Imagine there’s a prize awarded to one among thousands of participants in a thing each year. It’s merit-based, or at least it’s supposedly merit-based, and not on secondary or tertiary considerations such as how much public attention this participant ropes in for the thing itself. Merit as in how good they are at this thing. He who has excelled before his peers, he who has grown beyond, refined his skill, applied himself fully.
Now imagine that every year since you started awarding this prize, the winner is one of two goddamned people. Two. Out of thousands.
Like the winners, there seem to be two ways of looking at this:
1. These two people are really, really great;
2. The rest of the participants absolutely blow and aren’t getting any better.
Actually, I don’t even see why these’d be mutually exclusive perspectives.
All that being said, let’s drag in the actual subject of this charade: FIFA men’s soccer. Namely, this bet, which stipulated that anyone other than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Luis Suarez would win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or. Bearing in mind that Suarez was pretty much out of the running when he decided to snack upon another player during a World Cup game last year and subsequently got fewer chances to prove his worthiness on the field, this was essentially a bet on whether Messi or Ronaldo would win.
Surely men’s soccer has other players than these two, thought I. Surely over the space of an entire year, and one showcasing talent on a World Cup stage, there must be someone other than the only two players who have ever won this award who can allow the judges to finally and at long last show that their organization and everyone-2 in it doesn’t suck, thought I. So I made an MPIF bet against the status quo. When neither Messi’s Argentina nor Ronaldo’s Portugal won the WC, this bet seemed all the sweeter.
And yet, earlier tonight the suits and kits dressed up in formalwear and sucked the status quo cock yet again. Ronaldo won, my bet lost about two thirds of a coin, and soccer continued to be boring as fuck.
Well done boys, you’ve got two players across six confederations and two hundred nine national associations. I could’ve sworn I’d seen other mugs on your fields, but I guess I stand corrected.