My annual fantasy football draft takes place this Saturday. Our league, The Final Countdown, is in its fourth year of operation and consists of ten old friends, a group of mostly freshman year hallmates with some track teammates and high school friends tossed in for humor’s sake. Each week we start 1 QB, 1 kicker, 1 team defense, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, and 1 RB/WR hybrid.
A few years ago it became a keeper league to place a better premium on drafting promising young players over decrepit has-beens, and to increase the sense of ownership and responsibility of the managers. My keepers for the past couple of years have been Donovan McNabb, Willis McGahee, Roy Williams and Antonio Gates. My team has finished disappointingly out of the playoffs each year after a series of dreadful late-season collapses. But hope springs eternal each September, and I know the stats of my Big Four better than I otherwise would.
Saturday is when the rest of the team is built around those keepers. We take turns selecting the best available player, creating a team stocked with a well-planned mix of skilled position players, careful not to take too many running backs for want of a third wide receiver. We have to be sure to select a backup QB, and every now and then someone gambles an early round selection on a kicker or a defense. We spend time scheming over who will have a late-season surge, who is injury prone despite big numbers last year, and considering the schedules of our QBs so we don’t need to dip into the waiver pool at a key point in the season and risk dropping one of our better players. The point being, our draft is a process by which we aim to create the best possible team. An army, if you will.
On the stump in
Nor do they talk about a draft for the US Army as it “surges” in the
Maybe not, but in the last few years there has been more and more talk bubbling up from the aquifer of public discourse. The arguments tend to be based in the very valid issue of fairness, whether sexism or classism. But yesterday in Newsweek, Cpl. Mark Finelli, an
Seeing the superior vehicles and gear used by private contractors compared to the sometimes makeshift and often deadly equipment used by our own Army, Finelli argues that a draft would bring in more funding in order to quell the fears of the rich and powerful that their children might due a gruesome and, more importantly, avoidable death. As it is, too many of the soldiers are forgotten pawns in a political game being played thousands of miles away.
Furthermore, Finelli points out that an army consisting of a broader swath of society would include, as a result, a much broader swath of skills. A draft would bring in smarter soldiers, not just braver ones. Could that make a difference in how our soldiers are able to deal with IEDs and guerrilla tactics? According to Finelli, it would. After all, if you go into a fantasy football week starting four running backs and no QB, you will be wasting a valuable scoring slot by using too many from one position and not enough of another. You might still win if your running backs put up a few touchdowns apiece, but why not use the QB that is available to you back home in the boardrooms, on the bench?