02 August 2010

Farewell to a legend

Today Belfast said goodbye to Alex Higgins, arguably the man most responsible for making the otherwise incredibly boring game of snooker one of the most popular spectator sports of the late 70s and early 80s. I know it's a cliché to say that you remember him winning the 1982 World Title, but pretty much everyone *did* watch that final, and it was a pretty big deal.

However, after the Hurricane's departure, Belfast needs to ask itself some searching questions - like why is it that our main reputation is for violence, and our most prominent sporting heroes were a little too fond of the sauce or the fags, and ended up dying too young?

I would hope that at least some of the legacy of Alex Higgins and George Best would be to make youngsters think: "I wish I could be like them, *except* for the booze and the fags. And perhaps with a little better control of my temper." But then perhaps the excess is what made them what they were. And then one also has to wonder about the whole Augustinian nonsense of original sin. If there really *is* a god (a quaint notion which I suggest has the most minuscule probability attached), would he *really* want to fill heaven with sycophantic harpists, theological drivel-merchants, sunday school teachers and the like? Or would he rather have a smattering of folks who would from time to time head-butt Gabriel or smash their Ferrari into the Pearly Gates?


  1. C'mon Jimmy, you're better than that. Misrepresenting the other guys views and then rubbishing those misrepresented views is the easiest sport in the world. As a fellow doubter I need to tell you to pull your socks up!

    That said, I do share your despair that Belfast's legacy to the world is two drunk geniuses and a big boat that sank on its first voyage.

  2. Then naming an airport after one of the drunks...won't inspire confidence in travellers will it.

    "Thish ish your captain shpeaking...you're the besht friends I ever had!"

  3. Ballicks Higgins and Georgie Best were a couple of fellas I would have loved to have met. Tortured genuises!

    But 'Amen' to what Gary said! (Not that I am a doubter!) Pull your socks up, Jimbo, or I'll give you a poke with a chalked stick myself! ;o)

  4. The one I always remembered was the row he had with Cliff Thorburn.

    They were all palsy walsy and then higgens did something (can't remember what it was), after which thorburn told him "you can't borrow my cue" !

    I noticed Thorburn didn't seem to pay any tributes.

  5. Ah, Gary, you're right - it's fish in a barrel. If it didn't have any effect, I would stop, but this is just the elementary lesson. It is just to get the lads started on the road. Just to give them the thread; if they have the strength and the guts, they'll keep pulling.

    You'll notice how some folks desperately keep trying to push the thread back in - almost as if they know what will happen if they give it a good tug...

    Fear, I think it's called. Almost as if they wouldn't be able to handle the consequences if they took off the blinkers of dogma and tradition... ;-)

  6. And where would the fun be in that???

  7. Graham, good point. A lot of people just like to look at the world through their letter box, I suppose...