Monday, September 20, 2010

Inside the mind of a Champion

Having spent the weekend attached at the hip of Ian Laycock, it was a little more than interesting peering into the thought processes that occur into the heavy favorite of a tournament. Having been the number 1 seed in lower division tournaments, I thought that perhaps I would be able to relate.

Before Ian's first match against his uncle Ian B., Ian had driven 3 hours after a full day of physical fire fighter training in Vermillion. It was obvious that he was tired and may have been coming down with a cold. His uncle had to play a match earlier that day and was already feeling a bit wiped. Ian took this match to get a good warm up in and practice his shots, establish his length and focus on his court movement. He said he was feeling a bit tired so didn't want to be on court too long, but wanted to ensure his uncle got a good hit in. Ian followed up the match with a nice long steam, we went and had a few beers and some popcorn(kitchen was closed) at the bar and went back to Sherwood Park. Ian had a neo-citran and went to bed by 1am.

Saturday morning, Ian had to run to school and get some stuff done before playing his match with Andrew Linklater. Andrew is a solid player and Ian said he was just gonna try and play fast and get off court quickly. Ian was a bit nervous and he was suffering from a runny nose but took the first 2 games easily. Andrew knew he was outgunned, but still tried to extend rallies. Ian said he was feeling impatient and his length was horrible, but he was gonna try and go short and win points faster in the 3rd which he lost in a close one. The 4th game saw more of the same, but Ian's length improved which set up better opportunites to go short. Andrew was able to get some shots going and moved Ian around, but he couldn't sustain the pace of play. Ian did not appear to break a sweat in this game. We went for a steam afterwards and then off to chinese food for lunch. We didn't overeat but it was decent portion, noodles and shrimp. Ian popped a couple advil extra strength gel caps about an hour before his match with Jeff Williams cause he was feeling a bit sore.

Ian went for a steam again before his match with Jeff as his runny nose continued. He seemed more concerned with finishing his match so he could come coach me, reminding me to get a good warm up in, keep my racket up and concentrate on my feetwork. Jeff looked relaxed as he had already conceeded the match in his mind. I bet Ian $50 that he couldn't make Jeff vomit on court. Unfortunately, Jeff was trying to shoot for winners the entire match which prevented any long rallies and made for another quick dispatching for Ian. Ian was a bit annoyed but was able to catch (what could have been the end of) my match just in time to coach me to a comeback and take it 5 whil Phil.

Ian stretched it out a bit and went for another steam. We went up to the bar again and hung out with the gang. Ian and his uncle split a pizza and a few beers. Ian talked on the phone with his gf most of the time and we made an early night again and watched a movie at home. We woke up early and ate blueberry pancakes and pineapple and watched some forrest gump.

I asked Ian the game plan and he said he was gonna demolish Elliot as fast as he could. He was gonna get on the ball fast and keep him moving. Elliot looked pretty sore in the warm up as his semi-final went 5 and he won on a stroke. But Ian looked composed and was pounding the ball and moving well. The first few rallies of the first were long and exciting, but if you blinked, you woulda missed the match. It only took the first 4 points before Ian ran away with it. Elliot seemed to be frozen as Ian literally just hit the ball past him point after point. This was Ian shortest match of the tourney. Ian later said that he was annoyed that Elliot didn't make a match of it and that made him rush more than he wanted which caused the handful of mistakes that Ian made in each game. We went back to the bar and had lunch with Ray and Phil then off to the mall. We went and watched the Town, then had a BBQ in the rain. We chatted on Skype with some family and checked out the draw for next weeks tourney. Then off to bed.

Yeah, not as glamorous as you might think! But it was awesome for me to have that in my corner.

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