December 10, 2023

A declaration of love for sport: why snooker is so cool

A declaration of love for sport: why snooker is so cool

Snooker is like almost any sport: you find it exciting or boring. It’s a game that at first glance seems relatively monotonous and consists of constant repetition. Red in the corner pocket on the left, black in the corner pocket on the right – if you don’t follow snooker regularly, it looks relatively dull.

However, every framework is different. There are always similar positions for the balls on the table, but almost none exactly match the other. This makes a huge difference in a game that requires extreme precision.
In addition to this, snooker offers different arcs of suspense. There seem to be endless security duels that can stretch a frame over an hour.

Then there are quick decisions where the entry is long enough to open the image on the table. Most memorable is Ronnie O’Sullivan’s World Cup break 25 years ago, the Englishman pocketing the black ball for every red ball in just 5:08 minutes and finally all the colored ball too. 147 straight points – it’s the dream of every snooker professional.

At this year’s World Championships in Sheffield, where the final will take place at the legendary Crucible Theater on Sunday and Monday, Neil Robertson has done his best. When he dropped the last ball, the Australian raised his arms and celebrated as a footballer after a particularly important goal. There are moments when snooker turns from a mental game to an emotional one. Which can be very fleeting, Robertson later lost the match against Jack Lisowski.

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In general, it compares well with chess. Drowning in snooker is not even a great art. It’s about holding the position – this means controlling the main ball in such a way that the next ball is playable. Sometimes professionals have to think of several moves in advance, such as chess players making their own moves on the board.

Anyone who holds a sign in their hand and has understood the dimensions of a snooker table will know how difficult this seemingly really easy game can be (and that the pockets are actually much smaller than they appear on TV). It increases respect for professionals and in some ways elevates their sport into an art form.

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And then, of course, there are heroes. The fact that almost all of the best players come from Great Britain – there were two English men, one from Wales and one Scottish in the World Cup semi-final – does not matter to the public. Snooker professionals are their own brand, so if you want to make it big, you will get a title in time so that it can be announced in tournaments like boxers when they go by their fight names.

This is by no means lacking in some comedy, which is a nice change to this rather serious and luxurious game. Because the highest principle in snooker is fairness – at least during the match. Anyone who makes a mistake informs the judge of this, and they treat each other with respect and match the clothes of professionals – black shoes, fine trousers, a waistcoat, and the obligatory tie.

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All this together makes snooker unique. Anyone who participates – whether as a silent observer in front of the TV or live in a tournament – will certainly not regret it.