Last season I left a lot of my matches til the end. That worked out really well for me as it helped me get ready for the BCAPL Nationals which is ten days of 8 ball, so it was perfect planning But this season, I don't want to wait to play or leave the matches to the end of the season.
I also usually try to play the better players toward the end as well, but this time I am not going to pick and chose and instead play whoever is available.
In one weekend, I have already played 3 matches and have another planned for Monday evening and next Saturday.
I really would love to get first place and that little trophy I hear the top player gets. I need to really play well, though. I noticed the top player from the last two seasons is not playing this season and a close second top player also took the Summer off. That still leaves many players who can take top honors, but this gives me a little more of a chance? I think so. I better take advantage of this season!
The first match I play Friday evening starts off with us being close through 28 innings. I have 27 and he has 33. I then go on a 13 ball run and then a 10 ball run. Up 52-36 after a couple more innings. At this point he is faltering because of the score and then I have two more runs of 7 and 11 to go up 72 to 42. However, as with most of my matches... I lose focus in the middle of the match because I am ahead because I get comfortable with my lead. He claws back and the score is too close for me, I'm only ahead 85 to 69 (he had a very nice 10 ball run). He came with more of a charge and had a 6 and 7 ball run but my little 5, 3, 2, and 5 gave me the win 100-84. Whew.
I played two matches on Saturday. I played the better player first, as I knew it would very tough to beat him if I had played a 2-3 hour match before. I wanted to be beat him SO badly! I needed to beat him, as he is one of the top players. We start out and I am missing balls but he is playing really well and making a lot of good shots. :( He goes up 24-9! I get a little upset, naturally, and frustration sets in. I am still struggling and missing break shots. Ugh!! I then come to the realization I am beat and to just have fun. So, a few times I laugh as we play (he is funny) even while he goes up 58 to 24. I also keep thinking about what Dick Lane said on that DVD I watched - don't let your opponent at the table on a miss.
I also remember that I told my friend Rebecca (who is in a straight pool league out of Houston) that if you are missing break shots, sometimes it's better to play safe than to break everything up for them. I seriously consider this aspect when I am down 86 to36. WOW! That's a huge lead! But, I didn't want to give up and even though I was playing badly, my mind was okay since I convinced myself to stop being upset.
I then started to pay attention to his score. I noticed he would need all the balls of the rack (he was at 86) to win, so if I could pick off a few, then we would have to go to another rack. I do that successfully. Then he's at 92 and I'm at 44. I see again the same thing - if I can make a few more balls, we will have to go to another rack. Score: 93 to 49 then 96 to 54. Four balls is easy, but I play "mean safes" (as he called them) and kept picking at the rack. I get to 68!! He needs 4 balls still and I play a risky shot (for me) but went for it. I made one earlier that was a 'do or die' situation but this one I did not make. He easily made 4 balls off an open table. But Being down 36 to 86 and coming back to only lose 100-68 felt good! LOL, losing felt good!
My next opponent told me on the phone, when we set up the time for the match, that he was in the lower division the last season and was trying the middle division this time. I felt it was a for-sure hustling move! I bet he played better and he was setting me up. My previous opponent told me I could beat this guy, but wow, he started off super strong!! He has me down 19 to 8 and then 24 to 15.
I was not mentally into the match and frustrated with his good play, lol. I swear something was wrong with my swing - I wasn't sure what was going on with me but I was missing too many shots. :( I got a ten ball run but he countered with 8 and 6 to go up 52 to 33. At this point, I am upset with myself. I want to win badly for my stats and here is this guy playing good on me and my arm is broken, lol. I wasn't staying down well and decided to really try and focus on that. I paused on my backswing more, too. I was trying to fix what was broken. I also recognized I wasn't laughing and since that helped me mentally in my previous match from having that "upset" attitude in my thoughts....I then forced myself to laugh at his comments when he was trying to be funny.
Then it happened. I got a 15 ball run and a 9 ball run back to back! I walk up to the score sheet after my safe and he says, "and now you are within 1." Really? Look at me! He then completely falters. I was playing better and staying down (btw, I realized I was not following through - I was poking at the ball). But, once the momentum turned to my favor, and the confidence went from him to me, I started to stay down even better. He started to jump up more and made comments about his bad play. I just tried to focus on me, not his struggles. I was ahead 87 to 59 and he ran 6 and 10 but missed because he was worried about bumping two balls than making his ball, and I won 100 to 76. He was a good sport about it, but was obviously upset. I told him from player to player that he needs to not worry about the score - he played really really good until I took the lead. He was a great opponent and player and I can tell he will fit right in with the division and personalities of the members!
So, what started off like a scary season ended up not too bad (2-1 win versus loss). I will have my hands full Monday and Saturday though with those two tough opponents. Can't take things for granted. Hope I remember to follow through! :)