Since my last post, unfortunately, health issues continued. Ended up having more tests, an intestinal infection, liver and kidney issues resulting from that, 2 rounds of antibiotics, continued issues, 2 hernias, adhesions, surgery, etc, etc. Been a fun 18 months... Some issues remain, but better than I was so I guess it's moving in the right direction.
On the plus side, through all of this I managed to win the second session of American Rotation, and this time I was able to make it to the national tournament at the Derby City Classic in Louisville, KY. I finished 11th out of 22, not too bad, amidst a field of top players from around the country including Johnny Archer, Mike Davis, and Kevin West. The latter two faced each other in the finals, you can watch the entire match here - tvmike.net/topic6907.html - scroll down toward the bottom to find the match. You should especially check out the last few racks, a truly epic finish and well played by both players.
I also played in the bank pool and 9 ball events at Derby. Surprisingly I cashed in the Bank Pool division, finishing 77th - 124th out of 400+ players. I say surprisingly because I never played bank pool before! I learned the rules and strategies of the game along the way and should have actually gone one round further, but finally lost to Shannon Daulton, a former champion at the event, that loss was NOT a surprise... :)
I did well in the 9 ball event, finishing one out of the money. I beat a few good players, and lost to Kevin West (same guy mentioned above) and then Keith Bennett, both very good and seasoned players. Really my only disappointment of the tournament was the last loss to Keith. I just wasn't completely focused in the match but was outplaying him for most of the match, and then just made several very silly mistakes after running out some tough racks or playing very good safes. I learned from the loss and he was a great competitor.
Following the Derby, our Masters team went on to win our league against a tough team, somewhat of an upset. I had the anchor spot and it felt good to run out the last rack to put it away.
Finally, recently I attended the qualifier for the US Amateur Championships. I've tried to qualify two times before, making it to the finals the first year and last year just playing mediocre. Well, this year I finally made it and am heading to the national finals! I lost my first match, but came through the rest of the field with some very convincing scores - 7-0, 7-0, 7-2, 7-3, 7-2, and 11-1. Since I rarely play tournaments, I was quite happy that I stayed focused through a very long day and came back after the first loss. The national finals are held in the beginning of November, I will cover that tournament in a few weeks.
That's about it, back to the present and all caught up... My next article will discuss some of the things I focused on during the week leading up to the qualifier, hopefully some of those same concepts will help you in your next league match or tournament as well.