Ronnie O’Sullivan, probably the best snooker player of all time, on the piss during competition. Photo: Maggie BeerAt some stage in all our lives, we’ll find ourselves with a long bit of wood in our hand, staring down the shaft at some balls. It’ll have some grime on it, having had years of filthy, drunken hands pawing at it, desperately hoping that by successfully caressing it they will achieve some sense of self-worth. But they won’t, unless that firm grip takes them all the way to London, on April 18, when the World Snooker Championship kicks off.
Snooker is an intriguing sport. Not because it is barely a sport (see: my opinion on Olympic lawn bowls, mumbled at a bowlo near you), but because it is one of the few things in this world where a misspent youth, years of debauchery and lounging around bars, equals success. It’s basically the rock and roll of sports.
It’s ironic, because every footballer, basketballer and cricketer in the world wants to be a rock star, but they wouldn’t have the legs for it. Snooker players are the real athletes. I am basing this assumption on virtually nothing – I’ve certainly never even spoken to a professional snooker player – but I think it’s safe to say that every successful snooker player has spent their lives pounding liquor and drugs.
Do you think Lebron James or Cameron Smith could perform at their peak, having shovelled a mountain of illegal recreational stimulants, and even more legal depressants, into their systems the night before a big event? Well, those blokes, probably could – and I guarantee you Dusty Martin can – but the rest of them? Probably not. Heck, I have a few tins and I struggle to run through the most basic of levels on my Duolingo app. El gato bebe leche? Get out of here!
The science I have to support my theory is anecdotal, circumstantial and, by very definition, not really science, but I think you will find it is sound. What you will need to do is go to your local pub and begin by begging everyone there for three one dollar coins. That’ll get you a few strange looks and strong rejections, but also started. Then you need to feed them into the rickety, tiger striped pool table in the corner – and yes, I acknowledge it’s not snooker, but if your local has a snooker table, it’s a front – and then see how you go.
You will go poorly. Perhaps averagely. If you perform above expectations, you need to look at your previous life choices. Now, go to the bar, and drink approximately 2-4 standard drinks. Allow the liquor to sit, then play on. I probably don’t need to tell you how this ends, but as the wankers say, “If you know, you know.” And if you don’t bloody know, go out and try it and thank me for it later.