I’ve never been good at picking winners in sporting events.
To state this in a more “positive way”: I have always been bad at it.
The closest I ever came to being right about the outcome of a sports thing was in high school, during the 1994 NCAA tournament. A bunch of us were in a bracket pool, and only two of us remained in contention by time the semi-final game between Arizona and Arkansas came around. The winner of this game would decide the winner of our pool, the prize for which was a highly coveted $15 in nickels. I chose Arizona to win, while my opponent–who I will refer to as The Judge– had picked Arkansas. The Judge was a gambling man, but also a pragmatist, so he suggested we simply agree to split the prize between us (a particularly interesting and economically-relevant offer given that later in the year John Nash would win the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in theory of non-cooperative games).
In my defense, I was not quite 16, and had neglected to keep up with the latest in game theory. Also, I had a fairly loose grip on reality back then, having just realized in the Spring of ’93 that I would never be a major league baseball player, something my friends and family surely would have realized many years before that after my repeated failed attempts at making the JV baseball team.
So, both reality and economics were against me that year, but that’s not all. I also failed to recognize the hot hand that had been dealt to Arkansas by Karma. After all, the POTUS in 1994 was Bill Clinton, and before that, he was the governor of Arkansas. Had I considered for a moment that just as no President before him had come from Arkansas, no team from Arkansas had ever won the NCAA tournament, then I might have seen the entire state as one whose time had finally come. After so many years at the fringe (Maybe a touch too North and West to be the Southeast? Maybe a little to South to be the Midwest?) Karma had clearly given Arkansas the nod to step into the spotlight.
Anyway, Arizona lost to Arkansas in the semi-finals, and then Arkansas went on to beat Duke for the 1994 NCAA championship.
All of the was to say that I’ve been cosmically bad at this stuff for as long as I can remember, and if you read my last post, you’ll know that this year’s Western States Endurance Run was no exception. I expected to do well with my picks (I mean, Jim and Kaci seemed like solid choices), and I was going to buy some new running shoes as a reward for myself, since I missed the iRunFar contest by a day. Instead, I only got one pick right, which was totally luck. But I still want some new running shoes, so here are a list of excuses to help me make it happen:
- My Western States picks were terrible and new shoes will help to console me.
- It’s Summer, and I need shoes designed specifically for humidity.
- It’s important to keep a good relationship with the guys at the running store.
- My current shoes still smell bad from running through an Adirondack swamp two weeks ago.
- If I buy them online, then I can click through from iRunFar and they’ll get a commission, which they totally deserve.
- My Nike Wildhorse wore down unexpectedly fast and the Speedgoats are a little narrow and give me blisters on the tops of my toes, so, you know, I need new ones.
- I’m just in the mood to get some new shoes ok?
- The ground is usually much drier in the Summer than it is during Spring, and that makes the trail looser and less compacted, and all of my shoes are designed for hard-packed trails, so I need special shoes so I don’t slip and get hurt on slightly loosened dirt.
- My old shoes don’t go with my new shorts.
- Oh sweet, here are two REI gift cards from my birthday! I’ll use them to get this bomber pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.0 on sale for $89, which only ended up costing me $9 out of pocket.
[UPDATE] The Lone Peak are going back. They’re ok, and I can see how I’d like some other model from Altra, but the Lone Peaks are way too marshmallowy for me.
So, to recap: this blog post had it all. An introduction based on my childhood, a sweet list, and an [update] in which I snuck in a brief product review. See? Anything is possible on the Internet.