Well, evidently, there is crying in pool, too.
I think it's EXTREMELY ironic that just on Friday I wrote a blog post to share my thoughts about the pain, frustrations, pressures, and heartbreak of competition. While I wrote that post to help newcomers, I did reference that even players who have been playing for years still feel heartbreak and discouragement after their matches. I have listened to my friends vent, seen their emotions escalate, and even witnessed their tears.
After this past weekend, I now think my post was incorrect. I now think I was wrong. It's not newcomers that feel discouraged. It's the some of the seasoned players that feel the most pain!! lmao. Some of the seasoned players have competed for a long time and even though we have more experience, the heartbreak is harder on us. I think I'm feeling more discouraged as my game goes up.
It's very frustrating!
There were 50 women at the first OB Cues Ladies tour stop this past weekend. It was a GREAT turn out and a very well-run event!
I was not nervous Saturday so that meant I was probably gonna do okay. No expectations works best for me.
I won my first match (played good), got nervous my second match because I made mistakes and almost lost (but I won). Won my 3rd match and then my 4th.
All of a sudden, I'm left on the winner's side on Sunday! OMGoodness! I was SO excited and not sure how that happened (okay, I played good and got a decent draw), but it felt good. :)
But, I could feel my heart race when I couldn't go back to sleep on Sunday morning. I thought about why I was nervous (and the match was 4 hours away!). I could tell my nerves were building up, so I tried to calm myself down. I ran through the many mental toughness things I've learned over the years. I knew if I didn't think of the expectations, I would do better. I tried to simply be happy I was able to play on Sunday.
I posted on my akatrigger FB page, "Expectations are my enemy". I tried as hard as I could not to think of the results, but I admit, I wanted to win because if I did, I'd be playing in the hotseat and that would be my highest finish yet on this tour! (My highest finish is a few 4th place finishes).
I know how to stop the chatter in my brain (taught to me by Phil Capelle) and he said to focus on my pre shot routine and three balls ahead. But I could tell I was still nervous. :(
I read a comment from Ingo on my FB post and he said,
"Just define your goals- 3 timezones: short,middle and long. Note everything you do and did. So you can *clear* the list by working on each point :-) clearly defined goals/targets are better than expectations."
A light bulb went off my head and instead of focusing my concentration on my pre-shot routine and three balls ahead, instead, I made it my goal! Ingo really helped me out.
I was very nervous the first game of the match on Sunday morning and missed an 8 ball because of it. I then calmed myself down, tho, and concentrated on my goals: Smooth stroke, three balls ahead.
It really, really worked! I played SO good!
I didn't want to lose from nerves. I didn't want to dog it because my arms were wobbly from nerves. And I didn't - I played good! I saw the layouts SO well, checked for shape, saw three balls ahead crystal clear, but......................
I missed late in the rack. :(
I scratched on a tough 6ball (with two balls left on the table); I fouled on a 7ball; I missed a tough cut on the 8 ball, trying to hold the cueball for shape; I scratched on a 9ball when my opponent was on the hill; Missed that first 8ball; And scratched on a 7ball.
That's 6 games and I lost 4-7.
When the score was 4-3 me, I was on the 6 ball and saw the run. Tears swelled in my eyes as I thought to myself, "I'm close to playing in the hotseat." I then fouled on the 7ball and she took a break at 4-4...and I even told myself I might lose. I knew the break could be costly to me. I tried not to reflect on my misses or what the score "should have been..." I can honestly say I wasn't beating myself up, but I did feel a little deflated after every game I felt I gave away.
I played SO @#$$%*^% good, but couldn't close out for some reason. I lost my chance to play for the hotseat. I gave the match away. "It was not my time," I told myself. :(
But, as I shook her hand, I mumbled I gave the match away (which wasn't fair to her), but I truly felt that way. I walked outside the pool room and started to cry. Then I came back in to get my things, and as I drove home (to pick up my b/f so he could play league for me), I cried on the way there. When I walked in, I cried as I walked into his arms. I was sobbing! I was cry baby! :( I was so emotional. So upset. I lost. Badly. Played good, but still handed the match over.
Everyone kept telling me, "but you are still in." Still, the heartbreak of knowing how close I was was extremely painful. :(
I had almost two hours to wait til my next match and the same thing happened again! I would see the patterns well, but would miss late in the rack. It was heartbreaking. I lost 4-7 again and went immediately outside, and cried AGAIN!
There's no crying in pool!
A friend comes outside (because he thought I was leaving) and he calls my name, "Hey Melinda!"
I shout, "don't talk to me. Please! Don't do it..." as I put my hands over my face and start to sob....
He walks up to me and tries to console me. He tells me that it just means I care. He tells me, "You are human. Humans make mistakes. It's okay."
I tell him again "I tired...." and he says he understands.
He keeps trying to console me as I keep crying.
Then he says, "I do have some advice for you."
I immediately raise my voice, still crying, "No, I can't take it. No, don't tell me anything. I'm too upset and my heart can't take it at this moment!" (completely aware that I'm sobbing and I know from experience I can't take constructive criticism too early after a loss)
And he tells me anyway, "You are taking it too serious. It's just a game."
Later on, I did ask him if he saw anything I could work on (like, did I jump up or not take my time, etc) and he said he didn't notice anything.
One of my other friends tells me (after I calmed down), "You played good." I turned to her and hugged her real hard as I shared, "Thank you for that." She kinda laughs and says "you did play well, just missed some balls at the end of the rack." I felt relief for some reason. Felt relief that I really DID play well, dangit! lol.
I placed 5th outta 50 and while I should be happy, I'm trying to figure out a few things: Why did I miss balls late in the rack? Why was I so emotional? What are my learning experiences?
First, my mental game is still very soft still right now. I'm not sure why, but it's obvious I am thinking too much during my matches (even when down on shots I have been thinking too much). While that might be a tough thing to tame, it's something I need to work on to help me succeed.
Second, I was very emotional all weekend. My Mom was on my mind a lot and I feel I am not doing well in that regard.
Third, while I'm embarrassed I cried, it shows how much I love this game and that I care. I have expectations and although I wanted to place further, the two matches on Sunday will forever be great arsenals of knowledge for me for the future.
It's funny, in the blog on Friday I stated that the more experiences you have, the better it is for our game. I've decided in order for me to do better on Sundays, I need to play in more tournaments to last until Sunday so I can keep trying and get more experience to be able to handle the invisible pressure I put on myself on Sundays. The sooner I get over this "obstacle," the more goals I can make and be better prepared for.
I'm a cry baby!
Eventual winner of this event, Ming Ng!
Amanda, Yvette and I. :)
Veronica, who toasted for my Mom! Very touching.