Saturday, September 26

Galveston 10-ball Champion

I did win it. Barely. It wasn't pretty. I was literally overwhelmed when I finally sank the winning 10-ball. I just had to lay on my back there for a moment. It was past midnight Sunday 20th of September.

I Noticed a missed call from my friend and avid pool player/promoter/commentator-friend Jay Helfert. So I called him back: He said "you know Mika, the true champions find a way to win even when they are playing bad."
That actually made me feel better. I know what some of you are thinking. Mika must be nuts to even worry about stuff like this. He just won the freakin' Championship! I wish it was uncomplicated like that. But I have to take precaution and analyze what happened. I don't want to be in that situation again. I know I might be, but the goal is always not to be.

I have to admit it was a really tough mental battle within myself. Warren Kiamco seemed more poised than I have ever seen him.
He was running out well, kicking balls with a very high percentage. I wasn't able to capitalize on my overall 2 to 1 safety percentage. Meaning I was successfully hooking him 2 out his 1 time average.

The first set was a total nightmare. I could not get a hold of the speed of the rails. the cue-ball was erratic, it didn't even seem to grab the "throw" of the balls in the manner it was to. I lost 11-5.

It took a a couple of tough runs and methodical work to start gaining my confidence back. Even then I felt like I was fighting the windmills. It was a total uphill battle the whole way. But I just stuck in there, thinking positive. I had to force myself to think positive.

It came down to the very last game. Second set, 8-8. Now race to 9. I made a ball on the break but could not see the 1, except for a rail-first shot. I tried to play a sort of a one-pocket safety shot because the 1-ball was near the corner but I could just catch the inside of it. I hit it in the right direction, but again the rails bounced like crazy and it came all the way down to the same end of the table it started from. It ended up being a kick-double-bank. SO it went in. Now I was snookered again. Had to kick at the 2. I caught it too thin, leaving Warren a shot. Even worse, he had the angle to make the 2 and break the only cluster on the table while maintaining position on the 3. I waited anxiously in my seat to see the outcome. The tricky part about breaking the cluster was that it was near the side-pocket. So the danger of a scratch loomed over Warren. And it wasn't an easy shot to begin with.... He missed! I think he might have rushed it. Unfortunately he missed the cluster too. So I still had work to do. Nothing seemed easy as the weight of the situation had me really nervous. I had to take extra time for each shot just to make sure it was the best possible solution every time. I was able to create a perfect angle on the 4 to break the cluster to open up the 5. Then I cut the 5 in the corner diagonally across the table. left a good angle for the 6 to go behind the 8 too rails and make it in the corner. I under-hit the 8 landing too straight on the 9. This would mean I'd have to shoot the 10 in off the rail, or near it. I cheated the pocket ever so slightly on the 9, but not too much. That particular pocket was the one that players seemed to have missed the most balls with. Then time to shoot the 10. After a few deep breaths I was ready to pull the trigger...just then, a fly landed on my bridge hand-forearm! WOw! I almost shot. Could have missed. SO I waited for the fly to get lost, preparing again mentally. I jacked up the butt of the cue and pounded the 10 in with confidence. Then I simply let my body just fall on the floor like jelly.

It's over, I thought. phew! What a scare. I am the G.W.C. Champion.

I'm now back home in New York preparing for the U.S. Open. It's actually nice not having to fly around the world before it.

Happy Fall,



Daali said...

Well Done!
Good luck to US Open.

iulian said...

Nice insights, Mika. We sometimes have to fight when our energy level is down, but you can do but do only your best at the time. I am glad you recovered mentally. I saw you at the Portugal 10 Ball, and you where very nervous, slamming your cue in to the table. What happened there ?

maiworld said...

congrats mika!!

karim said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Positive thinking