fighting the fear, finding the gear

williamfuentes.comI’ve had more time to myself these days and with that time I felt I’d be hearing pool balls more.  That isn’t the case. Instead I still work a ton and enjoy the thrills of QuickBooks, my new toy.  Don’t let the blond hair fool you, I’m a tax nerd through and through.

What is interesting is the roller coaster that is my game.  I find my increased sleeping, proper eating and happiness are providing a much happier pool player when I do see the table.  These elements seem to make me more level-headed, focused and at peace when in battle, thus I’ve seen improvement in my mental game and overall closure of game critical shots.  When the money shot shows up, I’m succeeding often.  It’s the easy shots, the hangers, that I’m disrespecting.

As Tony or friends watch me mess up, they say my fundamentals are failing.  HUH? Fundamentals were the only constant I NEVER worried about no matter what. So why are they now faltering?  How could it be?  I still don’t know …

pillow fight Enter the WPBA Amateur Championships held at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver, Co.   The Cherry Bomb herself offered her home to me. Ms. Samm Diep ~ I can’t tell you what a pleasure Samm is to be around. By the end of the trip, we began introducing ourselves as The NYC Samm (Gail) & The Denver Gail (Samm.)  I can’t thank her enough for all she did and OF COURSE the magnificent Winfield Winfield who was my road buddy & mainly just a great guy to be around between matches.  Also got to meet Nicole Winters, hilarious girl who reminds me of a Floridian version of Olga, Sara Miller who is very, VERY funny, Melissa Little who did an excellent job putting on the event, Nicole Keeney who kicked my ass in the weekly tourney but was very cool to be around & even Killer B came out for the trip too!  We had a full house & we had SOOO much fun together laughing, eating, shooting, eating, talking, eating.  In the words of “B”orana, the altitude must make you eat more or something.  🙂

On to the event…. I had a good event.  I came in with mediocre expectations and came out surprising myself.

I missed this shot .. DOH! My first match scared the crap out of me.  I got a bye then played Jana Montour on the TV table.  I am not gonna lie, I was nervous as hell.

I’ve never played live stream before and to my demise I found out I was scheduled for the TV match the night before … guess how much sleep I got …. LOL! All I kept thinking was, crap, break out the popcorn, it’s gonna be comedy hour for the massesInsomniaTo top it off, ALL TV matches are on shot clock … Hmph.  I’ve only had a shot clock on me once.  Throw in a triple shimmed tight pocket table and ‘being comfortable’ was impossible!  Unless of course, you were watching my opponent.  Jana looked liked she was free-stroking through a practice session.  I was in awe of her comfortable demeanor in ‘what seemed to me’ a very pressure-filled situation.  I shot everything like a shaky leaf.  I didn’t even drink water for fear the crowd would watch me shake it over myself.    It’s funny when I look back on it.  I kinda felt like a virgin…..  A big one too.  🙂

samm wynkoop After that match, it’s like everything else was a cakewalk.  NOTHING was gonna be as nerve-wracking as that 1st match!

So I went on to win the next three matches, the third being to a very tough competitor and unfortunately, my roommate, Sara Miller.  We went to hill/hill and Sara made a crucial mistake on a 4 ball that allowed me the win.

So I’m feeling good.  Won three in a row and just as I’m cracking a smile, I here the TD say, “Glazebrook & Mello, Table 2” (TV table.)

Are you ‘FN’ serious!  Again?!?!?!

I glared at myself in the bathroom and start laughing, “Ok Gail, let’s see how bad you can lose this one.  Just please, PLEASE try not to get shut out!”

Delta-13 Crew!Susan Mello.

I’d heard that name before from WPBA events.  I’m not gonna lie, in my head I had conceded the match before a ball was hit.  My only salvation was I was in a zone from the last hill/hill match and felt this confidence helped me ignore the same pressures I felt in the first TV match.  I didn’t have much time to think (the shot clock further helped this blockage of thought) and I just reacted….

As rack 1 goes down, Susan misses the 6 ball … it’s a run out table so I just figure, “Gail, just let it go!  No time to think, just DO IT!”

This is the moment it all changed. I ignored my fear and found my gear. I ran the 6-7-8-and bobbled the 9-ball into that triple shimmed pocket and low and behold, I’m up 1-0.  (No Donuts for you Gail, YAY!) As the match continued, Susan made mistakes and I capitalized.  Not until I was up 5-2 (?) did I believe I could actually win the match.  And as I watched myself pocket a long 9-ball decisively to go up 6-2, I realized I’m not gonna lose.

I’m not gonna lose???

eating I’m not sure if anyone else out there is like this, but I DO NOT go into many matches saying “I’m Going to Win!” Truthfully, I go in hoping I play well, hoping I win, hoping I don’t disappoint myself too much.  I find this strange as most champions I read or hear from say they go in with confidence, aggression, and a KILL THEM attitude.  My “KILL THE BUNNY” motto is still a work in progress.

I no longer feel sympathy for my opponents like I used to but the confidence in myself … I’m still developing.  I know this will come with time and each experience will make me stronger.

Nicole Squared I ended up winning the livestream match 7-2.  I was very proud of that personally.  While winning is great, for me, it was a triumph to overcome a situation that scared me just 24 hrs earlier. I felt like the Lion who just got his courage from the Wizard …. If I … were the kiiing, of the foreeeest

I told Melissa Little after the tourney that I cursed her name when they called me on the TV table for the 2nd time. I was scared of it and didn’t want to subject myself to another beating in front of the crowd.  But after it was over, even if I’d lost, I still wanted to thank her for it.

Sometimes you NEED to be thrown in the deep end of the pool to conquer your fears.

New Delta-13 ColorsI ended up losing my very next match to Natasha Hook.  She played great and I just couldn’t string balls together.  In the words of Tony, I shot my load during the TV match.  (perv) But my 9th-12th finish … I was quite please with and valued the lessons I learned more than the $50 I earned.


I think, therefore I miss.  Stop worrying so much and just play!  Questioning yourself is for practice sessions only. When in battle, only question your next shot.

The shot clock is your friend if you welcome it rather than begrudge it.  It’s nice to be forced into an instinct mode.

Table equipment is a gamble.  There’s no guarantee the tables you play a tourney on will be the ones you are used to, so practice on all types of equipment whenever you can so you’re more versatile a player.

…Congrats S”CB”D & MVC!!

…Thank you Delta-13 for your hospitality…

…Nice to see & hang with the PoolDawg Crew!

… 12Squared … nice to meet you … cool name!

…PCN 🙂 It’s not a PoolSynergy post!  😛

…Hairloop … just because. 🙂


~ by g2 on December 2, 2010.

8 Responses to “fighting the fear, finding the gear”

  1. UDAWOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!And……… I dig the snowflakes..very creative

  2. i feel kinda left out. 😛

  3. Great hanging with you too Gail. Loved the write-up, but you’re killing me with those snowflakes! I’d start reading, then my eyes would invariably start following one of the flakes down the screen.

  4. i don’t feel left out anymore. all is well. i see blue skies, hummingbirds gathering nectar, and baby cheetahs frolicking in the grass. look! a magical unicorn!! and a bunny!!

  5. Wow… this entire post, the only thing running through my head is the book: “Pleasures of Small Motions”. I’m actually reading through it again at the moment, and everything you’re talking about here is addressed in the book. It gives some very real answers to common situations and addresses the problems with the most common advice. It’s a short book, but has lots of great information and can help build a personal development path for better performance, competition and enjoyment from the game.

  6. “I’m not sure if anyone else out there is like this, but I DO NOT go into many matches saying “I’m Going to Win!” ”

    Winning is not something we can control. It’s an outcome and there are so many variables that control whether or not it happens. Instead, I just like to remind myself to “do my best.”

    I LOVED having you & I miss you dearly!!!

    Much love!!!

    p.s. What snowflakes?

  7. Omg… “Nicole squared” too cute! Love this post!

  8. wordpress puts up a special effect around december that generates virtual snow on your blog. if you have a self-hosted blog (, you can download the plug-in to make snow.

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