Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Crowd is Not Against You

I have written before that one of the things we finally figure out in our pool journey is when the crowd is cheering for your opponent, try not to take it as them cheering AGAINST you.

I admit, though, it's very easy to think that way, especially in the heat of the battle.

You are already playing your little heart out and here are people rooting against you!

Well, Grasshopper, they aren't really doing that - the people who are clapping are simply just cheering for your opponent, not against you.  But damn, it sure feels like it, huh? STRONGLY feels like it in fact.  Especially if you are down in a match or not playing well, it really STINGS when the crowd cheers excessively for your opponent or only for your opponent (and not you at all).

It's so tough not to take it personal.  I have to talk to myself, "They are just rooting for them, not against me."  I literally have to remind myself because it can be hard to fade.

Pool is already so mental, so that distraction can hurt us, and we need to counter those negative feelings with the realization the cheering isn't against us personally.

At one of the Omega Billiards Tour stops this year, a couple of local players came in early Sunday evening to watch the matches and they had been drinking.  Okay, they were on the drunk side, lol.

This particular match was deep in the tournament between two top players.  One player, let's call him "Tony," made the 9 ball and the two guys start clapping.  Tony wins again, "Good job, Tony!" they yell out clapping loudly.  Clearly on Tony's side and clearly been drinking, lol,

This may not seem out of the ordinary, but let me set the stage:  There had been no clapping or cheering the whole tournament - none at all - not even in this match.  The place was quiet with fans watching, but not jeering going on.

So, it was definitely out of place all of a sudden.

As a Tournament Director, I can't ask them to stop cheering for a player - they weren't being rude or vulgar - but I think everyone in the room felt bad for the other player, let's call him "Rick," who was obviously not being cheered for and left out of the accolades.

They continued to cheer only for Tony and I could tell Rick wasn't bothered by it, but he was aware of them of course.

At one point Rick is racking while the guys are still clapping and verbally congratulating Tony on another notch in the race.  Rick looks over at the guys and then turns to his opponent and declares, "Wow, you have some fans in here."

Rick wasn't being rude, he was just really pointing out what we all were witnessing.  And he did it in a very tactful, funny way.

And what do you know, the guys then started to root for Rick, too!  I don't know if they sensed it or realized it, but when Rick won the next few games, they finally cheered and clapped for him lol.

We can talk to the crowd or make out-loud comments, and it can sometimes help.  I don't recommend it all the time, lol, but sometimes we are too hurt or affected and our emotions cause us to speak up.  I did this once when my opponent was favored in a match in Florida by all her friends and fans.  I was the outsider that was beating her.  I would win another game, nothing,  She would win a game and the crowd went wild (not wild, lol, but clapped for her).  I made a good out and heard nothing.  I said out loud, "I thought that was a good run?"  Looking at the crowd, asking them, sincerely curious, lol.  And they nodded and then clapped.  And thereafter they clapped for the both of us the rest of the match.

I didn't think they were rooting against me, but it still bothered me I wasn't given credit also just because they didn't know me personally.

The point is to NOT let the cheering for your opponent get to you.  I admit it's not easy, but it will help you in the long run when you are in these situations to just realize they are rooting for your opponent, but not against you.  I promise you'll thank me.  :)

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