Journal Entry: #11

Over the last few days, part of my subconscious was nagging me for spending so much time not playing a single game. And while I did play at least one 9x9 game a day, it has been ages since I last played a full 19x19 game in real time. And for those who want to count the one at the Pumpkin Classic, that doesn’t really count since I wasn’t planning to play. So in another sense, I have been avoiding playing games in real time.

Why is that? Good question. Believe it or not, over time I seem to have developed some sort of “ladder anxiety.” (I’m not sure this list the correct term, but I saw it recently and feel it’s rather appropriate.) To put it more bluntly, I’m afraid of playing ranked games because I’m worried about playing stupid moves and being judged by others.

Yeah. I know. This probably sounds stupid to many of you, but somewhere along the line I started worrying about being judged even though I honestly have no reason to feel this way. If I had to attribute the cause to something, it would probably out of my own self-criticism that just got out of control. I set a bar of expectation so high for myself that any failure ended up being very damaging to me.

Anyhow, bottom line is that I’ve been doing a bit of soul-searching and have been inspired by the reading I’ve been doing to finally start breaking free of this self-imposed prison. Whenever I manage to finally get this all resolved, I will be sure to write a full article in hopes of helping anyone else who might have the same issue.

As evidence of this, here is the game that I played today. And while it is against a bot, I’m going to consider this one a success in my strive to get over my fear of playing. It’s a pretty weird game, but it was one that has bits of creativity throughout it.