Pleasantly surprised by the nice turn-out.
I drove down the night before with my b/f and we didn't try to get there early, instead we took our time and arrived about 10pm. We checked out the charts and then went to sleep at a decent hour, instead of staying at the convention center and being stupid like drinking and staying up too late for no real reason, lol. He had to play at 9am, I had a bye in my first round.
He won his first match and then I started my trek through the ladies bracket at 1030am. I won 4-0, even tho I started off slow. My opponent is from my area and an extremely knowledgeable player, but I prevailed. I then won my next match 4-1 against a newbie, but she was so kind and nice.
Next round was a 4pm and so my b/f and I went to see a movie because we had 4 hours til we played. Real Steel was a good flick. At 4pm I played another friend and I was ahead 1-0 but then lost focus and got too comfortable and was down 2-1 in a race to 4. I bared down and started to concentrate and won 4-2.
I had to wait a little bit to play my next match and my opponent is a very tough player, both physically and mentally to play, so I started to get a little nervous.
The first game we go back and forth and I work on a great out but miss a side pocket shot that I had to cheat for the 8 ball. She wins that game with a great shot to get out, but I admit the wind was a little out of my sails, and it was only the first game. :( I was so disappointed because I had the opportunity to go up 1-0 right off the bat and I had run out so well and smart, to only falter.
I had another chance the next game but made a mistake and couldn't get out. I played safe on her 8ball, but she jumped it SO beautifully and made it. ugh. I rallied to win 1 (maybe 2) more games but I just didn't play my best and she won 2-4.
I was very disappointed, but more so, I hate to admit: I was...well.... used to it. I have yearned for a Texas state title tournament for so so many years, that I almost have come to expect I will give away my matches. It was just typical of me. I let the mental game get to me and I played my opponent, not pool. I do it every state tournament. I freak myself out because I want the title too badly.
As I walked around to kill time, I actually wondered why I played this game. How many years am I going to play and still let the mental game win? How many years am I going to enter these state tournaments, look around and believe in my heart I can win, but still NOT capture that first place prize because I give away games, and/or get nervous of the invisible pressure of the title and/or my opponent?
I sat around, I swear, for like 3-4 hours til I had to play my 5th place match. I was tired, irritated, annoyed, you name it. The matches took so dang long! ugh. And it was like 11pm and I was exhausted sitting around doing nothing for so long. :(
As I recall the chart in my head, and looking down the line at my opponents, I know I can win my next two matches to get to the 3rd place match for a rematch with the girl who put me in the one-loss side. Her best friend was in the rocking chair, and she was just as tough to play. So, at that point, my mind knew I could at least play for 3rd place.
I was pretty satisfied with that, as last year I got 4th in the BCA state tourney, and the one before that I placed 5th. So, I figured I was making progress, lol.
Of course, this meant I was thinking ahead, lol, and hadn't even played the two matches to GET to 3rd, lol. Yea, we aren't suppose to do that at all!
But, I was still pretty confident I could win my next two matches.
Of course the match I'm waiting on goes hill hill, ugh. I grab my cue and hit a couple of racks to warm up. I hadn't hit a ball in like 4 hours.
I FINALLY get to play! And I win 4-0.
Then my next opponent just finishes her match, also, and she was excited we could play right away, too, lol (it really was a very long day).
We played and I won 4-0 again.
I then get to have my rematch and as I said, I had no expectations for this 3rd place match. I was happy to be there. I wasn't thinking ahead, nothing was in my brain about the title or anything. I was so complacent and happy with 3rd, nerves and pressure were no where to be found. Plus, I don't know if I can get past these last two girls anyway, so I was okay with 3rd.
But, a funny thing happened. I was in the zone. Majorly. So in the zone, that after she missed the first 8 ball, I won 4-0! I couldn't believe it, really, and then not quite aware what was really going on because it all happened so fast: I was all of a sudden in the finals.
I played really, really good in that 3rd place match.
Right before the finals I realized I had just earned myself a plaque! (love trophies and plaques because I hardly have any.) I got a 2nd place plaque! yay :)
I was content with that and SO happy. It hadn't really sunk in that I was playing in the finals of a title tournament that I had yearned for and wanted for SO many years. I was just happy I was where I was.
But then.... I was still in the zone. OMG. I won the first 3 games of the first set so beautifully. Wow....
There were only a handful of people there (as it was 2am) but I think even they were impressed. My b/f would tell me later he's never even seen me play that well before!
I finally started to make a few mistakes and she won 2 games but I wasn't upset or let it get to me that I let her back on the scoreboard because I had been playing well and didn't completely dog it like I can do so easily, and have done a million times before.
But then I got out nicely to win the first set 4-2!
She tried to flip right away, but I had to pee. lol. I was drinking Diet Coke to stay awake (from the caffeine) and couldn't hold it any longer.
I shouldn't have done that, tho, as it slowed me down in the next set. As I washed my hands, I tried to force my mind from realizing I *could* win this. I tried to just be happy I won the first set. No thinking ahead. No thinking I finally might get a title. I tried to keep that all from my brain, because otherwise I would just get nervous. :(
She won the flip and broke and ran out! I shot once in the next set and she ran out again.
She's all of a sudden up 0-2.
She was running out the 3rd game and as I sat there, I was still content. I was pretty happy she was winning on her own accord, and finally not because I was missing shots and giving it away like I have in the past.
She was playing good now and not giving me chances, which to be honest, she would have to do this day because I was SO in the zone and playing so good, it was the only way I truly believe I could have been beat.
I hate to sound so confident, but this it not an ego thing or me being cocky, it's just a fact I was THAT much in the zone and seeing every shot, break out, run, shape, perfectly.
Anyway, at 0-2 her in a race to 4, in the final set, she hooks herself on the 8 ball. She misses and I run out. I then break and run so beautiful, I actually impress myself! I was SO freaking amazed how well I could not only see the layouts and runs, but also how well I was executing my shots and shape! Score 2-2.
I think she scratches, and I run out so nicely again. I'm truly impressed, lol, with how well I am getting shape and seeing the outs (and not hooking myself with all her balls left on the table).
I look down at the score and I'm all of a sudden I'm up 3-2.... in a race to 4.
I don't think ahead and I just break the balls, make one on the break, and quickly and confidently grab my playing cue ready to check out the layout.
I like solids, but it still wont be a cake walk. I start pecking at my run and have to make a soft break out with 3 balls left. As I walk over to see if I left myself a decent shot, I see it: I'm about to win. It takes all I can not to cry.
It's not ever yet, I tell myself. Don't cry!
I play a stop shot on the 5 ball. Cut the one ball, and slide over for the 8ball which is intermixed with all her stripes on the table. It looks like the 8ball wont now go in the side but what everyone doesn't know is, *I* know it can be cut down the corner, as that's what I was planning all along anyway. I just came up short, but I can still see the 8 ball enough even though it was tucked behind her stripe. I call the corner, get down, remind myself not to jump up, take a few strokes and I nail it!!
I immediately fall to my knees, and start sobbing with my hands covering my face! OMG! I can't freaking believe it!!!
My b/f was cheering and he comes right up to me and I hug him, sobbing! The 3 other people left were clapping and I was a mess! I then walked over and apologized to my opponent for not shaking her hand right away and she said she understood as I mumbled I was crying because of my Mom.
Her and her best friend congratulated me and truly expressed how well I played. I was very moved they were so nice and cordial.
My team captain was one of the ones left at 230am and she came over and hugged me as I cried and cried! Then the TD came over, Janet, and I cried. And then I hugged our friend Ross, and I sobbed in his arms too.
When I was shown the plaque, I LOST it! OMG it was so pretty and huge and I won a freaking state title tourney!!!!!
I joked with my b/f a he took this pic, "make sure you get the crowd in the background." lol.
Can you see my red nose from crying?
I cried and cried. Even as I type this out, I am tearing up how moving it all was to me. To finally win something you been craving for years and years is so very emotional. And to add to that emotion that fact I can't call my Mom to tell her, just breaks my heart at the same time.
I wanted to text my besties, but they were all sleeping! :( But a few night owls were awake on FB and I was posting up a storm! LOL.
I know many people think I should have won this years go, or they had no doubts. The fact is, I dogged it every year, every time. To put pressure on yourself is a horrible feeling. To be nervous sucks. To give away games because you miss because you are thinking ahead, is brutal. I would get jitters literally weeks before Texas state tourneys, ugh, yearning for the win.
I can't explain to you why I wasn't nervous before this tourney. Maybe it's because this time I had no time to get the jitters? I have been so busy lately, I didn't have time to realize I had a state title tournament ahead of me. I had hardly any time to pack, much less consider the desired outcome of this tourney.
Today was just a day I wasn't thinking ahead. I wasn't nervous. I had no pressure for some reason.
That's why I won.
But I can't tell you WHY I didn't feel pressure or wasn't nervous toward the end of the tourney. I admit I did read all my underlined sentences from the book Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert, but I have done that several times right before other tourneys.
Can I capture that again? Possibly. I have been in the zone a few times in the last ten years, so I know it's possible. But I also know how tough it is to not think ahead when you want something very badly.
Of course that night after he win, I could barely sleep. And then woke up early and was finally able to text my besties!
When I go to the convention center the next day to watch my b/f play in teams, a lot of people congratulated me. I shed so many tears from hugs and sharing how I collapsed on the ground after my win just the night before.
The next day, they gave me the chart!!
Then after my "official" pic with the plaque and ACS State President, I walked around with my plaque and more congratulations from friends and acquaintances. It meant so much!
At one point, I sat with some girlfriends during their team event, and as I sat there with the plaque in my lap, I stared down at it and started to cry. I was so dang happy and yet tore up inside because I couldn't share the amazing news with my Mom. Two months to the day of her passing, I won this tourney for her.
All weekend I would hug my b/f and look up into his eyes and say "Can you believe it??"
He'd reply, "Yes, I can."
I'd ask right away, "No, really, can you believe it??"
He'd stammer and say, "Uh, no."
I'd ask again and we went around like this all weekend. lmao!
And no, I still can't believe it!
Tourney description: OMG!