If it wasn’t for a misspent youth, I’d have come to appreciate William Shakespeare long before a trip to the Crucible Theatre on Friday to watch the snooker.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.

‘The Bard’ would have loved it up in Sheffield, sat on a soft biscuit seat like I was, watching a pair of World Championship hopefuls chase their dreams in complete and utter silence.

It was two years since I was last there with my mate Anthony, entranced by Judd Trump and Mark Williams’ bombastic game of dare, potting balls from implausible angles with little more than a strut and a smile. Such stuff as dreams were made on, when life seemed so much easier.

In my own little world I felt like one of those magicians a week or two back, building a break with a swagger, gradually gaining confidence across a table far away.

As an overthinker who always did struggle to live in the moment, I was relating to the snooker in ways few other spectators probably were, as the semi-finalists looked four or five shots ahead before they’d potted the first ball to begin with.

A fatal error, in my case.

My mind drifted to sunflowers and a life less ordinary. An evening of ambition where the cue ball was under control. Why did I look four or five shots ahead before I’d potted the first ball to begin with? I got it wrong amid a pink skyline and it all went awry.

Stuart Bingham – 12’ said the monotone referee to the groans of the crowd.

Jak Jones, his opponent from across the floor, methodically took aim at what his rival thought was his and that was the end of that.

The game, like life, became a grind. Twenty-four hours earlier and Bingham’s head was in the heavens, surveying the sport from up high having dumped out Ronnie O’Sullivan (the bloke we’d really come to see). A day later and he was operating on airplane mode instead, struggling to pot a ball.

It eventually became too painful for the purists, as they wearily made their way out of the theatre when they thought nobody was looking. I wasn’t moving a muscle though. In some weird act of sporting self-harm, I would stay to the bitter end, sucking it all up.

My mind drifted to ironing and making the bedsheets and chores that generally aren’t much fun.

Stuart Bingham – 6.’

A spicy mojito seemed a million miles from here and I wondered when all this would end while at the same time wishing it wouldn’t, in a perverse game of self-sabotage where a professional sportsman’s misery gave comfort that it happens to the best of us.

Eye-rolls from the bloke beside me was followed by a coughing fit from a woman overhead. A muffled mobile phone rang on the back row belonging to someone who should have known better and the referee asked for some quiet. The dulcet tones of John Virgo in my earpiece faded in and out like humdrum and at this point, I smiled at the thought of William Shakespeare being here, whispering that the course of a game of snooker never did run smooth. Quite, Billy boy, quite.

My knee was seizing up after nearly five hours of purgatory, but I wasn’t going to move until the final act. It would come with an apologetic wave to the crowd by Bingham, clearly remorseful for all the pain he’d put us through.

I smiled at him from afar, wishing I could tell him how much I needed to see it.

In this curious case of The Crucible, multiple mishaps and misery was all the self-help I needed, as I saw that even a world champion can fluff his lines when he thought he was well set.

If snooker be the food of love, play on. Or something along those lines.