Saturday, October 8, 2011

Embarrassing Reactions to Embarassment

I've noticed over the years in myself, and in others, what the embarrassment factor does to a player. Even though I have experienced this horrible feeling, I have seen some of the best pros react with rage over embarrassment, also.

Fans b1tch and complain and make fun up the pros who may post on facebook and "whine." Or they will see a pro react at the end of a match with unusual, rude characteristics and the "fans" will run to the internet and tell everyone who will listen: "
I can't believe he did that

I don't like fans complaining about their idols. I really dislike it when they say "that's why pool is going nowhere" just because a pro whines or complains after a match.

I have felt what the pros have felt. And I bet you have, too.

You remember those few times that you instantly react to a comment or nonverbal cue after you lose a close match. As you reflect back, think of those times you snapped at someone after you lost a close match or started to whine to friends after a tough loss.

The key to these unusual, and unfortunate circumstances, are they usually occur after a very tough loss COMBINED with some other factor. If you simply lose and walk away without seeing or hearing anything, you normally don't say anything. But if someone makes a comment you are not prepared to receive and maybe also combined with the fact a lot people were just watching your loss, the feeling you feel in your body is like none other.

It's difficult to describe, but it's the feeling if embarrassment running through those veins and it makes your heart race and your blood boil.
When you lose to another player who outplayed you, or you simply didn't perform well, those loses you take in stride and don't overreact.

But the loses where you make a mistake at the very end of a match and you feel embarrassed over it, or at the end of the match something happens that triggers a raw emotion of embarrassment, those are the times you overreact and respond like a raging idiot. Those are the few times in your career that you snap at people or whine about the conditions, when in reality, you are just upset with yourself for losing.

I remember one tourney I was playing for 4th and I played my little heart out! I was ahead most of the match and my opponent came back and won. So many people were watching and after the hill hill match, a friend went up to my opponent and told her right in front of me how well she played. I was upset instantly because I had played my little heart out and gave the match away at the end and her words stung. Stung so badly, I'm telling you all about it and it was prolly 4-5 years ago.

Funny. We never whine after we win. Do we?

We never snap at someone who makes a crappy, unwelcomed, wrong-timing comment after we win.

But I feel for the soul who makes the wrong comment after a tough loss! We may bite their heads off and spit them to the ground!

This is why I don't complain about pros or friends who snap or overreact after a loss. And it's only because of some little thing that causes the feeling of embarrassment to rise through our bodies all of a sudden. 

I have felt this way and overreacted plenty of times.

Another example...

I lost 7-5 just two weeks ago in a match because I slow-rolled an 8 ball. I shared out loud, "the ball rolled off!" I was embarrassed but also ticked. I was about to make it hill hill and instead I lost. Right after the match, I tell a friend, "it really did roll off" and as she agreed, a guy came up to just say hi and thought he would be funny and added, "I thought you just played bad."

WTF? Yea, I snapped at him. I was rude and I was pissed.

Think for a minute though - if I had won, I would have laughed WITH him.

Instead, I complain to others what he said to me and how rude I thought it was.

Let's be fair here. I knew he was joking, I knew he didn't mean it, but I reacted badly.  And it was an instanct reaction. It's a very horrible feeling to do this (embarrassment) and I bet I'm not the only one who hates to overreact to comments no one means to say that rile us up because of their timing.

Another time a friend of mine was playing on the stream table and lost a really close match that she should have won. She sits behind the computer right after her loss and someone in the chat room states that she played bad and gave the match away. She literally had just finished the match and was embarrassed she lost on the stream and she didn't dare hold in her immediate reaction to that comment! She was hurt and extremely upset at what they said and she went off on them.

I recall one pro whined on facebook after a tough loss in the finals of a big tournament. Everyone complained and talked about how he was a sore loser. He said the racks were bad and his opponent should never be allowed to soft break.

He was mad he lost and so he complained right afterwards. Do you think he would have whined if he had beat the guy? No. He might have said something in the interview nonchalantly about the soft break, but he wouldn't have spewed off on facebook.

Embarrassment causes an immediate reaction in people. The reaction it causes can sometimes not be controlled. You are upset, embarrassed, and mad and one small, little comment can set you off in a heart beat!

This is very normal. So to all those people that think the pros should not whine or complain, they are human, too. They sometimes can't control their reactions either.

Ask them about their loss in 24 hours or even 12 hours, and their response would be completely different. That's why it's best to just not say anything to someone after a loss until they bring it up.

Each of us already have our own snowball effects going on. After a tough loss, say something funny, crappy, or comment how bad we played and you may get an earful from the red-headed demon inside us.

Sometimes we may be able to control it, but sometimes that little $hit comes out with no warning because we can't control the reaction fast enough.

Sorry in advance btw... I have been known to be that red headed demon child.

It's so very ironic to me that an embarrassing instance causes us to react without thinking, and that in itself if usually very embarrassing!

That's why all of this makes sense when one searches for the definition of "Embarassment:"

Embarrassment is an emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. Usually some amount of loss of honour or dignity is involved, but how much and the type depends on the embarrassing situation. It is similar to shame, except that shame may be experienced for an act known only to oneself.


poolminnow said...

I couldn't agree more. We're all human. For people who don't compete seriously, or who don't really reflect on these things they don't realize how raw that moment after losing is. Sometimes its fine, but when it stings, I know I can't control how I react to things and I just try to get away from people, but they don't always let you.

I recently lost a match in a tournament and I was complaining about it to a friend, then listening to myself, I was embarrassed and said "Ugh, well, it doesn't matter, its only pool." She replied, "Tomorrow, or in a few hours it won't matter, but now, yeah, it matters." I thought those were wise words.

R Riley said...

Ironically I disagree. I believe that people "complain" about pros and their comments because they are PROFESSIONALS who at that level should have learned about sportsmanship. Pool is not so much about your wins and losses, but about how you react to them. Complaining about how a match went after you lose is all about making yourself the victim. I know that I have done it, and I know I have been on the receiving end of it too. Dalton always tells me that its important to be not only a humble winner, but a humble loser as well. Think hard.. I know there is a person that you play in a tournament that you enjoy playing even if they beat your a$$ simply because they are humble about it. That's why so many sports tennis, football, etc. can flag you for using un-sportsmanlike conduct. I don't disagree about why it happens. But if we all learned to be more humble pool would be more enjoyable even if you do lose.

Melinda said...

We can agree to disagree, R Riley. We are all human and no matter how humble we are, sometimes we react...ugly. The best pros in ALL sports have had bad moments they take back. We don't like to do it, but *sometimes* it does happen. I'm not talking about the people who complain all the time.

Melinda said...

I agree about the wise words from your friend. Thank you so much for sharing!

Unknown said...

Nice post Trigger.. I get embarrassed too at times. Now that I've learned to have a little more fun, stop thinking about losing and just play my game without overthinking, I win a whole lot more.

Don't get me wrong, I still make stupid mistakes but don't get worked up or embarrassed about them nearly as much.

Milica said...

This seems to contradicts your earlier post about handshakes...

Melinda said...

Milicia - Good point. Sometimes I do that. So many scenarios can come up in competition. My point about handshakes was about recurring, unsportmanship. And this post is about reactions from players that don't normally react unsportsman-like.

Thank you for the comment!