The Sickness Of Drafts and Recruiting

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The Sickness Of Drafts and Recruiting
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Am I a fan or a crazy person? Why does college recruiting matter to me? Who in their right mind wastes a Saturday in front of a TV watching a non-sporting sports event with such fervor? Why do I enjoy the NFL Draft and the NBA Draft so much? Every pick is an event.

The NFL draft is two days long. My favorite team is the Seahawks. I almost get physically ill when it's their pick. Then they trade down. It's like watching your favorite TV series, coming to the exciting part, and finding out it is a two-parter and you have to wait until next week to see the conclusion. 

I'm still excited when Mr. Irreverent is picked with the final pick in the draft, and I always hope he's a superstar. After the draft I check the computer every day to see who has been signed as rookie free agents.

The NBA Draft is a little harder to follow. Kids come out of college way too soon. You may never have heard of a player. Who knew Nowitki before the draft? The influx of foreign-born players and no TV coverage of European leagues makes it difficult to be familiar with many of the players coming over. Sure, I know Ricky Rubio's name. I saw him in the Olympics. When D Blair falls all the way to Phoenix in the draft, I'll be screaming for them to pick him, even though they most likely will take Omri Casspi, who I have never seen play. I will be grateful they didn't just give away the pick.

I used to collect sports cards, and the Draft picks were always my favorite cards.  This is mostly because they had the potential to be worth the most if the pick panned out. The thrill of opening a new pack of cards and finding that number one pick's rookie card, and thinking, "If I hold on to this it could be worth millions." OK that's a slight exaggeration. Maybe that's what seeded my sickness?

The University of Oklahoma is my team. I didn't go to school there, and I wasn't born in Oklahoma. I went to high school in Tulsa and the infection set in. I'm brain-washed. The Sooners can do no wrong. My office-mate and I jabber excitedly when one of our beloved Sooners gets picked up by an NFL team as if we're related to them and stand to inherit millions from his success. We go to CBS Sportsline, where we can see where all the OU alumni are playing. Yes, we cheer on the Vikings now. AD is there. We want him to win a Superbowl, he's one of us.

The NBA draft is coming up soon, and Blake Griffin is supposed to be the No. 1 pick; and, even though the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are my two favorite teams, I will be cheering for Griffin. We are still huge Najera fans, even though it is difficult to keep up with which team he is on now.

And what about recruiting? Does it really matter? To me it does. I get RSS feeds sent to my computers and cell phone when a new recruit signs. I'm excited to see how many stars the recruiting scouts have given our newest player. When I see that five-star recruit sign, it's party time. Of course when it's a three-star recruit, it's because OU's coaching staff knows more than those stupid recruiting geeks and the player should be rated higher, like Bradford.

As you can see, I've got a sickness. I realize just because a guy is drafted high does not mean he will have success. A five-star recruit may never see the field. He may be a stud quarterback, fall out of the back of a pickup, and never amount to anything but an AFL two-player.

Is it because of the hope? Each new player may be the piece to take us to the Promised Land. Kind of akin to Christmas, you never know whats in that package until you open it and play with it a while. 

Am I the only on this messed up? I guess I'll know it's time to seek help when I take the day off to watch the MLB Draft.

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