Monday, October 29, 2007

Crossed Wires

I was on the phone with a friend this week, discussing somewhat personal, best-friend details of a recent date, when I saw that I had a call coming in from the captain of one of my old teams. I decided to let it go to voicemail and kept babblng on. I soon felt a change in the energy on the other line, looked at my phone realized that I was now talking to the captain and that my friend was trying to call back on the other line. Oops. Not sure it happened, but poor guy got a little bit more about what's on my mind than either of us wanted. I laughed so hard, I almost said yes to playing on halloween. I still might.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Still focusing on focus

Well, I was able to recoup my double loss Monday with wins in 8-ball on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Wait a minute....doesn't that mean that I played three times this week? After I whined about how I need to play less pool? Yes. An exception to the rule. And I bring this up, in part, because I want to stay committed to not over-committing. The plan is to alternate weeks between Wednesday and Thursday teams. In fact, I showed up Thursday night for the captain's birthday, intending not to play. But as it turned out I was needed. So I played. And then I was having such a good time I stayed and kept score until the end. There may have been some Patron involved as well.

Anyway, Wednesday's match was against a new league player. A decent shot but not familiar with the various ways you can foul or defensive strategy. I won in straight games. In my warm up game against our captain, I had a nice clean 3-ball out which I executed it exactly as I planned it. That felt good and I came to the table with a lot of confidence, and almost ran out after the break. ( In fact, two people I don't know referred to me as being confident). My focus did wane eventually, but I was able to get it back. I really like the way this captain coaches. I feel calmed having her in my corner. I wish I could generate this on my own. But lets face it team dynamics make a difference.

Thursday, I played another even race against a league veteran. Last time I played her, she beat me 0-2. I was not happy. Although, I was not set on revenge, it felt great to win. The layouts I got meant I played a lot of defense. Which means some people get irritatied. I think it was trying for my opponent. But, look, if my last two balls are clustered around one of your balls towards the end of the rack, and you keep leaving me up table so I can't try a bank. What do expect me to do? Break your ball out so you can run out? If you don't want me to play safe, then break your own damn ball out, okay? But until I figure out a way for me to win, I'm going to play defense. I am not going to smack and hope I slop something in and not scratch. I don't care how many balls you have run, I have as much right to win this game as you do. Okay, the end. (Actually this is a more general rant, than truly directed at Thursday night's opponent).

Anyway, we went hill-hill. My oponent made a fantastic long, ultra-thin cut on the eight in the second game - kudos to her. Last game the 8-ball was pinned by one of her balls along the side rail. I thought I was done for, but then she scratched. I used my last ball to get a perfectly straight shot on the 8 along the rail. I had to look at it for awhile, to make sure that the cue ball, which is only slightly smaller than the planet Jupiter, would actually slip through the obstacle ball. It did. And I put it away.

Okay, but the real significance of that last shot, was how focused I felt. I felt confident. I was aware of the perils of the shot. Hitting the obstacle. Not stopping the ball. Accidentally adding spin. But I was focused on the result. I figured out what the shot had to be. Saw it. Felt it, RELAXED and executed it.

I wanted to write more about how I'm seeing that focus has more to do with relaxing and that I'm beginning to be able to connect to confidence rather than just either feeling it or not. And how all of this and being focused on results also has to do with how I'm improving my situation at work. But, I need to go and do something non-pool related. Its Saturday after all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's your hurry?

Okay, so today was a lesson in humiitiy. My team was short a player so I had to play the last two matches. One to a skill level Two (who is under-ranked) and the other to a Six, who also maybe under-ranked. And then there's me. Based on the way I played, I am severly over-ranked. Not one of my better performances. I made some good shots, but I never got comfortable.

I played a few more games with the 6 after we were done and got to talking. He said that he had seen me sometimes shoot like a 4, but that today I wasn't consistently staying down and following through. This is how I play when things are stressful at work--I just get a little jumpy, don't settle in. I'm not convinced that is what is screwing up my shot, or if its that I've screwed up my shot, and the minute I see that I pull out. Anyway, a litte sad that no one from my own team could have given me the same feedback during my match. I even asked for it, but got no feedback at all.

Sigh. Still hoping to put together a dream team. But in the meantime, I'll just have to scribble little reminders in a notebook that I consult between innings, or maybe start having the seven habits of highly successful pool players tattooed on my wrist.