20/20 Vision Of The Year 2020

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I have always wanted to be able to predict the future. This desire most likely began in the 1980's when my boyhood crush on Lea Thompson led me to compulsively watch the "Back to the Future" trilogy. In "Back to the Future II", the evil Biff takes a sports almanac into the past and uses it to successfully gamble on games until he has amassed a fortune. I have always wanted to have something like that almanac that could let me know what is going to happen tomorrow......and also give a 14-year old Utah boy the key to Lea Thompson's heart....but that's beside the point.

While I can't tell the future, I am fortunate to have two co-workers who can. Unfortunately, their prognosticative powers only permit them to foresee changes in the weather. One woman swears that she can predict rainstorms because her left hip will begin to ache six hours before the first raindrop splashes down. The other woman claims that her teeth begin to hurt before a major shift in the humidity. Their future telling abilities are useless, however, because in North Carolina the local weather is on TV 24-hours a day. (In all seriousness, the day that Saddam Hussein was captured in Iraq, the lead story on the local news channel was the "Severe Weather Emergency", which probably meant that it was 72-degrees and cloudy, instead of partly cloudy as originally forecast).

I am a little bit jealous of my two co-workers with the magical body parts while I sit here with my good-for-nothin' bag of bones. Why can't I have an enchanted spleen that will give me a heads up before the Panthers are going to go 6-10 in the regular season? Can't my fibula begin to pull it's weight by tingling when I drive by the Harris Teeter and Bryer's ice cream is on a 2-for-1 sale?

Yesterday was my brother Tony's birthday (happy birthday, T-Bone), and for his birthday present I gave him one birthday wish. I got lazy and forgot to send him his wish in the mail so I ended up using it myself. I used the wish to look into the year 2020 and see what life will be like. Unless any of you have a magical coccyx that let's you see into the future, this should be pretty eye-opening for you:

Sports in the Year 2020:
*Major League Baseball institutes a stringent drug testing program in 2011. Domingo Ramos leads the majors the following season with an astounding 26 home runs, which are 7 more than the second place slugger, 63 year-old Julio Franco.
*A total of 24 kids with the last names "Kemp" and "Henry" are selected in the NBA and NFL drafts between 2013-2019.
*The WNBA is contracted down to four teams that play games in local elementary school gymnasiums, yet the league continues to have a $3.4 billion TV deal with ESPN.
*The NFL institutes a rule which allows referees to throw a penalty flag before every punt and kickoff for illegal block in the back since it is called on every return anyway.

Politics in the Year 2020:
***SPOILER ALERT FOR THE 2008 ELECTIONS***After winning the 2008 Presidential election and serving for two terms, President Mitt Romney is harshly criticized by Democrats for the "global cooling" effect that takes place during the last year of his tenure as global temperatures fall 0.3 degrees in 2015.
*In 2012 Congress passes the "No Child Left Unfulfilled" bill that fosters "empowerment, self-actualization, and a healthy self-image" to all students, regardless of grades or accomplishments. Unfortunately, by 2020 only 3% of US students are accepted into college as enrollment of Chinese and Indian students swells. Congress is pleased to report, however, that our unsuccessful youth, "have a healthy self-image and feel empowered, despite the challenges of an unfair global market."
*Ethanol and vegetable oil grow in popularity as an alternatives to fossil fuels. Environmentalists who can no longer complain about our irresponsible use of mother nature now complain about the crops that are being grown to go into our gas tanks instead of being used to feed the world. (They had to have something to do, after all, as it gets really boring living in their mothers' basements with nothing to gripe about).
*Due to the amount of vegetable oil being used as fuel, the state of California smells like an enormous vat of McDonalds french fries. The state's new slogan of, "California - the yummiest-smelling state in the nation!" causes a huge influx of people moving to California. To the state's complete surprise, some of the new residents are actually legal.

Other Stuff in 2020

*They Might Be Giants makes a huge comeback to become to most popular band in the world. Their strategy of releasing cool alternative music in the early 1990's and then recording children's songs in the 2000's wins them fans of all ages. (If you've never heard, "Birdhouse" or "Go Go Go Go for G!", you haven't lived).
*We finally get hover cars in the year 2016.

Since I have seen the future (and just bought a ton of stock in Sherwin Williams - they really do take over the world as I had earlier feared), I think it would be interesting to get your take on what the future would look like. Please comment with what you predict will happen by the year 2020 and I will award the person's whose guess is closest to what actually happens with the coveted Nostradamus award.

I would also like to know if any of you have any future-telling body parts, so please pass those along in your comments as well.

In Defense of Fantasy Football

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's been hard to update the blog over the past several weeks for two reasons:

1) My back has hurt so bad that it is hard to sit and type after doing it for 9 hours at work every day. Aside from the pain, it's difficult to type while laying on your stomach with an icepack on your back while simultaneously being hooked up to a TENS unit that is pumping electric currents into your lumbar muscles.

2) I've been very upset at Forrest, Dave, and Grandpa Hiatt for their anti-fantasy football comments. I've needed some time to cool down so that I do not write anything that would strain my relationships with any of them.

I think I've adequately settled down to the point that I can restrain myself from writing a Moroni-to-Pahoran type of post that I will later regret, so today I'm defending my passion for fantasy football. Based upon the comments from Forrest-Dave-Grandpa and knowing Andrea's absolute disdain of fantasy, this should get some pretty good reactions. Before I explain to the unenlightened why fantasy football is the greatest human invention since ice packs, TENS units, muscle relaxants and pain killers (in moderation, of course, not like Brett Favre's usage a few years back. Oh, Favre has been awesome this year! I wish Brett would have been my fantasy QB instead of stupid, stupid Donovan McNabb......wait, Andrew, hold it together....try not to sound like an insane fantasy nerd......), I would like to know where you rate yourself on the Fantasy Opinion Poll. Please post a comment and tell me where you fall by rating yourself on a 1-5 scale:

5-Passionate. I love fantasy sports. I manage multiple teams year round and spend a couple of hours every week tracking/updating them. I talk about fantasy results on a regular basis with friends/co-workers, even if I know they couldn't care less. I get pumped up when I win and get upset when I lose. I have withdrawls during the offseason (kinda like most MLB players when they have to cycle off HGH before spring training).
4-Enjoyable. I enjoy fantasy sports and may run a team or two every year, but do not spend a whole lot of time managing them. I want to win, but don't get very upset when I don't (kinda like France when it gets involved with anything that doesn't begin with "Tour de...."). I like playing fantasy sports but can put them in the proper context.
3-Neutral. I usually do a March Madness team or something else low key. I see why people might like fantasy, but I don't spend a whole lot of time on it.
2-Contempt. I truly dislike fantasy sports and think they are a complete waste of time. I can understand to a small degree why people may like them, but most fantasy players take it way too far.
1-Hatred. I hate fantasy sports and pity those who play them and desperately wish they would get a grip on reality and do something productive with their lives. I get facial tics when people tell me how their fantasy team did an have to restrain myself from punching them mid-sentence.
0-Guh? What in the world are fantasy sports?

I am unequivocally a 5-Passionate, especially when it comes to my annual fantasy football league with the same group of 12 co-workers and acquaintances that make up the league every year. This year I snuck into the playoffs with a 6-8 record as the #8 seed (the last team to qualify) and proceeded to shock the world and win the Super Bowl. I even knocked off the team that went 13-1 in the first round. Take a look at the "Gonna Make You Sweat" team's run to glory, which was especially gratifying after finishing second last year:

For those of you who rate yourselves a "1" or a "2", there are a few things that you need to understand about fantasy sports in order to understand the "4's" and "5's" of the world:

-Fantasy Sports Are Reality. I desperately wish that I could turn into Superman, fly in the opposite direction of the earth's rotation, and go back in time to the genesis of fantasy sports. I would have campaigned to call the burgeoning industry, "Reality Based Sports Knowledge Challenges", or "Manly Men Demonstrating Their Understanding of Actual Sports" instead of the lame "fantasy sports" designation. "Fantasy" makes the whole enterprise sound so puny, lame, and detached from reality. You immediately associate fantasy anything with 30-year old guys living in their mother's basements who still play Dungeons and Dragons. (If I pulled the Superman feat I could also send myself a letter warning me not to draft Ahman Green in the first round of my 2005 fantasy draft.....but don't say that because only a fantasy dork would think like that and give credibility to the "1's" and "2's".....). Successful fantasy managers have to do REAL research into REAL games played by REAL players in order to beat REAL people in a REAL league that determines a REAL champion at the end of the year.

-It's a Great Competitive Outlet. For those of us who do everything possible to manage the work-family-church cycle, it is hard to find competitive outlets that do not cause you to neglect one of those three priorities. I love competition. I like to go head-to-head and see who is going to win. I have very few opportunities outside of fantasy sports to actually compete anymore. Some people compete by seeing who can kill the largest defenseless animal they find in a corn-fed field (Forrest), who can create the best magma-spewing volcano at the science fair (Dave), or who can pick the most Academy Award winners (Grandpa). The point is, most men like to compete and I have found that fantasy is one of the best ways for me to get my fix. (Like the time I had Roddy White go for 14 catches, 147 yards, and 2 TD's to lift me past our Safety Manager....oh, wait...nobody really cares about that.....)

-You Make Friends. I have been able to make new friends through my fantasy football work league and keep in touch with some of my U. of A. MBA buddies through fantasy basketball. If it weren't for fantasy sports, I would have either never met or lost touch with a lot of friends who make my life happier. Fantasy sports does for sports fans what Facebook does for teens, Christmas cards do for families, and Linkdin does for people who are too old for Facebook but too lame for fantasy sports. It brings and keeps friends together.

-It Makes Watching Sports Even More Enjoyable. Watching a sporting event is normally enjoyable enough, but when you have a fantasy player in the game it is like putting Magic Shell on a banana split. Banana splits are already delicious, but Magic Shell takes it to a whole new level. Fantasy sports takes an otherwise average game, like the Panthers versus New Orleans, and makes you care about every play. You are constantly saying, "Sweet. Steve Smith just caught a 26 yards pass, that's 3.6 points for my fantasy team!" My favorite is the opposite, however, and you watch a game featuring your opponent's player and they stink it up, or even better, get injured. It's almost sad, but when you see your opponent's player go down you catch yourself thinking, "Oh, I hope it's an ACL. Don't be a mild sprain, be an ACL!" (Horrible, I know, but it's true). Anyway, watching a game that has fantasy implications makes it as compelling as TV as you will find.

Okay, that's enough. You can now all go back and change your ratings to "5's". By the way, the Season 2 Fantasy Basketball seasons starts just after the All-Star break so let me know if you would like to join our league......