Talk of the huge sums of money on offer at the men’s tennis ATP World Tour finals ($1.6m to an undefeated victor for a week’s work) reminded me of a reflective anecdote recounted by ubiquitous 80s snooker champ, Steve Davis.
He was asked if he ever thought of the winner’s cheque during a match. In those heady days, prize-funds felt mind-bogglingly large, far in advance of any other sports, and seemed to exponentially increase with each tournament.
He replied that he did, once, early in his career. He looked at a pink he needed to sink to clinch a title. He recalled thinking to himself ‘this is worth ten thousand pounds”. He missed the pot. And since then, he never let the money enter his head during a frame. He went on to become the most successful snooker player ever to hold a cue.