Snooker – Day 60
Unfortunately, my 100 quest had come up against some recent hurdles, what with Christmas, kids’ stuff and generally getting involved with a lot of over-indulgence over the festive period. Calling myself a Sofadodger has never been more ironic, as I squeezed myself into my jumper. So, to gradually ease myself back into things, myself and Father went off to the snooker club for a frame of snooker.
Our local snooker club is, without doubt, going to be my most favourite venue. It is one up from a tin shack and when I drive past it nearly everyday, it always makes me smile. Although very familiar with the location of the club, I had never actually been in, let alone played snooker. Once we had the OK from Gilbert, we let ourselves in.
Dad and I are very similar beings; we are competitive and we like a bit of banter. The banter immediately kicked off with the cue selection and then who was going to break. Although unacquainted with snooker, I used to watch it on the telly a lot and I occasionally play the odd game of pool, so I was confident I would be at least able to hit the things.
Neither of us got off to a flying start, as I quickly realised that this was nothing like pool. With my hitting and hoping and Dad’s “just missed” pots, I glanced at the clock and wondered how long it would take to get through one frame. Apparently in 2001 when Ronnie O'Sullivan played Joe Swail, the frame latest only seven minutes - it took us that long to actually pot a ball. Dad finally opened the scoring and we were off!
I was having an absolute mare, with everything going wrong. Eventually, when Father was 20 points up, he made a foul shot, thus conceding me 4 points! I was cock-a-hoot with that. I had essentially scored the equivalent of four reds! I stopped moaning about the lack of chalk on my cue and started to concentrate. My technique was the problem here and Dad kept advising that I kept raising my head after a shot. I focused and hit another red, it missed. Whilst we were busy arguing about how quickly my head had moved, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that the ricocheted ball had slowly plopped into the corner pocket. I celebrated like I had won the World Championship against Ronnie O’Sullivan himself, as I triumphantly moved my counter a few centimetres to the right.
Suddenly, Dad got into gear and started potting balls from all angles and then unfairly, put me in “snookers”. Apart from my foul and my fluke, I was still not potting anything. I struggled with the length of the table, using a rest, using a spider, using a long cue and finally angles. All of which were critical to my success. Forty minutes in and we finally got down to the colours – I was determined to pot one of these spherical foes.
Dad, whose highest break was standing at nine, potted the yellow and went for the green but missed. It sat tantalisingly over the pocket. I chalked my cue as I tried to control my adrenaline. I was aware that a poor sighted, one armed, octogenarian could probably pot this ball but as Dad kept murmuring, “there are no easy pots”. I took aim and feebly managed to kiss it into the pocket. Sheer joy!
The frame ended after an hour, with Dad scoring 60 odd and me a measly 10. I enjoyed the game and was glad I had experienced the mysterious activities of the fabled "green shack". As Dad crowed all the way home, it felt that my game was more You’ve Been Framed than a frame of snooker but that didn’t matter. It also reminded me why I never asked Dad to teach me to drive.
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