Sublimation of fear?


Silver Member
Fascinating how one's mind works.

Participated in a little round robin Straight Pool tourney last night, short races to 40 in which I have to spot everyone 20 points - and it's not like the others couldn't play!

Haven't slept in days, my thoughts constantly revolving around whether or not I should let the surgeon butcher my (tennis) elbow. Like I said elsewhere, it seems silly given my medical (life) record, but this scares me like few things have, and to say I'm confused and undecided is an understatement (maybe I'm just getting old).

Ran out back-to-back games from my opponent's breaks (pretty tough ones, too, one scratch from the break with one ball sticking out, the other a near straight-in follow shot from the cushion two rails into the back of the stack). It's not like I don't have to run out from scratch to stand a chance in this format, and I've done so before, but twice in a row in a deplorable state of mind, felt special. Like I'm afraid it's soon going to be all over, and every ball I'm shooting may be my last, so I had better enjoy myself.

I realize I'm not supposed to play through the pain, but then I've done just that most of my playing life (that arm is just the latest in a seemingly endless list), can't say it's in any way new to me. Absent-mindedly played perfect patterns, soft-stroking what I could, holding on to the cue so loosely I had to careful not to drop it (incessantly dropping all kinds of things these days, such as the chalk last night). Of course, after a pause (the round robin was an uneven number), I could barely hold the stick anymore, and needed help to unscrew it.

Now, what I find noteworthy is how one's subconscious seems to do all this on its own while it lasted, what in German one would call "flight to front" (originally a military term, what it means is assault rather than retreat while under threat), when my mindset these days is the opposite (more like wanting to lie down waiting to be run over by a truck…).

It's happened to me many times before in pressure situations or when in pain or both, the scenarios in one's mind, whatever the may be, seemingly governed by flight instinct, but playing great, outwardly calm and problem-oriented. It's not exactly a pleasant state of mind, far from the cozy experience of age, or the cocky self-assurance of youth, but still, makes me wonder what the trigger is. It does seem there's a combination of factors at work.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti