Guest Blog – Catherine Wilson

Ladies and Gentleman welcome to the final in the line of guest blogs on Gaffers Sports Blog.
  
This final guest blog we have the delightful, Catherine Wilson, from Middlesbrough and now residing in London.
 
Catherine is a very keen musician, writer and an avid football and snooker fan.
 
Take it away Catherine….
 
To me, a sporting hero needs to possess a double-edged personality. As fans, not only do we want to them to have special superpowers, but we also want to see a certain level of vulnerability; the type of humanity that we like to ascribe to our heroes in the hope that we share many of the same qualities.
 
That’s why I’ve gone for Ronnie O’Sullivan (pictured below).
Life in the public eye leads many sports persons to shy away from the spotlight when it comes to their private lives. Most snooker stars never reach the glamorous levels of celebrity that are tagged to footballers but The Rocket has had no such luck, with controversy following him throughout his career and straight into the tabloids.
 
The imprisonment of his father for murder in the ’90s had a huge effect on his game, as did his own personal demons such as his battle with depression.
 
Think of the famous incident from 1996, since aped by many of us who’ve picked up a snooker cue, when O’Sullivan was accused of unsporting arrogance by playing with his left-hand and insinuating that his weaker arm was probably still stronger than opponent Alain Robidoux’s right.
 
That’s typical Ronnie; on many occasions seemingly unprofessional, but with a slight cheekiness that you can’t help but warm to.
A number of his peers have bestowed O’Sullivan with unabashed praise, including Stephen Hendry, the only player to have earned more cash prizes in the game than The Rocket, and who lost to him in the 2008 World Championship.
 
I love watching O’Sullivan playing snooker as he wears his heart on his sleeve. When things are going badly for him he makes no effort to hide it, but when things are going well his game can turn into something extraordinary.
 
Just a few weeks ago, O’Sullivan pulled off one of the performances that makes him so thrilling to watch. Facing John Higgins in the semi-final of the 2009 UK Championships, he managed to bring the game to a breathtaking 8-8 finale, coming from 8-2 behind.
 
He lost in the end, but as the man who has notched up 9 top breaks of 147 (and nods to it with the personal reg plate on his flashy sports car), O’Sullivan is always an enticing draw. There’s no doubt in my mind that his personality has significantly raised the profile of snooker around the world.
 
So, Ronnie personifies what it is that I love about snooker. The long and often drawn-out battle; the psychology of the game; the fact that when the snooker’s on TV and O’Sullivan’s name appears at the bottom of screen, you can’t help but watch more intently.
 
With a huge list of accolades already under his belt, but still at the prime of his game, there is so much more to come from O’Sullivan and his sporting legacy will be felt for generations to come.
 
Long live The Rocket.
 
Thanks, Catherine

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