Thursday, February 2, 2012

Putting Together a Championship Team in 3 Easy Steps

As a fan of D.C.-area teams in the other major and minor sports, I know a little something about - well, if not rooting for teams who win championships, then at least rooting for teams who play against teams who win championships.  (You can't really avoid it; they're on the schedule.  It's the same reason you had to take Physics in high school.)

Here, for the benefit of the Washington Wizards, Washington Redskins, and all of those other teams who have lost their way, is how to assemble a title contender:

Step 1.  Acquire Talent

The quality of your coach is negligible.  A coach is for motivating and scapegoating.  Your chances reside solely with the quality of your roster, and there are quite a few ways for compiling a championship caliber roster.

The NFL Way:  draft superstars, keep said superstars from getting concussions and career-ending neck injuries.

(note that The NFL Way also doubles as The Non-Pittsburgh Penguins Way)

The SEC Way:  lower your academic and moral standards until everyone's eligible, then choose the best guys

The NBA Way:  live in a cool city, draft a cool megastar, have him convince his friends that they also wish to live in aforementioned cool city

The Soccer Way:  live in Europe, sign a South American superstar

The Rays Way:  put together a genius front office that works its tail off, draft really well, sign top talent to long-term contracts that favor you, watch the rest of your top talent depart for much larger contracts, sign well-valued free agents every single year, bite your fingernails

The Yankees Way:  live in New York, win a ton of championships decades before you were born, start your own TV network so you can print your own money, draft franchise talent in the 1990s, sign high-priced overseas prospects and free agents, scapegoat someone to the media and fans when you lose two games in a week.

Step 2.  Surmount Your Competition

Note that if your local competition is inferior, you can set the bar lower for yourself.  Not too low, mind you.  The ACC may be embarrassing at football, but the Maryland Terrapins still managed to go 2-10 this year.  (And look great in doing so!)  Still, measuring your opponents' strengths and weaknesses, and then being a little bit better than them is a fine place to start.

A popular fallacy pops up here.  Some folks think it's best to be as outstanding an outfit as possible regardless of the mediocrity of one's opponents.  But what does Boise State get for beating up on their conference?  A bowl game on December 22nd and annual disappointment.  So leave the annual disappointment to Cubs fans and improve yourself only incrementally over your foes.  They'll test you all season, helping you improve, and then you'll triumph in the end.  That's not a win-win.  That's a straightforward win.

Speaking of which...

Step 3.  Don't Lose

Losing's for losers.

Best of luck.

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