Episode #20: My answer to the curse

When I say we here I am referring to the Croatian Women’s national team, and  there have just been ludicrous situations from game to game which result to us losing, which is why we have this collective feeling of a curse bestowed on us.
Quite frankly, we have not won very many games, even ones that we should have clearly won, we lost.

It just feels like a force that we are working against that is constantly saying “you shall not pass”.Something I have learned is that sometimes out of fear that something might happen we actually become the catalyst to making it happen ourselves.
For example, if you fear  failing a test so much that you over study then when you get to the test your concentration is thwarted because of exhaustion. Or maybe when you fear losing someone close to you and then intentionally create chaos and end up pushing them away. Sometimes the simple fear of screwing up in game creates too much tension and nervousness which leads to exactly that: screwing up the game.

To delineate this cause and effect I’ll describe a recent situation went like this:
World Cup Qualifiers for Canada 2015 and Croatia is playing against Ireland, September 26, 2013. We started the game off with great pace, controlled the pitch and scored in the 11th minute to make it 1-0 for us. The game continued without much more significant action other than the constant profanity from our Irish opponents (which sounded more like fly swallowing to me).

Nearing towards the second part of the second half a realization hits us: “oh god, were winning, for the first time in a long time we are actually winning!”.
There was very little time left and all had to do was just have to hold on to the score. Easier said than done it seems because as the end of the game was getting closer and closer it seemed as if we got more and more scared that our tremendous record for being unlucky was going to knip us in the butt.
At this moment our team collectively pulled back into our half to defend and automatically gave the Irish more opportunity to score because we were no longer holding the ball but rather just waiting for the ref to blow the whistle.

To no one’s surprise, Ireland managed to score a goal making it 1-1 in the 94th minute, about 30 seconds before the ref called the end of the game.
Off of a throw in. One of their players was absolutely ridiculous at throw-ins and could literally catapult the ball from half field to the goalie box.

So the prophecy was fulfilled and out of fear that the Irish would score, based on their team’s higher ranking and aggressive personalities, we gave them more opportunity to score which they took advantage of and we lost our 1-0 advantage over them along with 3 points and what would have been a good start to the qualifying rounds.

The moral of the story is: being fearful is natural, but what you do with that fear could determine the ending result.