well, i’ve done it. i think i actually did something that can make the pcn guy jealous. i interviewed ms. sarah rousey.
yes folks, this is yet another edition of all about . . ., and this time, i totally got lucky and interviewed ms. rousey. being the super nice person that she is, she agreed to my harebrained idea and most graciously did the interview. (she probably didn’t read my first all about . . . . :P) again, i’m gonna take yes for an answer before she changes her mind.
in case you actually don’t know who sarah rousey is, well, she is that professional pool player with the women’s professional billiard association, the de facto ruling body for female pro pool players. yes, i said professional. you may have seen her on espn; you can definitely catch her on youtube. TAR has her on their dvd. if you live in asia, you might have caught her on live tv. in short, she’s frigging famous in our pool community. all the more amazing she’d agree to an interview with me, some dude who writes a lamebrain blog. :P that, of course, speaks volumes of her generosity and accessibility. i mean, you try asking greg norman or maria sharapova for an interview as a random blogger. you get the drift.
anyway, if you’ve read the first all about . . ., you know the deal. if you haven’t, then a quick rundown. i interview a person with a set of questions. after receiving the responses, i’ll do some very minor editing: basic formatting, changing typos, adding weblinks to the guest’s blog/website, links to books/musics/equipments mentioned in the interview, and blur out the cussing if there’s any. i blur the cuss words out, but i won’t remove it, because that’s part of the person’s response, and integral to the whole conversation. i communicate all the changes with my guest, unless i brainfart and forget. in that case i’ll contact my guest as soon as i remember. if i find a response amusing, or if i want to clarify the question, i’ll add my thoughts in brackets, [like this]. there. hope that’s clear.
anyway, a huge thank you to ms. rousey for interviewing with me. i’m beyond grateful.
without further ado, let’s get the show rolling. if you don’t like her responses, or feel very confused afterward, hard cheese; this post isn’t about you. it is, however, all about . . .
p00lriah: have you ever been rickrolled? (i got rickrolled a few times recently. d~* you cuteoverload.com april fools pranks!!) do you think you have a great rickroll reflex, or just an average one?
ms. rousey: I have indeed been rickrolled a time or two. I think that I learned from my mistakes and can feel it coming but for some reason in saying that, I feel a lot more of them coming!
p00lriah: please describe your worst loss in pool, or the loss that you can’t forget. this could be any match.
ms. rousey: Anytime that I have been way ahead in a match and somehow not finished, absolutely eats away at me. One loss that sticks out the most goes all the way back to the beginning of my pool playing life. I was 13 years old and playing in the finals of the BCA Junior Nationals. I was down in the race to nine, but clawed my way back to hill-hill. I broke and ran all the way to the 9-ball but left myself with the nine a little below the spot and the cue ball about a foot directly above it. I had to use the bridge, which I hate. Cut a long story short, I hung the 9 so deep in the pocket that everyone in the room though if they groaned or exhaled really hard it might fall . . . but it didn’t, of course. So I lost in the finals by giving it away. :( Still haunts me to this day!
p00lriah: tell us about your best win. this could be any win. how did you celebrate afterward?
ms. rousey: My best win would have to be beating Allison Fisher to make it to the TV rounds of the 2008 WPBA Tour Championship. It wasn’t the first time that I beat her, although that time was great. I didn’t feel like I earned the first one. There were uncharacteristic mistakes on her part. The second time though, I won and I won because I played great. It was decisive, 9-4 with a lot more riding on the match (my first TV match) then the first 9-8 win in the first round of the losers bracket. That is the match that I feel like I played my best pool ever.
p00lriah: i’m sure you experience lots of pressure in tv matches. tell us what it felt like for you, and how you deal with it. and if you like, please share with us any tips that have helped you deal with that pressure.
ms. rousey: Well I have only played two ESPN/WPBA TV matches. With the first one, I was scared to death! I was shaking and nervous for the first game but then with a little deep breathing and trying not to focus on the bright lights and cameras, I came around. Until I got to the hill. Once that happened the lights got bright, I got cold, started shaking and suddenly realized that I was only a few shots away from winning a televised match. I got lucky that things went my way and I won the match. The next one, I hardly shot. Kelly Fisher tortured me 7-1 but I worked hard to win that one game, a break and run when I was down 6-0!
Playing TV matches in Asia are totally different. Dealing with live tv is a whole different thing. To know that they won’t be editing out anything plays some crazy games with your confidence!
p00lriah: after turning pro, did you find that you have to learn new skills, such as attracting sponsors, that you’ve not had to before?
ms. rousey: I didn’t really have to learn new skills, my biggest problem was being too shy. I was always really quiet and kept to myself. After some time playing on the WPBA I learned that it helps to talk, make friends, meet new people, etc. I think I have made progress but I still have my moments of being a little too shy. I think the hardest thing to learn is that you are part of something great and that you are looked up to. I have a hard time picturing myself as anything other than just a person that really likes to play pool.
p00lriah: what is your general approach to pool? have you developed a personal philosophy about pool, and if so, what is it (or what are they)?
ms. rousey: It has changed over the years. My approach used to be that pool was life. I was supposed to work hard, be the best, only play pool. I realized that life isn’t all as great as it sounds. Now my approach is to put less pressure on myself, just try to play my best. Try to enjoy it because I am getting an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get in life. Even if I never win a tournament, I can still say that I tried my hardest! Plus, I have realized that playing pool at this level isn’t going to last forever.
p00lriah: i’ve noticed on your blog that pics of barbecued meats seem to show up pretty frequently. are you a big carnivore, with a predilection for a good barbeque? what has been your most favorite barbecue joint so far?
ms. rousey: HAHA, well I do have a thing for barbecue! I would probably put cheeseburgers first on my meat list then barbecue, especially brisket. Everywhere that I have gone for barbecue has been great. I’m a fan of Rudy’s throughout Texas and I really like Arthur Bryants and Gates in Kansas City.
[me: pay up guys. she just endorsed your foods.]
p00lriah: tell us about the most disgusting food you’ve ever tried. (for the record, i think beef tongue tastes delicious. it’s one of the beefiest tasting meat on a cow.)
ms. rousey: I think the idea of cow tongue grossed me out before I even tried it! I would say the grossest thing is Octopus. It was chewy and not for me. I used to be very picky about what I would eat but now I will pretty much try anything so I am learning about a lot of things that sound gross but taste good.
p00lriah: this question is kind of personal. you’ve talked about your boyfriend jason in a number of your posts; i believe he’s from canada. how do you maintain such a long-distance relationship? if you don’t mind, share some of your wisdoms/experiences on how you’ve managed to maintain your relationship.
ms. rousey: Well, it definitely isn’t easy! The whole international part makes it really hard. I think we both realize that it is rare to find someone that understands the ups and downs of pool and life. We work through a lot of issues that a normal couple doesn’t have to worry about, but we make it work and have for five years so far and I think it makes us stronger. The time apart is really hard to deal with. Since he is Canadian he can only stay in the States for a certain amount of time each year. We are in the process of figuring out a solution!
p00lriah: describe your ideal pool teacher/coach. what characteristics/qualities will this person have? (a description of yourself will qualify also. :P no! the brownnosing . . .)
ms. rousey: I’ve been very lucky to work with a great teacher throughout the past 17 years, Mark Wilson. He has what I think is perfect. He is understanding, not too strict, always encouraging, always pushing me to get better. The same goes for Jason and his helping me. Someone that has the right amount of power to teach you something and motivate is definitely needed.
p00lriah: you’ve mentioned in your website that you’re quite petite. generally, shorter players can’t reach shots as well as the taller players. did you find that you have to play better position so you don’t have to reach, and in the long run develop better cueball control & play better pool as a result?
ms. rousey: I definitely play short person position . . . all long shots! I have become more aware of how i play position especially at the end of the rack. It took forever for me to realize that I should figure out if I can reach the shot from a certain spot on the table before I shoot the previous shot rather than after! Plus I taught myself how to play left handed so that helps me get by a little bit.
p00lriah: have you thought about getting into the other side of pool, the manufacturing/business ownership side of the equation? maybe a heartbreak pool hall?
ms. rousey: I wrote my first business plan for a pool room when I was 13 and I also tried to promote pool when I was about the same age to the school board here in Bloomington. I got shot down! I would love to get into the other side of pool but it is one of those things that you need to do after you are done with your career as a pool player. I watched my dad succeed and fail in the pool room business so I learned about the hard work that it takes. It might be in the future in years to come.
[me: maybe a chain of heartbreak halls. :D man, that sounds like a place where all the lonelyhearts hang out!! :shock:]
p00lriah: please describe your pool techniques. do you follow a specific system to playing pool? how did you settle on the techniques you’re using right now, i.e., coach, books, tv/dvd, other players, etc.?
ms. rousey: I don’t really have any techniques and I don’t knowingly follow any systems. I tend to just go on feel which I’m sure holds me back a little bit. I have tried really hard to learn systems but they just go in one ear and out the other. I’m pretty sure that I do what I am taught, I just can’t ever explain what I am doing. I do like reading books though. I really liked Body Mind Mastery and I just picked up Mind Gym. I like watching and learning from other players. I like coming across players that can explain what they are doing. I am really thankful to Helena Thornfeldt for how much she helped me with my game. She is very knowledgeable.
p00lriah: you played the TAR match against monica webb back in ’08. what was that like?
ms. rousey: That was a really cool opportunity. It formed a great friendship with the TAR guys and it gave us a chance to play different games. I got lucky to win the flip and decide the order of games and I was lucky to learn a little something about banking when I lived in Chicago! I don’t want any part of a rematch there . . . Monica is playing every game great!
p00lriah: you mentioned in your blog that you enjoy reading. is there a book, or are there books that you consider life-changing? also, what’s your favorite book (or books)?
ms. rousey: I try not to get too deep into books. I read really fast so I read a few books a week sometimes . . . I get lost in them. I wouldn’t consider any of them life changing. I am sure I have read some that really made me think, but honestly, I can’t remember. I don’t have favorite books but I have favorite authors. I’m a huge fan of Patricia Cornwell. I’m always open to book suggestions too so if anyone has them . . . send them over!
p00lriah: you have traveled all over the world (or most of the world) to play pool. tell us your most memorable trip so far.
ms. rousey: The most memorable is the nearly month long trip that I took to the Philippines and Shanghai, China. Getting a chance to see how pool is in the mecca of pool was incredible. I might not have enjoyed my time at the tournament, but I had a great time getting to hang out at the pool room around such greatness in Manila! The second leg of that trip was Shanghai, China. I love it there! I had days of awesome food, soup dumplings of course!! Also, there is so much to see. We only had a chance to see part of what Shanghai has to offer because I feel like you need at least a month there to see it all! I’m really into architecture so the ultra modern stuff mixed in with the ancient stuff was really awesome. I hope to get a chance to go back this year!
p00lriah: since you’re so adorable, have you ever thought about getting a pixie haircut and becoming the magical tooth fairy and be loved by children everywhere? (wow, that was awkward and creepy.)
ms. rousey: Haha, well, if you go back about 5 years, i had a very short pixie haircut. I’m not sure that I resembled the tooth fairy though! The short hair might reappear soon so your wish may be granted! (please don’t pull any teeth to get that wish though!)
[me: for the inspiration of this awkward and creepy question, read the comment by “anonymous” in this post by ms. rousey. :D]
p00lriah: and finally, chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
ms. rousey: Vanilla . . . but add in some peanut butter and bananas…then it is perfect!
thanks for reading folks. as i stated in the first all about . . ., i interview people that i think are interesting. unfortunately, this also means that i’ve no idea when the next interview will take place. anyway, gentle readers, hope you enjoyed this post.