Well I am the first to advocate taking your time when shooting pool. Boy should I have heeded that suggestion this past weekend in the March Madness Tournament down in Break-Away Billiards Clinton, MA. We fought our way through 4 rounds of team play going to the 5th match in all the rounds.

We go up against the local team who also made it into the finals. Our 4 plays a 3 from their team and wins. Then we put up a 2 against their 6 and she looses in 5 games. Then our captain plays against another 5 and he is just not making shots as he should and looses. Now we are down 2 to 1 so my captain throws me up against a 4 of theirs.

I win the first game and then proceed to loose the next two. So now it is a 1 to 3 race. I need 3 games. We go back and forth in this game a little bit and I have an easy cut shot to the leave on the eight. I put the marker down and race to the other side to shoot the ball. As the 8 ball is rolling towards the side pocket I look and realize the marker is on the wrong side of the 2 dot so it is marking the corner. I took my team out of the tournament by a Rookie Mistake.

Now this brings me to sportsmanship. I walk away in disgust in myself but turn around to shake my opponents hand. After loosing sleep over it I realize that I was so exhausted from the over 20 hours of pool played in the two days. That combined with our opponent not really acting like it was a tournament and more like a league night didn't help either. The wife of a player clapping after a missed shot, even if its to root on the player going up to shoot it can be construed as you are clapping for the miss especially if you say nothing like come on so and so who is going up to shoot. Opponents running up to the table to see if a shot can be made when its not even their players turn. It was clearly my fault for marking the wrong pocket but I made a shot in that pocket the shot before and it was clear I was shooting the 8 ball in the side. Unfortunately that is not how tournaments work. A team member of theirs (not my opponent) raced up to the table to see if I could see the shot on the 8 and in my haste I placed the marker and walked quickly to the other side and of course he was still in my way. I wanted to get to the next game so I made the 8 ball shot thinking lets keep this thing going. I guess I should practice what I preach; slow down, take your time, and do your best to not let your opponent (player or benched) get to you.

We did get a State Bid out of the deal so if we meet them again in States I will know what to expect and I will ask for respect if they begin to display the unsportsmanlike conduct I saw. I guess I need to learn to not bite my tongue if something is really bothering me. I try not to step on any toes by speaking up but I am learning that other people do not have the same respect for the game that I do.

Overall I am happy with the way this team came together. I have only been playing with them for a handful of weeks but we have a strong team and have a real chance to go somewhere. I look forward to playing my best with this group of people.

So in closing, Take your time and may all your shots be true.

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