Scrabble Tour: Lexington, Kentucky

Obviously the key for my good Scrabble play is comfort level. I've always played my very best games against friends and people I really like, in general. Get me in a tournament game, though, and my brain locks up like an engine with no oil. But, you know, there are many ways to achieve a good result based on this theory.

Of course, I could play only my friends and people I know I really like. I could also waste my Scrabble word list memorizing time with goofy things like "meditation" or "yoga" or "healthy exercise." Seriously...quit talking such craziness. Just stop it.

Although it sounds like the words of a situational alcoholic in the making, during this weekend's tournament in Lexington, Kentucky my relaxation came in the form of cranberry and vodka. I'm not talking about doing shots after every bingo or anything...just one drink over the course of the afternoon purchased at the golf course snack bar. And I tell you what, it was just the thing! I didn't freak out, I didn't get upset, I stayed calm in the face of an opponent's opening bingo...and I won some games.

Actually, this weekend was my personal best, performance-wise. Starting off with my more typical 25-50% wins, once things became more chill, I was able to rehabilitate my record and end at 9-and-6 (and a kick-ass spread of +468)! Not only did I not finish last, only 121 spread points kept me from my first "in-the-money" tournament.

I have no idea what will happen to my rating, though. I guess it will go up a little but there are at least three potential factors:

First, we were seeded based on ratings which did not yet include results for those of us who played in Durham last week (a tournament in which I took a ratings hit). Second, we had four unrated players in the bottom division. Two of them did very well, finishing first and third, which kind of skews the numeric results (as far as ratings go). Third, there are the results of the "Late Bird" tournament (which was early in the morning) to squeeze in. In that tournament, I was slated to win about two games (which I did).

Some highlights (for me):

Best win
- 458 for me to my opponent's 224 (a 234-point spread).

Best bingo
- STAMPING for 108 points.

Best ice cream
- Graeter's with friends.

Best overheard comment in a hushed narrator's voice
- "Today...we've secretly replaced Ken's prozac with highly-potent equine steroids. Let's see what happens."

Best setting for a game
- the patio outside the clubhouse during a beautiful, 70-degree afternoon.

Best special day - Jeff Clark's birthday on Sunday, November 2nd. (Happy birthday, Jeff! I totally forgot to tell you that on Sunday.)

Best moments overall - Traveling with my NSA Club #620 crew and figuring out how to get the Sirius radio activated without wrecking the Super-Duper Minivan in the process.

Best thing to look forward to next in the 2008 Whirlwind Scrabble Tour - The MOO!

So, you know...even though I don't yet know the technical result as far as my rating and all, I know that I consider this tournament a personal V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!!

As for the alcohol, I suspect the effect will be about the same as that time when I was in middle school softball and ran into a long string of strike-outs because I was afraid to swing at pitches which could, in any small way, be out of the strike zone. The coach made me practice swinging at each and every pitch, no matter how far out of the zone it was. I learned that I could decently hit almost all of them, even if I had to sort of jump over the plate to reach it. It was fun and it served to release the hold the anxiety of the situation had on me. I think this will be about the same. I'm really figuring out just how much not worrying about it helps me play.

And, hey...if I get freaked out again, I'll enjoy my game with a little cranberry-flavored assistance. Who cares? I got ID!


Deadpan Alley said...

I had a wonderful time! And I totally agree that vodka is the key to a successful tourney. I'm going to have to stock up on those mini-bottles of Absolut next time.

spinster girl said...

Vodka is the key to a successful everything. And Graeter's which is also the key to a successfully large ass.

Cheryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl said...

Oh, man, I wish I had heard that Prozac comment then. I really needed a good laugh.

I love blogs.

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