Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Communication 101

As I have alluded to a few times in my blog, I ran into some integrity issues back in April.  I said I would share them with you, and I suppose now is the time to do so.

Back in April I played in the BCAPL Texas State 8Ball Tourney.  One of my FAV tourneys!
My b/f and I placed 2nd in the Scotch Doubles, I placed 4th in singles and my women's team placed 2nd!  It was a fantastic weekend for me.  I placed very well in all three events and was a very happy camper!  :)

I came home that Sunday night, extremely exhausted from five days of play, but very full of happiness and self worth.

Then, it all went to $hit by Monday morning.  :(

On Monday, I start to receive questions about my "actions" over the weekend and that people were talking about several incidences that occurred.  I was astonished!  About what people were saying; how they thought.  I was mortified how things are taken out of proportion; how people assume the worst in others; and that all of this drama was all around me.  And I had no idea! 

I had a FANTASTIC weekend of playing good pool and being around great friends so I couldn't believe my ears! The happiness of the weekend immediately went away and was replacement with horror and disappointment.

Here is what happened:

Right before the finals of the Women's Team event, one of my teammates asked my how a female player could play in both the women's team event and the open teams event.  I told her I didn't think it was possible, but she said she saw one our opponents (I'll call her Ford) play on a men's team in the open division on Friday night.

I asked several times if she was sure it was the same girl we were about to play in the finals.  She was sure.

I had been asked to play on a guy's team and presumed I could not play in both events.  Being the curious person that I am, I went to the TD desk and asked them about it.

They told me that no, in fact you cannot play in both.  She asked me who it was and I said I didn't want to get anyone in trouble, I was just curious for future reference for myself.  She said she wanted to check the rosters in case there was a mistake, so I gave her Ford's name and expressed again I didn't want to get anyone in trouble.  Ford was only listed on the women's singles and women's teams, and the TDs didn't seem to be concerned about the questions at all.  The TDs even joked and told stories that this is an issue with guys all the time at Nationals, playing on more than one team.

Turns out, I found out on Monday morning, that the 3rd TD that wasn't at the desk when I inquired about the rule, had told Ford she could sub for two rounds because one of the guys from her hometown was running late due to an emergency, but would be there asap.  I'm not sure why the other TDs didn't know this, though.  Or, why they allowed this exception.

However, for some reason, the TDs told Ford right before the finals that I tried to forfeit her!


All I did was try to get clarification on the rule, and in return the TDs told her I was trying to forfeit her so they wouldn't have to play us in the finals.


I had NO IDEA they told her that! 

I mean, during the finals I noticed our opponents were feisty and competing tough, but they are great competitors so I didn't really think too much about it.  Little did I know that the reason they were so feisty was because they heard I tried to forfeit them!  They were pissed!

The teammates were actually pretty hurt.  They had fought their way to the finals with hard work and to hear we were trying to forfeit them really bothered them.  I don't blame them.  I would have felt the same way.

Luckily, one of the teammates knows me well, and she expressed that it had to be a miscommunication of some kind.

Now, I could go on and on as to WHY the TD told Ford I tried to forfeit her.  IMO, they should not have told her anything at all.  BUT.... for all I know, THAT info was a miscommunication.  For all I know, they simply asked her about the situation, and then she assumed I tried to forfeit her.  Or, they really used the word "forfeit" for some reason.

Either way, the WHOLE thing was a very unfortunate miscommunication. ;-(

To make matters worse.... omg.....

About 5-6 years ago I called a foul on a friend during a team event.  I'll call her Kandy, because she is a super sweet girl.  Turns out I was COMPLETELY wrong about the foul!  I incorrectly thought that the new rule was you had to call all 8 ball shots, even if obvious.

I called a foul on her for it and felt super bad, but I really thought it was the new rule.  We called a ref over and the first ref said I was right, but Kandy knew that wasn't the rule and so she wanted a ruling from the head ref.

Of course the rule is you do NOT have to call an obvious 8 ball shot.  The head ref verified it.

I felt SO badly for screwing up the rule and for calling a foul on it.  I walked over to the entire team and apologized to all of them and said I was sorry. I was SO FREAKING embarrassed.  Mortified that I had been so stupid and called a foul.  The team didn't really reply back to me, but one guy in the crowd yelled, "You're a bitch for trying to shark her!"

What??  WTF was that?  I snapped, "I didn't shark her, I thought it was the rule!"

I was PISSED he said that to me, in front of everyone like that, and accused me of doing that deliberately!?!  Who the hell thinks these things up??

It was just a miscommunication taken WAY out of proportion.  But, Kandy was very upset about it, all the while I was very embarrassed about it.  I couldn't believe I messed up that rule like that!

A couple of tourneys later, Kandy and I are in a 9ball match and I scratch on the 7ball.  I grab the cueball out of the pocket, hand it to her, and proclaim, "Merry Christmas" because I was so upset at myself and I knew she was about to run out.  After that game, she told me not to talk to her anymore during the matches.  Eeek.  :(  I obliged, felt super bad, and then simply played pool against her and tried my best not to speak while we played for the next few years.

I noticed we were never the same.  We used to smile when we saw each other, said our hellos and gave hugs throughout the years we played competitively.  However, we hardly ever said hello anymore when we saw each other and she kinda avoided me after these two incidences.  I felt bad, but didn't do anything about it, I admit.

Fast forward 5-6 years and here we are competing in the singles event of the BCAPL Texas State Tourney.  We have played each other at least 20-35 times since that first incident. Kandy is a very tough, strong competitor and she is very tough to beat.

I scratch on the first game and as I'm moving chairs to use them as blockers to get people to stop walking by our table, she takes ball in hand and runs out. She racks for the second game and my b/f asks me if I scratched.  I said yes and he said he didn't see it.  I told him, "well, she wouldn't pick up the cue ball unless I scratched."

"Well, I can't recall, which pocket did it scratch in?" He asks me.

I don't remember so I ask her while she's racking.

"I scratched right?"  Not thinking AT ALL how my words are coming out.  "Yea," as she replied slowly as she looked up at me.

"Which pocket did I scratch in?"

She thought for a moment and guessed the side pocket.  I then sit down and tell my b/f.  She finishes racking and comes over and says to me, "I remember now, it was the other side."

"Oh okay, thanks," I say.  And then she adds, "I wouldn't be able to focus without remembering that."

I thought that was a weird comment, but didn't think more about it.

We went hill-hill and she ended up winning, but it was a FANTASTIC match!  We both played great in front of an amazing crowd.  I was very happy for her because I knew she would place well and we had such a great, memorable match.  

Well... turns out Kandy thought I was trying to shark her, deliberately!  AND.... turns out, she shared that info with Ford - who is the same person who heard I tried to forfeit her in the finals!

So, once Ford heard I tried to forfeit her later that weekend, it just fell right into place with how she had perceived me from the rumors.  All it did was justify my "actions."  :(

When I hear all this Monday morning, I'm so mortified, I am literally shaking.  I am SO extremely disappointed, angry, hurt, and shocked all at once.  I can NOT believe that this all was going on over the weekend.  I had no idea!  And anyone that knows me knows I am very honest and hold integrity close to my heart.  Further, I HATE drama.

I had no idea people thought this way about me!

Here I am in my own little world, thinking I am this nice, thoughtful person and a good representative of the sport, and yet.... other don't see me that way.

I was severely hurt and offended people thought this way of me.  I am very strong in my belief in the honor system.  I call fouls on myself; I don't cheat; I do NOT shark; I love competing and want the best out of everyone's game.

I went to a very dark and low place on that Monday.  I walked around work so disjointed and upset.  My feelings went from shock to hurt to anger to confusion.  I can't explain exactly how I felt, but to think you are a good, decent, nice person, and then you find out people think you are a b1tch (for lack of a better word), it's very heartbreaking.  :(

I was disturbed about it all.

After many depressing, long hours for the entire day, something weird happened.  I guess I finally saw things for what they were:  just miscommunication.  Things got twisted, like situations do sometimes in life.  And for the most part, everything that I heard was due to miscommunications and misinterpretations.  The scratch, that stupid 8ball foul, the forfeit.  Everything.

I made a decision to call Kandy.  Although we weren't close, I wanted to apologize and to explain my side of things, give her a chance to tell her side, and discuss this as adults.  IF she would even talk to me.

I got her number from a teammate, and called her.  She didn't answer.  I stumbled along in my voice mail and told her I thought we should talk and mentioned the weekend and the past.  I honestly wasn't sure if she would call me back.

She did!

It wasn't the easiest conversation of my life, for sure, but I told her I had heard some things and realized it was really a miscommunication and wanted to try and clear the air. 

She did indeed thought I was sharking her all three times (recent and in the past) and I tried to explain to her WHY I did those things.

She had no idea how embarrassed I was when I called that 8ball foul - she thought I was trying to shark her.

She didn't know why I said "Merry Christmas" in that one match after I scratched, but I explained I was mad at myself.  She was very honest and told me as a Board Member of the Ladies Tour back then, I should have known not to talk in my matches - and she was spot on!  I apologized to her and acknowledge she was indeed correct.

As for the scratch just the previous weekend, she said when I asked her about it, she just assumed I was up to my same old sharking tricks.  And to be honest, she had nothing else to go by so of course she would think that.  In hindsight, I expressed to her that I never should have asked - it wasn't that important.

I tried to explain from my heart that I don't deliberately shark.  I think she believed me, too.  I also told her we are more mature now and should be able to talk about these things.

It was a very difficult but FANTASTIC talk.  We actually both cried at one time because it wasn't an easy discussion.  While hearing the rumors about me hurt me deeply, in return it gave me the opportunity to address with her the root of our past issues.  It was a blessing in disguise.

I told her several times that pool is already so very mental and she didn't need any extra distractions when she played me.  I wanted her to focus on pool, not worry if I'm going to pull an antic or something when I play her.

While it took me a lot to make the call, it was well worth it and needed.  I really wanted to ease her mind about miscommunications and hope I accomplished that.  She helped me also, as I saw her side of things as well.

I completely understand why she felt this way all these years, but I'm sad that it happened at all.  Very sad and disappointed anyone would be upset over things that get so twisted and misinterpreted.

I was still very disturbed about the other issue from the weekend and reached out to Ford, also.  She accepted my apology and explanation, and said she figured after a few days that it had to be a miscommunication about the forfeit, also.

While I had a VERY rough time reviewing myself internally, wondering if I really was a good person, in the end, I wanted to try and express to these two women I'm really not that way.  :(  Sometimes we can't change peoples perceptions and in the future I can only try to prove myself with my actions.

While it was very tough on me, it allowed me the opportunity to try and make things right.  I was told the phone call in itself showed my true character.  That meant a lot to hear, as my self esteem had been kicked to the ground.

I'm very lucky to have such great, understanding friends and competitors in the world.  Competition can bring out a side of us we don't like to see, but in the end, we are human beings with heart, feelings, and tenderness.

I have written in my personal blog about the importance and differences in the interpretation of events.  I honestly don't know if I would have been able to see the other side of things had I not had some good leadership classes.  I was in so much pain, I'm not sure how I was able see or understand anything else, to be honest.  But I'm glad I did.

Kandy and Ford are truly great competitors and they deserve a good match, not distractions.

I hope reaching out to them was helpful to them.

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