You Can Change the Odds

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In their latest release, How Luck Happens, authors Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh share real-life examples of individuals and groups that have triumphed over challenging circumstances. The following “underdog” story is one of my favorites:

In 2016, the English football club Leicester City was given a 5,000 – 1 chance of winning the championship of the Premier League. For some perspective, bookmakers gave the same odds to Bono becoming the next pope. Essentially those odds mean Are you crazy? It’s not going to happen.

The Premier League is big and powerful, with no draft or salary caps, and the same four teams have won the championship for the previous twenty years. Little underfunded Leicester City had lost so many games the previous season that they barely escaped being tossed out of the league altogether. The closest they had come to a championship was finishing second in the 1928-29 season. They spent about a tenth as much on their players as the more popular teams like Manchester United and Arsenal.

But with all that, they won. One way to think of 5,000 – 1 odds is that if the teams in the Premier League played for five thousand years, Leicester City would win the title once. The BBC called it “one of the greatest sporting stories of all time.” Closer to home, NBC Sports said, “It’s not like anything we can comprehend in America.”

Various pundits had explanations for why it all happened. They praised the analytics the team used in recruiting and signing players, pointed to the surprising coach, and noted that the famous four top teams all sputtered.

However you cast it, the Leicester City story is inspiring. However long the odds, if you want to make luck happen, you don’t quit. Something can happen. You can change the odds. You can surprise yourself and everyone else.


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5 responses to “You Can Change the Odds

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