The game of life in 90 minutes

On May 19th, 2012 one of footballs(soccer) biggest matches of the year was played. The match was between Bayern Munich of Germany and Chelsea Football Club of England. It was a surprise that Chelsea had made it to the final. On the way to the final Chelsea had to beat the mighty Barcelona FC.

Chelsea played two games against Barcelona to get to the Final. In both games Barcelona dominated every aspect of the game other than goals scored. The chart below illustrates the comparative performance in some of the key areas of the game for game 1 that was played at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s home stadium.

Barcelona and Chelsea stats for Game 1 of the Semi Final

The next chart shows the statistics for game two of the semi final played in Barcelona.

On both games Barcelona dominated possession 72% to Chealsea’s 28%. Chelsea however went on to win 3-2. This include the games penalty kick miss by the worlds best player, Lionel Messi.

In the final against Bayern Munich the statistics where even more lob sided as illustrated below.

Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea Champions League Final 2011/2012 statistics
Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea Champions League Final 2011/2012 statistics

Yet the final score was 1-1 and Chelsea went on to win the cup through penalty kicks.

What does this all have to do with life? Well it illustrates that sometimes no matter how well prepared you are and how hard you try the outcome will not be satisfactory. Bayern Munich by all standards deserved the be the champions. They did everything right. However it was just not meant to be. How can one explain it? Some will explain it as destiny. As the commentator on the day was saying ‘it just seems like Chelsea’s name is on the trophy’. I don’t know how to explain it either except to say that this is how life is. The game is a reflection of life.

In life we try and prepare ourselves the best we can for the challenges that we will face. Yet no matter how well we prepare and how much we try sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to. The only option then is to keep on trying. Bayern Munich may not have won on the day but their consistent performance is what matters in the long run. Afterall Chelsea has had its own share of failures before ‘luck’ turned their way.

Another amazing life lesson out of this game is how Fernando Torres managed himself. Torres a few years ago was the talk of the world. Life threw him a curve ball and his career has taken a hit lately. After being bought by Chelsea for 50 million pounds he has failed to deliver the goals Chelsea were expecting. He was even dropped from the Spanish national team for a game. Chelsea opted not to start with Torres and instead played a young talent. With all that he still came out at the end of the game and gave it his all. I’ve always been a Torres fan since he arrived in Liverpool and I’ve been happy to see him pick up his game. When I saw him come on and work hard I thought to myself that the reason he is a great player is that he never gives up. Even when everything is going against him he still comes out and gives it his all.

Life will throw curve balls. Sometimes this thing we call ‘luck’ will be with you and sometimes it won’t. To have it be with you more often than not the key is to be prepared and to consistently give it your all. Setbacks don’t have to be permanent but they can be the most valuable experiences we get.