Last night, I played a local I’ve not seen in quite some time.  We have always played “about” even, although if I remember correctly, I had to give him a ball in one pocket, but the rotation games we were even. In any case, he was at the pool hall and looking for a game.  Even though I wasn’t really playing my best, I have been looking for a little action here and there and wasn’t going to pass this up.  We play cheap, and so the money won’t be on my mind if I lose.  

The game is race to 6 (in an effort to keep the table-time costs down). We decide that there will be no push-outs (his rule) and it’s call-9 (mine). Rules agreed upon, we begin. I win the flip, break and start my way through the rack. I make some mistakes early and he gets the first one. Then I get the next 3. But because it’s call-9, the 9 on the snap doesn’t count, which sucks cuz I made two of them during the set. I really should’ve won the match 6-1, but I hung two 9-balls.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I was getting all the rolls during the match.  But, something struck me, watching it happen to someone else.  There were so many times when he’d literally gripe and complain as he got down on the shot about the rolls, about how he’s not getting the rolls, can’t get a roll, getting no table love, etc and of course he’s upset, so he’d fire the ball 100 miles an hour and miss, and leave me in great shape.  The longer this went on, the more I wanted to say “Don’t be so negative, it’s bad energy and it’s a downward spiral.”  Now, I know this, but I still sometimes have problems overcoming the seemingly endless bad fortune that comes my way.  Specific to this match, I still had negative thoughts when I blew shape, or missed a ball, but I realized in the last quarter of the match that his negativity so far outweighed my own that it was sort of a focal point for me.  Instead of worrying about how bad I feel like I’m playing, I’m starting to notice the good fortunes I’m getting … which I then relate to how I feel about the match overall.  I felt good about the match. I felt I was playing level-headed and had good ideas; even if those ideas didn’t come to fruition as I had planned, I was still happy with them.

To the point of this entry, I found myself being glad to be back at the table whenever he missed, regardless of the position he left me.  I think I finally learned to simple just accept the table. For example, during one of my runouts, I hung the 5 deep in the jaws, and he hit the ball just the wrong way to hook himself on the only ball on that side of the table.  He instantly bitched about not being able to get a roll.  But, that was not a bad roll, that was purely a bad shot.  He’s played long enough to know that cueball is gonna die off the end-rail if you fire at it full in the face. He made a bad shot selection and paid the price for it – because he didn’t survey the table and more importantly didn’t accept the table.

So, you tell me, is that a bad roll? It’s possible becaue he’s off by 2 inches in either direction, but the better question is: why risk it at all. There’s at least 3 ways to get to the 6 from there and he chose the worst of them all.

When I got on the hill, he for some reason thought his score was wrong, which I was a little offended by, but whatever. I offered to discuss it fully because I’d rather not have him thinking I tried to steal one; and I would’ve gladly rewound the camera to watch all of the match thus far to prove my point, but he declined and said it wouldn’t matter anyway.

If you’re curious to watch the match, you can do so below:

And lastly, I noticed that I’m becoming a bit more apathetic towards to my partner’s mood/standing at the table.  If they’re playing terribly, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it did before.  Just because they’re playing bad, doesn’t mean I get to let up on my pressure (which I’m very guilty of in the past). I certainly played looser than I normally do – but I did that the entire match, it wasn’t a change because I was ahead.  

There are many lessons I hope to absorb permanently from this little match.  And with this the first money match I’ve played this year – and it was a positive result, I’m extremely happy – and even looking forward to the next encounter with someone. 🙂