It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key

Sir Winston Churchill

On the face of it, you would think there is little to link finding success in FPL and finding Bigfoot.

I would disagree.

EXHIBIT 1: The Bigfoot/FPL Dichotomy

Why do people waste time looking for something that doesn’t exist ?

Why don’t people take it seriously ?

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, in Canadian and American folklore, is an ape-like creature that is purported to inhabit the forests of North America. Supposed evidence of Bigfoot’s existence is based on a number of disputed video recordings, audio recordings, photographs, visual sightings, casts of large footprints, etc. Some of these are speculated or known to be hoaxes.

WIKIPEDIA

Firstly, it’s about belief, you have to want to believe in something, to pursue it to your best ability. When the belief stops the motivation does too.

Secondly both searching for Bigfoot and playing FPL are hobbies, yet both encourage us to become citizen scientists, applying scientific methods to reach our goal.

Thirdly, alternative lifestyles. Both activities involve selfexploration, which involves “taking a look at your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors and motivations and asking why” And also both provide some level of escapism, getting out there.

MYTH AND LEGEND

So we are nearly at the end of the legendary biggest double game week ever.

I have seen a lot of gambles taken with hits and endured hours of speculation about form, backed up with metrics, from the FPL community and social media content providers.

And to be honest, I am not best pleased. All the hours I spend on this bloody game, and I am still not even close to a 5 digit game week rank. And so another OR drop is looming.

I have stopped believing in this season. I can no longer conceive my target overall rank of 50K is achievable. As I don’t have any interest in mini leagues, I have little motivation.

Announcing this to a shocked chat a couple weeks ago, helped. I was told ‘but you are 200K it is still possible’ but the crux of the matter is, I have come to the conclusion that this season all the evidence points to the fact, I am now way off the well trodden path. But at least I have evidence, and can start planning for next season’s journey.

( Interestingly, people have sought me out to express the same frustrating conclusion, and are now tagging along in preparation for the next campaign – do we all still want to believe? )

But really, isn’t it time to dispel the myth, to stop wasting time trying to make a science out of a coin toss ?

Point of Evidence (PoE) 1 Luck is a real factor in FPL and lack of luck can lead to tilting. Luck aka favourable results (it hits the bar and goes in, rather than it hits the bar and goes out) is totally uncontrollable and not a product of good decision making.

FPL and Bigfoot, one of them is completely illogical and an anathema to science the other has over 50 different names in native American culture.

PSEUDOSCIENCE

When you take FPL seriously, it’s hard to hear that there is no logic, that it is it’s just a guessing game, luck over skill. There is an inherent need for control over destiny, to prove oneself. Is there a formula for life, I mean FPL ?

A lot of us like to spend time hypothesising over fantasy football, assuming we know what will happen, making predictions – and sometimes we get it right. We adhere to the unwritten rules, apply trusted methods such as the eye test, have an obvious love for mathematical analysis and acknowledge experienced ‘experts’ to confirm our beliefs. This is what being a committed FPL player is all about.

A hypothesis proposes a tentative explanation or prediction. Hypothesis may be proven true or false by testing and experimentation. A theory, on the other hand, is a substantiated explanation for an occurrence.

We use statistics as our accepted empirical evidence, these are the facts that add weight to our decision making.

Metrics, key performance indicators, statistics, however you classify your number patterns, it is in essence historical data,a solid basis.

…the proverbial kinds of falsehoods, ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics.’

Dr M Price 1894

In the Bigfoot world, existence is still unproven. Various evidence is put forward as proof by amateur researchers, including repeated and recognisable patterns in the form of hieroglyphic stick sculptures and tree manipulation. More controversially, video images of blurred faces and body profiles are shown in leaves, trees and logs, (Predator type cloaking is cited as a viable camouflage , and eye-shine is a major give away). This type of evidence is presented as scientific but not classified as scientific.

Seeing familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns is called pareidolia. It’s a form of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human tendency to seek patterns in random information.

The ability to experience pareidolia is more developed in some people and less in others.

One way the brain makes sense of the world is by making predictions about what we will see, based on our past experience, and then subtly projecting those expectations onto what we see.

Having a gut feeling is a form of expectation. So is a result generated by algorithm. Which do you prefer to believe in ?

LIVING OUTSIDE THE CULTURAL NORM

So what happens when someone comes along with out of the box thinking, a hunch, a challenge to our social norms ? Who puts faith their own ideas, and defies convention.

Well I say yes, do it. Be more open to opportunity – however it presents itself.Expose yourself, check out what is current, engage. Don’t dis and dismiss, rather consider and embrace.

It has worked for me in the past. And it continues to do so, with people approaching me in chat or via direct message, and asking ‘I know this sounds crazy but…’ and I am genuinely interested, we talk it through, raise the pro’s and cons and make balanced decisions.

The gorilla was thought to be fake until the 19th century when naturalist and physician Thomas Savage happened upon gorilla bones in Liberia, finally proving that the species was real.

It then took another 10 years for explorer Paul du Chaillu to actually see a gorilla, hunt it down, and send back the specimen.

For me open mindedness is crucial to big picture thinking. And thinking bigger, zooming out of the game week minutiae, is crucial to maintaining one’s sanity. Escape, re-frame, refocus. It also helps you enjoy the journey along the way, rewarding in a season where the destination is a pretty hard trek.

POSTCRIPT

What should a blog be ? Inspirational ? Informative? Useful?

To be brutally honest, motivation to write a weekly diary of my FPL season transfer by hit by transfer is lacking when that season is done.

March will be devoted to the Monsters of FPL, Werewolves, Vampires and Frankenstein’s Monster. Big topics, re-framed.

POST-POST SCIPT

I saved the best til last. Did you notice the distinct lack of pictures in this blog ?

I asked around, ‘Do you believe in Bigfoot’ ? of course the stock answer amounted to ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’

You should at least think about something,objectively before dismissing it.

Psychologically prepare yourself.

If you have 6 mins and 30 seconds, try exploring pareidolia.

How many faces do you see? Can you see the dog ?