Every year between January and June sports fans hear such common terms as, “he has amazing speed”, “what great foot work”, “he can jump out of the gym”, “he can hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun” or my personal favorite, “he’s a can’t miss prospect”. That’s right. I’m talking about the respective drafts of the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL or any sport for that matter.
As someone who follows all of the sports listed above, these are things that I read or hear on a daily basis as the respective draft gurus began their guessing and speculation on who will be the next “big thing” and that’s exactly what it is too, guessing. Albeit educated guessing, but guessing nonetheless.
Every sports fan has one of those friends, including myself, who wait on pins and needles as these educated guessers give us the latest on who is moving up or down draft boards. They go online several times a day in hopes of seeing (insert name of guru’s) latest mock draft. There are even those who pour tons of dollars into buying the draft guides from several of their “heroes”.
I am just not one of those guys. As a sports fan of over 25 years, I have yet to understand the appeal of a draft. After about a week of hearing discussion on any particular draft I am ready to just throw my radio out the car. It’s the same mind numbing discussion over and over again. The NFL is the worst at this. Almost four months pass between the end of the season and the time where we see Commissioner Roger Goodell at the podium announcing a team’s pick.
Why does the NFL need so much time to hold their draft? The NBA and NHL drafts are only a few weeks after their respective postseasons end and they invest just as much money if not more into their prospective athletes, due to the fact that those contracts are guaranteed.
Major League Baseball does things even better by holding their draft during the season so at least the discussion surrounding it is on the back burner behind what’s actually going on in the major leagues, between paid professionals who are already performing at the highest level.
I have tried several times to sit down and watch a draft unfold. Every time I have the same result. I hit the eject button after about five picks. I start asking myself, “how do people do it, how can they just sit here and watch this thing?” All I can think about is the fact that I just wasted part of my life and those are minutes or an hour that I’ll never get back.
What kills me the most about drafts is the discussion on what teams had a good draft as opposed to what teams had a bad one. How can that question be answered logically? No one knows how these guys are going to perform on the highest level. That is a question that can only be answered accurately with the passing of several seasons, not the passing of several hours or one single day.
Several years ago ESPN ran a series of commercials for the NFL draft in which they showed a guy who was drafted in the later rounds making plays against guys that were drafted in the earlier rounds. Their point was to get you to watch because you never know where the stars of tomorrow will get selected. What I took from it was that all this speculation and educated guessing is a waste of time and energy. There is nothing that I can’t read about online later that night or in the newspaper the next day over a few minutes that’s worth me sitting through hours on the couch to find out.
As you can figure out by looking at this blog page, I am as passionate a sports fan as anybody. I love the fact that there are no two games that are exactly alike. Each game gives us the chance to see something amazing or disappointing that we might never see again. Sports are the most authentic reality show with nightly drama unfolding with every pitch or tick of the clock.
I am passionate when discussing sports or sharing my opinions on things that have happened between the lines by actual athletes that have accomplished things on the highest level and not on what they might do based on their achievements at the amateur level. There is no draft that is worth me dedicating more hours of my day to watch than I would to a game where things that actually matter happen.
Enjoy yourself tonight fans of the NBA draft. Have fun making your educated guesses and cheering and booing the good or bad picks. If a trade happens that involves actual professional players let me know, (especially if it involves the Lakers) but if not, I’ll read all about it later and share my thoughts on the players in a season or two.