He wasn’t on many people’s list of potential winners. A solid tour professional who had never got past the second round at The Crucible before. But against the odds Stuart Bingham was crowned 2015 World Snooker Champion.
Bingham has always given the impression, that he didn’t feel he was good enough to beat the games best players. For example, at this years UK Open, he was four frames to one up against Ronnie O’Sullivan. The thought of turning over the games best ever player caught up with him, and he surrendered his lead, as if aware of the consequences of winning.
Again, at the World Grand Prix, Bingham was like a rabbit caught in the headlights, as he lost 6-0. So it was widely expected that Ronnie would have no trouble in the Crucible quarter-finals.
But a turning moment occured when the players were tied at nine frames all. O’Sullivan fluked a snooker. As he walked back to his chair, Bingham gave him an old-fashioned look. As if to let O’Sullivan know that he wasn’t impressed by his good fortune.
But more than that, it appeared to break the spell. From that point on, Bingham didn’t lose a frame, He had seen that the snooker god was a mere mortal like himself. Subject to the fluctuations in form that all players have to experience. In a single moment, Bingham tapped into a ‘xxxx-it’ attitude!
No longer living in the shadow of the games greats, the ‘xxxx-it’ attitude glued Bingham’s game together as he overcame the challenge of Judd Trump. And most of all, his own fears as he approached the world-title finishing line, with Shaun Murphy closing in on him.
Every champion has a ‘xxxx-it’ attitude. It’s an attitude that stops you worrying about what others think of you. It taps into a fiery spirit that magnifies focus and hunger to succeed. It absorbs fears and doubts. And it can act as a centre of gravity to holds things together. It’s hard to manufacture it. Usually it needs to be triggered by a sense of injustice or unfairness.
When the world of snooker least expected it, Stuart Bingham found something inside himself. He discovered motivational gold. Whether its a one-off remains to be seen. But for a few hours at The Crucible Theatre, a regular pro was at the centre of the sporting universe.