Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Winning is impossible
I had decided I really shouldn't go on and on about soccer here because it is not likely to meet with my readers' expectations. Then I wondered what my readers' expectations were. What do my readers expect? I will do it! Just let me know.
In the meantime let me tell you about tiny Iceland Vs. Portugal in the European soccer championships.
Iceland, a country of barely more than 300,000 people, has defied the odds and qualified for the European Championship for the first time EVER. It is amazing for them to simply compete in this tournament. If you're excited by this, think how Bjork must feel. Or maybe don't because Bjork's feelings are dangerously inscrutable. Anyway, here was scrappy, tiny, yes, plucky Iceland playing against a world class team with the richest athlete in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo is the chest thumping 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th best soccer player in the world, depending on who you ask. He is richer alone from soccer than all the money everyone in Iceland together has ever earned from the game. It is a beautiful mismatch. David vs. Goliath. It is an exercise in disaster.
I started writing this just as the game was starting. My teeth were grit for tragic humiliation for dear Iceland. And I knew in the end that I would have to report Iceland's loss. I just hoped it wouldn't be by much, that somehow this least likely team would only lose by a little.
I won't give you a play by play. Portugal was very clearly the better team. Mighty Portugal relentlessly pressed and took its shots on goal. But somehow wee Iceland, ever scrambling, blond hairs flying, fought it out for a 1-1 tie. It was a miracle.
I was delighted. And I learned from it. I learned that against the great and mighty and powerful, if one is tenacious and gritty, if one fights seemingly unwinnable fights, and meets with extraordinary fortune, on a special day, with all ones skill, it is possible to tie.
Winning is out of the question, but it's best not to let that get one down.