Vegas — the Final Frontier

gail….. at least until next year

Silly I am.

I confirmed this by reading my shiz-net entries from previous days, but to further prove this conclusion, let’s dive into the mind-numbing awesomeness of my retardation.

VEGAS — the Mecca of Pool Player ThriVation!  

(yes, I like to convert verbs into nouns and promote them as adjectives/verbs all the while creating technically not real words….

but tell me thrivation ain’t a cool word!)

So when I get this close to Vegas, although I’m totally excited about the competition, the pool, the sun, the peeps, the whole sha-bang… I get all sad thinking that two weeks from now, it’ll all be over!

silly right?!?! 

kod 2

Actually, I’ve done this my whole life.  Any vacation I’m looking forward to, I immediately get sad when I realize it won’t last.  So until I have a vacation that will last F-O-R-E-V-E-R, I’ll try to distract myself from this illogically logical observation of vacationing. 

So, NYC Grind has done a fabulous wrap up on the teams competing in the BCA from Amsterdam Billiards Club, my home room!

NYC GRIND Article on BCA Teams from Amsterdam <- CLICK ME

The article inspired me to write, type, whatever and procrastinate from work to think and ponder and reminisce about VEGAS!!


My team KOD (kiss of death) <insert evil "MUAH AH AH AAAAH" sound> is rocking their 3rd year there….I can’t believe this will be my 3rd year…I can still VIVIDLY remember Gina Kim-Lipsky trying to convince me to put together a Women’s Open Team back in 2007….pleading almost that it’ll be an awesome time.

…boy was she right. 

gailNow it’s the culmination of all that is pool to us KOD girls come what Mays.  🙂

My girls are all something quite specials…. the team includes:

Me! <- badassness extraordinaire! & La capitán! 


olga 2Olga – My Light of Positivity and Fearless Chica — don’t be fooled by the pretty Russian princess, she’ll kick your ass on the pool table and then somehow convince you to see the good in it all, soothing your bruised ego.  Tough as Nails this one but such a sweetheart!  A true team player.

micheleMichele – Killer Bebe and Awesome Road Buddiness, the humble little nina who’s rock solid pool skills are something to fear..  She’ll bake a delicious batch of cookies and make you laugh with her outlandishly sexual vocabulary, though she looks wicked mean when she’s playing — be afraid girls… 

EmilyEmily – bombshell – though you may miss her if you blink … she’ll run the rack before you can say solids or stripes and boom she’s machine-gunning to break the next rack…Em is serious business and honestly, I’m glad she’s my friend and not my enemy …  she’s so much fun as a friend, and I think if we were enemies, I’d run screaming "Mommy!"  


BoranaBorana – Killer B (not to be confused with Killer Bebe) Dude!  If you missed her in the Inside Pool Mag ads for Jim Murnak Custom Cue Cases, it’s time to remove yourself from under the rock you hideth .. B plays in all the men’s events around here.  In her first trip to Vegas she cashed in the women’s open single event and she just continues to improve at lightning speed — deadly!   

AllyAlison(The Other Alison Fischer to be exact!)  NYC Grinds hottie behind the  camera and pen (actually keyboard but that doesn’t sound as eloquent).  Ally hails from the lovely (ok COLD state of Wisconsin)  Super excited to have her on the team branded with the KOD emblem.  The girl is all business on a table.

Previous KODs (can’t forget to send some love to KOD 4 Life Members):  naomi

Naomi — solid to the core upgraded to Gina’s TWAT team … LOL … but in Vegas, all us NYC teams are on the same team really!  We’re a family out there! 

 michele cag olga and emily


Cag – CHA CHA CHA — so very sad  that Turkey decided to keep her!  Consistent, Steady & Lethal … Oh how I miss you girl.  I’ll never look at Karaoke the same … 

Youngmi — as her name hints, she was a part of the young cag youngmi jt meKOD team, 1st year…so freakin strong, a toughie who seriously hit the ceiling with her Air-Jordan-kick-her-feet-together move as she full length banked the 8-ball to win!  AWESOMENESS!   


The team events are so intense.  Emily, a ridiculous 8-ball bar-box player, joined last year and rocked it out in the women’s singles event. (I know she cashed, can’t remember what place she got, but it was impressive I recall.)

me borana and emilyWell, she got to teams and it’s like it was a different Emily.  She was nervous and unsure of herself.  She came to me and was like, "I don’t know what wrong, I just can’t play right!" 

It wasn’t that she became a sucky pool player … it was that NOW she was on a team!  Now, it wasn’t just about her game, her strategy, her methods, her motivation – it was about 5 other girls too. 


TR never gets nervous playing pool.  I guess that’s a Pro thing.  The lights, the spectators, the opponents just don’t phase him.  All that matters is the table, the layout and his cue. 

KOD year 1

OK, ALMOST never gets nervous — TR did divulge (shhh, don’t tell anyone) that when he played for the Mosconi Cup, nerves were completely and totally activated.  I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically noted that "having Earl Strickland, Johnny Archer, Jeremy Jones, Rodney Morris, Charlie Williams and did I mention Nick Varner, oh and less I forget to mention the integrity of the USA’s ability to play pool, riding on all his shots, kiiiiinda added a different element of pressure."

TR, "I’ve never felt so nervous!"

  TeamTotally Elevated Anxiety Mode

It’s intense.  Scary and nerve-wracking, but more in the roller coaster way.  You dream about being in that moment where the team is united, the game is at hand and the battle of wits and skills resumes.

The high-fives, the pats on the back for comfort, the cigarette breaks, the revelations and the devastations.  The are all part of what makes Vegas teams so timeless…     

michele and meOh God, yet another example of how I can cry – I swear I’m not a cry-baby, not a BIG one at least –

My first, oh crap, and second year of Vegas team had matches where, lucky me, it came down to my match, my game, my

"Oh POOP, I missed"

moment — a bawl-a-thon later, my team rallies around me like a group of mother hens protecting me from my trek down "hate myself" lane…

It’s a monstrous battle to keep yourself aware that this is only a game, that everyone loves you no matter how many balls you pocket and if you believe in yourself, TRULY BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, you will conquer.

sweating 2

This pep talk is difficult to remember as you stare down the barrel of your cue at the 8-ball that makes or breaks the entire TEAM!  

Pressure Level Check = 10


Personally, I just have this overwhelming desire to shield my girls from agony.  Thus when the line-up is decided, often I find myself writing "Gail" in a key match up spot not because I feel I’m the most qualified (hardly!) but I guess I too am a mother hen amongst the house and don’t want one of my girls to feel the same disappointment and self-loathing I once felt back when…..

olga breaksAs captain — And I’m sure captains of other teams can confirm this but here goes:

It is NOT easy — even though I feel my team has confidence in my ability to assess a situation and do what’s right for that moment, it’s so difficult choosing who to sit out, who to play first, who to play in the key match line up and juggle who’s being emotional, dear god who’s got their period, who’s tired, who’s hungry, who’s hungover, who’s not ready, and who’s ready to tear it UP!!

It’s difficult separating emotions from winning.  I mean honestly, ask yourself, what’s more important, friends or the winning. 

DUH!  Friends….no brainer right?!?!  Ok, now, simply alter the wording slightly…

What’s more important, emotions or strategy? 

— it’s a tight little rope to walk – strategy can so easily be confused as a personal attack if ego is directing thy ship. 

In pool, you play the percentages right?  As captains, we are asked to play the percentages with people — and now we have entered our dangerously treacherous road of egg shells…

—- let the tip-toeing begin!  

emily and olga

I’m lucky — every single one of my girls is tough — they are ALL fighters and trust me, they all have


I love each and everyone of them like sisters.  They each have something so very special to offer the team, myself and most importantly, the sport of pool.

I think that’s why whenever anyone asks, what’s your favorite part of Vegas, nearly everyone says, the TEAM event.  Whether it’s baseball, football, Pool, whatever, there’s an element of teams that you can’t find anywhere else.  The camaraderie is freakin AWESOME and very inspiring! 

It reinforces the beauty of the human spirit.  

softballI played softball in high school

Palmetto Panthers WHAT?!?!?

and no joke, we were the bomb — runner up in States my junior year!  That softball field still lives in the fondest memories of my childhood.  The red clay in your fingernails, the smell of sweat and Pantene in the helmets, the distant softball chants of my teammates in the dugout.  The intensity of the 7th inning, playing Southridge and finding it impossible to see anything but the batter’s bat dance atop the Spartan’s head teasing my emotions of winning and losing….

me borana ally and olgaMy softball girls (you know who you are) have a special part of my heart and childhood that will never be forgotten.

And I find myself feeling Déjà vu when with my KOD girls. 

Team spirit is very powerful.

So I guess in the end, it’s all fun, it’s all amazing, it’s all worth it.  Vegas is not a vacation.  Not like most people think of vacations.  Vegas is a lifestyle choice. 

It’s a dream — 

It’s lottery ticket. 

No one comes home from Vegas feeling rested or rejuvenated.  Nearly everyone needs a vacation from their Vegas vacation.

But EVERYONE comes back for more each year!



 Kiss of Death BABY! 2009!


~ by g2 on April 30, 2009.

One Response to “Vegas — the Final Frontier”

  1. Baby i didn’t see this one!! Love it :O)

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