My name is Michael Reddick
Follow this blog to witness a two year journey as I transform myself from an amateur to a professional pool player.
- I'm headed to the US Bar Table Championships in Reno, NV this week. Competing in the 8 ball division. Yipee! >> 2 months ago
- JEALOUS!! RT @stlJohnnyPool: Checked in at the casino. Can't wait to hit the action rooms! #DCC >> 3 months ago
- The new best quote of the night. I'm sitting in the Hot Seat, and my final opponent says, "Hey buddy, let's play for all the cash." :-) >> 3 months ago
- Sitting in the Hot Seat! >> 3 months ago
- Quote of the night: "Yeah, it's an OPEN tournament, but we give weight to the lesser players." HUH? >> 3 months ago
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Tag Archives: US Amateur Championship
U.S. Amateurs Update
Slept in late. Headed to Strokers in 15 minutes. Yesterday, I lost my first match 3-7 then won my second match 7-5. I’ll play again today at noon. If I continue winning (and that’s a BIG if), I will need to play 6 or 7 straight matches with no breaks to make it to Sunday. I found out they are live streaming one table on the internet. Here’s the link from the APA website:
Live streaming from the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship being held in Tampa, FL (coverage courtesy of Inside Pool magazine and JR Calvert). http://www.usamateurchampionship.com/coverage/2011/
Tonight I’m packing for my trip to Tampa, Florida for the finals of the US Amateur Championships. Just a short 6.5 hour flight from San Jose to Tampa… I can’t wait!!!! I’ll be getting to Florida a couple days early to give myself time to adjust to the time zone change. My plane lands at 10:30pm, so I figure I can check into the hotel and get to Strokers in Palm Harbor by midnight. I’ll grab a light dinner, visit with some of the locals, then hit a few balls to get accustomed to the equipment. On Thursday I’ll be at Strokers as soon as they open so I can practice all day and get into stroke while the other competitors are arriving. Ahhhh, the life of a pool player!
Talk about ups and downs! After shooting some of the best pool in my life a couple weeks ago, I seem to have completely fallen off the cart. I’m beginning to wonder if there is a phenomenon called “post goal achievement depression.” Since my victory at the U.S. Amateur preliminary tournament (a tournament I’ve wanted to win for over 10 years), I seem to have lost my desire to compete in pool. Very very strange! Maybe I just need a break to recharge my batteries? The final round of the U.S. Amateurs will be held the first weekend of November, so if I plan to be competitive in Florida, I’ll need to figure out where my motivation went. Sigh!
There’s an old saying which goes something like this: “If you are going to twist a tiger’s tail, you’d better have a plan for dealing with his teeth.” I was reminded of this saying last weekend during the U.S. Amateur Championship tournament. I started out the tournament very cold and seriously thought I was going to pull a two and out. In my first match I got lucky and escaped with a 7-6 victory on a position error and missed shot by my opponent. I felt like I didn’t deserve the win, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes! My frosty condition continued through the second match and I was quickly dispatched to the left side by a competitor from San Diego. Then I got to my third match.
During the third match I continued to make unforced error after unforced error. I was running the cue ball too long on most shots and literally could not put together more than a two ball run. At that point I was convinced my exit from the tournament was imminent. But I was okay with that… I already had a great excuse for my bad performance… other than my Wednesday night APA team play and an occasional 14.1 league match, I had not put in any serious practice in the two months leading up to the tournament. I was just too busy doing some other things. Oh well. The only thing going in my favor was the fact that my third round opponent had a bad habit of playing perfect position for five or six balls, then would miss a shot and leave the cue ball in great position for me to run two balls and out. Yes, it was Christmas in September! Although I was playing horrifically, I somehow managed to win two of the first four games in our race to seven match. And then it happened – my opponent said something to me very loudly and full of genuine spite…
“GEEZE! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ARE HANGING WITH ME! I’M A MUCH BETTER PLAYER! I SHOULD BE KILLING YOU!”
I stood at the head of the table and said nothing as I watched him hurriedly throw balls in the rack and line them up. Did I hear that correctly? Did he really just say that?!! I was so stunned at his lack of discretion I couldn’t even get mad. Hey, I’ve lost many matches even when I thought I was the better player, but I never said anything out loud…especially not right in my opponent’s face! Was he genuinely that upset and just lost his ability to contain his frustration? Or maybe he was simply trying to shark me? In retrospect, I really don’t know what his intentions were. Regardless, the result was the same: he opened his mouth and out came the garbage. Did it upset me? Did it hurt my feelings? Did it intimidate me?
Come on…are you kidding me?
I would like to dedicate my tournament victory this weekend to that competitor who shall remain nameless. If not for his severe lack of discretion, I probably would have lost my match to him. The percentages eventually would have caught up with me and I undoubtedly would have lost if he had said nothing, but he had inadvertently tapped into a dark place… that little ‘underdog should win good guys shouldn’t finish last don’t try to bully me or I’ll kick your ass’ part of my psyche that absolutely will not tolerate a loss. I mentally flogged myself with a cat of nine tails, forcing my mind to turn inward and develop a thousand yard stare…that state of mind where even an attack by a dozen nunchaku wielding pointed star throwing teenage mutant ninja turtles couldn’t have broken my concentration. From that point on, I treated every single shot like it was the game winning shot. He went down 7-4. For the remainder of the tournament, my focus just got tighter and tighter and tighter. My remaining match scores (as best I can remember) were 7-3, 7-4, 7-1, 7-4, and I concluded with an 11-3 victory in the title match.
What’s the moral of this story? This will undoubtedly sound cliché, but control your emotions – don’t let them control you. And don’t try to shark your opponents – it may have the unintended effect of motivating them to take their game to a whole new level…at your expense.
Over the weekend I competed in the third and final installment of a US Amateur Warm Up League. The league was organized by our APA league operator, Doug Coleman, with the objective of preparing us for the upcoming 2011 US Amateur tournament. Doug organized the league to have play dates one weekend a month over a three month period. The league was organized in a round robin format so that theoretically each participant had the opportunity to play every other participant. The individual matches were structured just like the US Amateur tournament, with players competing in a race to 7 format of up to 5 games of 8 ball and 8 games of 9 ball. The league drew a total of 22 participants, men and women, which I thought was pretty good. For the competition, each player was awarded one point for every game won, with points tallied up over all three play dates to determine an overall winner.
Going into the final play date, I was in third place. We were scheduled to play 3 matches this Saturday, and the overall point leader was 6 points ahead of me. It would take a miracle for me to catch him. In my first match I didn’t play very well, kept losing control of whitey, and quickly got behind 1-5. Not looking good! Then I caught a gear, fought back to hill-hill, but lost the case game to finish my first match 6-7. Although I didn’t win, at least I got six points for my effort. The point leader was playing at the table next to me, and he was getting thrashed! He ended up losing 1-7 to earn only 1 point! A MIRACLE! Now I was only one point out of first place!
Here was my chance to steal the title. In my second match I was facing a guy who in my opinion is one of the strongest players in the league. The point leader was playing another very strong player on the table next to me. This would be interesting! I came out swinging, my opponent got a couple bad rolls, I locked up the table a few times, and then started running out. When the smoke cleared I had won my match 7-0, earning myself 7 points…the best I could possibly do! Once again, the point leader (by only one measly point!) was playing on the table next to me. He initially got behind in his match and I thought I might be able to take the point lead, but he dug deep, roared back, and ended up winning his match to also earn 7 points for his round two effort. CRAP! I was still behind the point leader by 1 lousy point!
In the third round, I found out I was playing yet another strong player…a guy whom I’ve never beaten. Isn’t it funny how there are some people you just can’t seem to beat? I’ve bar-b-qued other players who have beaten this guy, but for some reason, he just has my number…I can’t do anything with him. CRAP! The point leader’s match was not going to be nearly as difficult. I tilted my head back to look at the ceiling; my hands clasped together angelically. I needed yet another miracle.
In the third round, the point leader had some troubles with his opponent, but ended up winning his match 7-3 to earn 7 points and lock up first place. Me? Oh, I got my rear end handed to me on a silver platter! Lost 1-7. Painful. Very painful. For my effort I was awarded 1 tiny lousy stinking point. The only good news? That one point allowed me to hold on to second place…barely. Well, in retrospect, even if I had won my last match and earned 7 points, the overall result would still have been the same…2nd place.
So, why did I title this blog post “Second Fiddle….Again?” You see, last fall when I competed in the preliminary round of the actual 2010 US Amateur Tournament, I ended up winning the tournament hot seat with almost no problem at all, then choked in the title match to finish in 2nd place. Now in the US Amateur Warm Up tournament, I once again had a good shot at winning, but ended up in 2nd place. Hmmm…I’m starting to see a pattern here.
When under attack by microscopic invaders, the body reacts by putting up a stiff defense that often carries some undesirable side effects, such as fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, stuffed sinuses, phlegm clogged lungs, and when all else fails, TONS of sleep. Although I’ve been fighting the flu for about 9 days, and generally feel like crap, I was able to play pool (albeit briefly) twice. Let’s call that two points for me. I don’t feel much like playing pool right now, but I’m still able to think…at least sometimes. Here’s a list of some things I’ve been thinking about lately:
1. I was able to play an APA match over at Lucky Shots on Tuesday, Feb. 8. I don’t remember who I played, but I think I won. I honestly don’t remember.
2. I was able to play in a US Amateur warm-up tournament on Sunday, Feb. 13. I played pretty well, all things considered. Yeah, I was the guy carrying the plastic bag filled with Kleenex and various controlled substances.
3. I dropped my cat off at the shop and my truck off at the vet this morning. The cat will live and so will the truck. Oh, wait a minute. Did I drop the cat off at the auto shop or at the vet’s office?
4. My truck needed a bunch of work done today by the world’s last honest mechanic. “Mr. Le” is his name, and he came highly recommended by everyone at my office. Why? As I said, he’s the world’s last honest mechanic, and he refuses to overcharge his customers. In fact, two weeks ago I was at his shop and he refused a $10 tip on $10 worth of work that he did for me. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: “How much do I owe you for replacing the main headlight?”
Mr. Le: “Ten dolla.”
Me: “Ten dollars? That’s all?”
Mr. Le: “Bulb only cost me seven. I not charge more than ten. See, some people rip you off. I just want to make honest living.”
Me: *opening wallet* “I’ve only got a few 20s. Here, take a twenty. Thanks!”
Mr. Le: *palms up* “No! No! I only charge you ten! You wait, I get change.”
Me: “But Mr. Le, it’s okay, just take the $20.”
Mr. Le: *turns and runs to shop* “No! No! I get you change!”
5. Today Mr. Le is putting on 4 new tires, replacing 4 rotors, 4 brake pads, 2 break sensors, doing a wheel alignment, and various other work. Mr. Le rocks!
6. I just called the vet. My cat got a clean bill of health…not bad for a 19 year old Himalayan. He will also be getting “The Lion Cut.” He was offered “The Poodle Cut,” but that seemed a little too sissy for him. He chose “The Lion Cut” instead. I guess you could say he’s set in his ways. Go figure.
7. Why am I now more afraid of getting the Vet bill rather than the Automotive bill?
This week I’m taking a little break from pool to recharge my batteries. The all day Saturday/early Sunday morning US Amateur tournament was exhilarating but also very exhausting. I’ve decided to use this week to rest a little and ponder my progress to date, assess which areas of my game are working well and which ones are not, then put together a new training plan for the next few months. Placing 2nd in the US Amateur qualifier was both disappointing and inspiring. Disappointing because I wish I had won, but also inspiring because it vindicated the hard work I’ve put in over the last nine months and validated the approach that I’m taking. I know I will be making major changes to my training program based on my recent experiences, so I’ve started to redesign the structure of my blog to align with the coming changes. I hope you like the new clean look. Stay tuned for some major changes to this site over the next couple of weeks.
John Johnson and I fought a three hour battle from midnight until 3:00 am this morning to determine the winner of the Northern California qualifier of the U.S. Amateur Championship. The championship match was a race to 11. John won the lag and chose to break. I chose to start with 8 ball. We played eight games of 8 ball, and I built a 5-3 lead. Then we switched to 9 ball, and John caught a hot streak, winning four unanswered games for a 5-7 lead. We traded games back and forth until the score was 8-9, then John won the last two for an 8-11 finish. Congrats John on your victory, and best wishes at the nationals in November!
Here are the final standings from last night.
1. John Johnson from Stanford, CA
2. Michael Reddick from San Jose, CA
3. Eric Harada from San Jose, CA
4. Clint Palaci from San Diego, CA