Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do Nice Guys Finish Last? Week 8

(The saga of my fantasy basketball team, composed of nothing but the sweetest, most generous gentlemen of the NBA - a weekly feature on The Love of Sports. We're not in first place, but we're not in last. We're somewhere in the confortable middle. This week I attempt to shatter my theory that this team of good guys can continue their solid play.)

Week 8 of the fantasy basketball season, and as I’ve mentioned before, it’s been a season of ups and downs. My team, “The Centerfolds”, again experienced a temporary fall from grace. We lost 6-3, getting thoroughly pummeled in rebounds, points, and steals. Our opponent played a superior game on many levels - and my guys simply didn’t deliver.

But it’s a long season. 82 games in the real NBA, and 21 weeks worth of madcap fantsy basketball action. There’s plenty of time for me, as the fantasy manager, to cure all the diseases that ail my team.

Speaking of diseases, we have something called plantar fasciitis festering in the fantasy locker room right now, spreading like the swine flu pandemic of 1919. I looked up this malady on WebMD, and it turns out it’s not a communicable disease or pathogenic infection of any sort. It sounds a lot worse than it is - it’s just a soft-tissue foot injury. Basically, it makes the bottom of your foot hurt a lot.

Still, with LaMarcus Aldridge as the latest victim, and Yao’s toe also hurting this past week, I fear it could be from some kind of airborne or direct foot-to-toe contact. I’m not taking any chances. All fantasy players must wear special antiseptic, Teflon booties over their feet at all times. No bare feet anywhere in the clubhouse or locker room.

Despite being bitten by the injury bug as of late, and suffering through a subpar performance this past week, I’m still very excited about my team’s prospects - as 2007 irreparably rushes to a close.

Now remember, this fantasy basketball season has been something of an experiment all along. Something never before attempted, but something that needed to be investigated – much like the first moon landing. Can these nice guys of the NBA succeed on the court as a fantasy team, just as they’ve succeeded off the court in their personal lives? So far, so good. We’re in 4th place out of 12 teams, with about one-third of the season behind us.

My hypothesis has always been that “The Centerfolds” will be able to compete at a high level all season long, with nothing but kind and well-mannered NBA gentlemen on the team. However, every proper experiment requires that the scientist/fantasy basketball manager introduce certain variables into the laboratory. If I add an outside element to the team, and if the results of the experiment remain the same, then I’ll need to revise my hypothesis. If, however, that uncommon element appears to alter the results of the ongoing experiment, then my hypothesis is strengthened.

As a necessary part of this season-long experiment, I’ve decided to mix things up now, as a way to ring in the new year. Now what, you might ask, could possibly shake up a fantasy team that seems so rock solid. “The Centerfolds” are emotionally stable, with strong leadership (me), and a tireless work ethic.

You’re probably thinking that the addition of some sort of bad influence in the fantasy clubhouse, like an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, or an all-night casino/strip club would offer an interesting challenge to the harmony and well-being of the team.


What about something even more pernicious than gambling, alcohol, and trans-fats?

What could possibly be more distracting and destructive than all of that?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Yeah, you probably are: We’re getting Stephon Marbury.

Believe it or not, Hogbury is a free agent in my league, and I decided to put in a waiver claim for him. And this is the perfect time. What better Christmas present for my team than a gift-wrapped, walking, talking, ball-hogging, full-grown crybaby?

Oh, and then there’s the whole having-sex-with-one-of-the-Knicks-interns-in-the-back-of-an-SUV incident. Charming stuff, Stephon.

I look forward to this next phase of “The Centerfolds” experiment. I definitely want my team to keep winning, but I can’t say I’ll be rooting for Marbury on any given night.

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