A disappointed women’s pool team captained by former Idyllwild resident Geri Peterson was defeated in Round 3 on the first day at the American Poolplayers Association National Team Championships in Las Vegas mid-August.
Peterson, who now lives in Hemet but has worked at Fairway Market for years, said, “We were very disappointed. What we did not know was that the ladies’ tournament was excluded from the national opening ceremonies as well as the national tournament room.”
The tournament was scheduled from Aug. 14 to 16, and she said, as captain, she was thrown off by the news of exclusion and challenged to keep her team in mental shape to play.
“We were put in the national minis room,” she said. It did have 400 tables but the tournament room was huge compared. And the pots of money for the winners were small, too.
When asked why she thinks they were treated this way, Peterson said she heard that APA wants to do away with the women’s teams altogether because fewer women are competing and competitions cost time and money.
“The numbers just aren’t there to keep the women’s a national event,” she said.
“As captain, I tried to rally the team because there was still an $8,000 prize.”
In Round 1, the team of five women, called Where the Boys Can’t Play, in an APA division in Hemet, drew a bye. That gave them time to practice and they did, as if actually competing.
In Round 2, the team played a Pennsylvania team. “We were stronger,” Peterson said. “Unfortunately, it was me.” Peterson was up 4-1 over her opponent. “I made one mistake. I lost my head and she won.”
Round 3 came only 10 minutes later against a Florida team. “We had no time to regroup,” said Peterson. “My team played very well. I played absolutely terrible.
“If you lose one [game] out of three, you’re done. Pool is 99 percent mental and if you’re out of it …,” she said, shaking her head.
“We got knocked out the same day we arrived. We were planning to drink after the tournament. We didn’t drink. When we were done, we just sat in our hotel room and stared at the floor. We didn’t expect to be knocked out that soon,” she added.
The rest of the trip, Peterson and the team players — Lisa Timm, Becky Prater, Louise Wood and Vicky Sundholm — played mini-games and placed between second and fourth places. “That made it a little bit lighter of a weekend,” she said.
In 2011, the team finished fifth in the nation — the first team from this county to finish that high in 15 years. In July of this year, the Town Crier published a story to help raise money for the team to go to Las Vegas. More than $5,000 was raised.
“If it wasn’t for the grace of God and the help of Idyllwild, we would have never gotten to go,” said Peterson. “All of us want to thank everyone who supported us. If the rest of the world was like Idyllwild, people wouldn’t be beheading people.”