PTC Grand Finals 2011 - a personal note

04:18:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The Helix arena, the place where snooker rulled
A week ago the premiere edition of PTC Grad Finals tournament was picking its champion and although I tried to post this personal note earlier in the week, for one reason or another it wasn’t done. So here I go! :-))

Snooker was received with open arms in Ireland and it was only natural for this to happen this way, because this nation has been crying out for a snooker event in such a long time. It was so nice to see so many people that came to see the players doing what they do best and I always say that audience plays such a huge part in a tournament. Just look at the Crucible, when the World Championship is on! The public is thrilled by the event and the fact that it’s part of such an incredible competition and that happened in Dublin a week ago. The people were so happy and so proud to be part of snooker just can’t buy stuff like that. With some many bad things happening in the world, with poverty and this economic crises that affects each and everyone of us, people find in snooker the perfect moment to take a break from all their problems and that’s just...wonderful.

As you all know, the main responsible for this grand final is the one and only, the Captain of this Enterprise ship of snooker, Jean Luc Picard (we might just know him as Barry Hearn :-P). He was the one who had the idea of putting together 12 marvelous events of snooker (minor-ranking events, as the media has called them), that were played in the UK, as well as on the continent (Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic) last year. The players were more than pleased to know that they will be playing more and more snooker, earning more ranking points and more money for their families. It was, without doubt, a perfect start for Hearn’s revolution.

Martin Gould, back for good
Like always, some of the players were not very happy with the idea. Maybe for some this competitions weren’t reaching their high standards, but after playing in an event or two, there’ve discovered this is not a very easy task and that if they continue to play constantly and play good, they might just enter that famous Top 16 in the world rankings. For some of the players, that became a reality.

The golden rules to get a place in the PTC Grand Finals was to take part in three PTC and EPTC events and to get as many money as possible. The first 24 to meet these rules were the ones you saw play in Dublin. Well, they number wasn’t really 24, because Stephen Maguire had to withdraw because his wife was giving birth. Although I was very happy to hear that his family was welcoming another member, I was sad not to see him play, after that tremendous job he did in the Welsh Open.

The PTC Grand Finals was a wonderful event that reunited 23 valuable players, players that gave their best in order to win that brand new trophy the organisation term made for this special occasion, some precious ranking points and some money too. It was a great opportunity for each player to get a bit of practice before the China Open tournament that’s just around the corner and practicing with the best can’t harm a snooker player. ;-)

Both finalists, Martin Gould and Shaun Murphy had their share of "not doing so good in snooker" lately, so for me, to see them perform so well, it was like a dream come true. They played beautifully and even if in the end only one of them was champion, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s a true delight to see them both back in business :-))
I read something that has moved me deeply, something the Murphy said when he was playing the mighty Stephen Lee in the quarter-finals and he was being lead 3-1 (if I’m not wrong). He said that a little lad from the audience came to him and said "Come on, Shaun!" and that from that moment on things just got better and better, because he beat Lee and won the tournament.
It’s times like this when to really get to see players like human beings. I know it sounds stupid...because they are, but sometimes we tend to forget it. We always watch the sportive as semi-Gods that can’t be beaten and nothing can ever go wrong for them, and in some occasions we even get mad with them when they lose.

Shaun Murphy, lifting his brand new trophy
It’s interesting and very important to see that the mind of a snooker player, as the minds of any other sport player, it’s vulnerable and they too can have a bad day or a bad season, they too can be overwhelmed with losing one match after another, they too can get depressed and feel like crap.
What it matters is that they always find a way to put themselves together. Always! Sooner or later they get back on their feet. Maybe when you are least expecting that to happen. Hell, maybe when they too are least expecting it! :-))

For me, every snooker match is a lesson of life. For some many times I’ve put myself through hell when I saw that one of the players is not at his best. But as soon as he was back in potting those snooker balls, I was feeling happy for him and cheering him! That’s life...there in front of your eyes, every time you watch a snooker match!

I think that Barry Hearn is reviving snooker, because it feels so much alive than before. The matches are much more intense, the tournaments are being taken more seriously and snooker is feeling better and better with every competition that follows. That’s why, I consider the PTC Grand Finals as a statement that snooker is back and that the players and the fans are just thrilled with it!
This tournament has showed us that we can still make a difference in sports, and that we can still chance things for the better. :-)