Snooker & TV Watching

John Higgin and Mark Shelby were having the battle of their lives. They have been doing one-on-one for hours, 2nd day in a row, now. As a big part of the world intensively watched, most of Americans show little interest or awareness: typically.

They are the finalists of the World Snooker Championship. After China Open, Mr. Higgin ranks #3 in the world, China's own 20-year-old DING JunHui is #9, and Mr. Shelby #22 — not a seeded player entering the match. Mr. Shelby, a clear underdog, led briefly 3-2 (it is a best of 35 "frames" championship) but seemed all but lost when Higgins zoomed past him and led 12-4. But somehow, this 23-year old youngster transformed into a wizard to capture 6 frames in a row. Higgins was visibly drained and tired. The score is now 12-10.

Higgins won a game; Shelby answered right back. The scores seesawed 13-10, 13-11, 14-11, 14-12, and 14-13! Higgins showed his tenacity. He won two frame closely and pulled away with a decisive win (129 to 1)! No one can stop that momentum. The 31st frame sealed the 2nd world title for Higgins.


I am not much a sport-TV person. I watched Football only when 49ers were the best team. I never watched baseball on TV. Since I came to China, I watched: Diving, Badminton, Ping Pong, Snooker, Pool (9-ball), Volley ball, and, once in a while, Soccer. What's common? They all need fine motor control, finesse, and/or teamwork — super-human muscles or more-than-door-frame height not required.

American heroes are those who can do things normal people can never dream of doing. Chinese heroes are more normal people who practiced to win, less those who were born with extraordinary talents and resources. The contrast is sharp in what sports they watch.


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I love your comment about Chinese heroes being those who practice to win, rather than those born with unusual talents (or physical attributes, like being well over 2 meters tall!) This is why I love youth sports: they play as well as they practice, everyone plays, and those who make a team do well. Every now and then you see "the next" superstar in the larger American sports scene but mostly you see kids who want to just play

Posted by Hal Stern on May 15, 2007 at 02:38 PM CST #

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