• August 21, 2014

Enjoy sports for what they are, not what they might be

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 4:30 am

I don’t like to predict.

I’m not a fan of picking winners, and I hate having to tell people what I think is going to happen. Mainly because I am not good at it, but nobody really is.

Sure, we all believe sound strategy, critical thinking, ample analyzing and a little common sense will lead us to the obvious answers, but it won’t; at least, not all of the time. But no matter what, due to the nature of my job, I routinely get asked to foresee the future, especially at this time of year, and rightfully so.

I’m expected to weigh in on games and their possible outcomes, teams and their potential stars, districts and their eventual champions.

I don’t mind being asked these questions either personally or professionally. After all, like everybody, I have opinions, but I also know they are virtually meaningless. Just like everyone else’s.

For example, in football, nobody knows a team better than its head coach. He understands the ins and outs of the offense and defense, memorizes players’ strengths and weaknesses, views each and every practice, game and team function firsthand and oversees a staff as it implements his complete philosophy.

After each week of dedication toward a common goal and thorough preparation for an opponent, numerous coaches walk into stadiums on Friday night believing their teams have the upper hand. Few will resort to publically saying they will win, but behind closed doors is typically another story.

Yet, despite all the inside knowledge, personal bonds with players and countless hours of game planning, half of all head coaches wake up Saturday morning hung over from defeat.

Similarly, billions of people play fantasy sports and almost all of them feel confident following draft day that their team will emerge with the league championship. Nevertheless, every season, a pair of distraught owners finds themselves playing in the Toilet Bowl opposed to the Super Bowl.

Las Vegas built its empire on the fact people have not, can not and never will be able to consistently make a 50-50 decision correctly. The only people I would truly trust to accurately determine a game’s outcome would be the Las Vegas odds-makers, but even they are not right 100 percent of the time.

And that is the beauty of sports – nobody, no matter how educated or informed, knows what the heck is going to happen.

Games are played for a reason and unpredictability is what keeps fans’ attention season after season.

Nobody thought Eli Manning and the New York Giants would spoil New England’s perfect season in Super Bowl XLII, but they did. Just like nobody thought second-year quarterback Tom Brady — a sixth-round selection in the NFL Draft — had what it took to win a championship when he first guided the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 2001, but he has been back four more times, winning three altogether.

Seabiscut’s story wasn’t transformed into a major motion picture because he was a heavy favorite, and I have never met a single soul who walked away from March Madness with an unblemished bracket.

The United States hockey team defeating the Soviet team in the 1980 Olympics is referred to as the “Miracle on Ice” for a reason, and anybody who says they believed Buster Douglas would knockout Mike Tyson is flat out lying.

Unless you are Babe Ruth, Joe Namath or Muhammad Ali, the only guarantee in the world of sports is there are

no guarantees.

So, as NCAA football, the NFL and high school athletics in general, including the always-anticipated football season, get going into full swing over the upcoming days, try not to get too wrapped up in what could happen. Don’t bother trying to see too far down the road or concerning yourself with which team is going to finish where.

It’s futile.

Instead, just enjoy each moment for its what it is — completely unique, random and unpredictable.

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