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Winning Without Trying

My fantasy football team is really kicking some ass this year. In fact, I haven’t lost yet. Not once. Even when I have a bad week, my opponent somehow manages to do worse. In all the years I’ve been playing fantasy sports, I’ve never seen anything approaching this kind of success.

Admittedly, I have a secret this year. The secret started when I forgot to do any preparation for the draft. Hell, I actually forgot about the draft. The system’s defaults picked a great team for me based on its internal formulas. I was quite pleased.

Since seeing the immediate success of the team I played no part in creating, my strategy has remained hands-off. I rely entirely on whatever numbers happen to appear on my computer screen. Each week, I activate the players with the highest projected scores for each position. If a player has a bye week, I drop my lowest scoring player for the available player with the highest projected score in the position I need to fill.

I’m not delusional. I realize I have no special fantasy football skills. I suspect I’m the least knowledgeable person in the league. I’m painting by numbers and getting lucky. The only thing I have going for me that’s even arguably noteworthy is the fact I realize I have no real talent aside from slavishly making decisions once a week based on someone else’s data. If my career was fantasy football, I’d be terribly insecure.

As I fight the urge to think I’m somehow responsible for my team’s wins, I’m reminded of the countless prosecutors whose professional successes are no more their doing than my fantasy football successes are mine. They have no clue they’re actually incompetent, coasting to victories through no fault of their own.

I recently filed a pleading asking a higher court to review a ridiculous lower court decision. The lower court had reached its conclusions independent of the state’s nonsensical ramblings only tangentially related to the subject. The higher court then denied relief in a one-sentence ruling with three grammatical errors less than eight business hours after I submitted a thirty-page brief with a hundred-page appendix. My pleadings were lean considering the complexity of the issues.

Back at the lower court, the prosecutor explained how he “won” the proceedings and “succeeded” above. He believed it, I’m sure. Having previously looked at the resumes of ex-prosecutors seeking employment with my firm, I am sure he will highlight on his resume how he has successfully defended appeals. He never filed anything, of course, but he won in his mind. It wasn’t the loaded dice doing what they were loaded to do, but rather his brilliant legal acumen shining through all of those briefs he didn’t have to file and those things he never had to say.

With increasing frequency, I encounter people who are unable to cut through that type of bullshit. They have unshakable faith in their own talents. They can’t tell the difference between something they’ve earned and something they’ve been given.

It’s scary that I’m more proud of the fact I am capable of realizing I’ve only accidentally done well in fantasy football than I am of the fact my team is doing great. It’s scarier to think that prosecutors with enormous power over other people’s lives struggle to see the distinction in their own careers.

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2 Responses to "Winning Without Trying"

  1. Jamison says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rub it in.

    But it is true. The harder I try, the worse I do. The ultimate insult for me was being beaten in a family league one year by my 13-year-old niece who drafted her team and then never came back. It was particularly humiliating to be beaten by a team called the “Pink Prancing Ponies.”

    1. Matt Brown says:

      That’s awesome. The good news is that I’ll probably stop winning now that I’ve mentioned the fact I’m winning.

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