Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Football

In 2018 FIFA world cup, Iran met Portugal in their last group stage match. Iran needed to win to progress beyond the group stages while a draw was enough for Portugal. The score was 1-1 when deep in the stoppage time, an Iranian forward got an opportunity to put the ball in the goal but his shot was wide, with which went down all the Iranian hopes.

A whole nation prepares its players for an opportunity like this, and it is gone in a blink of an eye. Years of preparation and it might have been just one full second to show it all. However, the good thing is that teams, organizations and nations are bigger than one person. Even if it is decades later, Iranian team will keep competing in the tournaments if they had learned the right lessons from here. Then, they have the opportunity to set higher goals, say realistically preparing and training at a level of winning the world cup right away. The bigger the goals, the larger the reward. People will come and go; teams and nations survive and the mantle is passed from one generation to another.

For the man, this was an opportunity that is very less likely to come back again. When this boy will look back at his football career, he will either rue this chance forever or he will also take the right lessons and develop mental strengths and techniques to cope with moments of mental pressure in the right manner. He might become the best footballer Iran would have ever produced and he might later have seasons of experience to teach the young footballers aspiring to join the national team.

In both cases, although the opportunity is gone, there is always a way forward — the slow way forward albeit — that can return significantly higher gains than the seemingly quick win in that particular match. If Iran had won this match, they might have been knocked out in the round of 16. On the other hand, if they take the right path from here, they might keep improving gradually and then reach a place that would have been impossible to attain had they won this match!

In general, no matter how dark the night is, there is always a way forward, the best way forward in the given circumstances. We should find it.

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