Sportpesa and Other Short Stories From Getting Your Hopes Too High

About two weeks ago the world woke up the story of a ninja who went berserk and hacked two, a manager and a supervisor at a popular Casino in Nairobi ( and before the dust could settle on that, a comrade outta Maseno University decided to gamble his school fees and upkeep money on the Valenica Vs Barcelona game( Ok, i don’t know how gambling in a casino works, i have never stepped been in one and i don’t plan on doing that any time soon. However, i have a pedestrian knowledge of how sports betting works, i can’t blame the poor student for placing his stakes so high. That was a ‘sure’ bet. And i can bet his school fees that he isn’t the only one who lost that night, it only happens that he is the only one who was unfortunate to have the media guys around him.

Sportpesa, Betin, Betway, Elitebet, Mcheza, BetYetu, Bet365, ‘uniwekee soo moja nakurudishia kesho asubuhi’ ‘ni game moja tu iliniangusha’ ‘odds ni ngapi?’….familiar?…No? Then my friend, you are safe. Sports’ betting is the new craze in town. Everyone seems to be doing it or at the very least knows someone who does it. Colleagues, partners, neighbours, squads are betting. In fact i can easily count the number of people who aren’t betting with my right hand fingers. Very few.

When I started betting I never took it seriously. Everyone was doing it and actually winning some good chums. Why not try my luck, maybe I will win something, I told myself. And winning I did, not a lot of money but a win all the same.

This, my friends, is where shit hit the fan. Just like a drug I was addicted to betting. I would bet everyday. And I will lose. Then when I am about to quit I win again. However unlike drug addiction, betting has returns, people actually win. People we know. And that’s why unlike drugs or alcohol you will never see akina Moses Kuria or Mututho leading a pack of looters to destroy cyber cafes as they do with changaa dens. Despite the addiction being the same.

As much as sportpesa has chunned out more millionares in its two years of existence than our local universities and colleges has in 4 years, it has ruined lives in equal measures. Ninjas have lost lives, broken families, broken hearts and above all most are broke.

Am not a psychiatrist neither am I a psychologist but I think what has led to majority of the post-sportpesa-trauma (I just coined that) is our human predisposibility to hoping for the best. Always getting our hopes high. I don’t mean with anything in particular. Just in general. We are wired to always try and hope that good tidings will come our way. We apply for the best National Secondary Schools and yet the best we have ever achieved is being second to last, and mind you the last one didn’t do exams. Then in High School we select Medicine and Engineering as first choices and then Law and BioChem as second options and the best grade you have ever scored is a B-, yes when you tactifully used a mwakenya in form two.

You see where am headed with this, right. It is good to be hopeful but never get your hopes high up there. Nothing good comes of it, trust me. It can literally only lead to disappointment.

Now I’m not saying you should definitely expect the worst. That’s up to you. Personally, I think expecting the worst is a pretty healthy, solid way to emotionally stabilize yourself. If the worst happens, you’re okay. You were expecting that. You were prepared for that.

If the best happens, holy shit! Everything is fantastic! The world is so far beyond what you ever expected! You thought you were going to get laid off at work and instead you got laid while getting a promotion while winning a jackpot bonanza! Having all of that happen at once was a little weird, but what a feeling! What a surprise! Reality, yeah!

Getting your hopes up helps nothing. If you always expect the best to happen, what you’re really saying is, “I want to never get excited again.” You’ll just go through life in a spoiled malaise saying, “Well yeah, I always knew I was going to join Mangu. I mean it’s good that it happened, but let’s not get excited here.”

That’s why I like the idea of expecting the worst, but I also understand that it can be a little too nonsensical for some people. So if you want to be rational about this, I have a better idea. Never expect anything ever–good or bad.

Some will argue that knowing something is going to happen, and feeling it with all of your being will make it happen. And yeah, that sounds ideal. The problem with this plan is that it is completely based in nothing and won’t work.

People think this works because they hear stories of great successes who say, “I just never believed it wouldn’t happen. I always knew it would happen. I never once stopped believing.”

What we tend to ignore is all of the people who had that attitude, failed fucking miserably, and never got invited onto ‘The Trend’. Those people are all a mixed bag of settling for children, doing jobs they hate, working with ninjas they would rather poison and living in towns they freaking abhor.

Larry Madowo has never had anyone on his show and went, “This is Kamau, he went through life knowing he would be a singer. He felt it with every fiber of his being, visualized it every day, and pursued it relentlessly. Then he auditioned for Tusker Project Fame and Judge Ian told him to go fuck himself. Now he sells ‘mutura pale ngara.”
Of course there are also people who thought it would never happen for them, and they’re a mixed bag of success and failure too.

Your attitude about what will happen is barely relevant to whether or not you succeed. Your attitude about what’s happening right now is everything. That’s what determines how you’ll go about actually doing things. And this may come as a shocker to you, but doing things is actually kind of important.

Besides all of this, you shouldn’t expect anything because it’s insane. We live in a chaotic universe overflowing with unknowns. Expecting anything is just a completely futile attempt to pretend you know the world better than you actually do. It’s wanting to feel like you have some kind of say, or some kind of control, but you don’t. You’re alone. Atoms are randomly clashing into each other out there, you don’t know what’s in anyone’s head, and you don’t have control over any of this shit.

So stop using your upkeep money for betting, stop using your advance on betting especially if Manchester United or Chelsea is involved. Yes, stop using your expectations to live in the future. You’ll never get there. You can push and push and push, but you’ll always be stuck in the present.
But it’s not all bad.

See, you don’t know you’ll fail. So try things–try everything. Maybe something good will happen, maybe it won’t, but if you don’t try, what is the point of any of this shit? What are any of us doing here if we don’t try shit?

So we should pursue hopes and prayers, because why not? We have no idea what’s going to happen, except we know nothing will happen if we don’t try. So work your ass off, expect nothing, and go for everything.

Except the lottery. Don’t be stupid. You’ll never win that shit.

And may the odds be in your favour this weekend!