The reality(maybe) was this: I was playing better than him, I was getting some rolls, and he was having an off night1. I wasn’t running out or do anything extraordinary, but I felt like I was.
That feeling, which was connected to but not actually part of reality, had me thinking 7-0. After the last eight ball fell(ending the race 3-0 in my favor), that score, added to my win-lost record, flickering before me on the league website, probably cementing my ascent to the next handicap level...that score was all I could see.
My opponent, a middle-aged native New Yorker2, was already at that level, and I - felt! - that I was better. Much better, obviously.
Less than a half-hour later, I lost the last game of nine-ball on a foul3. That ended the race 4-0, him, in nine-ball. 4-3, him, for the match.
What the hell? Aren’t I better than he is?
The reality(maybe) was this: my thoughts wandered, my execution suffered, he got the rolls this time, and I wasn’t running out or doing extraordinary. Or ordinary. But I felt like I should be. Which made me fee worse, play worse, until finally the match was mercifully over, where the reality(certainly) was a victory for him.
Fortunately, the rest of my team did well. Alex won 7-2, Mike won 4-3 and Jen won 7-5. That performance put us in second place(ahead of Mimi’s team!).
In the big picture, this was only my second match loss all season. I’m not having a bad season. Still, having a 3-0 lead and not winning another game, not one more fucking game; that’s shitting a bed you just carefully and cleanly made yourself.
I had a new cue coming, and hopefully new results.
1How off I have no idea, since this was my first time playing him.
2Judging from an accent that would make a casting director drool.
3If you foul three times in a row, you lose the game, same as if your opponent knocked in the nine. I’m glad this humiliation(at least in total) is in a footnote.