I am looking forward to the start of the new
Snooker season in my local league. I wonder whether those who have as yet not
played in the professional ranks can be as optimistic as they yet again put
their hard earned reputations on the line in front of millions of television
viewers around the world?
I am 40 years of age with failing eyesight and
my highest break is a modest 60 but even I am not immune to a slight tingle of
apprehension before the start of our weekly match.
Every year so far my team has either gained
promotion or won at least one trophy, last season was our first in the
premiereship. I remember that we had a very shaky start and I had visions of us
bouncing straight back down, we rallied at around Christmas time and were in
contention right up until the last match.
I am the captain of the team and make it a
policy to play the younger, keener and most able players that we have. I began
to look upon my own frame as a bonus if I won it, which is clearly the worst
possible attitude for a competitor that it is possible to have.
I found that I was making mental excuses for my
performance based on other events around me, this had to stop. I gave myself a
thorough talking to and decided that I was not just there to make up the
numbers and would try my heart out whatever the result.
My results began to improve; the most satisfying
win that I had was against a player whose handicap was lower than mine. The
reason for my pleasure was that he forged ahead steadily to 24 points in front
but I managed to keep nibbling away until I beat him on the blue.
This match taught me that with a positive
attitude it is easier to take advantage of ant positive possibilities that
My highest break in the league is a 25 that I
made on an away table. This break consisted of reds and blues as the black and
pink were both tied up. I feel that I have the ability to make much more than
this meagre total but it is amazing how many single frame matches are dominated
with cat and mouse, Snooker often not decided until the final pink or black.
This state of affairs is a tribute to the handicapping committee who allocate
handicaps appropriate to the players who take part.
I have often wondered what it would be like to
magnify this pressure perhaps 20 times and play in front of a large audience,
then magnify it yet again by playing for my income and then magnify it all once
again by playing in front of the television cameras.
I am sure that for most people that take up the
sport of Snooker what I have mentioned would seem like a dream come true. I
admire their youthful determination and conviction but for me at this point, it
is enough to take up the challenge every Thursday night in front of 10 or 15
people in the local Snooker league for a pint of Beer.
David Smith September 2001
A keen observer of Snooker and
Pool and collector of Cues and Books.