Monday, April 11, 2011

My Susan Lucci Tourney

Not sure how it happened, but with one of the toughest draws at the BCAPL State 8-Ball Tourney, I didn't falter to pressure, fear, or expectations.  Yippee!

I went down to the event, fully aware of the invisible pressure I put on myself to win the event.  I talked it over some with my b/f on the way down there.  His response was typical-male, "You will be fine.  Stop worrying."  Also on the drive down, I review my notes from Brad Gilbert's book, Winning Ugly.

As we walk in to the Convention Center one hour before my first match, I see a tough 8ball player ahead of us.  I say to my b/f, "that girl right there plays some jams up 8ball."  I check out the charts and see I have to her first! And then I notice if I win, I play another top player right up next!

(btw, the third toughest player in the event is on the other end of the bracket, so I feel relieved about that part, lol.  She's my "BCAPL State nemesis" so I was glad she wasn't near my name on the brackets, lol).

 BCAPL Texas State 8Ball Tourney Room

Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous at all as I waited that hour for my first match to start.  I did worry I wouldn't get to warm up on the tables because my tip was being replaced, but I was able to play about 3 full games on the Diamond Bar Box Tables before I started my first match.

In true form, my first opponent (one of the top players) was running from her break.  I sat there, quietly.  Patiently.  I figured if she ran out, what could I do anyway?  She had one beautiful position shot and a break shot.  I was impressed, as I usually am with her game.  But on her last ball, her position failed her and she hooked herself.  With ball-in-hand, I run out.  It wasn't text-book, but I held it together to run out.  And didn't care if it didn't look pretty, because the end result was a win.

I broke dry and she's running out again nicely, but misses the last ball.  I run out again after a safe.  In the next game she doesn't run out but I play a couple of two-way shots to leave her distance if I miss in yet another non-text book run, lol.  But then I'm up 3-0.  Wow!

All the while I am breathing very slow, deep breaths to try and tame my fast-paced adrenaline.  I remember my discussion about pressure and I breathe deep while staying in the present with my thoughts.

I make a few mistakes, but her mistakes get on her mind too much and she's too upset to capitalize. I eventually win 5-1!

I play right away against tough opponent #2.  She gets out nicely the first two games because of my mistakes and I then tell myself to bear down because I do not want to lose this match that way.  I start to play more confident and get out nicely, even though she is a very intimidating player (btw, the previous player is a very knowledgeable 8-ball player, but this one is intimidating with her stature and demeanor).

But my confidence shines and my safeties prevail as she starts to feel the pressure (I'm guessing) and I win 5-2!

I then play at 7pm - my 3rd round match - and I play super sporty (only after the first tough, careless first game where I give it away way too easily).  I win 5-1!

I have to wait only a little bit to play my 4th round match,  If I win this, I'm on the winner's side on Friday.  I don't even realize I would be playing for the hotseat if I won this match.

Long story short, I put her on the clock and when she is finally walking down the aisle toward the assigned table, the ref is about to forfeit her and I tell him not to, "here she comes."  When she gets there, he loudly, almost in-your-face type of confrontation/accusation, tells her she should have been there and she's only not forfeited because I stopped him, and it's her responsibility to be there, etc., etc..  She decides not to argue with him and handled it very graciously and I never knew she was upset at all.

I saw her play in the previous rounds and she missed a lot and could not get out.  Yep; I felt no pressure when I faced her.  I admit I did feel bad for putting her on the clock though.  Instead of feeling good about not allowing the forfeit, it crossed my mind some she must feel agitated about it.  Maybe that's why I faulted?  dunno.  All I do know is I played safe the first game but left her a wide open shot on the 8ball.

Then for the rest of the match she would run out, while I couldn't.  :(  She was NOT the same girl I had seen earlier in the day and the lack of pressure I had, and no nerves (some adrenaline is always good), I lost 5-1.  5-1!  I was super upset.  I didn't play well, and she didn't make enough mistakes for me to capitalize.  It also went by very fast.  Before I knew it, it was over.  I just had no focus or drive, while she would get out from tight spots.  It was super weird how "nonchalant" the whole match felt.

So even though I didn't get scared and give up a match like I had in the past, this new feeling was sickening also.  :(

I would find out later from her she plays well when she's upset and the ref had indeed upset her right before the match.  Great!   lol.

I get to sleep in, tho and don't play til 2pm.  I eat a nice lunch and head to the Convention Center with plenty of time; no rushing.

I play a good friend of mine at 2pm for my first one-loss side match.  She has improved SO much!  She is now a very smart player and would not make balls til she could get out, along with good safes.  But I was very confident and played smart safes right back as I also ran some tough outs several racks to win the match 5-1!

Now I'm playing for 4th place!

Instead of playing right away tho, I have to sit for 2 hours.  I don't really do much but sit there at the Convention Center because I can't leave to rest in the hotel because the matches were now shot-gunned style.  Instead of playing at 4pm, I didn't start til 630 pm!  Dang slow players, lol. 

And then I had a repeat nightmare.   I, again, just like the previous night, felt no pressure against this opponent.  I wasn't focused, I had no drive.  I couldn't see the outs and I missed more than usual.  Was I tired?  Why couldn't I see the outs?  What was going on?  I know not to underestimate my opponent, but I didn't have any nerves or adrenaline again.  She wasn't a tough opponent in my book.  And, I didn't show up for some reason so the combination was a bad mixture.  Was it because I was too relax?  Was it because I had to wait too long?  I promise you if I started my match right after the one I just dominated, I think the outcome would have been so different.

This one was the same as the previous night, tho - went by fast, she got out, didn't make many mistakes, and I didn't play well to give her a fight.  It sucked.  It FELT terrible to play badly and not be the same confident person I was just 2 hours before.  I had no nerves at all, even though I was playing in a title tournament.  It was weird.  And surely wasn't in the zone.  :(

I lost, I got 4th. 

I am just going to state a fact what others would tell you also: I was the best player left in the tourney at this point.  I really was.  The other top players were out and yet I still didn't win.  Again.  :(  Being the top player is no guarantee - that's another well-known fact.  So, it doesn't even matter that I just stated that. 

Am I happy for 4th?  No.  I am ONLY happy that I didn't let my nerves get the best of me during the tough matches.  I am so thankful I played my game during the tough opponents (that I used to falter to in 8ball).  It felt good to have control of my nerves and the pressure and not play like a wet noodle and give the games away like in the past when I would play scared.

But ironically, that lack of adrenaline in my two losses mighta hurt me.

UGH!  This dang game!  lol. 

I love it to pieces, but I am so #@$#%^$&! tired of being the Susan Lucci of the BCAPL State 8Ball Tourney.  :(

So disappointed with my finish, but ecstatic with my successful great play in many matches. 

Btw, I AM happy about one other thing - my teammate Connie won the tourney!  So happy for her!  admittedly, a little jealous all weekend everyone got to call her Champ, but she deserved it because she showed up and won!  Congrat's, Connie!

One of these days.... 

How long did it take Susan Lucci?  lmao!

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