Thursday, November 29, 2007

Championship Stop

It's taken me a couple of weeks to write this tournament up... for three reasons: (1) I was working on Hunter Tour stuff after the event and (2) I am still sick and very exhausted and (3) my Mom has turned ill and I have been worrying about her. (I actually rushed down to San Antonio 5 days early because I was so concerned - I am still in San Antonio with her as I write this)

So, how do you think the expectations are when you place 2nd in the previous weekend? I know from seeing this happen to so many other players and from many comments of others, that to do well after a great finish is very difficult. So, I didn't have any expectations, but knew I would love to last until Sunday. I wanted to focus on staying down - boy that felt good the previous weekend! I didn't get to practice because I was with my Mom, but I was thinking about pool and how it "felt" so good to stay down. But, I had been in bed for most of the week... sleeping all day long and all night. I am not sure what I have, but my throat has been sore for four weeks now.

Julie and I eat at Waffle House in the morning - gosh I love that place! Monica asks me to run the player's meeting and it goes long, but we have so much to talk about and announce! But, the big surprise was the presents the board members received from the ladies. The star trophy was BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING! It took all I could not to cry!!

Helen, Lucille, Julie, Monica and Melinda

I play in the first round after a bye, playing Mindy Williams. As I start to play her, I realize she's actually playing well and getting out... but so am I, hehe. She wins the first game. I win the next. She wins the next, then I win. Tied 2-2. I'm consciously aware it's neck and neck and think to myself the lessons she took long ago she obviously still knows. She gets on 3, and then in my next run, I mess up and she capitalizes. Oops - no longer neck and neck. I'm down 4-2. I mess up again and she gets out - we played with the seven ball and she finally gets out. She's up 5-2. I don't get out again and she gets out and she's up 6-2. Any time a hint of pressure came into my body and mind, I just tried to focus on staying down and remaining calm. I was acutely aware she was the one who was under pressure - remembering when I was ahead against Helen 6-3 and she started coming back, that I was the one nervous. (seems backward, doesn't it?) As I was down, I thought to myself, "well, it's tough to do well in consecutive tournaments... so, it's okay." I knew I could still win and never gave up, though. But my thoughts remained calm. Heck I came back the previous weekend down 2-6... who knows? So, Mindy scratches on the 9. 3-6. The next game, she misses the 9. 4-6. The next three games she can't get out in the middle of the rack and I am starting to not miss many balls and next thing you know, I actually win 7-6! Oh my goodness!

I then play Tracie Voelkering next. I didn't think about her as an opponent or nervous, or anything. I just... played pool. I was near the tournament table and had to walk away a couple of times (don't remember now why), but would come back to the table and run out. Before I really knew what happened, I won 7-4. I was playing well - was probably in the zone because I don't remember much of the match. Or was it because I was sick?

I play Courtney Peters next. Harvey comes in from being with his wife Sharon all week in the heart hospital... we are suppose to go to the dog races that night. I felt so bad, exhausted... I didn't really want to go. But, I knew if I didn't go over there and find out if he still wanted to go to the races, it would be on my mind... it would be on my mind as WORRY, and I didn't want that to distract me in my game. So, I hugged him and said hello and yes, he still wanted to go. I just accepted it and told myself now I don't have to think about it.

I know Courtney has been working on her game and the last few times we have played, I have still won. Her safeties were better this time, as they should be - that part of her game she was working on and I knew eventually her safeties would be getting better. I don't remember the first part of the match, was I down or ahead or was it close the whole time? I just don't remember. I remember I played okay and one time I scratched on a fabulous cut shot on the 7. Ouch! But it was such a nice cut - very long, tough shot. I never would have thought I would have scratched. At this point I am aware of Harvey saying my name and rooting for me on the sidelines. As for the score, I do remember when it was 5-5, though! I was running out and had to come across the table on the 7 ball with reverse english - luckily, I am very good at these shots, but I hit it too hard and it didn't act like it should and I scratched. This gave her ball in hand with two balls left and for her to get on the hill first. Yikes! I didn't get nervous or worried, and I got out the next game. I was aware in this match that this winner would last on the winner's side until Sunday. I would love for that to be me, but if I was on the one-loss side and guaranteed 9th, that'd be okay, too. When it was hill-hill, I missed the two ball - maybe from a safety from her or a lucky roll that hooked me. I watched her run out, never really thinking I'd lose. I wonder if it was my sore throat that made me so numb. LOL. She eventually missed the 7 ball, and she was not pleased. I was able to make it nicely and get good shape, and nail the 8 ball and 9 ball for the win! Wow! I was guaranteed 5th on the winner's side on Sunday!

I broke the sad news to Harvey I just shouldn't go out to eat, especially when I found out Jennifer, Heather and Shayla would be going with him. I knew he needed some time away from Sharon and glad he was still going to do that. I got Taco Bell and a diet sprite and happily went to the room early, ate in bed, and fell asleep at a decent hour. Ah, the little things in life.

The next morning, I know I get to sleep in (I don't have to be there until 11am!) so I go to Waffle House again and sit next to a real nice lady.

As I start to play Leslie Anne Rogers... WOW. I am so exhausted and tired. I also couldn't believe how full I felt. I don't think I ever felt that full playing pool before. It was such a weird feeling; one I did not like at all. But, besides being full, I just had no energy. I think I was sicker than I realized. I lost 7-2, but she played much better than I did. I could have made it closer, but I was too tired. Not an excuse - it's the reason why I didn't play my best. No energy and too full.

I then play Terry Petrosino next. I tell Amanda before I play how sick I feel and she says to fake it and pretend I'm not sick. What? Hmm.... I have acted confident, acted not upset, acted happy, but never tried to act non-sick. As we started the match, I know how well she plays. I know how bad I feel. I think more about what Amanda said, but Terry wins the first two games playing great! She then hits the 9 ball too hard and it jumps back out of the pocket and I make it and get on the board. I hear some snaps behind me. I realize it's Amanda and Jennifer. Terry is running out well again but she leaves herself tough on the 9 ball. I don't think anything of it really - she nails so many 9 balls so well, I figured she'd just make it. She missed it. Wow. I made it and now it's tied 2-2. At this point, I do pretend I'm not sick. I start playing very well, very confident, staying down, seeing the patterns very easily for some reason. I am aware of the snaps, feeling a little bad that I didn't hear any for Terry. I found out later Amanda said they were snapping for her too, they just weren't as loud. But, I didn't feel pressure to play well with so many people watching, I just played. Playing P O O L felt great and I guess again I was in the zone. I can say I wasn't thinking too much... was actually concentrating on the game at hand - staying the in present, not thinking of stupid shit for once. LOL. Again - was it because I wasn't feeling well? Or was it because I was taming that wandering thinking beast I dreaded when it showed it's ugly head?

I won 7-4, I think. Wow! I didn't go out in two after being on the winner's side on Sunday! I had only done that one other time in a Hunter event, and that was years ago. I would eventually get 4th place - second time on the Hunter Tour.

I played Lisa Marr next and although I was playing well (I thought), she just out played me and played really good! But, I was still happy with my 4th place and playing well and not falling on my face was an added bonus. hehe

Until next time,