Immediate disclaimer: I don't do "Fantasy Sports". I stepped out of this particular form of madness in prehistoric times, after a rigid league commissioner refused to let me replace Thurman Munson in my lineup the day he was killed in a plane crash. I got zero points out of the catcher position that week, and I think John Genzale still knows it was an unfair decision.
But I digress. I know many otherwise-intelligent people still allow themselves to be swept up in this craziness. Some even convince themselves they will win in these massive online competitions.
The odds, of course, are ridiculously long. Take an NCAA Tournament pool, for example. It's one thing to outsmart the 20 boneheads at the office, but what are your chances when you enter a contest as big as the one CBS Sports runs?
Well, my colleague Doug Sovern has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in a few short days. He got 15 of the 16 games right on the first day of March Madness (would have been 16 for 16 if that kid from VCU had made the shot against UCLA, but...), and then went 13-3 the next day, and by the time he nailed 15 of the Sweet 16, Doug was all alone in first place.
That's right. Of the tens of thousands of computer-jockeys who'd wasted the boss's time to sign up for this, Our Doug was El Numero Uno. Ahead, even, of one Jason Weintraub, who'd picked all of the Sweet 16 teams but had more first-round misses than Doug.
And then came reality. Doug only got 7 of the Elite 8 right, dropping him to a tie for 6th (with 200-plus people ahead of him). And it will only get worse, because he'd picked Memphis to win the whole thing, and that can't happen.
Doug says it was fun while it lasted. And I can claim I know a guy who, for one shining moment, was King of Bracket Mountain.