I’ve had plenty of time to think about this last tournament, and I always try to look at myself in the most brutally honest way. I feel it’s impossible to improve if you constantly make excuses for yourself. I’m a big believer in accountability…owning your mistakes and working to overcome them. Well meaning people will often try to make excuses for you, but do yourself a favor and don’t buy into it. So here is my brutally honest assessment of myself after this tournament.
You already know about my first round (see below) where I served my inner demon an eviction notice. The second round I was matched up with Ga Young Kim, who played almost flawlessly. I missed one or two balls, but really didn’t have many good opportunities. I’m not surprised she went on to win the event.
Next I had to play a fellow New Yorker on the live stream. I was very focused and played well. I made a couple of mistakes at the end, but she was off her game and didn’t capitalize on them.
In my next match I played really well to get up 6-1. My opponent suddenly woke up and started playing perfect. At 6-5, she missed the 9 ball and let out not one, but two primal screams. She left a very makeable 9, and instead of taking a moment and composing myself I convinced myself that everything was fine and I shot at the 9. It was only after I missed it that I realized that I wasn’t fine at all. That scream scared the crap out of me and got my heart racing. I took my break and composed myself. I can’t remember feeling that angry in a long time, and although I was angry at my opponent for her unsportsmanlike behavior, I was more angry at myself for letting her distract me. I came back from my break, and she continued with perfect play and ended up winning the match 9-7. It was very disappointing, but I learned a big lesson. Sometimes your opponents will behave in an unprofessional way, either intentionally or unintentionally trying to gain any advantage in order to win. As a professional it is up to ME to fade any and all distractions and do the job that I’m there to do. If I’m ever in that situation again I’m going to take my break before I shoot, I’m going to take all the time I need to make the ball, then I’m going to stick the knife in and give it a good twist.