Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who are you, and what have you done with my partner?

Day 2. Scotch Doubles. My normally supportive partner is replaced by his evil twin. He pouts when I miss. Tells me what I did wrong in the middle of the match. When I play well, and we pull off match #1 of the day, he's not excited or complimentary, or grateful for the lucky rolls. He acts like, "well, of course we should win." We lose match #2. I play well, but miss a few tough, but critical shots. He sulks, and then just takes off.

I'm probably making it sound worse than it was, but seriously, I was like WTF? I feel like crap. I went over the shots I missed again and again, and wondered, what happened? They weren't easy, but they were makable. All of them I missed by just a hair. Did I just not want to win? Did I just give it away? Did I choke? Were my fundamentals off?

After much analysis, I have come to one conclusion: I missed.

I'm tempted to look at my partner's behavior and try to figure it out. All I will say, is that I've seen his own game go south because he can't manage his feelings when he doesn't meet his own high expectations. But as a doubles partner, in the past, he's never imposed those expectations on me. Last year I played miles over my head in this tournament. This year I'm a stronger and more consistent player. I would say I played well this year, but I didn't vastly exceed my average playing ability. Maybe that was a factor. But, anyway, that's his problem to figure out.

My problem was, and is, that his attitude got to me. During the match, I think I did okay at trying to not let it bother me. The whole tournament there had been subtle changes in the way he coached and acted toward me. It was a little distracting, and I could feel it undermine my confidence ever so slightly. I don't think it affected my performance too much, but it really made it A LOT LESS FUN. Part of the reason I played so well last year, was that I let go and just really enjoyed myself.

Its hard, because, sometimes when I need a little extra confidence on an 8-ball shot, I imagine him giving me words of encouragement. Now, I feel like that's gone. Instead its replaced by his words of criticism and the look of disappointment on his face when I missed those shots. Ugh.

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