Have you ever had a hobby teach you a valuable lesson about life?
I have had many moments in my life that have taught me valuable life lessons.
Personally I think that we can learn something from almost any situation, there is always a lesson there, we just have to look for it.
I have loved the game of Snooker for as long as I can remember, the game caught my imagination from a very tender age. When I first started playing snooker I couldn't pot a ball if my life depended on it, I was not very good at all.
But due to the fact that I loved snooker, I continued to practice, I started getting better and better. I started stringing together little breaks, 16 points, then 20 points, then 28 points, I was progressively getting better. The better I got, the more I practised, and the more I practised, the better I got. (go figure eh!)
Now you might be forgiven for thinking that what I have written so far is the valuable life lessons that I learnt from playing snooker.
You would be right.
Perseverance and practice are character traits that you must posses to achieve all that you are capable in this life.
You must decide to do something, and you must stick to it until it is completed.
When you first begin to do a thing, you are usually not very good at it, however if you persevere you will find yourself getting better all the time.
The more that you practice that thing, the easier you will find it to do, and the better you will get at it.
The most valuable lesson I learnt from snooker came from watching it, not from playing it.
It was 28th April 1985, I remember the date because it was my 17th birthday. Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis were in the world championship final at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The Final was the best of 35 frames of snooker. Davis was ranked world number one at the time, he went into the final as a firm favourite. In the first session Davis destroyed Taylor 7 frames to 0. Davis also won the first frame after the interval to make it 8-0.
Amazingly Taylor managed to dig deep and stage a comeback, and was 9-7 down at the close of play on the first day. They went into the final session tied 11-11.
Davis kept the pressure on and Taylor was playing catch up yet again, Davis was leading 17-15 and it was first to 18 frames to win the title.
Taylor clawed his way back to tie at 17-17 and force a deciding frame.
In the final frame Davis was leading by 66 points to Taylor's 44.
Taylor had to pot the last four balls to win the match. He potted a difficult long range brown, followed by a tricky blue, and an even trickier pink. This meant for the first time in history that the Snooker world championship would be decided on the very last ball, the black ball.
Taylor tried to double the black into a middle pocket, but missed and the black went safe.
Davis played a fantastic safety shot next leaving Taylor in a lot of trouble, Taylor tried to double the black ball the full length of the table, he missed it and the black went to a relatively safe position.
An unlucky double kiss on the black from Davis let Taylor in with a chance, Taylor snatched at the shot and missed it.
The commentator (Jim Meadowcroft) described it as "the biggest shot of Dennis Taylor's life."
He had left Steve Davis a relatively easy pot on the black, it was close range, but it was a cut into a blind pocket, it was the sought of shot that he would pot 100 times out of 100, but not this day. There were 18.5 million people in the UK watching at that precise moment, and I don't think that you could have found 10 people that would have thought that Steve Davis would miss that shot.
This time Dennis Taylor made no mistake, on his fourth shot on the black ball he potted it to become the 1985 Snooker world champion. He had been behind from the very first frame, the only time that he was in front was when he potted the final black of the match.
It was the greatest comeback in snooker history, and it taught me some very valuable life lessons.
"Never, never, never give in."
"It's not where you start its where you finish."
I could go on, but I think you understand what I am saying.
It is always too soon to quit, never give in.
I would like to leave you with a quote that sums up the events of the 1985 Snooker world championship.
"Some men give up their desires when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous effort than ever before."