Post Coital Miss
Watching Gabby Gold, watching Kerri & Misty, Kellie Wells, Bolt … I’m inspired. Misty & Kerri are on the road to claiming their 3rd Gold while Gabby seems to be faltering so soon after the glory of the Team USA Gold and her All-Around Award and it got me thinking….
Back in 2010 when I won the Singles Nationals Championship my confidence took an immediate hit. And when I say immediate, I mean 2 days later I was scared of balls hanging in the pocket!
I had just won the National Title in Singles not 48 hours earlier and yet had I NO CONFIDENCE in my body or talent. None.
My body, my stroke, my presence at the table, everything felt different, uncomfortable, foreign and I was all nerves during that first team match. Meanwhile, two days earlier I was playing in the finals as calm and tame as can be so what the hell gives? Why the sudden nosedive in confidence?
I vividly remember Emily, Borana & I talking on the steps of the Riviera Hotel’s back entrance in what we called the KOD meeting spot. It was the beginning of my shoulder malfunctioning and right after the first match of our team event. I lost two racks and pulled myself out to be replaced.
Afterwards, Em & B mentioned the pressure of success and while yes my shoulder was in pain, maybe I was also afraid of failing so soon after I’d succeeded so much.
Emily talked of the pressure she felt to be on the WPBA tour and to prove the move to NY was worth it while Borana, from a different perspective, noted the pressure of being a cover girl for Inside Pool and feeling the need to prove to the public why she was chosen.
These wisdoms took me a while to register … but they were right.
I came home from Vegas that year to a game that was hardly living up to my “National Champion” status.
I couldn’t win squat. And worse, it felt like because of all the attention I was getting from the win, there was an even bigger target on my back. “I wanna beat the National Champion!”
This just compounded my turmoil.
The pressure to prove my performance was intimidating as all hell!
Tony related that after he won the BCA in 2004, he too felt an enormous amount of pressure to showcase these Champion qualities and played some of the worse pool of his life post BCA Championships.
Then I got to watching the reigning All Around Gymnast Champ Gabby Douglas this evening competing in the Balance Beam Finals, post her last place finish in the Uneven Bars, and I felt a sense of understanding & sympathy. Perhaps she too was intimidated by her recent success… While I’m quite aware that her stage is FAR bigger than my own piddly little title, I think athletes in general go through the same emotional trials no matter the sport or stage.
Can I ever do that again?
Am I really that good?
The utter terror that maybe that glorious victory was a lone moment, frozen in time’s past & it may never happen again.
So why does this happen sometimes, intimidation after success? I couldn’t tell you for certain, but I surmise it’s a self-esteem thing. While Tony showcases some of the strongest self-confidence of any man I’ve ever dated, it’s interesting to note he too swam in the pool of self-doubt.
Am I really that good?
Some easily believe they are, others I guess need more coaxing.
It’s reassuring that my upside-down emotions are…normal.
I often write this blog hoping to reassure other pool players that the emotions they feel are quite common, natural and are steps toward improvement. When I was younger, I think I felt guilty for many of “growing up” emotions I encountered- sadness, sexual desires, jealousy, fears, dreams .. I was embarrassed by so many of these feelings.
I wish someone had given me a good shake and forced me to listen to them voice & rebuff all my self-loathing concerns. Knowing they had felt those same feelings would have released so much guilty weight from my emotionally laded shoulders.
So I write to compartmentalize my own emotions & hope I may provide relief to other doubtful minds alike. I like a good smack of reality sometimes …. and then some.
And I’m not ashamed to admit it either.