I realize it’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been pretty busy between the day job, three leagues and housework/prep for Halloween (which I do take fairly seriously).  A lot has happened in the last 2.5 weeks, where to begin?

In the APA league, I’m 4-0 in 8-ball so far.  Which is quite strange, since it’s not my game.  Last week, I (SL6) was paired up against an SL4; which means a 5-3 race.  The entertaining thing about this is that I would’ve bet money my opponent was an SL3, so in my head, I thought I was playing a 5-2 race.  Which would make sense, since she’s an SL3 in 9-ball.  So, when I dogged my key-ball and left her an open table, after a few safeties and coaches from her team, I ended up losing the first rack.  In my mind, I now needed 5 and her only 1. I focused as best as I could, while trying to keep a positive attitude about things.  The next rack, she picked away at some balls but missed halfway through. I started my run and picked away the clusters and ran out. 🙂 I break dry, she does the same thing, and I again run out. Now I’m getting a good feeling of confidence.  I break, make some balls, but the CB is locked up.  We trade some safeties, but I win the battle and eventually get out.  Now it’s 3-1 and the pattern repeats!  I break, but there are clusters, she misses a shot or a safety (can’t remember right now) but I eventually get out, making it 4-1.  While she’s racking I mention that “this one is for all the marbles” and she looks at me funny; but I didn’t register it.  I commented to my teammate that it’s hill-hill and they corrected me, saying she still needs two!  I was very happy to hear that.  But, I had to force myself not to let up on the pressure.  Even though I had a bit of breathing room, I couldn’t let myself get wild.  The rack was played tight, several safeties – and I end up winning the match 5-1!  I never win 5 games of 8-ball in a row.  Never!  I was really happy – and it put me in 1st place on the 8-ball Top Gun list. 

My 9-ball match however, was not quite as fortunate.  I (SL7) played an SL6, meaning a 55-46 race.  I just couldn’t get going and the luck factor has been depleted earlier it seemed.  I lost the match 47-46.  I can’t trade points with a lower skill level, but that’s all I was able to do. *shrug* It’s still a long way before the end of the session; but if I had won that match I’d be in 1st or 2nd in 9-ball Top Gun list as well.  As it is, I’m stuck in 11th place.  But, with only 10 points between me and the leader and 9 weeks left of league, it’s entirely possible. 😉

Move on to my Friday league out of Cue & Cushion.  I played pretty well this match.  Here’s the first rack of the match; where once I got a makeable shot, I took it and ran out – but not without making it exciting.  I overhit the 6 ball and get nearly frozen to the 7. Then I overhit the 7 and corner-hook myself on the 8.  Thankfully, the 8 was just in front of the side pocket and the 2-rail kick was lit up like a roller coast in my eyes.  I get down and shoot it expecting to make a good hit, hoping to make it.  So when it drops into the pocket, I’m happy but not entirely suprised. 🙂 I do ask that I not have to make that shot again.  I take an extra amount of time lining up the 9-ball because after that run, I had darn well better make it.  So, I take some time, but too much, follow my pre-shot routine and slice the 9 into the corner. 🙂

You can see the entire match here.

Over the weekend, fellow blogger and all around great person, Gail Glazebrook posted a very interesting entry: Surrender to Your Fears.  In it she talks about how people, in particular pool players, let fear decide their level of involvement.  The best example is a player, like myself, not enterting tournaments because they don’t expect to do well. Personally, I expect to go 2 and out in any of the regional tournaments around here.  Why? Because I know how I play, and I’m not consistent enough to do what I need to do when I need to do it.  This fear of performing poorly stops me from entering tournaments – of any kind.  It keeps me from finding games with other players, both of those things keep me from moving forward in my game.  Which is ironic because if I were able to get some seasoning, I’d lose my fear; but fear is a tough little bastard and self-preservation is strong within … so it makes sure I don’t lose it by never picking a fight with it.  I thanked Gail for making me call myself on that stuff.

The next Midwest 9-ball Tour stop is in a few weeks out at Shooters in Olathe, KS and if things go well around the house (nothing else breaks), I’m going to go. And I’m going to play in it.  I went for the first time back in Feb and it was an absolute blast!  I didn’t even care that I went 2 and out, it was my first time out there, my first time at this tournamet and I just picked up my new custom cue.  I was hoping not to go 2 and out, but I pretty much expected it.  You can read about my trip here

I’m tired of dogging balls. I’m tired of not playing to my expected level – both by me and the others in the leagues.  I can’t lie, I like the fact some of the players are scared to play, that they expect to lose if they draw me that week.  Perhaps part of my problem is that I know that.  It’s extra pressure to perform.  In the APA there are only a handful of SL7’s, only one SL8 and SL9 that I can think of.  I feel like I need to perform at some sort of superior level because I’m a 7.  What I tend to forget is that being a 7 doesn’t mean running out every rack. It means making the best decisions at the right time.  I need to keep this in mind over the next 2 months.  I might even write a little note to myself and keep it in my pool case so I’ll be reminded before every match.