I'm almost ashamed of the title of this post. It is such a cliche, and used a little too often around the pool table. But, I figure I am allowed to use it once and once only, so here it is.
As luck would have it, I am now qualified for the APA regional singles tournament. In an attempt to turn around the low number of qualifiers from our area, the league operator ran 4-person boards all Saturday. Win two matches and you had a slot in the Regional tournament. Assuming I stay a SL 3, I will be playing on the "Blue Tier" for levels 2-3. Last year there were only 30 players in the finals in Vegas, so if I can win in the regional, placing is not quite the outrageous proposition it might be. Although, I won't be placing any side bets.
Both my matches were against SL-5's, which means they had to spot me two games. Or more importantly, I had to win only two games, which really puts luck into play. One accidental loss by my opponent, and I'm on the hill. In most cases, though, the SL 5 will still prevail.
My first match I won 2-1 and the second 2-2. Each match included an 8-ball-foul loss (an eight sunk in the wrong pocket and an early 8) by my opponent. So, that means I sunk the 8 only twice, and out of those 2 games, there's only one game that I feel really good about.
But, after the cloud of shame clears, I am quite excited to have the opportunity, and it inspires me to go back to a more clean practice routine to keep my fundamentals sharp, which I've been wanting to do, but just haven't had the motivation. I want to be focused, but not TOO serious about this. I usually play better, but I definitely seem to be luckier when I'm having fun. (Repeat refrain from title of post)
Since this is my blog, I do have to celebrate the one game. It's probably one of my best outs ever in a match. I had 3 balls left, none too challenging, but the 8 was burried close to the end rail surround by my opponents balls, near corner pockets blocked. I had to find a way to get through the maze and squeeze in between the 8 and the end rail, to cut it into the side or the far corner. I managed to get just the right angle and find a way through and bump into the eight. I didn't have a great shot, but there was a tight cut into the side. Usually at this point, my heart starts to race, my brain gets fuzzy, and I start doubting myself. This time, I just made sure the ball could make it past the point, visualized the shot going in, and didn't second guess myself once I got into position. It felt easy, and it rolled right in. Several people came up and complimented me on the cut. I was happy with the cut shot, but it was the shot before that was the winner for me. I'm sure that most people thought I just got lucky....but that one was actually properly planned and executed. Sometimes it helps to be a little good, too!)