Going the Distance

His path to the end zone was clear.  He had broken past all his would-be tacklers and was making for the goal line like a jackrabbit.  No one could stop him from scoring – no one but himself.  He reached the 40, the 30, the 20….  But as he reached the 15 yard line, he shifted into a slower gear and began coasting towards his destination in celebratory fashion.  Suddenly, a yard away from his triumphant touchdown, the player felt the ball leave his grip, punched out from behind by an opposing player who had never given up on the play.  No ball, no touchdown, no celebration.

The scenario above has occurred a number of times over the years.  You would think by now everyone would’ve learned to give it their all until the play is complete.  But it happened yet again last week on a blocked field goal return that should’ve gone in for a touchdown.  Once more, someone thought they had it in the bag and did not give it their all, while someone else who seemingly didn’t have a chance at making a play never gave up on it.  There’s much to be said for going the distance.

Every year at this point in the season, there are fantasy owners who find themselves 3-0 or 0-3.  Some will believe they have it made, that they nailed it just right in their league draft.  Others will begin to believe their season is over, that their draft and roster moves were a complete bust.  As many of you know from what I’ve written in seasons past, it’s way too early to know how the season is going to play out at this point.  Declaring victory or giving up on your team at this stage is premature. 

For those who are winning left and right, I caution you not to get complacent.  Keep doing your fantasy homework week-in and week-out.  Continue looking for ways to enhance your team.  Prepare yourself for injury possibilities.  And look ahead to the fantasy playoff NFL schedule to be sure your roster can handle those particular matchups well.  In my office league’s recent history, we had one owner finish the regular season in 1st place two years in a row, only to lose in the first round of the playoffs both seasons.  And last year, we had the experienced owner who started 7-0, but only won only one more game the rest of the way.  His season ended with a loss in the first round of the playoffs as well.

For those of you who are winless and considering fantasy “hari kari” at this point, I remind you that the season is far from over.  Some of your players may just be getting going (there are some slow starters out there).  Maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to go up against the best-scoring team in your league each week.  Or perhaps your analysis of the season was simply “off” when you drafted your team.  Even then, there is still hope.  The key is to determine the real reason you’re losing, and then do something about it.  Fresh analysis, the waiver wire, trades, and a different approach to your roster moves are just some of the ways you might turn the ship around.  You persistence and dedication can still save your fantasy season and lead you to a magical run during the fantasy playoffs.  Don’t give up.

Like many areas of life, your tenacity will go a long ways towards determining the end result.  If you already assume you have things in the bag, your efforts could wane and keep you from scoring what seemed like a sure touchdown.  And if you never give up on the play even though things look hopeless, you will find that life has a funny way of rewarding your persistence with opportunities to make the ball to bounce back your way.  The fantasy football season has just started.  Take nothing for granted.  You never know what might happen next.  By going the distance, you may unexpectedly find yourself in a position to win it all at the end of the year.  And if you are in the driver’s seat right now, you can avoid becoming the next fantasy blooper highlight of how not to seal the deal.  Take courage, be persistent, and go the distance – no matter what the endeavor, you’ll always be glad you did.

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