View Full Version : All Shook Up!

02-02-2005, 11:54 AM
Well, I've decided to share my embarrassment of the SPI tournament with the CCBers, so here goes.

In my life, I've been shot 3 times, stabbed twice, had 4 motorcycle wrecks, ridden a Harley standing on the seat down Interstate 40, served part of my military service in jungles, whitewater rafted, free climbed vert rock faces... I've always been a thrill seeker. 2 years and 10 months ago, I picked up a pool cue for the first time since 1988. When I laid the cue down, at age 31, I had nerves of steel. No amount of money on the light bothered me... My opponents reputation didn't bother me... I just shot pool...

Well, this past weekend at SPI, my nerves all of a sudden turned to noodles! I was definitely NOT tournament tough! Before I got to SPI, I thought I was... I thought that the nerves I had 17 years ago were still like cold steel, but I WAS WRONG!!! I was shaking, sweating like a pig in heat, my palms were so clammy that clammy doesn't describe it... fish could swim in the sweat that was literally dripping from the palms of my hands! I was so nervous that I couldn't hit a bull in the butt with the barn door if you tied him in the aisle! I went 2 and out! First match... oh, it was a disaster. The only thing that saved me from being completely and totally embarrassed were a pair of nines on the snap and one easy out. Second match, almost as bad. The guy I was playing had a good break, but didn't finish strong. I let him off the hook and gave him more 2 and 3 ball outs than I've seen in... well, forever!!!

My only shining moment was in one of the mini's. I had a lead on a very good player, then the crowd started gathering around and watching us play and I could feel the nerves start creeping in. I missed a very easy, very basic almost straight in shot, 10 inches out of the side pocket. All of a sudden, my 4-3 lead, with me breaking, became a 4-7 loss of set. I know, I know... with alternating break there's no excuse for that! And the ONLY thing I was doing really good was breaking. I just couldn't keep my composure long enough to finish out a rack! I'd make 4 or 5 excellent shots, then, as Carl O. described it, I'd "Hiccup" and miss an easy shot or easy out. When I did, I couldn't get that easy miss out of my mind and the rest of a set, I was just a sitting duck!

I'm not looking for a cure, here. I know what the cure is! I need to train to handle the pressure. Personally, I don't think there's a shot on the table that I can't make, but I have to get the "spooks" under control or I'll never see the money in any sizable tournament. These local tournaments, where there is some fantastic talent, are no big deal. I can knock those off without a hitch and usually it's either me or two other gents that take 1st, but when I got to SPI and saw all the lights, all the tables, all the people, I got shook!

OK, so I dropped my pants at SPI and I know how to fix it, or at least I know who can help me fix it (Mr. G) and as soon as I get a chance, I'm going to make a concerted effort to temper myself and become tournament tough again. Lots of practice, a lot of tempering, a lot of Mother Drills and help from my Master Instructor and next year they'd better watch out for the old Fat Man! There won't be any sweat on these palms then!

In any case, I did enjoy the tournament, and since returning, I found my stroke that I lost somewhere in Texas (played a match last night and the guy quit at 6-0 and evened up with me)... funny, money still doesn't bother me, but man, that big tournament atmosphere is a killer!!! LOL

Bob (AKA "He who dropped his pants ALL THE WAY TO HIS ANKLES")

02-02-2005, 12:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cane:</font><hr>
...In any case, I did enjoy the tournament... <hr /></blockquote>

Maybe that's part of your answer there. Just go with the intention of having fun.

Wally &lt;~~ will have fun in Vegas...someday...maybe