Sunday, December 28, 2008

Coming Soon to an 8 Ball Express Website Near You!

Even though I'm on "vacation" I've been working on some new updates for the website. Be sure to check back in about a week or so to see what I've been up to.

Here's a hint - More ways to get your input and give you updates!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Had Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?

Did you have a great Christmas? Looking forward to the new Session starting up Jan. 5?
I know I am....I'll be out practicing towards the end of next week. (God I feel rusty!)
See you out there?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free League Play Anyone?

As seen on a flyer at Breaker's of Rock Hill: (Breaker's appreciates League Players):
  1. If Breaker's has 10 teams on a league night, Breakers will pay home teams weekly dues.
  2. Any team with 3 new players (never played @ Breaker's) Breakers will pay that teams weekly dues for the session.
  3. The team that finishes last place for the session and does not get the wild card, Breakers will pay that teams weekly dues for the next session as long as they have at least 6 original players on the new roster.
  4. If there are 6 8 Ball Express teams on Monday or Thursday night, Breakers will pay home teams weekly dues.
As seen on Caveman's MySpace Page: (Caveman's will play your league fee)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Captain! My Captain!

When Santa is checking is Naughty/Nice list this year, 8 Ball Express Team Captains are sure to be found on the "Nice" side! For members who are not Captains, now is the time to maybe consider at least a Holiday card this year, if not more for whomever heads up your team. ;)

Captains are people that step up to the plate and organize a team. Their names appear at the top of a roster. Score sheets and notices are sent directly to them and they are the designated point of contact 8 Ball Express uses for a team of 5-8 people. But, 8 Ball Express Captains are also:

  • Team Accountants - making sure all the fees collected, paid and correct

  • Logistics Coordinators - ensuring their team mates are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be

  • Primary Scorekeepers and Stat Trackers - correctly filling out all boxes and totals

  • Head Strategists - deciding the nightly team line-up

  • Supply Managers - making sure flyers, patches and membership cards get to their rightful owners, that there is a pen to write with and a coin to flip with
They are the heart of the team and without them the League would simply not work. 8 Ball Express extends to each Captain items to help them with their duties - folders and clipboards, rulebooks, pens, etc, but it's nothing compared to the appreciation they would receive from their players, the people they spend each week with.

How might you thank them? Perhaps in the form of a good ol' fashioned "thank you", a round of their drink of choice or even volunteering to handle the duties for one night. (There is a team out of Matthews Ale House that actually rotates their Captain duties on a weekly basis. Now that is teamwork if I've ever heard of it.)

Because, remember, when the $10,000 checks are cut, the Captain gets an equal portion of the prize, no bigger or smaller. So...have you thanked a Captain today?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ne Plus Ultra

Wow, this is it! This is the crux, the climax, the apex, the ne plus ultra ending of 16 total weeks of play. After this week everyone will know which teams will compete for a total of $20,000 in either the Winter 2008 8-ball or 9-ball End of Session Championships.

I've seen some fierce competition out there, matches pitting cousin against cousin, girlfriend versus boyfriend, but happily, most teams depart their matches still on speaking terms.

I think I overheard it put best last night, when one player looked over the simply despicable defensive position he had been left and muttered "I hope your mother loves you, because I sure as hell don't." followed by laughter from both teams.

Good luck to everyone and see you in January! (If you don't make it with a team, we always need volunteer referees.) {Wink}

Sunday, November 30, 2008

50% Chance is Better Than No Chance!

Today we held the Charlotte End of Session meeting and Wildcard Draw. In order to screen out the teams that aren't interested in post-season play, 8-Ball Express requires one person (not the Captain, just one of possibly 8 members) from each team attend in person to be entered in the blind draw. The team drawn will play the 1st place team from their division to see who goes to the Championship. For some reason or another, we have teams that send no person to the meeting, therefore forfeiting their chances to possibly make it to our End of Session Championship and play for $10,000.
After winning her division's Wildcard Draw by default (she was the only player from 4 possible teams that were present), I overheard K.K. say the following and have to agree completely "Now, why would you play all session long, then not show for a possible 50% chance to make it to the playoffs?" I don't understand either, but congratulations for winning your team a chance to play in the post-season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

For the Love of the Game...or For the Love of God!

There are people that I've met throughout my life that are incredibly passionate about pool, playing in a Pool League or both. An 8-Ball Express member once told me "I play 5 nights a week (Sun-Thurs) and would play more if you had them." To this I responded "Well, we do have a Friday night division." and you can just imagine the look of excitement on his face. This was then quickly followed by disappointment upon the realization the division was farther than even his team was willing to travel, Rock Hill, SC. (He did say it wasn't the travel down that would be tough, but the late night trip back.) There are even players that some how manage the logistics of playing with two teams on the same night! Wow!

I am jealous when I come across people that would rather be in a pool hall than anywhere else, practicing and practicing, trying to run a rack, or rack after rack. I think it's fantastic and amazing when someone finds something in life that gives them great pleasure and joy. The reason for my jealousy is, after speaking to a few "8's" (the best of the best in our league), the only way to truly improve my game is to spend a tremendous amount of time practicing. And I know that I simply will not or cannot trade off time spent doing other things in my life. I would like to be better, but, as the passion is not there, I doubt I'll ever get beyond a "4" or "5" level. Or heck, after this session, beyond a "3".

While I enjoy the game, particularly 8 Ball Express 9-Ball, I am quite happy to have my Thursday night out and then wait 7 more days before playing again. I will practice while I'm out working and waiting on matches to finish, but I don't practice with the reverence for the game I wish I had. I must admit my passion is the social aspect of it, not so much the sound of balls clicking together followed by a clunk of one or two falling in a pocket.

But, having said all this, I do have to draw the line when I heard about one guy last night. This is a true story, apparently this guy was at his favorite watering hole/pool hall so much his wife served his divorce papers to him there. Now I'm no Dr. Phil, but this may have been an indication of excessive practice time. But hey, he may have lost one love but did manage to keep his other. So, I guess not all was lost. {Shrug}

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Really Are 1's in the League!

1's are so bad...
  • They foul three times in the same shot! (Miss their ball, hit the wrong ball, then scratch!)
  • They wonder how they missed that shot...and so did all 12 people watching the match.
  • They think a bridge replaces a stick when you can't reach a shot. (No, you still have to use a stick too!)
  • They not only miss a straight in shot, but manage to jump a ball or two off the table in the process.
  • 1's stick's seem to make contact with everything (the light fixture over the table, their opponent's rears, a beer on the table) but miscue during their shot.

So when people ask me, are there really 1's in 8 Ball Express, I have to look them square in the eye and tell them, yes, because I used to be one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lonely Patches Club

In 8 Ball Express when you accomplish any of the following during a League match, in your next week's scoresheet you will generally find an embroidered patch as a symbol of your feat:

  • 8 Break & Run - Break a rack and make all your balls in an 8-Ball League match without missing
  • 8 or 9-Ball on the Break - Make an 8-Ball or 9-Ball while breaking
  • Membership Patch - Each year a member renews their membership

What I've always wondered is what do people do with these patches? Some members, who have been playing for years and years, must have received at least 100 patches. What happens to them? Responses I've received:

  • Put them in my desk drawer
  • Sew them onto a t-shirt
  • Coasters
  • Put them on a ring
  • Glue them to pool stick cases
  • Give to kids
  • Instant Gratification - One division, that has been playing steadily since 8 Ball Express started, told me they give them to their host bar. Then, when newer members do something deserving of a patch, they can give them a patch instantly, instead of waiting all week for their next score sheet to arrive.
  • Display in home office/pool room/living room

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Growing Pains

While I am proud to see our League grow and the addition of new faces, I am sad to say I don't know everyone like I used to. Sure, the regular members that have been with 8 Ball Express since the beginning stick out in my memory, but they are now out numbered by the fresh faces. If you are one of the people I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting or getting to know, I would love to hear about you.
Maybe it's because in my last career I spent living "Dilbert-style" in a large corporation's grey-on-grey-on-grey cubicle, couped up 29 stories from the world below. I think I've genuinely missed the public. I now try not to take for granted the opportunities I have to be around them longer than the time it takes to wait in a Starbucks' line.
If you see me out and about or at a member's meeting, even if I seem frazzled or being pulled in several directions at once, I still am genuinely interested in how you came to play pool, who taught you, where you learned and what you do for a living. Just give me a minute and I would love to get to know you. Heck, I might even blog about you!
I think of 8 Ball Express as a tapestry, becoming bolder and more interesting by the increasing diversity of it's threads, our members. As an artist is interested in each brush stroke of a painting, I am interested in each of our members and the commonality shared by everyone, billiards. I enjoy the flexibility of this job, but even more I enjoy the experiences I get out of it and the people I get to meet. So, I look forward to meeting you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Look At Old Complaints

I have had to recently rethink the occasional complaint that I hear when 8 Ball Express is compared to other pool leagues.

I love hearing these complaints now because, to me, it means one thing. Our product is almost interchangeable with national companies that have been in business for over 20 years. We have such a good presentation and make-up that, in our customer's minds, we offer almost the same weekly play experience that companies funded by 100's of 1,000's of members offer. The fact that we are a much smaller company with far less employees doesn't play a major part in how we are assessed. Awesome.

I guess I never thought a complaint would be the greatest compliment of all!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Random Thoughts from the Pool League

All I can do is shake my head, roll my eyes and laugh to myself. Wouldn't you? What an interesting bunch of people I get to work around.

Reason for joining a pool league - "Going out to play on a team sounds a whole lot better than I'm going out to get drunk tonight."

Trying to get a handicap lowered - "She's not a 5, she's maybe a strong 4. (10 minutes into the conversation) Well, actually, heck, she's barley even a 3. She ought to be a 2."

Suggestion for a new patch - "8 Ball Express should offer a patch called - I RACKED THE BALLS THAT GAVE SOME ONE AN 8 ON THE BREAK."

Different viewpoints on League night fun - "I just don't understand those teams that just go out to drink and have fun on League night. What a waste of money."

Strategies- "I just need a low ranking player with big boobs. We'd be unstoppable then!"

Monday, October 27, 2008


Memorable Team Names List - Fall 2008 (Verbatim):
  • Drunkin' Rednecks
  • 2 Chicks, 6 Sticks
  • 8 Piece Chicken Dinner
  • Blind Squirrels
  • Little Stanky & the Nuts
  • Off In the Shower
  • Get Chitty
  • Paul's Gone Postal
  • Shoot the balls Beat Butt
  • Thwart Evil Part III - "Back for the Attack"
  • Balls-N-Holes
  • The Whole Fam Damily
  • Breakin' Wind
  • CSI:Mayberry

Pat On the Back

I was stopped Thursday night at a host location and told that I was appreciated. The Captain told me how happy he was with being able to log on to our website the day after playing and ALWAYS see handicaps updated by 5pm. I wasn't sure anyone noticed this and was glad someone did! I do bust my tail to make sure this is done and glad to be appreciated. Thank you and your welcome Captain from Ale House!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Such Thing As Too Much Fun?

When the question "Is there such a thing as too much fun?"is posed to one of my Thursday night teams, the answer is always a proud "No". Ask the players on the team how many points they have so far this session, most players on the team shrug. Ask them how many good songs were on the jukebox tonight or how many times they made fun of each other, they can tell you within a close margin of 1 or 2.
They typically are the loudest and laughin'est team at a place and really take to heart the notion of "win or loose...we know we will always have a good time". (Can M.S. get a timeout please?!?!?!)
Good deal H.F.T.B. and thank you for making me smile on Thursdays!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Problems? What Problems?

In a division that gives me little grief there is one individual in particular that gives me hope my job means something to someone. (After the occasional night of more than one issue and/or complaint, sometimes I REALLY wonder what this is all for. I mean, it's not like I'm out there curing cancer or anything.)

From what I've been told, this woman has had a tough time in life recently. She's had multiple personal problems but seems to be on the up and up lately. She confided in me that, in spite of her problems (no correction, because of her problems) she has turned to and found solace in pool. She uses practice and league play along side a desire to be the best she can be to rise above her issues. She is playing several nights a week around people that support and care about her on her rode to recovery. She never complains and seems genuinely excited about pool and always appears to have a good time. (I think she's even going to start her own team next session!)

Hearing her story last night really helped me to take my focus off the few (but seemingly repetitive) issues that can plague my nights from time to time. I, instead, began to recall the many members in 8 Ball Express that have a great time and enjoy the game. The majority should be controlling my job satisfaction, not the minority right? (Hey, I'm a member myself and know that I L-O-V-E my 9-Ball night out!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Girls

Last week I met two amazing sisters (J. & C.).

They play pool three nights a week, travel frequently (at least once a month from what I could tell), get manicures/pedicures, wear bright pink lipstick, stop smiling only to laugh and playfully flirt and tease all the guys. Oh yes...did I mention they are both at least in their 60's?

Good for them and what great role models for those of us who believe you never stop living if you chose to get out there and live it up!

Monday, October 6, 2008

First Post

Ah, the first post!

Basically, my job as the Charlotte Area League Administrator for 8 Ball Express is so full of interesting things that I just had to start a Blog about them all.

As to not offend, I will use initials instead of full names and try to limit any negative things or exclude idle gossip.

Enjoy the ride!