Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finished 7/8th out of 21

I’ve talked about one of my loves considerably more than the others. This is not because I prefer one over the others; I just have felt more for it at the time. Last weekend, 3-5-07, I played in a pool tournament at the school. There were 19 guys and two girls, myself included. My first game was against a guy that I hadn’t seen around the Rec Center, Jeremiah, a banger. I didn’t play that well because I was so focused on not letting someone like that beat me. I know that I’m better than him. But, I lost my first match. Most of the tournaments I play in are double elimination, if you lose once, you are on the “losers” side and play until you lose again, then you’re out. It is nice, but you have to work even harder because once you are on the losers side, your mental game has to be so much stronger because you feel the threat of gasp being eliminated from the tourney. After I played Mr. Banger, I played a guy named B.J., a decent shot, but we kept having the 9 by the pockets so it was very distracting. I won, and then I played Hing, a friend of mine that is a great pool player. I don’t really know how I won against him. Because he should have no problem running a 9-ball rack, but he was having some minor difficulties. Next I played Mark, again, a very good shot. I shot well, but, again, I know that he should also have no problems running racks. Then I played Brent. I was up 3-0 and then it came down to the last game (it was a race to five wins). I had an easy combo on the 9, and I didn’t execute it properly. But it was the only shot I had, so, I didn’t make a bad decision as I’ve been known to make in the past, I just missed, and he won. Oh well.

When I play pool with my Women’s league team, I get to be ‘mentored’ by the best pool player in the state of Montana, Jane Plant. Jane has been trying to teach us the importance of knowing your ability and talking yourself into thinking that it doesn’t matter if we lose. Sure it may hurt our egos, but that is not what is important, you are not a “loser” just because you lost one match or game. You are also not a winner if you win. You played well, probably made some mistakes (everyone does), and kept your cool. I’ve found that to be the most helpful. After you miss a shot, you leave it at the table. Oh well. That is just something you have to work on next time. Pool comes much more easily to those that don’t push it.

This is where I have a little bit of problem with this philosophy. I don’t think that things should be waited on. I think you should actively pursue what you want. What is wrong with wanting to beat someone because you know you deserve it more than they do? But, I understand in how having that mindset that you have to win or else…can put too much pressure on you and you will ultimately fail. But, look at all the people it does work for. I suppose, though, one can actively pursue it in other ways. They can practice.

In ending, I am proud of what I did, but I’m not going to brag about it. (Not like Joel when he beat me left-handed.) I will play it off, but always remember how I did it. I kept a steady rhythm, I dared to take “low percentage shots,” safeties were a last option (I know I can also run tables, you have to be aggressive in that sense), and I wasn’t aggressive in thinking that I couldn’t lose to a certain player or that a certain player was going to beat me. I let go.

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