Here’s the thing about snooker,
you can be the best player in the
world – but you can lose the game
if your opponent makes or gets or
takes a lucky break. This is also
the thing about life.
Ronnie O’Sullivan might be the best
player to ever chalk up a cue and pocket
the balls in the right order. And that
was certainly the case on a night in
1997 when he scored the maximum
number of points (147) in the shortest
amount of time. In just over five minutes
he put every ball down, striking the black
between each red, pocketing all.
All Mick Price could do was sit there.
It wouldn’t matter that Price had beaten
Dennis Taylor or that he had nearly
defeated the great Stephen Hendry.
It doesn’t really matter that he retired
from the game to become a schoolteacher.
Because that night that he sat and held
his face in joint awe and absolute
disappointment, he realised the first line
of his biography was being smashed into
place by a guy in a race against himself
to put one hundred and forty-seven points
on the board in the ultimate statement.
All Price could have done to save face
was do that same thing first. On that night
he couldn’t. And so, he didn’t. Ronnie
blazed a trail – and of course he has done so
many times since. But like life, it’s not about
waiting for a chance. It’s about taking
what might, and making it right, and breaking