September 19, 2011

Another Day, Another Dollar.

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:52 am

Samba Smurf

Our old cocker spaniel was sick yesterday and we were both a bit worried about him, he’s a lot better today and has woken up full of beans. By contrast both myself and Mrs SB woke up a bit gloomy with the thought of another week of work ahead and a dull, miserable morning outside. We both just wanted to stay in bed and not have to bother with earning a living for this week at least, probably much like the majority of waking Brits this cold autumnal morning.

But contrast this with the winner of the Brazilian Masters last night Shaun Murphy, who wakes up this morning a cool £25,000 or so richer courtesy of a few days ‘work’ in a sunny beach resort far far away, this all in between the taxing chore of having to play tennis, sorry Shaun but by all accounts rather badly, against the slightly less awful Bingo Tennis-Ballrun Bingham.

I know which I’d rather be doing….

Typically, Shaun himself said afterwards that he would have fond memories of Brazil and that he couldn’t believe that he gets to do what he does as a job. For me, that sums his attitude up in terms of the changes happening in the sport at the moment, he will go anywhere to play and you can always rely on him to give it his best shot, even when he’s not at his best. He is also happy to make comments that could be seen by some as fuelling the flames when it comes to the disagreements amongst the players as to the way snooker is heading under the good ship Bazza, but Shaun is a clever lad and is obviously in the ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds’ camp.

Contrast Smurf’s attitude with that displayed once more by Mark Allen on his Facebook pages. The young Belfast Firecracker has been having a swipe left, right and centre at World Snooker, mocking their choice of venue this week as well as describing the PTC events as ‘crappy’ and calling for an end to the endless travel the players have to do. Hang on, he didn’t even go to Brazil…

Of course, he is entitled to his opinion and I’m sure he isn’t alone and at least has the courage to express it. He has also been fighting his own demons of late of course and this may just be a symptom of that, very much in the way that Ronnie sometimes uses Twitter to let off steam, much to the delight of tabloid hacks and his adoring and forever forgiving fans everywhere.

Marky - Not Happy.

Now I don’t think that this event has been a great success whichever way you dress it up and it took Bazza to get over there to give the promoters what I’m sure was ‘the benefit of his opinion’ and leave them in doubt as to their shortcomings. But I do find it strange that he left it in their incapable hands in the first place and wasn’t a little more hands on (if he needs a representative to do this, I AM available). But despite the obvious failings that were there for all to see, the event did improve and at least the people who did watch seemed to be enthusiastic. I’m sure lessons will be learned if they venture to such parts again, though I’d guess that this is the last time they’ll be swapping smart shoes for flip flops straight after the match.

In terms of the global growth of the sport, I’m not going to go over old ground but it is obvious that this is the only way to ensure snooker’s bright future and if there are players with Mark’s attitude, no matter how good they are, they should probably consider a change of career. Keeping the sport land-locked in the UK is not an option and if this were to happen and the travelling did stop, it would not be the player’s choice to change careers as this decision would have been forced upon them. Sometimes you just have to knuckle down even when conditions don’t suit you, just like almost everyone else in life. 

That said, I still believe the balance may have been tipped a little too much in the other direction and that changes to the calendar are necessary to avoid player burnout as early as October and risk the showpiece events later in the season turning into a slog and being won by the player who is simply the least knackered. But we are in a transition phase of the sport and for now at least, the players should be embracing these new opportunities when they can and just look a little further beyond their metaphorical four walls.

I know that money is an issue too, but in the words of Del Trotter ‘You’ve got to speculate to accumulate, je ne sais pas por quoi, Rodders’.

(Photos courtesy of World Snooker)

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