As we near the middle of January, two things are front-and-center here in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first is the ever-present coating of snow on the ground that is conveniently (not really) replenished every week or two so that the landscape is continually hidden from view for what seems like a month (and counting). No worries, predictions are that a fresh batch is on the way this weekend or next week to keep the streak alive.
The second item of interest these days is the NFL playoffs. Not that our local team is involved, mind you. There seems to be a long-standing yet obscure rule somewhere in the hidden catacombs of NFL headquarters that states that the Cincinnati Bengals (I believe that Cleveland and Detroit must also be included) must spend a minimum of five years watching from the sidelines following any playoff appearance, and last year was our year. No, these days those of us in Cincinnati have no local rooting interest. Like many people, some of us compete in an online pool where we use our considerable professional football knowledge to predict the outcome of the games all season.
[Note to the IRS – nothing for you to see here. Move along.]
I’ve done surprisingly well this season, and recently moved up to the #2 position for the year. With the playoffs and Super Bowl ahead, I am faced with an interesting decision. I managed to move up the rankings by making aggressive picks – not always choosing the favorite but correctly picking when upsets would happen. It’s a risky move. Back when I was in the middle of the pack, I figured I had nothing to lose. I certainly wasn’t going to win by simply picking the favorites each week because most people do that. To truly move up and give myself a chance to win, I had to throw caution to the wind and play aggressively. Using this approach, I was either going to move up or move down, but I certainly wasn’t going to finish in the middle of the pack. With nothing to lose, I pushed on and after a few weeks, now I’m in the #2 position with the leader in sight.
Now that I have managed to make it near the front of the pack, what do I do? Do I continue to try to pick aggressively and try to take the lead, or do I play it safe and protect my position?
The radio and television airwaves are filled with former athletes and professional talking heads giving their predictions for these games and their “expert” analysis on the factors that will influence the outcomes. One theme seems clear – it’s too late to change who you are at this stage. There is no point trying to change your tendencies in any significant fashion because those tendencies got these teams to where they are right now – in the playoffs with a chance to win a championship.
That’s a viewpoint that I can agree with wholeheartedly. If you are out front, the easiest way to get caught is to stop pushing yourself, slow down, and fall back to the pack.
Here at EXAIR, we are still pushing ourselves as hard as ever. Proof can be seen in our new Catalog 24, which was released last week. You can request your copy here.
Catch us if you can.
With that thought in mind, I think I’ll play out the season the same way that I have the past few weeks – by pressing my luck.