Oh man, have I got an interesting for you today.
This is Ronnie O’Sullivan, arguably the greatest professional athlete the world has ever known. Not like, he’s an athlete, and he’s arguably the greatest one. He’s arguably a professional athlete, and definitely the greatest ever. He plays snooker, basically the British equivalent of American pool, and just like most British equivalent versions of American things, snooker is stupid-complicated. Basically there’s a cue ball, 15 red balls, and 6 colored balls on a table with 6 pockets.
First a player hits one of the red balls into a pocket, then they’ve got to hit a colored ball in, then a red, then a color, ect. until they miss a shot, at which time the other player gets to try to do the same thing. Red balls (1 point each) stay off the table when pocketed, but colored balls come back out until all the red balls are off the table, then everything stays in the pocket, and the winner is the player with the most points after the colored balls are pocketed in order – yellow (2 points), green (3 points), brown (4 points), blue (5 points), pink (6 points), and finally black (7 points). The table is much much bigger than a pool table, the pockets are much much smaller, and the competition is much much terrifyingly talented. Now you might be in the category of uppity people who does not think snooker is a sport, but try not to get so uppity about it. After all, you’re the one who just found out what snooker was a minute ago.
SMASH CUT TO THE INTERESTING
Okay. Ronnie O’Sullivan is snooker Jesus. He’s LeBron plus Tiger Woods plus Mozart plus a unibrow. He turned pro at age 16, he won the highly coveted UK championship at age 17, and he has been the greatest player in the game for over 20 years. O’Sullivan suffers from plot-thickeningly chronic depression, and his opponents never know which Ronnie they’re going up against. His on-again-off-again drug addiction, his father going to prison for murder, and his volatile behavior on the bow-tie-mandatory professional snooker circuit, culminate in a depression-assisted unpredictability, and makes him an infinitely watchable star in an otherwise kinda boring sport.
Okay, that’s pretty much this whole post. Oh, unless you want to hear about THE SINGLE CRAZIEST MOMENT IN HIS OR ANYONE ELSE’S CAREER.
One last thing you’ve gotta know about snooker for this to make sense, is that a perfect score is a 147. You get a 147 if you hit in red and then black 15 times in a row without missing, and then the colors in order. Since becoming a professional sport in 1927, every single player has had getting a 147 on the brain, and literally thousands of professionals have had literally thousands upon thousands of chances to get one. A 147 is so rare that despite the combined efforts of all these people, there have only been 98 professionally recorded 147s in snooker history. To put that into perspective, a no-hitter in baseball (one of the rarest and best things in a sport that you have heard of) has happened 282 times. I can’t emphasize enough how crazy rare a 147 is. So rare, some tournaments pay £147,000 (about a quarter of a million dollars) to any player who gets a 147.
On September 20th, 2010, Ronnie O’Sullivan was playing against Mark King in the World Open Championship. Mark King missed a shot and Ronnie O’Sullivan steps up to the table. After he hits in one red and one black, Ronnie turns to the referee and asks him what the prize for getting a 147 is. No referee has ever been asked this question before, and the 147 is so pants-shittingly rare that Dutch snooker referee Jan Verhaas didn’t actually know. As the announcers tried to figure out what in the fuck was happening, Ronnie stopped playing and sent the ref away to go and find out. In baseball terms, this is like a pitcher throwing 2 strikes and then whipping out his dick to reveal a tattoo reading “I’m about to throw a no-hitter.” The Jan Verhaas came back and informed Ronnie that in this particular tournament, there wasn’t a specific prize for a perfect score. Ronnie kinda shrugged it off and started playing again.
AND GUESS FUCKING WHAT HAPPENED. If you answered “he shoots a 147,” you are … incorrect. What? But you lead me to believe …
Truly, you have heard a scary noise and gone to investigate, only to see curtains moving slightly. As you creep up on what is surely a 147 hiding behind the curtains and whip them open only to reveal that you’ve left a window open. Breathing a sigh of mixed emotions, you turn to go back to your pillow fight, only to run straight into RONNIE O’SULLIVAN. It’s actually better than a 147, so don’t get all “you wasted my time” about it. Yes, Ronnie O’Sullivan went on to hit every red, and every black in, then he hit the yellow, the green, the brown, the blue, and the pink in order, leaving himself with 140 points and only a routine black ball shot for perfect score glory and bragging rights for life. But he doesn’t shoot the black ball in.
Instead of finishing the 147, Ronnie Fucking O’Sullivan turns around and forces his opponent to resign, giving O’Sullivan a final score of 140. As Ronnie goes to shake the referee’s hand and head back to his dressing room, the ref refuses to accept the resignation, and demands that Ronnie finish the game in order to appease the fans, (the vast majority of whom have never seen a perfect game in person). Ronnie takes almost no aim, bends to the table, and blasts the black ball straight into the pocket. Then he bails into the hallway as the crowd erupts in applause. Mother fucking ridiculous. A post-game interviewer accosts Ronnie on his way out, but O’Sullivan just acts like a total asshole to him, and refuses to give him any satisfying answers.
If you know of a better sporting moment (you don’t, because there aren’t any), please let me know.