Day 26: Aurora, CO
Allow me to introduce Sammantha Diep,
the 2004 BCA women's 9-ball champion.
(check out her website)
We met up last summer when I was in Denver,
and played some pool in the US Amateur format
(race to 7, 8 games of 9 ball, 5 games of 8 ball)
and although I won against her last year,
just prior to her winning her 9-ball crown,
last night she won all 3 of the sets we played.
I got started slowly, down 3-0,
and while I won half of the next 8 games,
so did she, and won the set 7-4.
We played at the place where she is the house pro,
a place called Table Steaks East
just a few miles from where I'm staying.
I visited the place in the early afternoon, solo,
just to check out the tables.
There's an old beat-up Gold Crown III,
with tight pockets, and a bunch of no-name tables.
I chose the Gold Crown, just to check out
the tight pockets, and test my skill with them.
In the afternoon practice, I felt real good,
and was sinking balls from all over,
hardly even noticing the unforgiving pockets.
After a couple of hours I started getting real tired.
I think it was that big mess of french fries I ate.
So I called it quits and went back to the hotel for a nap.
I felt I would need to rest up for my match with Samm,
who is a true night-owl.
We started playing around 9pm, and didn't quit till 2:30am,
and even though the hour was way later than I typically play,
I was feeling good, strong, and alert the whole time,
so I can not attribute my poor play on the late hours.
What was it?
I'd like to say it was the altitude.
Denver is the "mile high city" and it takes a day or so
to acclimate to the elevation of 5,000+ feet.
But I'm not going to blame my performance on anything
but my mental condition.
I was just not playing the shot in front of me.
I was playing the whole set, the last time we played,
I was writing this blog (in my mind)
and what I would say if I lost, or won.
And, once I got down in the score, I was playing the score,
not the shot at hand, and I was thinking negative,
and the whole downward spiral that comes from that.
I guess this is what they call "paying your dues".
There's a whole lot of losing that comes before winning,
and yesterday was just some more of the un-fun stuff.
I KNOW I can play better pool than I did last night,
and I will.
I absolutely will.