January 21, 2006
So, being the fortunate souls we are, upon arrival in the UK we find that we are placed right in the center of the throbbing pulse that is the Snooker Masters. For those of you who don't know, snooker is like varsity-pool. Its for the big boys.
it took us about 3 hours of watching this game to make any sort of sense what was going on with all the red balls and why the man in the white gloves kept putting the pink ball back on the table, but the ferocious competition and devout souls that play the game make it impossible to turn away. Plus its on just about every time you turn on the tv.
anyway, eventually the legend of Hurricane Higgins caught up with us and I had to dig up some info about him. For those who don't know the legend of the Hurricane, its a bit different in the UK than it is in the US. Here, the Hurricane is an emphatic competitor. Refusing to lose the upper-hand on the snooker table, The Hurricane spent years leaving his manners at the door of the snooker hall and his dreams one century-mark and one red,black,pink combo away. The Hurricane accomplished this dream in 1971 becoming the World Champion of Snooker.
After winning every title a snooker player can win, Higgins began a swift decline into drunken disorder. This is best described by BBC sports website, in an article titled Bad Boys of Snooker:
And now the dramatic fall...
In 1986, the Belfast man was asked to provide a urine sample for a random drugs test following his UK Championship match against Mike Hallett and then ended up head-butting tournament director Paul Hatherell.
KEY BAD MOMENTS
1986: Headbutted snooker official
1990: Threatened to have Dennis Taylor shot
1990: Abused referee
He subsequently found himself fined £12,000 and also banned from five tournaments.
At the 1990 World Cup - snooker not football - he threatened to have fellow Ireland team-mate Dennis Taylor shot and followed that up by abusing referee John Spencer.
As if that did not land him in enough hot water he then proceeded to punch the tournament director at the World Championship which led to a season ban.
Higgins played his last major tournament at the Pavilions in Plymouth in 1997 - a World Championship qualifying event.
Unfortunately for the veteran he reacted to defeat in a bad way and was ejected from the arena only to be found the next morning claiming to have been stabbed.
Since then Higgins has suffered from throat cancer, although an operation to remove a diseased lymph node from his neck proved successful.
Now 54, Higgins has endured financial problems, forcing him, according to many, to go into pubs and clubs to play for money.
The veteran cancelled a number of comebacks before appearing in the first round of the Irish Open, only to lose 5-1 to 16-year-old Darren Dornan.
Bad Boy rating: 11/10
I feel like any day now Hurricane Higgins will regain his pride and rise like a phoenix to the top of the snooker sport once again.