What Liverpool beating Barcelona taught me about believing against the odds.

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My first memory of wanting to be a Liverpool fan was in Primary 4 when some guy came to advertise a magazine that had Michael Owen on the cover, I was immediately drawn to it, maybe because I thought it’d make me different considering the fact that everyone I knew supported Arsenal at the time, and since then I’d experienced the ups and downs of supporting this football club, on the carousel of emotions with an adopted global family.

Following the triumph over Barcelona, I couldn’t stop myself from reliving those moments on social media, the narrative of believing in oneself and never giving up proliferated my timelines and feeds. The content was refreshing because it’s not something you get to see a lot and moreover be on the supporting side of.

But before the flood of positive vibes, I had to watch Lionel Messi score that incredible free kick in the first leg of the tie which was almost undoubtedly the hammer on the nail of the coffin, to put all hopes to bed, the perfect marker to show the inevitable turn of the tide. It held a semblance to those times in ones life where everyone thinks he will fail at an endeavor for sure, and life being as further from a fairy tale as possible, sees the endeavor end in failure.

Right before the second leg, it really hurt to hope for anything more than people believed, I still wanted to see the match, because your team doesn’t get to play Barcelona and Lionel Messi every other day so why not be a good sport. I ended up following the game on Reddit, and seeing the photo of Mohammed Salah wearing that ‘Never Give Up’ shirt made it fun again to hope, and then the first goal went in and I was like ‘wow this might just happen’, and even after Liverpool was 4-3 up I didn’t want to pinch myself on the off chance what was happening wasn’t real.

Mohammed Salah

Looking back, and finding parallels, existence is a perpetual pendulum swing, with the high highs followed by very low lows, it’s a math problem of probabilities, with the hope that the thing you’re currently doing will propel you to the heights you dream of reaching, often you don’t get there through that singular step, but it becomes an important stepping stone to eventually getting to your destination. 

Living to me, is defined by taking hits and being able to stay up till you spot that one opening to give that Anthony Joshua to Wladimir Klitschko picture perfect jab to swing the momentum back in your favor, which may be in the form of creating opportunities for, or empowering more people currently taking hits.

Trent Alexander Arnold [Right], Georginio Wijnaldum [Left]

Going over Origi’s second goal is cultivating a sense of somewhat reckless belief in me and many others, the ingenuity of Trent Alexander-Arnold in that crutch moment was as unlikely but as intentional as a Steph Curry deep court buzzer beater to win a playoff game. The guile he showed was that of an individual who would not accept the destiny prewritten for him.

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

I met a close friend some days ago and she complained about some tough situation she was dealing with, and the unlikeliness of her coming out of it unscathed. Weirdly; the base of my advice came from a football game, but it came off as valuable advice in a general sense, I told her that belief should not falter, even in the unlikeliest of moments, even when it seems delusional to think that the challenge before you can be overcome, try even harder and rediscover that energy that drove you to start this journey because as soon as you believe you’ve lost, that is when you begin to lose.

Saw this on my way home yesterday – ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement’

To end this homily, I believe each and every one of us is going through things we didn’t ask for and probably don’t deserve to be going through, and that light at the end of the tunnel seems like something that only exists in Disney movies. I think in those moments, when it’s the darkest, the point of that mechanism is to discourage you from looking around to find that ever elusive luster, but my advice to everyone is to be stubborn and not take what was handed to you if it does not satisfy you or make you happy, and because ultimately, the only way to take a chance is to create one.

Nasir Ahmed Achile

Philosophy nut. I recommend Albert Camus and Eckhart Tolle to everyone I know.

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