Last night I came to the realisation that the beautiful game is not football. We had just stopped halfway through watching the French version of Lady Chatterley (or "John Thomas and Lady Whitestockings" as the English subtitles had it) and in my alcoholic haze I was whisked away to the Pukka Pies UK Snooker Championships from Telford. It suddenly all made sense.
Football I can watch if I'm passionately supporting one of the teams. An England containing Terry, Lampard and Gerrard I have nothing but disdain for. And a West Ham team as lame as the current one doesn't really get me jumping out of my seat. But, snooker is something else.
I presume you remember Betty's post on those snooker players of yore who brought an animal sexuality to the game.
I'm afraid today's crop of players are not in the same league. They are young, self-critical, efficient and personality-free. But could you see David Beckham playing in a tournament sponsored by Pukka Pies? Exactly. You cut your clothes according to your cloth.
So I sat there last night for a good fifteen minutes. Transfixed, I was. All that sport-watching machismo had left my body to be replaced by simple appreciation of skillfully maneuvered balls. The players were not important. I willed them both to perform to the best of their abilities. I was in no hurry, not like the old days when a dithering Terry Griffiths would get me shouting expletives with impatience. I was happy for the players to take as long as they liked to create the most pleasing shots.
Last night I found peace with myself. It has taken me by surprise but now I know there is no turning back. I think I will be able to retire with grace and free of stress. Though I may have to be constantly pissed.