The World Cup Final
My Pop’s Prof told him once that if he was really after money, he did become a professional footballer. He had a choice of going on to become a national side hero while bulging out his bank account or become an academic whose wealth solely lied on students he would teach. Not surprisingly, he chose the latter. Nobel for sure, however, I cannot help but think there wasn’t a time where he looked at that 1974 black and white broadcast of World Cup final and thought, what if?
I guess everyone dreams of that but not everyone has the honor.
Let’s look at scale of what we were indulging ourselves in. Wiki states that the current population of the world exceeds 7.175 billion. Now think about the number of players that get to play in the final. Each team has a starting 11 with maximum of 3 substitutions. Given that each manager uses all of his substitutions, that’s a grand total of 28. That’s 1 in every 0.24 billion people. So every single human being has a probability of 0.00000000418118467 of representing his country, to be precise.
To put matters into better perspective, the odds of getting hit by a lightning in year in US is 1 in 700,000, dying in a car accident is 1 in every 67 (you have to factor in the odds of crashing itself), getting caught cheating in exam is 1 in every 25, Arsenal getting spanked in the first 20 minutes is 1 in every 8 and getting cheated in China while buying dumplings is.. 1 in every 1.
This is too trivial you say? Fine.
Let’s take a look at the airline industry. Airplanes are probably the safest piece of machinery out there. It is estimated that every plane is almost 99.99% safe. Yet, you can never be sure.
Odds of being on an airline flight which results in death in 78 major world airlines is 1 in 4.7 million. Juxtapose that to the act of actually representing your country on the final and you can see why this is such a big deal.
Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what the manager wants his players to think about when they exit the tunnel. They will be asked to keep it stone cold cool, add a dash of organizational peppery powder and wear a mask of impeccable confidence. For the rest of us though, we will be hiding behind the comforts of our chair trying hard not to piss on our pants.
Messi will have left his magic wand at the hotel’s check-out counter in haste, while ozil’s googly eyes will have hypnotized Romero to kick the ball into his own net.
Die Mannschaft all the way.