It sits before you, wafer thin and more enigmatic than Julio Cesar’s transfer to QPR. A piece of paper that draws you in, and, almost like a less appalling version of ‘Deal or No Deal’, offers a selection of boxes that could prompt a comforting increase in your bank balance.
If it all goes to plan, you will turn your shiny pound coin into a sweet profit, and spend the rest of the day purchasing the finest in Sodexo food on campus.
The more probable option, however, is that things will not turn out in the predicted fashion, and your flatmates will refer to you as ‘that tool who put his SAAS on Killie to defend the league cup title’.
I refer, of course, to the footballing wager and the regular punter’s tradition of forging an accumulator in preparation for the Saturday fixture list.
Once the aforementioned boxes have been ticked, the coupon takes pride of place in nationwide wallets until the 3pm kick-offs are underway. The matches selected are then gathered on a live score website, and the all important receipts laid in front of screens with all the precision of a professional golfer placing his ball on the first tee.
This is also the point when that one foolish friend realises he accidentally selected a 12:45pm early-kick-off for his coupon, and has inevitably got the result wrong. One man down already, and the battle hasn’t even begun.
The excitement soon kicks in as the thrill of game day and the challenge of beating the bookmaker arise. The goals go in, your teams take the lead, and you march victoriously back to claim your winnings, in a manner reminiscent of a Roman general returning from glorious success.
Or that’s how it’s supposed to go.
Rather, what will usually happen is that, as previously stated, your selected results will begin to look promising, but then things will take a turn for the worse. When triumph is in your grasp, and you are checking the Roman tunic is ironed for the stroll to the bookies, Joe Bloggs of Unknown United bangs in a last minute goal, insignificant in every way except for the fact that it destroys your coupon.
It is a fate crueller than the time a Murray Hall flatmate left his online betting account open, and bets were inadvertently placed on Jedward to win Eurovision and the Queen to wear a blue hat to the royal wedding. As you will all know, Jedward failed, and the Queen opted for a yellow hat that fateful day, and so our faithful companion was left feeling blue, in much the same manner as our previously discussed punters.
After the gutting realisation that you have wasted 100 pence of change on what is now a worthless piece of paper then, the natural next step is to tear the coupon to shreds, as though you were tranquilly tearing up a contract with the oldco Rangers.
10 seconds of lamentation follow, as the remnants of the once potentially enriching piece of paper fall to the floor in slow motion, whilst ‘Set Fire to the Third Bar’ by Snow Patrol plays in the background.
Devastation. Disaster. Disgust. Every emotion is felt, as though you have just been robbed. Never again will you submit to this pastime.
Until next week of course, when you pick yourself up, and return to stage one of the procedure, with the Roman outfit at the ready just in case you finally do succeed.