Romanian Snooker

I dedicate this post to all involved in this wonderful game (players, referees, organizers and all the other people that made this possible).

I have been involved in the game of snooker for nearly 5 years and have seen the evolution of it. When I joined the picture there were only a few clubs around the country and I believe you could have counted them using the fingers of one of your hands. In my hometown there were no clubs at that moment but several months later one was founded and what was then a 10 players snooker club with one table became to be today a 50+ players club with 4 tables. The similar thing happened in other main cities and now, with more and more clubs setting up and with the national championship getting bigger, players are coming to play from all over the country. It is good to see that there are many that start playing from a young age because they are representing the future of this sport  – keep in mind that last year’s winner of the National League is only 18 years old.

I remember when the first century was realized, it was a huge news, even a 50 break was  considered to be a very good break. The good thing is that now, there are more and more players that are able to make those 50+ breaks and now and then you hear that other centuries had been made.

Even if snooker is a new game practiced in our country it surely evolved a lot in the last years and I really hope that some day we will have a player to represent us in the most prestigious international events. We already have referees representing us at the biggest competitions so why shouldn’t we have players too?

I will finish this post with a video that really impressed me this morning, a maximum break made in practice by two of our best players:

Congratulation guys!

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Snooker: National Championship – 2nd Event

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Yesterday took place the second tournament of the National Snooker Championship which is held in Bucharest. This is a different event from the one that I have been writing before (the local league which is held in Brasov, my hometown). It is also not the first, but the second league in importance from which the first top 4 players qualify in the first league each year.

The hardest thing to do this time was deciding whether to go or not and  I already had a backup plan to go hiking again this week. Just the thought that I will have to get up at 5AM after getting to sleep 3-4 hours made me think “oh no you are not gonna do that again” but, of course it happened and so I gave a few phone calls and we managed to form a group of three. I got picked up at 5:30 and the three of up went on what I would call a very pleasant 2,5 hour ride in which we joked all the way and were very positive.

We arrive half an hour earlier but just in time to have breakfast and regain some strength after the journey.

My companions started playing  right ahead, from 9AM but I was supposed  to start only at 2:00PM. I was horrified with the thought that I will have to wait another 5 hour time to start playing but eventually all worked just fine. I picked up my suit and gloves and started to referee a game – I got to practice a lot at this too because I want to become an international referee. You know, when you get in touch with this game it’s like, you have to do it, you have to play or do anything else related to the game of snooker. Even if you play so bad some time you still want to play more. It’s like a disease but a good one:)

A few  minutes after I finished to referee my first game I was told that some players couldn’t come to the tournament and that I will be playing soon. I started practicing and was really pleased with the way I was played and so, after my 15 minutes of practice were over, I sat down comfortably waiting for my opponent. She was last year’s winner of the Ladies National Tournament and I was impressed right from the start with the way the was playing when I saw her in practice.

The first frame went quite fast and I was soon 1-0 down. The second didn’t start better either – half a frame over and I was already 30 points down. Just when all sort of  thoughts started roaming my mind she missed a shot and I managed to start concentrating again and somehow steal the frame. From then it went from good to better and I managed to win the game with a final score of 3-1. It wasn’t at all an easy game and if the score went 2-0 instead of 1-1 I don’t think that I could have made a comeback.

I didn’t have time to sit more then five minutes because I had to referee another game. It was a quite long game or it just seemed so because I was so tired but it was nice also and it had a bit of drama in the end. It is great to be involved in the game even as a referee because you get to see a lot of shots and especially learn new stuff from good players.

At 4PM, after about 7 hours of snooker, I finally had one free hour in which had to wait for my opponent. He is one of the two roumanian’s Eurosport snooker  commentators. Not only he is a good commentator but a good player too. He was part of the top 16 players for years and this year was his first season in the second league.

So here I was, after nearly eight full hours, playing the finalist of the first tournament in January. It was a close game and I think that the 3-0 score does not do justice for what happened. In the first two frames we had equal about of points when only 5 balls were left on the table but I lost them both at a very close margin. Only the 3rd frame was not that close but I had my chances too. I was pretty pleased with my performance even though I lost with this score.

It was a nice tournament and even if it was a full day of snooker, approximately eleven hours, it is always great to participate in this league in which players come from the entire country.

All the best!

Bucegi – Moara Dracului Waterfall

I was pretty active in this weekend having gone out both days. Saturday I went out with my fiancee on a walk to a ski resort which is 13km away from our city (I will detail this trip in a future post) and Sunday, I went out again, this time for a more difficult hike to a waterfall in the Bucegi Mountains. It was not that the hike was long or dangerous but the fact that it snowed a lot last week and the path was covered in 20-30cm of snow.

We went by car from Brasov to the Simon village where we left the it before a road barrier and took the rest of the dirt road by foot.

After about half an hour we arrived at a junction where the two hiking signs that we were following by then split in two. One was following the same dirt road, which we kept on following, and the other went straight into the forest.

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Not long after, we were enchanted with the first great views of the mountains.

The Bucegi Mountains – part of the Carpathian Mountains
Highest Peak – “Omu Peak” 2505m

We were getting closer and closed to the base of the mountain so I knew it wouldn’t take long until we will start climbing and so it was. After another 30-45 minutes we left the dirt road and went on a narrow and abrupt path which climbed the hill that laid before us. This was the hardest part of the trip but fortunately not a long one. From the top of the hill it took us about 10 minutes to arrive at our destination. I will let the photos say the rest:)

Panorama of the clearing

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Although the snow does not look to be too big I assure you that one wrong step and you end up stuck in snow to your knees.

I don’t know what the speed of the wind was but what I am sure of is that when it was starting I needed to cover.

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A waterfall of snow.

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Moara Dracului Waterfall, frozen from top to bottom.

We returned on the same path we took on climbing to get here. It was a really nice trip and my only regret is that I can’t go out on such trips more often.

Snooker, a new year…

For those that are not aware what snooker is, it can be described as a game similar to billiards/pool but on a bigger table and with smaller balls. Sounds difficult? It really is. The thing that makes it so difficult, but exciting in the same time, is that it is also a mental game. You can have a good aim and pot balls but without mastering your emotions you can never be good at snooker.

I have been playing snooker for about 4 years and had lots of high and lows but this year I am expecting to be a better one and I am saying that because I proposed myself to practice more and have a different thinking at the table. The things changed in the last two years because I did not practice as much I should and there are more and more new players that come from behind. In fact, there were times when I was playing so bad that I tough it will be better if I just quit playing but, fortunately, I never did:).

This weekend is taking place the local league’s first snooker tournament (of a series of ten). I have finished on the 12th position last year and have been practicing more in the past few weeks so I expect a good first event.  I have already had a good start at this event with a narrow win (2-1, potting the last black ball) in the first match from a group in which I have three competitors, one of which is the local coach and current number one.

Tomorrow  morning I am going to do a final training session so I can be as ‘in form’ as I can be on Saturday.