Last Friday, I went up to the pool hall and decided to see how things would go playing on the big tables, after nearly 2 months away.  And for some reason, I also decided to use my OB Classic Pro shaft again.  I played relatively well, considering.  It seems my pocketing ability hasn’t really changed – I still made and missed the same shots (to which is there no real reason for either, as I will miss the same shot I just made equally as often).  However, I don’t have the powerstroke back.  No full-table draw shots, and if I break, it’s a pretty slow speed – maybe around 12-15 miles per hour.  I actually didn’t even try to break because swinging the cue that hard is still a bit uncomfortable due to the follow-through putting a weird pressure on that side of my hand.  I expected to notice some sort of difference in shooting switching back to the LD shaft … but there wasn’t really anything considerable different about it.  I did miss a few shots with inside because I was compensating for my regular shaft’s deflection, but that was easy to spot.  I still want to change the tip on that thing though – which I’ll have done in the next couple of weeks.

After a while, I got into a game with Jacob.  I went up there to practice, but wasn’t really feeling it.  I also didn’t feel like getting any action, but at the same time, it was something to do. I should know better by now.

So history of playing Jacob is 11-6, then 11-7, then 10-7, then 9-7 – and each time I came out in the negative.  One time, I think, we came out even.  This time, considering my broken hand, he offered to play even, 8-8.  I had to try it, if only to see how things would go.  After 10 racks, we were dead even.  Neither of us winning more than 2 in a row ever.  I was up 1 game on him, once, but that lasted just one rack.  The rest of the time, I had to play catch-up.  

Then I must have gotten tired or something, because suddenly I found myself down 4 games.  I was getting angry over missed shots and getting annoyed at the seemingly endless amount of bad rolls.  Rolls like, an 1/8th of an inch too far or not far enough, leaving me with no shot on his mistake.  I can only take that for so long before it starts to get under my skin.  A player makes a bad shot should not get away with it – not as often as was happening.  Sure, I got some of those myself, but more often than not, if I made a mistake, it cost me 3-5 balls.  If he made a mistake, I might get 1.  Now, granted, he left plenty of good shots that I just dogged to get started – not saying I didn’t have my chances – I absolutely did.  

Anyway, I was missing more shots, getting frustrated and it obviously affected my game. I should’ve quit when I got it back to being only 2 down, but I was hoping I could get even at least.  Nope, I ended up going back and forth between 2 and 3 down for a while, then dropped back to 4.  I called it off then.  I knew I was done. Plus, I have this thing about losing money … I don’t have the money to lose very often, and when I risk it, it seems I always lose it.  So far, I’m down like $100-$120 to this kid.  That’s f’n ridiculous.  But, when I think about it… I’m down on every person I’ve ever gambled.  Maybe Asmir and I are even, but he might be the only one.  I don’t believe it has anything to do with nerves, but rather everything to do with keeping my head in the game.  Staying in the routine.  Somewhere – *always* – I let up, take something for granted – and that will cost me a game.  That starts the frustration; which costs another game.  Here we apply the recursion ad infinitum: Now I’ve lost the match and am down some number of bucks.

I think I’m going back to playing sets instead of games – period.  No more of this by game shit.  I’ve always hated by game for this reason.  Definitely going back to sets. Of course, more money is initially at stake to make up for it, but at the same time, I usually do better at sets. It’s at least a closer score anyway.

Before I do any of that, I have to seriously get back to practicing.  I lost at least 3 games because I couldn’t make a simple short-rail bank.  I don’t know why or what I’m doing with those shots, but I miss short-rail banks more than any other banks.  I can long-rail bank pretty decently, but short-rail…forget about it.

Practice, practice, practice … no matter the barking going on.  Must stick to that.