Sunday, January 9, 2011

define 'reality'.......

I played in a local 9-ball handicapped tournament this weekend, or rather “I showed up”.  I played like complete ass!  Maybe it's having taken some time off that has completely got me off rhythm, or maybe it’s the fact that I just was completely un-focused, or maybe it’s the fact that it was Friday night and I had a really bad week and I was more interested in ordering another beer than I was sinking the 9-ball.  Whatever was going on with me – I’m chalking it up to NOT being in a mental state of “being at the table”.

Last November my team made it to Nationals for one of the smaller leagues that we play in.  Knowing that I really shouldn’t have to play as I’m a lower skill level on the team and the handicap limit for the team total is decently high, I still came full force……just in case.  And sure enough, I played.  During three of my matches, I played to the effect of – I will win, no exceptions.  Not the prettiest pool played, but I played smart, got out and won!

The next day, the first round was make it or break it.  If we lost we were out and had no chance at the second chance tourney, if we won we had some money coming back to us.  Guess who it came down too, again?  (TEAM: Not for nothing, but aren’t you guys supposed to win your matches so that I’m not pressured again?  You are the better players you know?!?!)  During this match, I felt it……I was in “the zone”.  I HAD to win.  I could see nothing around me and hear nothing but the balls on other tables being hit around.  I played smart.  I played safe.  I knew every shot.  And before I knew it I was down in the match and he was on the hill.  Yes – HE was on the hill and I still need 2 more games to even get there.  Somehow, some way…..I wasn’t even frustrated.  Wasn’t mad, wasn’t sad, wasn’t scared…..I was still there.  Still there to kick his ass!  And I did  :)

Next match – thank you once again to my team for putting me in the situation of HAVING to win.  (Gosh you guys are great).  As I played this one out, I was once again feeling as if I was just going through the motions and this surreal world was taking over.  It gets to double hill and my opponent’s sloppy missed shot leaves me one of the most ridiculous back cuts into a corner pocket that I’ve ever attempted.  I take a time-out, confirm I’m about to take the right shot on this and get into position.  Oh yeah, by the way, there is the 8-ball left on the table.  I’m out if this goes, he’s out if I miss.  Ready, aim, perfect execution, my ball drops and the cue ball……slowy…..doesn’t stop…..and rolls back into the side pocket.  I lose.  I give him f’n ball-in-hand on the 8. WTF?!?!?  As my teams is still excited we got some money back and played well all weekend, I pack up my cue, shake my opponents hand and walk out of the tournament room.  As I started to see and hear reality again, I feel tears of anger swelling and I swore I’d never play again.

Just as I was beginning to feel (more like KNOW) I had played some of the best pool in my life, it was ripped from me - straight from the heart!

Present day:  Knowing that not playing again was really only in my head (though I probably didn’t play for almost a month after that horrid scene), it has finally occurred to me that the metal state of being in that ‘zone’ is something I need to learn to control.  How do I get there when I NEED to get there?  I’m not talking about focusing to win on league nights or every time I get on the table to play.  I’m talking about when I’m playing and I WANT to ultimately kick your ass!

Hhhmmm, miSsioN underway!

1 comment:

  1. *you think I'd crumble

    you think I'd lay down and die

    Oh no, not I

    I will survive

    I will survive...*