Often a life on the road is grueling and unkind. Snooker players are no exception. The games are tense, the nights are long, the training hours are endless… But the oh-so-coveted trophy and the pride of victory are always in the players’ dreams. The winner gets to be the hero, while the loser is forced to bite his lip and acknowledge the prowess of his opponent.
But behind every hero, there is a group of people, endlessly working together to make sure the heroes are allowed to maximise their potential. With alabaster gloves on their hands and their suits adorning their bodies, these unsung heroes stand by the players, each and every frame, with a gleam in their eyes and an eerie aura of confidence.
The referees seldom reach the limelight. Much like in normal life, players tends to remember the bad, but are quick to forget the good. But they are always there, the pillar of this gentlemanly sport, keeping an eye over the baize.
Refereeing is as much a passion as is playing – it bridges people together. Young and old, men and women – all are united in their goal to provide the audience with a beautiful game of snooker. The European championship in Vilnius sees referees, as young as sixteen and as wise (age is wisdom, remember?) as eighty-four, collectively work to ensure that the players have the ideal conditions to succeed. Every one of us, lovers of the game, wish to acknowledge the hard work and the hours they put in — more often than not, more than the actual competitors at the table.
Let’s thus raise it to you, referees, because you are an inseparable asset to the game, and we could not enjoy it without you. Cheers!