The World Snooker Championship it's over for some days now and so is the 2016/2017 snooker season: a time for depression for most of us: snooker fans, bloggers, journalists and so on.
The question "And now what?" comes to mind, isn't it? So that's why I thought of sharing a few of the highlights of this year's World Championship.
I haven't done this in years, so for those of you who have forgot or have no idea what doing an "after" piece is all about, here's the bloody, bloody truth: what you will read next are just my views. It's my turn to be bias.
A special edition
2017 marked the 40th anniversary from when snooker graced the Crucible Theater with its presence. It's been one hell of a journey, one that is bound to continue for at least 10 years as we were assured just before the kick off, of this year's edition when World Snooker Chairman, Barry Hearn signed the papers.
"The home of snooker" will remain in Sheffield, at the Crucible Theatre a place so tiny and claustrophobic, but one that guards so many lovely and painful memories nonetheless. It's actually paradoxical how a place so small can capture so many great moments.
The 40th anniversary got some great coverage from the BBC, a celebration party before the start of the new World Championship, some awesome TV-shows, plus a re-play of "The Rack Pack" - a film that presents (in a very weird mix of sad and funny) the "change of guards" from Alex Higgins to Steve Davis.
I am what you would call "old school", so I can't but be overjoyed by the fact that snooker has found such a great and cozy place as the Crucible for its home and that for 40 years this has been the stage where snooker's been the winner.
"Shocks on the rocks"
Probably that the biggest shock of the tournament was the fact that one of the biggest favourites to win the title this year, Judd Trump suffered an out-of-this-world defeat from world number 54, Rory McLeod.
McLeod, whose last major victory was recorded back in 2015 when he won the Ruhr Open, beat Trump 10-8 in the first round.
A match that I guess proved to Trump what the expression "nerves of steel" is all about.
Marco Fu has been a very strong contestant and his form this season is probably his best so far. So probably is not fair to say I was surprised to see him battle his way through matches, performing more than one comeback.
The first came when he was 7-1 down in the first round, against Belgium's best Luca Brecel. What a great performance for the Hong Kong man! He went on and won the match 10-9.
The second piece of history happened in the next round, where he faced the mighty Neil Robertson. This snooker encounter was filled with a lot of mistakes and bad missed, as the man himself was going to state after the match and although the lads went hand in hand for most of the time, everything changed when Robbo went 10-8 up.
In the end though, Fu managed to win 13-11. He got beaten in the quarters though, 13-3 by the reigning world champion, Mark Selby.
Break of pattern for Ding
Ding Junhui enjoyed a pretty good run during this year's World Championship, but his most notable performance must definitely be the victory he obtained in front of his idol, Ronnie O'Sullivan.
"The Chinese Sensation" hasn't beat O'Sullivan in 10 years! So to do it here, at the Crucible, in the quarter-finals of the World Championship must really be something worth remembering. Not just for the lad, but also for us.
I guess we all remember the time when Ding ended up in tears after losing to O'Sullivan, back in 2007 in the Masters' final. 10 years later, the student was overcomes his master.
146 - the new 147
I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for maximum breaks. It gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. So the fact that this year we didn't have a 147 at the Crucible was a bit sad.
However, we had the next best thing, which is a 146 beautifully cued by the one and only Ronnie O'Sullivan in the match against Ding Junhui.
Interestingly enough we haven't had a maximum break at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry's 147 from 2012 - the year he actually retired form professional snooker.
Selby gets 3 out of 4 & joins elite group
Selby hasn't just retained his world title, but has also recorded a pretty special deal: he won three out of four World Championship finals!Which, despite not being everyone's cup of tea is a pretty awesome thing.
Plus, the fact that he defended his title also puts him next to snooker's elite: Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
These three gents are the only ones to have won back-to-back world titles.
Back in 2011 Higgins won the World Championship in a splendid way. He enjoyed a tremendous season, winning the 2010 UK Championship and the 2011 Welsh Open so I guess it was only normal to end that season in grand style. Plus, if you well remember he had something to prove after the six-months ban.
Although not at his best, he was strong, determined, his long potting was just superb and he reached the final where he battled like a lion. Sure, it was a time when everything came to pieces, but it was without any doubt a vintage Higgins running around the snooker table this year.
Snooker conquers Social Media
I have been blogging about snooker for almost seven years now and I am so happy to say that this year was probably the best in regard to how snooker was present and promoted through Social Media.
Either we are talking about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube - snooker was there. World Snooker even decided to use Facebook as a tool for broadcasting the World Snooker Championship in parts of the world where the transmission wasn't available - which by all means is great publicity for the sport itself. Snooker reached news territories and flooded all Social Media channels with pictures, short videos, LIVE sessions, news etc.
Everything was there up for grabs. Every minute of the World Championship got coverage from the officials, as well as from us - the snooker blog-sphere - and the snooker fans from all around the world.
The snooker family got together once more and shared unique moments, ideas, jokes and so on. It really was a tremendous year for snooker to break the online. I dare to day snooker conquered the online for 17 days ;-)
So this is it, grosso modo I have stated my case (of which I am certain, as Sinatra said in a very famous song - I'll let you guess which one) of my highlights for this year's World Snooker Championship.
And now what? - the same question arises. Now it's your turn! Write me about your favourite/worst moments, the highlights, the funny parts ... whatever springs to mind. I will be sure to read them all.
Photos credit: World Snooker