January 31st, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Clash of the Titans
So, I hear there’s a game this Sunday?
The Denver Broncos meet the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII or 48 for you Roman numerically challenged. The number one offense in NFL history, as in “all time” – we’re not talking since the merger; we’re talking “ever” – meets one of the top ten defenses of all time. There are dudes applying some sort of advanced mathematics to come up with a metric represented by an acronym DVOA (If you’re interested, you can read about it in Bill Barnwell’s article “Tale of Two Cities” on Grantland.com). It overwhelms with nerdy confusion, thus convincingly putting a scientific nail in the barber shop argument, “The Best Ever.” But really, we don’t need to sit in a fluorescent lit room with a row of hard seats and a white board to be convinced of the transcendent merits of these teams. They pass the “eye ball” test. Watching Seattle’s D transform the Saints into the Jaguars on a Monday night was good enough for me. As was seeing the Broncos hang 49 in the season opener against the reigning Super Bowl Champs. And if the historic quality of the match-up wasn’t enough to get us geeked beyond what grown men ought to be permitted, this whole thing is being thrown down in the Empire State … well, technically in Jersey, but again let’s not let technicality get in the way of a good story. Oh yeah. It’s on.
On a fantasy note and by “fantasy” I mean “lesser”, this year is a case of life imitating fantasy. The number one offensive fantasy player, Peyton Manning, is going against the number two fantasy D/ST – the Chief’s who swooned down the stretch edged out the Seahawks by a meager 3 pts. and that only because they had the Redskins in week 14. Seattle was clearly the most consistent D/ST in fantasy and the best in the last month. They are the top dogs, but other studs will be on display this Sunday. Basically the entire Denver skill position set were useful fantasy options with Knowshon Moreno and Julius Thomas being “out of nowhere” value picks. Beastmode gave owners what they were looking for with a early first round pick. And Golden Tate overachieved in the void created by the injuries to Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. Speaking of Percy Harvin and life imitating fantasy, owners picked up Harvin and waited with bated anticipation, hoping that the all purpose WR would carry them through the playoffs. Seattle waited and waited only to see Harvin knocked out of the Divisional Round. Will Harvin be a factor in the outcome Sunday or will life continue to imitate art?
Okay, so who wins? Vegas has thrown it’s “hands in the air” with a 2.5 line. Two days before the game the money is moving toward Seattle. Something about the trend of Dogs covering in recent Super Bowls, and defenses over offenses with the elements giving further edge to the Legion of Boom. And apparently there’s some ape savant who’s picked Seattle? Really? We’re listening to monkeys now?
I’m taking Denver, 27-23. Whether I look smart Sunday night or clueless will depend in my opinion on line play. With all the hoopla about Denver’s weapons and Seattle’s secondary, I think it will come down to whether or not Denver’s O-Line can keep Peyton clean for 2.5 seconds.
January 24th, 2014 § 1 Comment
Through the glass door adorned with various beer ads and other non-descript stickers to a slight incline onto the main floor. On the left were the two top sliding glass door freezers packed with bags of ice and ice cream; on the right was the back of a small, waist level news stand … no, really a magazine rack. All I remember of it were the Hustler and Playboys tucked away in the corner … forbidden fruit blinking neon on the drab tree. Beyond it was the wall of liquor. Literally, a wall – front to back , top to bottom, a distilled menagerie of the establishment’s namesake. To a ten year old boy, it might as well have been decorative … the sweet tooth there long before a taste for spirits.
Sometime around 1980, my Mom and Dad bought their first business. Being Korean immigrants, naturally they bought a liquor store. The thought of that store still fills me with that warm, bountiful feeling of anticipation … you know that feeling you get as you step into your favorite “all you can shove down” buffet. Yeah, that feeling. I still see the afternoon lighting coming through the store front windows, the lighting of my after school foraging. Oh, and the happy dilemma: “Do I go Mars bar or Snickers? And do I couple that with RC Cola or Pepsi? or do I just go crazy today and grab that Big Stick that always seems to call my name.”
My first time in Hillis Liquor, as it dawned on me that by extension all this was mine, I remember feeling that in some small way I’d arrived in life. Candy, soda, Big Stick, Funyuns, and porn: I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
January 21st, 2014 § 2 Comments
This may be old news to you. Or you may have never considered such a thing. Come to think of it, there’s fair chance that I’m “Out in the woods” babbling about things that do not exist. For what it’s worth, based on my observations, here’s what I think. You be the judge.
Around the age of eight or nine, an awareness of self develops. “Hmm … I am me.” This awareness, prompts a question: “Who am I?” I’ve written before about what I believe is our initial “look” inward. In case you’re interested
The brutally honest self assessment done secretly, internally yields a vague, and at best an unsatisfying picture of self. A picture then that must be changed, upgraded – one, we can live with. It is this quest to formulate a better answer to the question, “Who am I?” that shapes the teenage experience.
What does an amnesiac do? He looks at himself in the mirror and asks, “Who am I?” The mirror reflects back to him, at least in part, the answer. The image of self. I believe it is why peers become so important to teenagers. They reflect back an image that is alike. When the question of self is the most pressing question, a teenager cannot see himself in an elder or a child. He seeks a reflection bouncing off someone like himself. And what a teenager does as he sees the image coming into unalterable focus is he desperately tries to manipulate it into a better answer.
A teenager is consumed by a need to formulate a better answer to the question. Like others in search of an answer, he naturally turns to a mirror and asks, “Who am I?”
January 11th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
In my experience, there are some patterns. No secret to winning. No “insider” info. Some interesting patterns? Yeah.
First round. I whiffed twice in the 1st round. The first was taking LaDainian Tomlinson ahead of Chris Johnson’s historic 2000+ season. Ironically, the second was taking Chris Johnson in the middle of the 1st round, a season removed from his hold out season. Those two years, my team struggled. Barely got into the playoff with LT but I remember feeling like I had no chance. With Chris Johnson I didn’t even sniff the playoffs.
Waiver wire hero. This year it was Zac Stacy. In my first year it was Steve Slaton. Another year, it was Marques Colston. Someone dropped Marques Colston when he broke his collarbone. The projection was that the Saints wide out would be out four to six weeks. Feeling settled at the WR position, I decided to grab and stash the 4th round WR. He was out two weeks. It was the season Drew Brees was trying to break Marinos single season passing mark. Week 16 in a Saints blowout win, Brees just kept throwing. Colston ended with 16 pts. I won the championship by 1.
The bottom half. Those first two patterns, like I’ve said on numerous occasions, “Who knows?” When Zac Stacy went off against the Titans, I was just as surprised as everyone else. Grabbing a Rams running back this year was by definition a desperate play. Actually, I thought Percy Harvin was going to be my waiver wire hero. And who knew Trent Richardson and Aaron Rodgers were going to be 1st round disasters?
In my winning seasons, I got production from my TE, D/ST, and K. Unless you’re grabbing Gronk or Jimmy, those positions are going in the 8th or 9th rounds and below. Because they are not glamorous picks, most guys are shooting ’em off in the dark. D/ST can vary wildly from season to season. Couple years ago, the Panthers D was a disaster. They couldn’t stop anyone from running it down their throat. This year, that team was the Bears. Yeah, the team that was the fantasy darling two seasons ago.
Before you forget, just make a mental note of a couple options in those spots who could give you good production in 2014.
Here are three I’m keeping in mind: Jordan Reed TE Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Bucs D/ST, and 49ers Kicker – whoever it is.
January 7th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
I am the father of teenagers. Yeah, I know. There are two of ’em. Couple years ago, my son got me in the fraternity into which fathers reluctantly, apprehensively shuffle. And although my daughter who turned thirteen a couple, short months ago technically followed her brother into teendom she was in all intents and purposes a “teenager” long before he. Her foreshadowing helped, but let’s face it: I’m new. Not sure what to do, where to go. And I have that familiar feeling that my whole stint here will be accompanied by this uncertainty. “You’re lost? Get used to it.” Okay. I will say this though, these teenagers have my full attention. So I’m learning.
Here’s the most important thing I’ve learned. The other day, I had a tough conversation with my son. I was correcting him, and he didn’t much want to hear it. I’ve discovered that talking incessantly at someone who’s not listening doesn’t get them to listen. Just multiply that statement by fifty when applied to teenagers. We were both done. Before parting in frustration, I told him that I loved him, that I thought about him and his sisters all the time, prayed for them every day, worried about them. When I said this, he looked into my eyes. After not making eye contact the whole time I was correcting him, the impassioned reminder about his father’s love had him looking into my eyes. In that moment, I literally saw him soften.
You will have tough things to say to your teenagers. They will come at a time when their capacity to listen to you will plummet like a led ball. The only thing that will keep your words buoyant will be their belief in your love for them. I really think my teenage son looked into my eyes, and examined my words. In that moment of fixed gaze, he cross-referenced my words to his memory.
What have I learned about parenting teenagers? Love them in a way now so that years from now when you’re neck deep in cell phones, skinny jeans, under developed thought processes, peer pressures … love them in a way now so whilst in the midst of all that, when you remind them that you love them, they’ll look into your eyes and find those words to be undeniable.
January 6th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
In my last post, I wrote a favorite, recent quote. I failed to cite the person from whom the quote originates. To add insult to injury, I misquoted Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. The correct quote reads:
Don’t be so humble – you are not that great.
January 4th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Skin a cat …
I’ll heed one of my latest, favorite quotes, “Don’t be so humble; you’re not that important” and divulge that I won the championship in our league this year. As I’ve said before, I wish I could take credit for it. I can’t. What I can do is confess that the way in which I was victorious has got my declaration of taking an elite QB, a declaration which has stood for all of one month teetering. Nah, it’s not teetering; it’s on its ass. Yeah, not much of a declaration. You see, in what amounts to the Conference championship game and then in the Super Bowl of our league, my fantasy team beat Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in successive weeks … with … wait for it … with Ryan Tannehill.
I suppose I could disregard certain facts, and gloat, “Ha! Told you; gotta grab an elite RB in the first round.” Facts such as: I had no business being in the playoff to begin with – the last seed. The worst record. One of the lowest scoring teams to make it to the playoffs. I can’t, so I won’t. Really, the only thing I learned, which isn’t much at all is In Fantasy Football, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. There’s a reason I played Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in the playoffs. Those two quarterbacks were the numbers 2 and 1 scoring fantasy players respectively. They were taken early in drafts, and paid out handsomely – carried those fantasy teams into the playoffs. Does the QB strategy work? Sure. I won because I had the number 2 scoring RB in fantasy football. Does the elite RB strategy work? Yup.
So, what matters is not what position you take, but predicting who will give you the return on your early round draft investment. And there’s no way of knowing that … which brings us full circle: I wish I could take credit, but really I can’t. It’s a stupid game.