I'm looking for a preferably short idiomatic verb phrase meaning "fail, through poor execution, to be rewarded by an unusually easy opportunity."

An example scenario would be, the hottest girl in school having a crush on some plain, unpopular guy who goes on to fumble a date with her, losing her interest.

Intended use:

Keep in mind, you can still ____________, so it doesn't mean any hopeless dimwit could win this.

I've looked at lists of idioms for Chance, Luck, and Opportunity, LUCK - OPPORTUNITY, SUCCESS and FAILURE, EFFICIENCY - COMPETENCE, and MISTAKES - ERRORS, but nothing seems to fit right.

Some I've considered:

  • "Miss the boat" suggests a loss by inaction rather than ineffective action, and also doesn't express the luckiness of the opportunity.

  • "Drop the ball" perfectly expresses the ineffectiveness of the action, but again fails to express the luckiness of the opportunity.

  • "Let X slip through your fingers" is a little long, doesn't fit the sentence structure without providing X, and also doesn't strongly suggest that what you've let slip was unusually opportune.

  • I thought of "throw away a good hand" as coming fairly close, except that (i) it could suggest that the opportunity was intentionally rejected or not taken at all, and (ii) in some card games, this is actually an advantageous strategy in some situations, which is not the intent.

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    Kill the golden goose? Connotes action and initial luck, like you want. Only downside is that it's commonly used to imply a steady stream of profit (often proven in the past), rather than a sudden opportunity. I think you can make it work, though. – Tushar Raj Dec 8 '18 at 13:13
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    @TusharRaj Thanks for the suggestion! That does convey the overall feel I was looking for. The ongoing proven profit element doesn't fit the situation exactly, and that idiom in typical use also seems to somewhat imply a rash action against common sense, which doesn't entirely apply, either. However, I think it should still be understood by context. I might use that if I can't find anything closer. – Kevin Dec 19 '18 at 14:18

The expression I would use here is blow your chance (or "blow it", depending on what precedes the sentence):

to fail to take advantage of an opportunity by doing or saying something wrong:

I really blew it when I turned down that job offer, didn't I?
Cambridge Dictionary

  • Thanks for the suggestion! That could sort of apply, but I was hoping for something that put a little more emphasis on the opportunity being unusually easy or lucky - like saying it was right in your hands and you still blew it. – Kevin Dec 19 '18 at 14:17

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