I remember very vividly I had to play Vivian Villarreal in a pro tournament (the Ultimate 10-Ball Challenge) here in the Dallas-area about 6 years ago. I wasn't playing top pool back then, but I could still hold my own at times.
I knew Vivian was going to defeat me. She was a pro and I was barely an amateur lol. But Vivian and I are friends - she grew up in San Antonio and so did I and we've been friends FOREVER. I even used to be her webmaster, so this isn't my imagination that we are friends, people!
So when I saw we had to play each other, I felt very calm going into the "pro arena" knowing I'd be playing a friend my first match and it really helped my nerves. I looked at her more of a friend than a top WPBA Pro Player. I also secretly thought to myself that she would be easy on me because we were friends. You know, not really torture the newbie, be kind to me.
I was wrong.
She NEVER let up! She treated me like everyone else - someone she needed to get through to win the title. I was merely a stepping stone, not at all a friend.
I think I lost 9-1 or something. I wasn't too embarrassed for losing so badly, but I admit I had really hoped for like a 9-5 score where she would not play so tight a few games and I could get more beads on the score board, but OH NO.
I wasn't embarrassed, though, because I had been too busy watching this master on the table. She wasn't timid, she was confident, she was making shots and getting in line - I was in awe. And I was grateful to witness it so close (even if I was her opponent getting beat lol).
The thing is, she did EXACTLY what she was suppose to do. We aren't friends on the table. We hugged before and after, but that was it - it was all business - as it should be.
I had incorrectly assumed she would be "nice" to me. And yet she should do no such thing! And, she knows this. There is no friendship - and she plays pool for a living and can't be trying to be nice to the amateurs in tournaments! She needs to make that money, play tight.
I find it interesting I had these thoughts back then. I was so naïve for sure! When I was on top of my game, I'd rather her play tight and try and beat me 9-0! Instead, as a newbie and a VERY green amateur, I had hoped for a bit of saving face, lol.
Great lesson she taught me that day!