If you have not yet heard of ESPN.com's "Streak For The Cash," I'll give you the 50-cent tour.
Each day, they pick a group of matchups at different times of the day. They come in various forms, like a straight up win-loss, over under, best first-round score in golf between two golfers, etc. Participants then make a pick, the pick locks at game time, and you cannot pick another matchup until after the present one finishes. If you pick 27 correct picks in a row by March 31, you win a cool million dollars. If you have the most correct total picks over a month, you win $2,500.
Now, I'm not going to try and dissuade you from participating in this contest, but I'm going to be honest with you: This is the most agonizing productivity sucker to come along in the history of fantasy sports.
I consider myself a pretty huge fan of sports, in general. I'm not obsessed with one more than another, but I would say that I pay attention to baseball the most of any of the "major sports." I'm fairly intelligent when it comes to sports, and I have only bet on one sporting event in my life. (If you must know—I bet on UMass to win the NIT last year, because I was in Vegas. They lost, and so did I.)
I started picking these matchups at the urging of a few friends from high school, and it became a once-a-day thing. Occasionally, I would check the scores, and see if I could build a streak. Little did I know I was creating a monster.
I will make at least two picks a day, and my highest streak is four. There is one person in our group (seven members) who has gotten above five, and he has a little red star next to his name now. We all strive for the star now.
It's as if we could care less about winning the million, because one (or all) of us is invariably tempted each day to make a moronic, completely random pick on a Carling Cup match, purely based on the percentages of who is picking whom. Predicting soccer is a crapshoot, as is golf. But every day, I find myself in the office wondering what game, round or match I can keep minimized on my taskbar to monitor occasionally.
The person in the lead as of the moment I write this is at an 18-game win streak, and I'm pretty sure they have not picked anything this week. They would have been well served to pick Oklahoma over Baylor, which is probably one of the biggest locks I've seen recently, but that's the thing with this game—nothing is a lock. You could have 100 percent of the people picking Oklahoma, and Baylor could go out there and win it. What happens then? Eighteen-game win streak, down the toilet.
ESPN's Streak For The Cash is inviting, and if it's pulled off, the payday is huge... to the tune of paying off law school a few times over huge, after taxes. It's not an "early retirement" amount of money, it will severely impact productivity, and it will make you over-analyze sports you've never really paid attention to, only to make you realize that you're still wrong.
The moral of the story? Picking 27 correct matchups in a row is about as likely as pitching a perfect game, picking a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket, or being the next contestant on The Price Is Right. It could happen... but it's highly unlikely.
Now if everybody that reads this can root for Kenny Perry to have a lower second round score in the PGA Pebble Beach National Pro-Am than J.B. Holmes, I'd appreciate it. I'm riding a one-game winning streak and I think this is the one.
Read more by Justin Gorman at www.turningtwo.com