Fast Eddies Finale was held in San Antonio in December...
I was able to practice the Friday evening before (where the tournament was being held) for a few hours on the 9 foot table. Played alone at first and then my friend Eric from Odessa showed up. Some of the guys were getting ready to play in the ring game, but Eric let me continue playing on the 9 foot with him. I realized I wasn't focusing and REALLY wasn't staying down. So, I wanted to practice some more conditioning on Saturday, if I could get back to the pool room.
I was able to go back after I ran some errands for my Mom but played with my friend Ray from Waco and wasn't able to get some good alone-time conditioning in. We finally played a race to five so we would focus more and down 4-2, I won 5-4 in this mini ten-ball match!
I showed up to practice early on Sunday and I just didn't feel right. I wasn't making many shots, etc. I told myself I just needed to warm up (even though I don't normally do that) and felt a little better as the players' meeting started. Only 15 ladies came. FIFTEEN. WOW!
Luckily for me, I got the bye! So, I sat with my ipod, streaming cool music through my ears, as I watched Gordy play SO well and SO smart against Manual; watched Jason Pearce lose a tough match against Ismael; and watched Eric destroy a guy named Mickey. It was fantabulous to watch these great players. They really took their time to not rush shots OR decisions. I totally absorbed the strong mental feeling I witnessed and went to my first match against Kawania Watson.
Oh, I was nervous! I hadn't felt nervousness in a couple of tournaments. hmm... no numbness (that's not good). She is a tough competitor. I put on my ipod and I didn't have it turned up at all. She missed the five ball in the first rack, and I ran out - saw the pattern perfectly and stayed down. Then she missed the five ball again and I picked up the rest of the balls, again seeing the layout well (just as the guys were doing who I watched earlier). I walked briskly, happily, and confidently to break, thinking to myself how proud Gordy would be of me. I noticed a guy I didn't know watching our match and I glanced over at him, wondering if he saw the spring in my step. I then broke and made the nine ball on the break. Wow! Up 3-0. I then messed up on a safety on the seven ball and she got out. Then I missed in the middle of the rack and she got out. Knowing the other player always makes a surge, I didn't let it bother me. I got on 4 first, but then she got on 3 games. After another mistake on my part, she tied it 4-4. I walk up to break, and my step is no longer springing (again, wondering if that guy noticed that as well). I am a little deflated, realizing I'm not playing as well as in the beginning and a little frustrated with my mistakes at the table, but still trying to not think about the mistakes so much that it affects my current state of mind. We go back and forth in the next game and after she fouled on the seven ball, I get out and get over the side hump and onto game five. She wins the next game after a nice run and it's tied 5-5. She makes another mistake and I get out to get on the hill first. Whew. But, I knew she could get on the hill and even win, so I accepted that and simply played my game. After going back forth again in this game on the seven ball, I had a tough shot on the 8 ball and tried to stay down, not sure if I did, but got shape on the nine ball, but hit the 8 too hard and missed it. She then made the 8 ball but scratched. Wow. I won 7-5.
I then had to play ever formidable Heather Lloyd next. We knew we were both struggling today (we had talked during the player's meeting how we didn't feel like we were playing well). I wanted to play her, because the last two tournaments where I was playing well, I didn't get to play her. But, I didn't play well this time. I knew who would win would be guaranteed 3rd and into the money and playing for the hotseat, just like I had felt at the FE in Houston a month before. I was able to pull that win... but not this time. Heather wins the first game and then she scratches on the 5 and I get out. Then she gets out again nicely twice (after a few mistakes by both of us) and she's up 2-1. Then I make the nine on the break. Tied 2-2. She wins again after my mistakes and I can't seem to get out. I truly doubt I was staying down, wasn't thinking about much and trying to breath because I was nervous and embarrassed about the way I was playing. I noticed a friend of mine watching (Paul) who I have always had a problem watching me; I tried not to look up or look around, but happened to see him anyway. She is up 3-2 and then scratches on the 9 ball and the score is 3-3. She wins another game and I win won, too. WOW! I won a game. hehe. After she gets on 5 to my 4, I break and again make the nine on the break. She states to me, "this makes it tough" or something like that. She bares down and wins the next two games by playing well and I am completely deflated. As she is running out the last game, I take off my ipod, realizing I don't even want it on. The music wasn't loud enough to hear, it wasn't making me happy, and I actually, believe it or not, wanted to hear clearer, feel clearer, the process of playing pool, even though I played terrible. What was going on with me? Why wasn't I staying down and why wasn't I focusing and why wasn't I playing well?
I play Julia Rapp next. The last time we played, she missed 5 nine balls. She ran out the first game and made the nine ball. Whew! I didn't want it to be like last time - it was tough to watch, even being the opponent. I win the next game on one of her mistakes. Then she scratches and I get out nicely. I can feel my confidence going up and I FEEL better. She makes another mistake and I get out again. I am really feeling good and playing well (I am back!) and win the next two games to seal the win 5-1. I then play Helen next.
I miss late in the rack; she gets out. I win the next game, but that would be the only game I could muster from my body. I miss late in the rack the next four games, even after some safeties, good shots, etc. I just can't get out. She capitalizes well and wins the match. I am frustrated, deflated, confused, heartbroken... my only solace is I placed 4th and got in the money. $75 richer, but not emotionally richer.
Not a weekend tournament for many weeks.... I hope I practice, still, though, but I am exhausted and not motivated right now. I did play in a new league a few days later, VNEA, and ran out the first rack and won three others and almost one the fifth. I felt good, actually.
Oh, give me the strength to want to go practice.
Until next time.