I’m not feeling well. Not only because, after 25 days of world championship, today is the day when the „snooker hangover“ kicks in. No, I’m also feeling unwell because the life of a snooker enthusiast is a lonely one quite often. Even at the one time of the year that is dominated by the beloved sport for the likes of me, I am alone. I can count the number of people who even remotely share my passion on one hand in my immediate vicinity – if not on one finger. Translation: Filia Rheni Es gibt diesen Artikel auch auf Deutsch.
Mass does not make a difference
Half a million people in Germany watched the world championship final. That doesn’t sound too bad. But how many of them really know anything about snooker? How many can name more than five players? Even the one friend with whom I tested the baize over at „Billard 65“, around the corner from my place, just looks at me blankly when I mention the name Anthony Hamilton. That is what makes me lonely.
Therefore, I take to the web. I am aware that this is not the „real“ world and that the internet cannot replace watching the matches in a group on a big screen. However, there might be a reason for me following this sport instead of this “margin pastime football” where pretty much everybody else hangs around? If you are something special, you have to be creative and accept some drawbacks.
Welcome and well received
I found my first home at SnookerPRO. When I started here in 2013 as a guest writer, I was in the middle of a medium-severe depression and Daniel, the founder of the blog, saved my life, so to speak. He offered me a safe haven in which I first could settle in and where I could knock myself out. He offered me a task, recognised and appreciated my work, and quickly involved me in the development of the site by means of his cooperative character. Together we experimented on new features, prompted, and supported each other. However, now that his passion for snooker was waning and his life led him on to a different path, he handed the blog over to me in 2016. This world championship was the first I covered completely alone. That makes me lonely. I miss Daniel, his ideas and implementations, the agreements and the mutual confirmation that our work is done well and makes sense.
Part of a bigger picture
When the continuous updating of results on the blog became too much for me, I became a member in the team of snooker.org. There, together with 14 others, I feed the database with results and am in turn allowed to integrate their site here on SnookerPRO. I invest time there that I can save here and am able to offer a better service to my readers, for I alone could never implement all the results that quickly. Even though I only met two of the team in person, the entire team has become some sort of a second family to me. I benefit from the shift duties I have there, they force me to participate in life, even when I only feel like hiding under the blanket. A nice ritual at the end of any tournament is the publication of the updates and the number of visitors to the site. The feeling of working with this great team on this great site that provides several hundred thousands of people with information makes me proud.
My third home is Twitter. Not only under #147sf, the hashtag for the mainly German community (hence the „germanised“ writing of the word), but also in contact with active players, refs, and others, other bloggers, and fans all over the world. It is a huge community of droll, funny, sometimes annoying weirdos just like me. Here, I meet people who sweeten my midnight shifts for snooker.org by communicating with me right to the end of world record long frames under hashtag #PeopleWhoStareAtLiveScores and #latenightscoring.
The other day, when I was, yet again, at an emotional low, a video waited for me on my timeline, tweeted by a soulmate. I watched it, and even though I felt like crying, I laughed. I laughed heartily until I nearly wet myself.
And even if Christoph Ransmayr’s protagonist in „Der fliegende Berg“ (lit: the flying mountain) only speaks a limited positive truth, it’s the truth nonetheless:
…today, I know that a laugh might bring us back to life, but cannot hold us there. What […] keeps me and most of us alive, must have something to do with the sometimes comforting, sometimes threatening riddle that we, wherever we are, are not the only ones.
Some days ago, there was a discussion on #147sf where some people wrote how lonely they felt and how much they wished they had somebody to share their world championship experience with. I became aware that, however insufficient virtual contact might feel sometimes, it still helps me nonetheless. And it’s all I have. I decided to be grateful for this and make the best out of it in every sense.
And in order to us to become more and to support each other as best as we can, to meet up for sports bets and 147sf-meet-ups, I shall continue to do my part. I shall continue to gather all active ones and their offerings, link them, (re-)tweet them, and comment on them. Simply for them to see that their work is good and meaningful. To make those who participate, all who read along, listen along, write along and bet along feel less lonely.
My special thanks goes to Norway, where somebody had the idea to send cinnamon-flavoured cheese to Germany. And to the person whom I would never have met without my weird hobby and who kept me excellent company at this year’s German Masters between sessions, and never failed to re-animate me with engaging conversation. In the dark hours, the thought that I shall find my home with him again, including coffee and “cigarette”, helps me to keep going.