Last week was a rollercoaster of a week – as far as pool goes. Tuesday I return to Affton Billiards for a bit of practice. I play reasonably well; nothing outstanding, but I feel like “me”. Wednesday’s league arrives and I hit some balls to warm up and feel like I’m doing decently. I draw who the one player I have never beat; never even close. We are the same skill level on paper; but he’s gotten into my head. Probably because the first time we played, it was masters and he smoked me 7-0, missing only 2 balls the entire time, I think? Regardless, for whatever reason, he’s got my number. A few months back, he had a broken hand and I still couldn’t beat him. I had him close to the ropes for a while – then I started making mental mistakes and he stopped making shot errors. End of story.
Anyway, I draw him to play 8-ball. I’m not sure we’ve ever played 8-ball before. He gets the first rack, I get the second, then that’s it. Not because he broke and ran out the rest of the racks … but because for whatever reason, my game just wasn’t there. He’s miss late in the rack, leave me a few balls to get out and I couldn’t do it. A few shots I missed (or position) were absolutely due to the conditions – but still I should know better than that. But, when you’re struggling the last thing you want to worry about is “how much *cling* are these filty balls gonna have today?”. Or, with ball in-hand, I play the 1 ball that’s frozen near the side pocket down the rail and it hugs the rail the whole way – until it gets to the 1st diamond then rolls out of the pocket path. I had to hit is soft to keep position for my next ball. If I can’t rely on the equipment to at least be something close to reasonable, why should I even bother playing on it at all?
So, he wins the match 5-1 and I lose, again. I’m so disheartened, I pack up and leave. I also realize that I just Do.Not.Care about this league anymore. I don’t. Not even a little bit. It’s such a crap-shoot; which table(s), which format, which opponent, what conditions. Granted, I should be able to play and beat 98% of the people in that room on any given day; but I’m letting something distract me mentally. I’m just so close to quitting the APA. I don’t think it’s helping my game at all. Sure, there’s extra pressure when I have to play a lower skill level – and there’s always that team aspect of it which adds a lot of pressure – but overall I keep coming back to the experiences I had with the MO8 league: It’s not the game I want to play on the equipment I want to play on with the challenges I want to experience. Add to everything else, the fact that the return on investment here is almost zilch. Yes, there’s a chance to get to Vegas – but that’s a very very slim chance – and even if I would qualify, I’d have to take time off work – which means the trip would cost me a LOT of income (as of right now, I don’t get PTO).
The one thing that keeps me front just walking out immediately is that I had talked about forming a new team with my stepdaughter, her boyfriend and another friend of mine for the summer session. Of course, I could still do that and just say to hell with everything else. Maybe, if I/we decide to do that, we can move over to the MO8 league… or even better, START A NEW LEAGUE! I really like how the NAPA league is set up. If only I knew of a place that could/would host such a league. *sigh*
So, Wednesday has me all kinds of deflated. Thursday is APA Masters league. I have to play 2 matches – one is a makeup from a cancelled week (weather) and the other is the normal league match. Long story short – out of nowhere, I play really well! Granted, I was getting the rolls, in both matches, but still, I executed my ideas well, and made the shots I was supposed to make. I won both matches 7-3!!
Friday’s league in the in-house league at Cue & Cushion. I start off playing well, get a lead of 4-0 then … just fall apart. I lose the match 9-6. I have no idea how I managed to do that; other than just missing shots I’m not supposed to. I’m out of sync with myself somewhere. My pace or stance or brain is off/in the way. I referenced this in my last post.
I haven’t wont a single match on Fridays .. and this was the session I was supposed to be moved up to an A rank – boy am I glad that didn’t happen. Not that it matters, not winning is still not winning. I expected to struggle as an A in the wins department – but I certainly thought that if I stayed a B, I’d be getting the best of it. But, I do recognize that so many of my wins are based on getting lucky and it’s this luck-factor I’d like to eliminate from my game. I just don’t know how. Without it, I lose terribly. With it – I can’t lose. I don’t like that. I don’t think I’ve ever won a match where I wasn’t getting the rolls – and I mean like ALL of the rolls, not just a couple more than the other person.
Case and point: My gambling partner and I have been going at it every Friday for the last several months. The first few months I got the rolls and I got the wins. Then it changed, she got the rolls (combined with me missing a lot, to be fair) and she got the wins. Friday, we played races to 9 (in 10-ball) for more cash than I’ve put on the lights (still cheap to some of the others around); and I was really nervous about it – considering I had just lost a lot of pool. But, luck was in my corner and I got the good bumps and won the first set 9-2. Then we played again and I got down early, 6-3, but somehow managed to win the set 9-6. I was ecstatic a) $$$$ b) those two sets evened us up in the grand-history of our matches money-wise. But, I played so much better than I did in league. There’s another post about why that might be in the works.