It was warm, like the kind of warm that makes your clothes stick to your skin, which for a town that is particularity cold this time of year, would normally be nice, but on this night, it was uncomfortable. The score was 2/1 with one more to go and the second best player on the other team waiting in the wings. The tension was so thick, everyone, even the people just casually watching could feel it, like a thin layer that was surrounding us, much like the heat that was on too high. It was my turn, my rack, my break, and I’d never beaten this guy before, in past match ups. I was playing some of the best pool of my life, up to that point in the evening, and other than a small mistake that cost me one game, I had run through my other opponents like a hot knife though butter. I was excited and the adrenaline filled my body. I racked ‘em and had a good solid break and the game was on.
It was a bitter battle, like chess pieces moving across a board, each player trying to position themselves for the win, but this night, victory would be mine. I threw down my opponent, and smote his ruin in that bar.
To say I was excited, would be an understatement. I was ecstatic.
But the night wasn’t over. When the score sheets were tallied up, we were in a tie with the number one team in the league, and as would be explained to me shortly, when a tie happens, each team picks a player for a sudden death winner take all playoff. Guess who my team elected?
Staring me down from the other team’s huddle, was their number one player, another man, I’d never beat yet. A player so good that missing one shot normally spells defeat, a man known for running the table countless times, never even allowing his opponents a shot.
And after the coin toss, he won the break….
I had thought the tension and anxiety was high in the match I had just completed, but in this one it was so intense, I could taste it, and feel my mouth going dry…
My opponent, ran the balls, with one of his remaining, he made a mistake and missed the shot. I had three left, and with a combination of excitement, and anxiety, I approached the table, and eyed my remaining balls trying to figure a way to clean them up, and leave myself an easy 8 ball shot for the win.
Then it hit me, I saw and felt victory, and I executed my plan, almost flawlessly. As each ball fell, my team’s excitement grew, as did mine, until the sound of the 8 ball hitting the bottom of the pocket rang though the bar, followed immediately by a cacophony of wild screams, high fives, and triumphant roars.
For the moment, I savored victory, and my team rallied around me as I shook the hand of each member of the other team, with an honest and true ‘great game’ leaving from me. They took the loss hard, but I could tell, even they appreciated the level we had just competed at, win or lose, it was an awesome final 2 matches, and we both felt it.
I can understand and appreciate why people love sports, the adrenaline high is palpable and real.
I then went home and fell fast asleep, exhausted from battle.
It was a good day, and many more are to come.