Friday, February 1, 2013

Second Place Story

Might as well get this over with.

Write about how depressed I am.  While people are giving me accolades, I'm depressed.  Hear me out.  Here's why:

Last weekend I played in the Season Opener of the OB Cues Ladies Tour.  I was a bit apprehensive for a couple of reasons:
  1. I "hoped" to do well, but when I have "future expectations" I normally falter (it makes me nervous for some reason).  I do SO MUCH better with no expectations at all.
  2. I felt a lot of pressure to finish well.  Sure, who CARES what others think, I KNOW.  But I had so many people who look up to me, I felt pressure to do well.  I know, SILLY, lol.
I got a bye and then had to play a real tough player.  I felt the pressure almost immediately and when my friends would tell me I would place well in the tourney, I tried to prepare them all that my opponent plays really good and it will be a tough match.

I surprise myself and got up 4-0 right away by playing well, even with my adrenaline pumping.  Then I got distracted from the sidelines and fell apart.  I was not able to finish anymore and I only got by my opponent due to taking advantage of her mistakes at the end.  I admit that because I pulled ahead 4-0 REALLY helped me, but in the end, I didn't play well and I was disappointed in myself b/c my nerves and the pressure got to me.

But, I won 7-5.

I then played a girl who came all the way from New Mexico to play!  Her previous opponent told me she played fast and aggressive and so I thought I was prepared for that, but wow!  Fast and aggressive was an understatement.

She was getting out from nowhere and at 2-2 I asked my b/f to leave the scene of the crime because I felt a train wreck coming on.  He obliged, then I fought my way back to the lead with some smart play and taking my time, not playing fast with fewer mistakes.  I had to really focus and I won 7-4. :)

I then had hours to wait to play one of my teammates.  She started off strong and although happy for her, I still needed to play my game and try to beat her if I could.  A couple of misses late in the rack allowed me to win 7-5.  She was very distracted by a family birthday she was about to miss, but I was so proud of her for doing so well in the tourney!  She would place 9th outta 41 players!  :)

This meant, wow, I was in til Sunday on the winner's side!  I was in disbelief.  Really?  Again?  Second OB Stop in a row for me?

I got real good sleep, but woke up feeling like a truck ran over me.  I therefore got out of bed a full two hours before my match to wake my mind and body up.  Ate lightly at Waffle House and took a hot bath with some stretches to warm up my body.

My first opponent Sunday morning on the winners side is a friend of mine and it was tough to see her struggle in the match, but I won 7-3 with some good outs.

Now, at the last tourney, I had NEVER done that before.  I had never won THE match to put me in the hotseat of an OB Cues Ladies Tour stop.  So, since I overcame that hurdle at the last stop, this time I just "played pool" because I didn't t have that monkey on my back.  This wasn't my first rodeo anymore - lol - I had played in the hotseat match just a month ago, so I felt NO nerves or pressure to reach the hotseat.   

I then waited a couple of hours to play in that coveted hotseat match,.  I had no expectations, wasn't nervous, nothing.  That's when I play my best anyway :).

My opponent was running over everyone in the tourney so I just expected the same to happen and would be happy to play for 3rd place again.

However, I made a few mistakes in the match and she was up 5-2.  At this point, my last ill-safe, I took a break to call my b/f who was at league.  He told me to calm down and focus.  I told him I was really upset because I was giving it away.  I then just made up my mind to take my time and enjoy the experience.  I def wasn't having fun and needed to get the scowl off my forehead.

At this point, she misses the 9ball so badly, it almost goes in another pocket and then she urges it to go in!  I was livid inside.  REALLY?  You are already beating me badly and yet you are wishing for the 9 ball to "shit" in?!  I told myself, "That's IT!"  I won that game and the next because she ticked me off.... I wasn't going anywhere.

However, she got on the hill first.

My opponent is a very talented player but I have noticed she gets out of line late in the racks a lot.  She started to do that as I won a few more games. 

At 5-6 her, I missed an 8ball and saw my future set, until she bumped the 9ball and had to bank it.  She scratches as she made the 9ball and the entire room moaned with disappointed.  I felt everyone was rooting her on when they did that.  Miffed, I say under my breath "sorry to disappoint you all, but we have another game to play."

In the final game, hill-hill, 6-6, I'm SO relaxed because I'm simply relieved I clawed my way back into the match and started to play better.  I'm actually thrilled to have 6 games and do not even care about the outcome.  I'm already doing better than the last tourney (I only got 3 games in the hotseat last month - heck, I was making progress!).

I lean over to my friend Amanda and said, "I've never had this many games in the hotseat before.  I don't care what happens, I'm just happy to have so many games!"  She tells me, " you are doing good!  And it's not over."  My opponent. misses a combo on the 9, I try and run out but get out of line and play safe.  She gets to the table and starts to run out and has another combo at the 9 - a tougher one.  Shes studies it and finally shoots, but misses....  and of course everyone moans again.  I take my time, as I really don't want to miss the combo she left me and in the past I HAVE very easily missed it by rushing.  I took my time and made it!

OMG, MY FIRST TIME EVER to win a hotseat match in the OB Cues Ladies Tour!  Only a few claps were going on and I was jumping up and down like an idiot.  I shouted "It's my firs time to ever win a hotseat match, come on people, clap!!"  People in the crowd clapped for me and then I immediately apologize profusely to my opponent for acting like that.  I felt so ashamed and a fool for doing that; I didn't mean to come across so rudely, I was just SO excited!

She told me she understood when I apologized later to her (again).  I don't know how she handled it so well, honestly. 

I felt so embarrassed for acting a fool and showing how excited I was and also verbally asking the crowd to be excited along me, as it seemed it was against my opponent.  But, it wasn't intentional.  I promise.  My emotions just took over. 

I can't begin to tell you all the feeling of winning the hosteat of a big tour like this, tho!  A tour I have played on for TWENTY Year!  Seriously!  Since 1992!

Someone reminded me I would have to be beat twice in the finals.  I had forgot that. 

Wait?  The finals?!?  OMG!  I was in the finals?  Of the OB Cues Ladies Tour?  For the first time ever in my life!  Wow.  I was so focused on the "hotseat" I kinda forgot that meant I would be a player in the finals, lol.

It's funny, last stop, I placed 3rd - my highest finish ever.  Now I'm playing for 2nd?  Really?

My boyfriend told me earlier in the week I was going to win the tourney.  I told him he was crazy.  I never had envisioned I could really do that.  Too many tough girls on the tour.  He says I'm one of them

I want to publicly state that he has been my biggest male supporter in pool I have ever had in my life.  No one else has had so much faith in my game as he does.  Of course, he might have been hit on the head as a child, too.  lol. 

I was pretty ecstatic of my "position" but - I was mentally already drained.  I could tell.  And I knew that wouldn't be good for me.

I got a little bit of food in my tummy, hit some balls, and waited for the winner between two killers, lol.

I again had no expectations and was just happy where I was - the farthest I had ever been in an OB Cues Ladies Tour stop!

I ended up playing my bff, Amanda Lampert.  She had lost her VERY first match and made it all the through the finals!  She jumped up and down after her final win before the finals b/c she had made it so far!  Our poor opponent had TWO people be ecstatic to beat her, lol.  Well, the girl plays good!

As I type this out, I am a little less depressed now.  I really did accomplish something, didn't I?  I got 2nd!

However, I feel I didn't get to where I was because of great play, but because of taking advantage of mistakes.  I'm sure that's part of pool and that's how things go, but as I won each match, I felt like it was just "my time."  Not because I played well, but because I was getting chances.  I also didn't get the toughest draw in the world.

Now, don't get me wrong.  It wasn't a cake walk and I still played really, really well!  I just didn't run rack after rack; but I did get out well when I needed to and when it counted.  And I need to pat myself on the back for all of those matches I did that and stop being so hard on myself.

So when I found myself in the finals, I was still extremely ecstatic and I WILL learn from this  experience (as they say, the second place loser is the real winner because they learn more).

However, I'm not very proud of myself in the finals.  I'm not proud of how I acted, I'm not proud of how I played... I'm not proud.

I felt good I didn't fall part - I have had wobbly arms from nerves and not been able to make two balls in a row before and giving away matches like that is FAR worse than anything in pool (imo), but I... I don't know what happened.

I came out firing well.  Ran out most of the first rack but missed a 6ball or something.  I made the other balls really well and got great shape, but missed the 6ball.  A few games later, I miss an 8 ball I don't know how to shoot.  I say out loud, "I knew I was gonna miss that."  Which shows I already had doubt in my head; which meant I shouldn't have shot the shot yet.

I felt embarrassment I said that out loud.

Many people were watching that had never seen me play before and I got embarrassed.  I also "felt" like people knew I wouldn't be able to handle being in the finals.  Let's face it - I'm new to it; I haven't been in many BIG finals before - I was very wet behind the ears.  Further, I didn't handle the mental thoughts well (pretty obvious reading about all my doubt and caring too much what others think, huh?).

My mental toughness skills were nowhere to be found.  And that hurt me.  It was almost like someone else wrote this entire blog, lol.  Where was all the vast info I have learned over the years???  lol.

I was playing well, I SWEAR I was!  Good safes, excellent kicks, but I would miss another 8ball.  And then ANOTHER 8ball.  And by the time I had a shot on a 9 ball in the side from a miss, I missed that, too.  My body didn't feel nervousness, and my arms weren't wobbly from nerves, but I wasn't finishing racks and I got more and more embarrassed.  I would say things out loud like, "I knew I was gonna miss another 8ball!"

I didn't really think that, but I was hoping I wouldn't.  I honestly missed it because I was worried about shape/scratching.  But, again, I verbally indicated doubt and mental weakness.

Everything happened so fast, I couldn't recover.  Honestly.  I have written a million times (exaggerating, lol) that it's important to figure out WHY you are missing and also to refocus before the match ends.  Don't wait til after the match to figure out your "aha" reasons for missing.  Figure out it asap.

I didn't do that.

I just kept getting more and more embarrassed.  And the match seemed to fly by so fast, I didn't have time to figure things out.

Ironically, I still made a lot of fantastic shots, safeties and outs, just not last in the rack for some reason.

I lost the first set 4-7 so those 3 8balls, yes, are haunting my brain cells.  I have replayed them over in my head a million times this week, sending me into a depression.

The second set I had a chance to take advantage of a miss - the 9ball sitting in the hole and I hit it so hard, it came back out.  I was DONE; at. that. moment.  I was done.  I was rattled and embarrassed and done.  And that was the very first game of the match.  :(

I still fought, but just couldn't make anything work.

At 0-5, from a lot of mistakes, I FINALLY figured out what was going on with me!!!  I wasn't looking at the object ball last.  OMG!  And that's why I missed the 9ball in the hole in the first game of the second match!

I then made a super tough long shot on the 4 ball and got out.  I got to 2 games (2-5) before she ended my finals experience.

I hugged her and was very happy for her but I was relieved it was over.  I wanted to get out of there.  I acted happy I got second, but that was only to deflect how disappointed I was at my own play and embarrassment.  And since she lost her first match, her win is that much sweeter for her and everyone is talking about it.  I am proud of her, OF COURSE, but I am depressed for my actions.

I know in my heart I will ONLY learn from this and be better for next time.

I know that from experience.  And I am ready.  I really am!  I just hope and pray for another opportunity.

But in the meantime, the pain of missing so many key shots b/c I hadn't figured out what was going on early enough really saddens me.

I will get over this; it will just take time.  And, the experience will help me out for who knows what is in store for me in the future!

Did I mention I placed my highest finish yet on the OB Cues Ladies Tour?  :)

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