The Odd Thing About Odds

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“Struck by lightning, sounds pretty frightening
But you know the chances are so small
Stuck by a bee sting, nothing but a B-thing
Better chance you’re gonna bite it at the mall…”

–     Lyric from “Odds Are” by Barenaked Ladies

Wednesday night the 114th World Series ended in a Game #7 showdown.  Game 7’s are among the greatest spectacles in sports, occurring only in professional baseball, basketball and hockey.  Still, there have been over 1,400 game sevens in the history of those three sports leagues.

What’s the point?  Odds are, after 1,400+ repeats, we should know what’s gonna happen, right?

In this year’s World Series, the visiting team won all seven games.  Odds are, that shouldn’t have happened.  In fact, until Wednesday night, it had never happened!  Oh, and until Tuesday night, no series had ever had games one-through-six won by the road team.

In over 1400 tries, involving something like 51,000 athletes, it had never happened.  Until it happened on two consecutive nights.

Ahhhhh, the odds…

Odds are, a quirky band from Canada wouldn’t be packing houses 31 years later, or that they’d have a million dollars.  Odds are, that startup company will fail.  Odds are, that crazy, off-the-wall pitch idea we have will fall flat on its face.  Odds are, we should just take the safe road, the road more traveled.  But, how can we prepare to beat the odds?  Can we work the opposite side of Dumb And Dumber’s classic line, “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance…”

We win, and the oddsmakers lose when preparation meets up with opportunity, talent, courage, skill and, yes, luck.

And the odds are the more prepared, opportunistic, talented, skilled and courageous we are, the “luckier” we become and the better our odds become.  It seems a clear recipe for tilting the odds in our favor, in case there’s still that chance!

 


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