In the words of the great Rev. Cleophus, "I woke up this morning and I heard a disturbing sound. I said, I woke up this morning and I heard a disturbing sound." Unlike the good reverend, I didn't here the jingle jangle of lost souls. Instead, I heard the sound of one of the devil calling to collect on one of his deals he made years ago.
My parents, wanting to take an interest in soccer as my two brothers and I had, got caught up in the hype surrounding the tournament and the five of us came up with the Cupa de Martin, which would go to the person who picked the winner of the tournament (I'm sure we just waited until there were eight teams left and then each picked one, working on the 'dibs' system of whoever called that team first, got that team.). Now, the Cupa de Martin was nothing more than a plastic candy dish that the winner would hold over their head like they'd won Wimbledon before putting it back on the end table from which it came.
As luck would have it, I drew the first selection. While that was good, it also meant my next pick wasn't until the end of the second round, the 16th selection overall. If you're still reading this far, I'm assuming you have at least a passing knowledge of the World Cup (or are really bored or are being held at gunpoint and forced to read this), but for those listed in the parenthetical examples, the odds of the 16th team selected winning the tournament are fairly slim. Following that basic logic, the team selected 17th (also my pick in the snake-style draft), would have an even smaller chance of winning.
Knowing I was going to be writing this tonight, I spend the day trying to come up with an analogy to describe to my non-soccer following readers what this injury is similar to. Some have said it's like losing your star quarterback in the preseason, but teams in those situations have all year to break in a new quarterback before the playoffs start. There's really nothing to compare it to. Just days before the biggest event in the sport, the star player for a team is out because he hurt himself in what amounts to a glorified scrimmage. Imagine if, before the final night of competition on American Idol, one of the ousted singers accidentally rendered a finalist incapable of singing by causing some freak vocal cord injury. It's something like that, only not really.
Yes, they were my third pick, and yes, the odds were slim that Ivory Coast (and I've been fighting the urge to write 'the Ivory Coast' every time) was going to make a serious run at the most coveted trophy in the world, just as the odds are slim that anyone's still reading at this point. But still, the World Cup only comes around every four years. To have your chance to play in it taken away by an injury in a tune up game is cruel. As of this writing, Drogba still hasn't been ruled out by his country's soccer federation, but Drogba has told at least one teammate he's out for the World Cup. On the plus side for me, Drogba and I now have something in common. We'll both be spectators for the entire tournament.