After we discussed our most recent interactions with certain players for our respective magazines, he shared he had recently played pool (I thought he hadn't played in quite some time, so I leaned in towards the little chat window, anxious to see what he would type next.
"On a side note, " he started out, "I'm starting to get the Jones to play again. I actually got out on Saturday and played in a tourney. "
He then shared a photo of him and another player. They were holding up 20 dollar bills like a fan, lol. Then as I looked closer, I realized my colleague had more 20s than other player next to him - he placed first! My colleague is an introvert and shy (especially with photos), but I could see happiness and accomplishment on his face.
"Not bad for someone who has played in maybe two tourneys in the last 12 months, " he quipped.
"WOW! Look at you!" I gasped. I was so happy for him! Then added, "Sometimes breaks are really good for our game," not knowing I was foreshadowing his next comment.
He asks me, "Tell me if this makes any sense. I am a Fargo 560 and my buddy is right around 590-600, depending on the day. When I decided to go play, I didn't tell him because I knew he would come out to watch. I wanted a chance to play without feeling that I had to play up to his rating. "
We have all been through this right?
We sometimes play better in front of certain people, or sometimes play worse in front of others. Are we showing off, trying to prove something, being over confident, or on the contrary, are we afraid to be play bad in front of our friends, or feel embarrassed if we lose, etc.
The "clear" atmosphere allowed him to finally JUST PLAY POOL. I talk about this a lot, but that's what he did this Saturday night. He played pool! No distractions. No considering how he plays because his friend was there. Just played pool.
Again, mental distractions (whether we are aware or not) can keep us from just playing pool, and giving our best on every shot.
He had more to share about his Saturday night escapade:
He continued, "I also told myself that contributing to a billiard magazine doesn't mean that every table is a Cosmo for me, and it's okay to have to stop and study, work out a plan, and bear down trying to make it happen. "
He lost me.
I asked him to explain.
"I sometimes get the idea that since I watch a ton of top level pool to get ready to contribute to the mag, that it should be easy for me to run out on a bar box and that I shouldn't have to ever stop and study a table or shot for more than a few seconds."
Oh wow, what a great reminder! Sometimes we get too cocky or maybe lazy about our game. Don't get too comfortable or think you know the game enough to not study the table or take your time. Every match give it your all and don't presume you can slack off on planning or looking at options.
Congrat's to my colleague! (leave your buddy home more often and take your time, haha!)
Stay safe out there, fellow players; social distance.