Remember, I'm an old timer, learned the game like a hundred years ago when the slates were quarried and hauled around by elephants. Hopefully, most of you know that while snooker was actually televised to a small degree in the days of black and white television, it became much more popular with the introduction of colour television, even used as a promotional tool by the BBC to show off the new colour technology.
Now for my rant....
Since the beginning of time, the halves of the English Billiards table (which many improperly refer to as a "Snooker table") have been identified as the "top of the table" (black spot end) and the "bottom of the table" (baulk end). It is tough to get this concept through to American pool players as their parallel references are the "foot of the table" (for our "top") and the "head of the table" (for our "bottom"). It's a topsy-turvy world. Understanding this terminology effectively is most important for those just learning the game, whether from a mate or from a proper instructor. For instance, in discussing what is the best choice of shot for a particular situation, one may advise, "Play that red half safe in the top right pocket bringing the cue ball off top cushion, around black spot, off left side cushion and back to anywhere on the bottom half of the table." Anyone who has been through Snooker 101 knows exactly what I just said, but if you only know the game from watching telly, you may have no idea.
So my problem is that, obviously for television coverage, the most common, convenient, and interesting camera angle is the black ball spot on the bottom of the screen. That of course means the "top of the table" is on the bottom, the "left" is the right, and vice versa. No problem. But problem is when the commentators refer to the pocket on the bottom left of the screen as the "bottom left pocket" when it is in fact, ironically perhaps, actually the "top right pocket". This muddying of the waters of terminology has been going on for decades but I for one would like to see history preserved, the corruption of snooker terminology reversed, and for real snooker players to know the difference between the real "bottom left pocket" and the television "bottom left pocket". However, at the same time I understand the need to appeal to the mass audience so that one simply cannot refer to the "top right pocket" which is obviously and clearly positioned to the bottom left.
How can this be resolved? It is simple really, if only the commentators may be open to simple suggestion. As famously posited by Albert Einstein, any observation is subject to the frame of reference of the observer. In reference to Snooker, this simply means that the player's "top right" does not have to be the television viewer's "top right"; it is all relative. So all the commentator has to do is add one simple word every time that he refers to a pocket or a cushion. And that word is simply, "...our...".
Example: When reds are obstructing each other around the black spot, the commentator will often say something along the lines of, "If he can pot blue and take white off the right side cushion to get on the red nearest black into the bottom left pocket, that will then clear the path for the next red into the bottom right." In proper snooker terminology of course, that is wrong, wrong, WRONG!
What the commentator should say in order to be precise (and after all is snooker not a game of precision?) is, "If he can pot blue and take white off OUR right side cushion to get on the red nearest black into OUR bottom left pocket, that will then clear the path for the next red into OUR bottom right."
Perhaps I am just nitpicking. But while I praise the advancement in technology, I also revere and wish to preserve the history.
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