Mind Freak

Editor’s note:  Regardless of what is documented here, no animals were harmed during the writing of this post, nor in the events that are described herein.  However, reader discretion is advised.

Wednesday night is APA league night for my 8 ball team.  It’s the night when I pull my game together and see if I’ve been able to make any improvements from the previous week of practice.  In general, I usually shoot pretty well, but there are those occasions when things seem to inexplicably fall apart.  I’m happy to report that these events are rare, but they do happen.  This Wednesday night was a prime example.  I was playing the #1 ranked and currently undefeated player in our league in a race to 5 match.  In the first game, he missed an easy shot and I knew it was time to pounce!  Yipee!  I wasn’t nervous at all.  I got up to make the moderately easy shot…and missed!  I was upset with myself.  I sat down and waited.  He made 3 balls then missed another easy shot!  Redemption!  Whoohoo!  Another easy shot for me… *kerplunk*… and another miss!!  WHAT??!!!!!!!  He subsequently runs out the first rack for a win.

On the second rack, another string of miracles occur.  My opponent misses 3 shots in the game… unbelievable… and this guy NEVER misses!  I get up from my seat three times…and only managed to pocket 1 ball in three innings!  Aaarrggghhhh!!!!  I’m about to blow my top!

Editor’s note:  The FCC and generally accepted societal manners do not allow Michael to quote anything that he thought or said at this point in the evening.

On the third rack, my opponent ran down to his last ball, and unbelievably missed yet AGAIN.  I’ve never seen this guy miss before.  Here’s my chance.  Forget the past.  Move forward.  Show him who’s boss.  The 8 ball and his last ball are near a corner pocket… both wide open… no interference… easy to run.   I have 7 balls left, all in the middle of the table.  No ball within 6 inches of a rail… no ball within 6 inches of another ball… a textbook run out opportunity… and my brain freezes.  It goes into complete lockdown mode.  “You gotta be kidding me!”

And there I stood, cue stick resting in both hands, as a look of bewilderment slowly spread across my face.  My mind was numb, my jaws slackened.  “What now?” I stared at the table in disbelief and I slowly realized I had no idea what to do.  The balls seemed to float in a sea of blue green water.  The laser sharp “lines of attack” that my brain would normally paint onto the table surface for me were mysteriously absent.  I was dumbstruck.  I hadn’t felt this lost in years.  My opponent had one ball left and I had 7 balls left.  I blinked my eyes.  I blinked again.  I didn’t see any shots!  I’m sure there must have been dozens of shots… but I just couldn’t see them.  I looked for safeties.  NONE?  How can there be no safeties?!!  With 7 freaking balls on the table?!!!


After standing in a catatonic state for what seemed like an hour, I finally figured it’s time for me to do something…anything.  I come to the moronic conclusion that I’m thinking too much.  I think I see a cut shot to the side pocket.  I try to fool my brain by quickly getting into my stance and giving the cue ball a sharp jab.  “Maybe my muscle memory will just execute and get me out of this fog.”  There’s a sharp ‘click’ as the cue ball and object ball collide.  The object ball hits the side pocket tit with a sickening thud, like the sound of a wooden mallet colliding with a baby seal’s skull.  Unlike the seal, the object ball DOES NOT drop.  I glare at the ball…THAT DAMN BALL!  Doesn’t it know what it’s supposed to do?!!!  Why the hell did it not go in the pocket?!  x xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxx xxxx xxx.  x xxxxx x xxx x xxx xxxx xx xxx xxxx xxxxx.  xxxx xxx xxxx?  x xxx’x xxxxxxx xx.  x xxxx xxxx x xxxxxx xxx?!!!  xxxx!  xxxx!  xxxx!  xxxx!   {Editor’s Note: The remainder of this paragraph has been redacted by the council for good manners.}

And so my nightmare continued.  The fog never lifted.  I eventually somehow won three games before the nightmare was over.  I’m not sure how I did that.  Oh, well, I guess there’s always next time.


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