Imagine, for a moment, that you're a stockbroker. You're at a party, and everyone - like they always do - wants to know about your job. Specifically, they want to know if you have any hot tips.
You tell them the standard line that, by now, you've got down cold. Bellwether telecoms are always a good buy; it's probably too late to get into oil stocks; think about winter services and products as people start gearing up for snow.
"That's bullshit," you hear. "Telecoms, even the industry leaders, are too unstable. Oil profits continue to soar, so even if you get in now, you'll make some money. And Wall Street expects wintertime stuff to get big just before winter; by upping their expectations, you only stand to lose money."
Huh? That guy's a teacher. And an English teacher at that. What the hell does he know about what you do?
"If you've got all the answers," you reply, "then put your money where your mouth is. I'll give you three industries of your choosing and I'll go with my two and a third of my choosing. Come spring, we'll count our cash."
He agrees, and the bet is on. Spring rolls around and, lo and behold, you find he's got more dough than you. And a lot more, too. He just kicked your ass, plain and simple.
By the photo at the top, you see where this analogy - no matter how long-winded - is going. I was in a fantasy football league last year and got my ass beat, badly, by a bunch of people outside of sportswriting.
Frankly, it was a long time ago, so I can't offer and credible excuses. But there's no excuse for how pitiful my team was, finishing dead last - a dishonor that earned the right of the league champ to rename my team. So, you're looking at the draft class for Campbell's Chunky Soup.
So today, we set out to make things right. You can see my draft pretty clearly above: QB Donovan McNabb (PHL; keeper), RB Willie Parker (PIT), WR Anquan Boldin (ARI), WR Javon Walker (DEN), RB Jamal Lewis (BAL), QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), TE L.J. Smith (PHL), RB Cedric Benson (CHI), WR Michael Clayton (TBY), K Adam Vinatieri (IND), TE Daniel Graham (NE), WR Ashley Lelie (ATL), PIT Defense, QB Matt Leinart (ARI), TE Kellen Winslow (CLE), WR Chris Henry (CIN).
Then, I got home and flipped on ESPNews to see their little breaking news box in the lower right: Roethlisberger has emergency appendectomy. Balls.
Oh well, at least I did it my way this year. With such a piss-poor finish, I figured I'd had enough with the draft guides. I brought SI's NFL preview for a list of starters, and relied on my brain for the rest.
We'll see how it turns out. I'm always pretty pumped in the hours after the draft, but looking back, I could have made some better picks. But that's what happens when you bring a couple of beers...oh well.
Chances are, though, that my attitude won't be so blase if I'm in the same spot this time next year.
-- On a sad note: Very saddened tonight to hear of the death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. My wife and I watch a lot of Discovery, and caught his shows from time to time. The guy was a bit crazy, but you can't deny he had a great love for the animal kingdom. It's a shame to see that love extinguished far, far too soon.