During the Texas Open on Labor Day weekend... (I know, I have yet to tell you how I placed 5th, but I will some day!).... I played an extremely nice woman my second match. She used to play on the tours many years ago, then took some time off for her family, and is back to joining the competitions with us.
In the first three games, I missed two 9balls and then scratched on a 9ball. Ugh. I then found myself down 5-1 in a race to 7. :(
I was playing so badly, was nervous, and was too worried about a certain person watching me. I had played so good in my previous days' match, therefore because I was playing so horrible now, I was sick about it! SICK.
I decided to check my phone, and a text message revealed that my friend from California went to another pool room. Whew. Once I knew he wasn't watching anymore, I immediately felt the nervousness leave my body. I normally do not get nervous or worry what others think when I play, but he had told me ahead of time he would be cheering me on. Then, once I missed the two 9balls, I became embarrassed, which led to negative/nervous feelings, which led to wobbly arms that can't function. Ugh. Hate that!
When I scratched on the 9 ball in the third game, my opponent grabbed the balls and started to put them on the table. I reminded her that in this tourney, conceding will cost an extra point/game. She looked at me funny and said, "oh, okay, that's right. Thanks."
After the text message, I could tell my body was "on;" my mind was "on;" and there was no stopping me because I was no longer embarrassed and could feel the focus and determination fill my whole soul. I ran out the next 4 games SO beautifully, solid, and smart to tie it up 5-5. Honestly, I was playing lights out again (just like the previous day). It was like a new me had emerged in the middle of that match! And, she had no chance - I was playing that spot-on.
At 5-5, I broke and made the 9ball on the break. Up 6-5, I don't make a ball on the break (it's winner break) and so I go sit in my chair. As I'm sitting there watching her play safe, I look up at the score beads. 6-5, me.
"I thought she was on the hill. Hmm... that's weird. "
"So, I am on the hill already and she isn't? "
I kinda sharked myself sitting there with all that realization for some reason. That game at 6-5 took forever! I was no longer focused because I was a little relieved at the score, I guess. I missed some shots but we had a lot of safes that game - but I swear it was the longest game in our match. After her and I missed the 7 a couple of times, I finally had an out and won 7-5.
Admittedly, I was stoked!
We shook hands and as I put my cues in my case I told her,
"good luck in your next match."
She replied nicely, "thank you."
Move forward a week later and I'm playing in an OB Cues Tour stop. I run into this girl again at the tourney; she stops me to talk to me in the bathroom.
"It really meant a lot to me you reminded me in our match last weekend that conceding the 9ball would have been a loss of a game."
"Oh, you are welcome," I reply.
"You didn't have to do that and I appreciated it."
I looked at her funny and said, "well, I thought it was the right thing to do. I'd hate for you to loss a game because of that."
Then she went on:
"I also wanted to tell you thanks for telling me good luck in my next match."
Huh? I thought to myself.
I said, "well, of course!"
She added, "well, not many people say that and it really meant a lot."
I was so surprised she was thanking me for all these things that I thought everyone should do and/or already do, but she seemed genuinely surprised with my comments from the previous weekend.
I told her, "well, I did wish the best for you in your next match. People really don't say that a lot?"
And she replied, "no, not really."
I then told her thanks for expressing all this to me and she told me, "thank YOU."
I am still very surprised by that conversation we had. Do not many people be nice to their opponents? I wonder, had I been slackin' off on my niceness?
I had no idea the impact I had on this woman, just being myself. I am very thankful she stopped me in the bathroom to tell me all that, because it reminded me how much "consideration" can affect someone.