I'm pleased to say that my return to the table resulted in a win. Even though I have been committed to being positive about the L-word and not buying into the "losing streak" concept, it was a relief.
Its was an easy match, one that I was supposed to win, but that comes with its own pressure. If I lost this one, then I would have to go into therapy. Fortunately, while I wasn't playing my best, I was pocketing balls well enough to stay ahead, playing safe when I should and didn't make too many mistakes. My opponent made it easy on me by giving me ball in hand twice when I was either on my last ball or on the 8.
When I was on the hill, I missed the 8 a couple of times. I had ball in hand with one ball left and drew the cue back a little far for the eight, so I had kind of a tricky cut, which I almost made. When I went back to my seat I was thinking "Damn, I wish that had gone in. Then it would be over." Not, as in over as in won, but over as in, I didn't want to have to keep playing this match. My opponent missed and left me a pretty easy cut in the side. As I lined up I wasn't thinking, something to the effect of "This is an easy shot, don't miss it, don't miss it." And of course, I did.
Even if I had lost that game, I still had two more chances, so there wasn't any pressure except what I was putting on myself, because I was so darn scared of losing. What the hell? This ain't the Olympics, its league pool....
The next and final shot was a gift from the heavens, as incredibly, my opponent missed his ball entirely and I got ball in hand. It was a relief to sink that last ball and sit down...and then I had a great time drinking and chatting with my teammates until the wee hours of the morning.
I think my ego was a little bruised when people suggested I needed to get some easy wins to get my confidence back. But, I have to say, I think they were right. Sometimes it helps to lower the pressure a little and remember what it feels like to sink an 8-ball (even if its an easy one). It ain't pretty, but I guess this is just a first step to getting back into the groove.
Somewhere I read that in river rafting one of the keys to successfully navigating the rapids is to focus on where you want to go rather than trying to avoid the rocks. Right now all I see are rocks....and I don't get it. Why can't they just get out of the way?