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My 8-ball league team finished first in our division with a record of 13-3.  As such, we’re heading to the championships this weekend to be held at Side Pockets.  I’m told this is a very competitive tournament.  The biggest known problem is simply the level of competition that exists in the west and north divisions is above what we normally encounter in the south division.  That means we can’t rely on getting back to the table more than twice most of the time.  Our first match is Friday at 8, and if (when) we win that one, we play Saturday at 11.  Now the problem for me personally is that’s the last match I can play in since I have tickets to see a very rare concert in town.  TOOL is playing Saturday night, and they haven’t been through town in many years. Also, they’re my favorite band that I have never seen live.  I’m not missing them.  I talked to my team captain about it and it shouldn’t be a problem.  It does kind of suck for them since they’ll lose their lowest ranked player, meaning they have to play an extra notch.  I still don’t expect it to be too much of a problem, but still, I would love to be able to be there and participate – and/or watch the finals.  If we win our 11am match, we play at 4 – then possibly at 8.  If by chance we win the match at 8, we play sunday afternoon sometime.  I know that if we win the match at 4, we’re guaranteed to finish in the money, as that’s the final 8.  The 8pm match decides the final 4 to be played on sunday.  If everyone plays their top game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us in the final 4.  There’s a few teams that are always a big challenge, I’m told, and those are the guys that generally only need one chance at the table.  Run out machines, nearly all of them.  I’m going to try and not psyche myself out for this tournament, but I also know that I need to really bring it.

Last night, I went to the pool hall and played bar-box 8-ball all night.  Generally I did okay, and when my opponent missed and left me with 5 or fewer balls on the table, I was almost always out.  That’s good.  But I also need to not wait for the other guy to mess up.  I noticed too, that I don’t always pay attention to the 8-ball when it’s in a cluster.  I’m focused on my suite and it’s clusters, if any, but I, more than once, overlooked the 8 being locked up with some opponent’s balls.  I’m going back tonight to continue to work on my route-planning.

I really wish the tournament started Saturday though.  The AC broke in my house earlier this week and I haven’t been sleeping well at all.  It’s nearly 85 in my bedroom, which doesn’t lend itself to good sleep.  I thinking about taking tomorrow off just so I can sleep in later and try to get some solid rest throughout the day.