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Beaming with pride.....Part 1

Postby acesinc

A tale of astounding perception and intuition...

As many know, I spent several of my formative years living in England during which I learned and loved the game of Snooker. Over the last several years, one of my teenage sons has been joining me on the table. At first, it was just occasional. We have always enjoyed a good, healthy father-son relationship and for a long time I wondered if he was really just looking to spend some time with the old man or if he really does enjoy and appreciate the Game. I never wanted to pressure him into loving snooker. I am not wishing to vicariously re-live my youth through him, creating a "mini-me" as some parents tend to do with whatever their own personal passions may be. If he wants to play the game, it will be on his own terms. I have provided books and videos, and of course give the occasional pointers, but I haven't attempted to train him formally in any way. Of course we talk about the Rules, tactics and strategies, but to my knowledge, he has never actually read through the Rules of Snooker. I don't hold that against him; most players haven't.

For years, we would have a short session, maybe an hour and a half to two hours and that would be about every second or third weekend. And I always initiated, asking if he wanted to go hit a few balls. About three or four months ago, things changed and I really don't know why they changed, but I love it. We now have a regular Friday night session and sometimes Saturday as well and these will be four to seven hours long. Often now, he will be the one to ask to head into the club. Life is good! Anyway, more about that in Part 2. This post is about a Rule...

So Sam's game has improved to the point that I need to occasionally play some serious safety strokes. Last night, having nothing else, I decided to bury him in the pack of Reds to see how he would deal with it. White ended up touching one Red (which I verbally declared and pointed at), was surrounded closely by several other Reds, and the Black was also in the mix a couple inches away in line between White and the top left pocket. There was also a Red hovering quite near the top left pocket, of course obstructed by Black.

He was in a pickle.

Of course, I strutted around, crowing about the tribulations of his situation, audibly pondered the size that my break was going to be because he clearly had no visible escape and things were looking gloomy. I believe I also added in some evil cackles of laughter at some point.

We do like to have fun on the table. Good times.

Sam and I are both fast players, make decisions quickly, but with this situation he really took some time. Wheels were turning in his head. Finally, he lined up, awkward cueing over several balls and I got respectfully quiet of course. Being a father, despite all the outward braggadocio, I was mentally willing for something good to happen on the table for him. He was aligned striking directly toward the Black. He struck and the Black rolled toward the Red sitting near the corner pocket, the Red rattled in the jaws and bounced away a few inches.

My jaw just dropped! I was stunned, absolutely quiet for about three or four seconds. For anyone reading this anecdote, do you realize what just happened?

Before reading on, think about it for a moment and how this relates to the Rules of Snooker (which my son never actually read, just knows them from watching and discussion).

Finally, I said "What the heck was that?" I had been clucking about how I had him in a real bind and he calmly and coolly nearly pulled off an absolute miracle! The Red did not drop in the pocket (how I wish it had) but he displayed incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE wisdom. Do you see it? To answer my question, he very simply said, "Well, I was touching Red, so I played away. I was playing the long set of the Black onto the Red by the corner....."

That is an absolute pearl. I never, ever thought of it before. Of course, I had already known the answer to my question of what he was doing and he innocently just answered matter-of-fact-ly, but what is astounding is how in his mind, he just followed the completely logical signposts within the Rules of Snooker that say that in a touching ball situation, it is a perfectly legal stroke to play at a ball not on to plant and pot a ball on.

Absolute genius! I am proud this day. He doesn't think it's a big deal, but to me this demonstrates the he thoroughly understands subtleties and nuances that are possible in proper Snooker.

Has anyone encountered a similar situation before? I never before had considered the legality of a touching ball situation and using a ball not on to plant onto a ball on. Literally, the instant he played the stroke, I understood what he was doing and I also knew without having to consult the Rules that this is without any doubt a legal stroke that I had just never thought about before. I am going to keep an eye out for this possibility in the future of my game I can tell you.

I have a bit more to say about experiences with my son on the table so I will post a Part 2 sometime in the future.