I learned another valuable lesson this weekend: Having confidence is good. Having too much confidence is bad.

I had a rescheduled “match” to play my brother-in-law Friday night.  We’ve never really played before – outside of one night on a bar box in a bar with some strange characters hanging around.  We got there around 8 and he was there warming up and getting used to the size of the 9fts again.  We shot a few warmup balls then started it off.  To make it interesting we decided to play for the cost of the time.  So, I said lets do best of 3 sets, races to 7.

The first set I won 7-1.  Then we switched over to our usual table, it’s tighter pockets, but out of the way of the rest of teenagers and bangers throwing balls all over the room.  The 2nd set started off in my favor, winning the next 2 racks.  All the while, I’m goofing around with XY and other regulars and noticing that I’m taking more risky shots when it’s my turn at the table.  Before I know it, he’s up 4-5 on me.  Then 4-6, then 4-7 and he wins the 2nd set. 

Now it’s down to the last set.  The last few racks really went his way, getting great rolls and leaving me terrible when he missed.  The last set started off rough for me.  I was down 0-3 before I realized what the problem was: I wasn’t really thinking about the game.  I was joking around with other people, watching the game, but wasn’t really in the game.  I finally got on the board when it was 1-5.  Then, I got a few rolls, and he dogged the 9 a few times, giving me 4-5.  I was almost on a roll, then he get a rack, 4-6.  I managed to gain my focus back and get it back to 6-6. hill-hill.

All 3 hours of pool game down to one rack, and I had the break.  Unfortunately, I broke dry and left him a shot on the 1.  Luckily, the 3 was buried and he broke it out, and missed.  I got the table on the 3 and ran up to the 8.  Now, the 8 is on the left long rail about 1/2 diamond from the pocket.  The 9 is on the right long rail around the 1st diamond just opposite the 8.  My shot on the 7 left me around the 2nd diamond nearly straight in on the 8.  It should’ve been 2 easy shots, but I was so worried about position, I tried to add too much top/right english and threw the 8 in the corner rail instead of the pocket. 

I was seriously disappointed with my performance.  In retrospect, I never thought I’d have to play a 3rd set, and certainly not go hill-hill.  I understand people get rolls and others don’t and I’m fine with that, but honestly I never should have let it get that far.  I thought about the mistakes I made all night and into the next day.

I did two major things wrong: 1) I didn’t stay in the game because I assumed I would win regardless. 2) I disrespected my opponent by not taking him seriously. As such, I deserved to lose and am glad I did.

So, Dale – if/when you read this: Good job!  Thank you for the lesson in manners and I apologize for the disrespect.