  “Congratulations!”  is the courteous response.  But buried in the green just within earshot  … “She only got it for her looks.” “Who the hell is he?”  “X should have gotten that, not him?”  “What the hell has he done to deserve that?”

I’m sure ALL sports have these nuances.  And with pool players scraping the bottom of the barrel already for the little scraps the sport can offer, any success to be had often comes with a large side of haters.  It’s just envy. 

ktI have an enormous amount of respect for the majority of players on a new pool group on Facebook called “Pool Pups.”  Started by rookie player Karen Tang less than a year ago, she decided to start a group to help the players pass along information they’ve learned in their pool careers. 

What’s great about Karen and the group is the unassuming openness of what’s spoken and relayed.  The group has all level of players and it seems no one is ashamed of winning, losing, success, failure & growth …. Overall, the bulk of the group encompasses R-E-S-P-E-C-T for pool and the players.  They encourage putting yourself out there.  It’s a breath of fresh air considering the contamination of other billiard forums I used to frequent. 

Recently I was reminded of foes from my past that just always seem to rag on me, my game, in general all choices I make they have a negative opinion about and though we aren’t friends, they always have my life in their conversations.  I spoke to a good friend about them and his advice was something like this:

“It’s jealousy, jealousy and self-loathing.  If they talk about you a lot, you must be more interesting than the other people in their life.  Compare your success to theirs, oh wait, they have none.  That’s jealousy, not criticism.  And to retaliate is exactly what they want.  They need that spark of controversy because they have nothing else.  Play along and you only satisfy them. Look at them, wouldn’t you say that’s beneath you?”

Watch MeI then analyzed the people that typically talk bad about other players & I notice many of them have been playing pool forever & haven’t accomplished anything at all  … & they just can’t stomach seeing someone else do what they have failed at!

They redirect this self-loathing on the people succeeding. So the next time you find yourself talking about how bad this person’s game is, why this guy didn’t deserve to win, how she hasn’t earned that sponsor or he didn’t win anything important, perhaps throw yourself in the wading pool of ridicule and see if you measure up to your superior proclamations.

Are you being constructive, or are you just pea-green with envy?

My goal going forward is to apply this myself for I am not guilt free of this crime.    

My friend, Tony, Pool Pups and just getting older and wiser I suppose helped me see that someone only has power over you if you let them. It’s in my control.  My choice.   

In pool you’ll come across these antagonistic people more and more as success finds you.  Haters are present in all competitive environments.  They collect like a backed up sewer, blocked by their own failures looking to taint your success.  The sooner you can unclog them from your life, the more clear your mind will be to succeed, the more you’ll enjoy it & the more they’ll hate you for it.

William Fuentes FX

Let’s Talk About Sex

•March 15, 2012 • 8 Comments


At a recent dinner, the topic was ‘women in pool and why the top women players don’t beat the top men players more often?  Are they not as good?’

Tony started by saying there is nothing PHYSICALLY that gives either sex an advantage.  Pool isn’t about strength, height, or size.  The ‘break’ came up and we all agreed this is the only area women have to work harder than men because men can rely on their strength to break the balls hard while women have to learn a technique to hit them hard.

Tony then went on to say if the elite women competed in men’s tournaments more often, elite players like Alison, Karen, Jasmin, etc WOULD win tournaments competing against the best men.  He believes there is no talent difference between Johnny and Alison, but because women don’t throw themselves into the male circuit more often, he feels this holds the women pros back from reaching that higher level more often.  The stronger competition would only improve their game. It’s not a lack of talent or ability, just application. 

Male and Female BrainsI agree, side by side I don’t think women are at a disadvantage physically when it comes to pool. It’s the inner workings of our brain that really separate us. Given pool’s more a mental sport rather than reactionary, I think it’s women’s thoughts & emotions that give us more obstacles to success.

I was reading some stuff online that separated men & women’s brains.  I’ll go through them below and apply them to pool. 

Please note, I’m aware that this doesn’t apply to ALL men and ALL women.  I’m simply summarizing the generalizations I’ve read & seen & providing a theory about men and women in the sport of pool. 

Now that I’ve provided the sexist disclosure, here goes….

Men are Single Processors, Women are Multitaskers:

Let me give an example … Tony is USELESS when he’s watching TV. He zones in and that’s it. There could be a 4-alarm fire going on and as his shirts singes, Tony would still yell out, “Simon Cowell is such a Scumbag!” If Tony is on the phone, he CANNOT do anything else but talk on that call.   Meanwhile, when I’m on the phone, I often flatiron my hair, watch the news, review emails, cook & I’m probably drying my nails too…..

In business and at home, a woman’s ability to multitask is a great asset, but I feel in pool it’s a hindrance.  Pool demands focus, uninterrupted focus.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed a shot because I’m shooting while thinking about cleaning the apt, finishing up a tax return, the tournament chart, an open table next to me, etc.  This is BAD!  

Men can often focus on one task, one goal, one project, and give it their all.  For some men, it’s their career they focus on, others, it might be their sport of choice, restoring a car, pursuing women, a video game.  This deep concentration is an awesome compliment to pool. 

Are Men faster Analyzers than Women but less Thorough or Are Men just more Impatient & Women more Indecisive?: 

Multiple articles discussed the shopping habits of the sexes, channel surfing, & driving styles to showcase the differences of the sexes.

Women assess, then decide.  Men, do. 

It made me think about women vs. men in a tournament setting.  Is this why women are often the slower matches in a tournament?  Women analyze, and analyze, make a decision, then analyze their decision, weigh the pros and cons, then shoot. 

Men shoot. 

A man’s assessment begins the moment their opponent missed the shot/plays safe & once they’re behind the cue ball, they have often already made their decision on how to play the table ….  Think about the two sex’s shopping style…. 

Women often are review checkers, price comparison shoppers, they weigh their options before a purchase. Men want it right now. 

In pool being a smart pool player is GREAT but over analyzing can also KILL your rhythm game.  Find the groove.  Everyone should play smart pool, but any real pool player will tell you they play their best when they aren’t really thinking about playing good pool, it’s just coming naturally.

Men’s compartmentalize their emotions, Women bask in them:

You just got dumped. 

What does a woman do? She’ talks, she cries, she emotes.  Consumed with emotion, the ability to concentrate on anything can be difficult.  A loss in life or in pool tends to linger more with women then men.  We often sulk.

Men on the other hand repress.  They avoid.  They call up the guys, go to the bars, drink and seek quick fixes/distractions to their pain, and even quick replacements.  The ‘man up’ factor seems to help men get over a loss more quickly, or some may use plotting revenge as a means to feel better, thus finding success that much sooner.  Men are also better at being selfish…no offense.  They don’t focus a lot on their own feelings so sympathy for their opponent’s emotions is even more rare.  

This may sound like a dig at men but it’s not meant to be, men are just better at getting what they want without being distracted by emotions.  Men attack the game of pool with, “What do I have to do to Win?” That’s their goal.  WIN.  They don’t complicate it with thoughts about politics, their opponent’s feeling or personal life, friendships, family complaints or other outside nuisances. 

Their girlfriend says, “I don’t like you playing pool.” And either they leave her at home, bring her to the pool hall to watch, or break up & find a girl that doesn’t mind.

In pool, the ability to be selfishly devoted to your game and being a champion often means blocking out the world and solely focusing on your yourself … well, a lot of us women REALLY struggle to achieve this level of Selfish nirvana.   Women instinctually care for others.  Nurture the family, nurture friends, nurture the world, even worse, nurturing a struggling opponent.  Men generally tap into their cutthroat pool style more quickly than women. Men see winning and that’s it.

“Mercy is a DISEASE.” ~Mika Immonen

Kill the BunnyEmotionally, women are inherently more maternal, loving, sympathetic & considerate. We reach out to people in need. We feel empathy for someone struggling. Women often internalize other’s emotions thus allowing it to alter our own emotions. 

MANY women I know, including myself, have given into the “OH I FEEL BAD FOR MY OPPONENT,” the kill instinct dies, and oops, you lose because you didn’t go for the kill when you had the chance!  This is HORRIBLE for a pool game, and women often struggle to release this demon in their game more than men. 


Desires in Life:

What do you WANT in life?

www.williamfuentes.comAs a kid, think what were your fantasies of adulthood … Men often think of a great job, money, success.  Women fantasize of their wedding, children, a nice home. 

Part of a man’s macho DNA measures success by their career status, money in the bank, ability to support a family, sports/competition of any kind.

Women measure success more through emotional achievements.  Satisfaction at work, happiness in a marriage, children’s accomplishments.  These are emotional goals.  You can’t touch them, you feel them.

The life of a serious pool player gives little room for a family or even financial stability and men are just more comfortable with this sacrifice than women.  They zone in on the goal of becoming champion and don’t surrender for ANYONE.  Women, find life’s priorities a bit harder to score.

Women must choose between the world of pool and ALL the things they fantasized about as a kid & the desires of loved ones around them. If their man doesn’t like them playing pool, a women’s willingness to sacrifice is often more flexible than a man’s. The want to make HIM/THEM happy …women eventually find their loved one’s needs are more important to them than their own needs and wants. 

Society Factor:

Society’s demands on women influence women in pool too. Women have a biological clock that ticks like a BLOWHORN once you’ve reached your ‘goal age for kids".’  In a woman’s 30s, if they want children, they MUST entertain the idea of children and how to balance them in their pool careers much, much earlier than men have too. 

How many of you girls have your mom, dad, grandparents and all saying, “Are you gonna have kids before I die?”  Us 30-somethings have heard it Loud and Clear thank you!  No pressure, sure!

Ally & IThese sex separations are obviously not true for all. They aren’t absolutes.  Obviously this isn’t ALL Men and ALL Women.  In fact, the woman we went to dinner with admitted NOT feeling the emotions I offered up when generalizing the female dynamic.  She is also one of the most successful business women in the world, holding a position in the investment world that is usually dominated by a man so perhaps she’s more of an anomaly for women. 

And I think the current successful women in pool are also examples of anomalies. They break many of the stereotypes of women.  They have more “boy” tendencies and viewpoints.  Many of us women in pool were tomboys growing up.  I played sports with the boys most of my childhood and I was better than a lot of the boys!  

But I feel these MENTAL demands of the game make a woman’s road to success in pool more challenging than a man’s.  And it’s all the more sweeter to succeed in spite of them.  Whether that’s the lion or the lioness in me, I don’t know.

PT Aftermath & Revelations

•January 20, 2012 • 2 Comments

williamfuentes.comSo many people have asked me about my shoulder. I’m really amazed at the thoughtfulness of the pool community. At this weekend’s Predator event, I was overwhelmed by how many people noticed I was gone the last two months and actually knew why.  Big mouth Tony I suppose. 

The two questions I get asked most are, “How’s your shoulder?” & “Did you think the PT was worth it?”

So, the shoulder is doing phenomenally well.  At this weekend’s Predator Pro/Am tournament I played well.  I was quite happy with my performance considering the rendezvous I had.  Mentally, it was like riding a bicycle.  After the first rack of my first match, I went into the zone of focus and didn’t look back.  And what was best, I didn’t have my shoulder nagging on my thoughts.  In fact, at 8pm on Saturday I skipped to Tony at the TD desk and said, Ask me if it hurts.  Ask me?”  partial subscapularis tear web

TR, “Does it hurt?”  …

GG, “Does what hurt? .. HA HA!” 

I was so thankful to not have pain.  In fact the only pain I felt was during my last match of the night and it was my back and neck.  Clearly this was out of shape pain, not injury pain. 

As for PT.  Let me debunk some misconceptions I had about PT….

The massage:  WHAT MASSAGE? No seriously.  I heard about these great massages on the insurance company’s dime.  Well, maybe a tug or stretch here or there felt good but my armpit saw most of the action. 

Yeah, the ARMPIT! You’ll never see Qi Gong Armpit Special listed at massage parlor because the armpit is NOT a pleasure point.  It frickin hurts, is uncomfortable, and trust me, ticklish is the least of your worries.  The thumb up my armpit and digging into the infraspinatus muscle.  OOOOWWWW!  Oh, then the rolling across the torn tendon & bicep muscle, yeah, that was fun.  And lifting up under the shoulder blade and digging deep into that too, what the #$@?  Then there’s the stretching, the rowing, moving parts that haven’t moved in a year, and coming home and doing it again. 

GailRainbow-2012-1For the record, PT is work and pain.  But it appears it’s been successful for me.  I will have to do these exercises the rest of my life.  I have a weak left shoulder and tendons don’t like to heal quickly.  I injured other muscles and joints around my shoulder like my bicep, neck and lower back as my body compensated for the injury.  Those areas must now be strengthened to take the workload off my weak shoulder & help prevent future problems. 

And then there’s my core.  So anyone that’s seen me in person knows, I’m more of a pear shaped girl rather than an apple.  Love me or hate me, I’ve never gained weight in my stomach but rather my butt and thighs take the cake …  literally! 

So since my stomach has never needed much work I NEVER work it out.  No sit-ups, no core training at all.  I’m a squats, steps, and boxing kind of girl. dead bugWell, turns out the core is like REALLY important to body’s maintenance and injury prevention.  So they started me on a dead bug move … HA!  I suck at it because my core is HORRIBLE! I surely didn’t miss my career as a pilates instructor, balancing act artist, or anything involving grace!  I’m a pear-shaped klutz!  I’m improving but core training is a goal of mine for 2012.

The shoulder aches more on cold, raining days, but the majority of the time, it feels really good.

All in all, thank you for the shout outs of encouragement and here’s to all of us having a healthy 2012!

Oh and Go Giants!


•January 18, 2012 • 1 Comment

Table9and10At-ABC-1-7-2012---26For 2 1/2 months, I’ve been benched.  With that time I have gotten so much work done, I’ve redirected my goals in life, I’ve begun a work out routine through physical therapy & more importantly, I’ve reconnected with my family and friends.

While this wasn’t a self-induced hiatus, it has put a number of areas of my life into perspective.  It was an unknowingly healthy retreat.

I have a love/hate relationship with pool and after the break up in November, the last 10 weeks of distance allowed me to remember so much of what my life was before pool.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s been kinda nice to NOT play pool.  It’s helped me put pool into a healthier compartment mentally.  While improving in pool is an important hobby in my life, it’s NOT a priority.  Just writing that feels, traitorous, but healthy. 

Like all relationships, I’m happier in life when pool is a part of my life, not my entire life.

I love this sport.  I want desperately for it to be respected as a sport and it’s elite applauded and admired.  Will this happen in my lifetime?  I don’t know if it will happen at all, ever, but I do hope.

IMG_0103For now, I can only focus on what I can do to expand pool’s reach and I’m quite proud of how I’ve handled this responsibility.  I feel through the tour and the league in particular, Tony & I are making a positive impact on pool in our area.  Too many people only drink from the fountain and never think of ways to replenish it. 

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. ~ Henry Drummond

A Healthy Dose of Thanks

•November 15, 2011 • 4 Comments

poolsynergy4The beautiful, talented and always clever Trigger asked us PoolSynergy bloggers to let the pool world know what we are thankful for.  Given my current pool hiatus due to major shoulder malfunction, I’m gonna be uber cliché and say, my health.  While technically I’m not at 100%, I remind myself that it could be worse and to be thankful for what I’ve got. 

NY-Subway-photo-co-nycsubwaynews-comAnyone that rides the subway here in NYC has gotten close to the edge of the platform and thought,

‘god it would REALLY suck to fall down there.”  “Oh god, what if someone pushed me!”  “I could die, be electrocuted or eaten by the gorilla rats!!” Tony reminds me all the time to always step away from the edge if someone walks close by JUST IN CASE they get the urge to go all ‘Manson’ on me .. 

So in my usual paranoid fashion, I was jamming to my IPOD last week when this guy just wouldn’t stop staring at me. 

No seriously I’m talking about that REALLY inappropriate ‘yes he’s mentally undressing me RIGHT NOW’ stare but with that hint of serial killer mixed in.  My girls know what I’m talking about. 

Well that triggered a whole slew of bad thoughts and one was, ‘oh god what if he pushes me RIGHT as the train’s coming?  What would happen?  OMG, if I didn’t die, what if the train ripped off a limb?  Oh god, what if I lost my arm.  I couldn’t play pool!’ 

Aside from my RIDICULOUS imagination, I also noted my near death psychosis didn’t fail to weighed in the ‘I couldn’t play pool’ thought analysis. 

Because of crazy thoughts like these, I guess I can put into perspective my current ‘benched’ status.  So in the spirit of Melinda’s beautiful PoolSynergy topic, I’d like to give thanks for my health and ability to play this game.  I’m thankful for the agility to play.  I’m thankful for the mental capacity to play.  I’m thankful overall that I only face minor obstacles in my pool player life. 

Challenges will come up that test us in life and it’s up to us if we allow them to hold us back or fight off that adversity.

Love this scene from ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance.’

“You’re daddy is out sweeping streets because he took every last dime he had, and used it to pay up every man and woman he owed and every business who worked for him, instead of declaring bankruptcy like everyone else in town, including your best friend Wilbur Charles’ dad, Raymond, which is why <your dad> is able to sit around all day long on his dignity! You’re daddy stared adversity in the eye, Hardy. And he beat it back with a broom. “