Age versus youth

I play snooker and yesterday I had a great game. This was a classic contest: The experience of age versus the fire of youth, for there was a generation gap, 17 years, between me and my opponent, Fred.

Snooker is not merely scoring points, by potting the balls, but is also a strategic battle to inhibit one's opponent from potting them. Our game proved to be of a very high standard with both playing quite skillfully. Instead of the game taking a typical half an hour to pot the balls, it was all over in a quarter of an hour.

As the game drew toward its close, I had a handy lead of 34 to 24, but there were still four balls to be potted, the brown, blue, pink and black, worth 4, 5, 6 and 7 points. Fred quickly potted the brown and blue to make the scoreline 34-33. I then potted the pink but Fred instantly finished off with the black. The scoreline ended 40-40. Deuce! Sorry, that's tennis, not snooker. It was a tie. Snooker, though, like tennis, has a tie-breaker: The black ball is respotted and whoever pots the black is the winner.

Fred won the toss and sent me in to have first shot. Rather than attempt this extremely difficult pot I played a safety shot to leave Fred in difficulties. He did likewise and a few more safety shots followed until Fred left me a rough chance and I was able to pot the black and win.

Of the thousands of games of snooker I've played that was the best frame ever. Not high scoring, but the score-line does not always tell the quality of a frame. To win it was a bonus. But in such a close finish who really had won? Was it the experience of age or was it the fire of youth? Can anyone say? I'm 79, so youth had won this time but what about next time?

(2013)

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