XVIII. Opportune

Why 2017 told us that Online Poker is Here to Stay

Is it the unannounced arrival of the moment that you wait for, or is it something you foresee and then seize when the time arrives? This, at least for me, is the lesson of GW9 and I can definitely say, I miscalculated.

Immediate or even eventual recognition of, combined with the ability to own your errors, is a trait fast deminishing in the world around us.

As the song says, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…”. How do we anticipate and recognise the moment though? Therein lies the skill (or lack of). That said, we all have the capacity to be phenomenal, there’s no obstacle that mankind has ever faced that someone hasn’t tackled head on and then excelled. Retrospection followed by application of the lessons learnt, is the foundation of conquering any obstacle faced. The willingness to acknowledge your shortcomings and not be defeated by them. Perfection is but a word, not an actual state of being. We strive for perfection, which is highly commendable and should always be your goal. However, do not become downhearted when perfection is not attained, because, to be human, is to be imperfect and I don’t see any of us becoming more than human anytime soon. 😄

In this game, the most we can expect is to have more green arrows, than red. Red arrows are an inevitablity, so, we go again. Put the disappointment aside and take the lesson with you, as taking the former will only hinder or even stunt your performance in the gameweeks ahead. Hindsight is a tool which provides clarity for forward movement, the accompanying disappointment can, if you want, actually be a spur which pushes you forward. Continued application of this cognitive approach will ultimately allow you to hone your timing and thus the seizing of the opportune moments.

Chance

A constant in the game which none of us have control over. Sometimes the Universe will fuck you straight in the arse 🍆 and you simply have to take it like a man/woman (well, it’s not like both sexes don’t!🤣). Naturally, you’ll be sore for a bit, but, you’ll get over it, ready for the next rogering whenever it comes. It can be inadvertantly fortuitous (a scored penalty retake giving your asset an attacking return) or frustratingly maddening (a 2nd minute injury, or 89th min loss of a clean sheet). The point is, it happens to us all and in the main is evened out in the long run.

Ego will tell you that it was your decision which awarded you a moment of fortune. If this is your stance, then surely when chance doesn’t go your way, it’s of your own making as well, right?! Well, sort of. It’s either luck or, “UNLUCKEEEYYYY!”😆 Enjoy it when you get it, suck it up when you don’t. Either way, it’s not completely of your own making. But, “You make your own luck!” I hear you say. This is myth, of sorts.

The optimistic mind interprets fortune as good luck, the pessimistic mind, as bad luck. An optimistic person tends to be someone who will take more chances, and thus exposes themself to a greater possiblity of things going their way, hence the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. A pessimist, because they expect things not to go their way, does not make as many ventures, if at all. This lessens their exposure to opportunities, then when the inevitable bad thing happens, they say, why always me?!

Of course, again, you cannot discount the randomness of the Universe, sometimes you go on a bad run, no matter your default mindset. Just remember, it could always be worse and the opposite, going on a good run, is also a possiblity. Yin & Yang.

So, keep going, what do you really have to lose? You’re going to win some and/or lose some, no matter what! At the very least, taking the chance will build your confidence and when it goes right, you’ll be able to revel in your good fortune. This in turn will help you to take misfortune in your stride and move on to the next.

Simplez! 😹

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XVII. Sangfroid

It’s inevitable that the universe will do what the universe does. Is this not life?! How you react to the universe will depend on a myriad of things revolving around your experiences to date and how they have culminated in your hardwiring.

Preparedness can play a huge factor in your reactions, to the point where your equanimity allows you to stare back at the abyss, with no rush of blood to the head, but instead, clear and cool thought of mind.

Readiness does not necessarily need to be tangible, the hypothetical will do. In the absence of either of these, the ability to keep your zanshin will masterfully navigate you through the never-ending barage of new gameweek issues.

During this Irritable Belligerence of injuries, psuedo-injuries, positive CV19 results, dancing and… (drinking? 🍾), travelling, pointless and/or boring matches, inexplicable batterings (6-0!! 😳) and limp defeats, the toing & froing within the community has been a voyeuristic delight! 😁 Free transfers, minus 8s, minus 12s, Free Hits, price-falls, price-rises, “I’ll cap this player if…”, “I couldn’t give a shit…”, passive aggressive bullying, reminiscing of a time before monetising, “I’m thinking of leaving…”, exetera, exetera. It has been a 2 week cacophony, a veritable symphony of chaos and the sublime.

I do hope this trend continues for the next International Break in March, as the previous ones were utterly dull by comparison! 😝

So, here we are, about to chart our courses into the busiest and bestest part of the season. 8GWs over the next 6 weeks, immediately followed by the blank & double gameweeks, when we’ll arrive in GW20 with our ships either intact, in varying degrees of repair or ready for the knacker’s yard!

Luckily, I’ve emerged from the International Break with less of a Festival of Lights in my squad than many. A single flash of blood on my bench contaminated by the evil virus. At present the aim is to leave him there. I’m following my plan and my gut (miraculously aligned!) on this one. It is why I invested in such a strong bench after all. A minor irritation being rumours that Ricardo may be back sooner than I anticipated, which could be a threat to Justin.

I really need to sort those goal keepers out! Both of them. 😭

So Universe… what’s next?! 😈

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XVI. Recalibration

So, what’s new? Do you even ask yourself!? Do you need to?

Well fuck me!! It’s about time!!

I was bored AF over here! 😁

I know I’ve touched on this before, but I need to drive this home. We are creatures of unintentional automated habit. It’s so freaking natural we don’t realise it. We never give it thought without deliberately doing so, or until we’re in such a predicament that we have no other choice but to!

Freedom of expression.

Maverick. What does that mean really? It’s (somehow) associated with recklessness, which immediately conditions you to be more conformist, because conformity is good, comfortable, it doesn’t rock the boat, is easily controlled and we can all exist happily in the herd, keeping everyone else safe in the known & accepted.

Aren’t you dying from suffocation by boredom yet?! 😁

Why is it, that in the main, although we know it’s those who step out that step up, we still allow ourselves to let that knowledge lie dormant, as opposed to acting on it. What if we substitute the term “Maverick” with the word progressive. Would this make it easier to contemplate and adopt?

Either way it’s the same thing, just get on with it!!

Each new season is presented with new parameters, so although empirical knowledge has undoubted value, to move forward married to the old without also appreciating the crucial need to explore, define, apply and continously develop new methodical theories and strategies, will only keep you comfortably in and around the herd. Oh joy!! 😏

Abandon fear all ye who enter here!

Castoreum- Canadian Beaver Castor Tincture - Apothecary's Garden

It’s time to step away from being so “Beaver Castoreum” (i.e vanilla – I suggest you Google it! 😂). The 1st step is to simply let go of fear, I mean, in this case, what’s the worse that can happen? What? Your mate is gonna rib you for a week? You’ll loose a few 100k in rank, maybe more? Is that really so detrimental to the big picture? Grow some, both the proverbial testes as well as putting yourself to the test which in itself promotes growth. If you can’t do this with an essentially inconsequential game, then where can you?!! Continous development of your approach (to literally anything) demands this. With fear gone, you actually realise that growth is fun!

The 2nd step (also something I’ve touched on before) is noticing the habits you don’t know you have! How do you recognise something that you don’t notice? This could be a whole blog entry on it’s own, but as I said before, we’re habitual creatures, so trust me, you have them! What makes them more noticeable however, is daring to step out of your echo-chamber, doing so will inevitably subject you to triggers. You may already have triggers, anger at your GW results, perma-captain-blanks, frustration, feelings of negativity or just plain boredom! How you react to these triggers is crucial to the development of your problem management. Yes, it can be scary, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Life has no time for shrinking-violets, she’ll chew them up and spit them out! You will initially have setbacks, and may even perform worse than when you were in the safety of herd-mentality but this is the essence of un-learning and learning anew.

See yourself as an architect of a grand design. Whilst you’re at ground-level amongst the detail it’s almost impossible to see the whole picture of your project. What you need to do is step back and take a birds-eye view. Levitate yourself above the detail and take in the full view of what you’re trying to build. Up where the air is clear you’ll unclutter your mind, process the information around you from both old & new sources, incorporating your own ideas as well, it is your project after all! Do not fall into the habit of dismissing any information you hear, at least process it even if it is ultimately discarded. Once you’ve identified the defects (from your lofty perch), descend back into the detail and apply the newly honed knowledge. Keep repeating this cycle, even when things start going well, as the ultimate goal is to make this new school of thinking, habitual.

You never know what nuggets of brilliance you’ll form from information you never considered!

Leave your echo-chamber where only being reactive exists. Challenging yourself promotes proactivity. This will give you the confidence to trust your thoughts. Know that there are many, many ways to play the game, no one way is best, all strategies have optimum and inferior moments. Question everything, even after you’ve deliberated it and are sure of your current plan!

How else will you create that yearly OR history we all strive for?!

Fuck Yeah! Now we’re talking!😈

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XV. Jigsaw

This season to date, for me and many others, has been a horror show.

Much like a jigsaw, we’re all continually trying to find the right pieces to paint the picture we like. Sifting through the ever changing shapes and sizes is an intriguiging challenge, requiring a dynamism as equally engaging as it can be frustrating.

My frustration, manifested itself as a number of hits, to piece together the corners of the picture. These cornerstone assets which represent value and a medium to long-term shelf-life are invaluable in achieving and maintaining a clear perspective of The Game. The alternative is a constant state of flux which inevitably leads to bad decision making, infinitum, if you don’t check yourself! To this effect, you may baulk at the thought of double-digit costing hits, but, the long term benefit outweighs the immediate shortfall… as long as the correct pieces are selected that is!

With this in mind, I took a deep dive into how I’ve played the game up to and including GW7 this season…

(https://www.game-change.co.uk/2017/08/28/fantasy-football-what-if-machine/)

281pts (£98.7M)

If I made no transfers to the GW1 team, selecting my best captain every week.

28pts (7 hits 💉)

Taken to date, having also played my WC! Which in hind-sight was not played as well as it could’ve been.

320pts (£103.5M)

Current points incl. 3 ©️ returns, the highest of which being 16pts in GW7.

Net Gain: 39pts

The deduction I take from this is basically how important hitting the captaincy each week is… and how disastrous my GW1 squad was!!

The problem with being on the back foot from the get-go is the need to be tooled up every gameweek (the hits I took)! You have to keep pace with the pack ahead – or at least try – by ensuring you have the highly owned shield 🛡 picks (e.g: Heung-Min Son, 60% owned!!). Alongside these shields, you need to also attack the game with sword 🗡 picks. Having consolidated my defensive positioning against the pack with multiple shields, this week (GW8) I transferred in Ziyech (only 7% owned) & capped him!🗡🗡

If you’re good at anticipating the game, it leaves nothing to chance.

This is the game we play. Anticipation of which assets will be of most purpose to our tally of points. When to acquire them, use them, and then dump them, unceremoniously. You see, this jigsaw is a complex landscape, the pieces morphing from picturesque harmony to bloody disjointedness right before our eyes. Our teams will soar or drown by the decisions we make. Our elation or sorrow is that of our own making, we control the ultimate outcome.

The stage of the game is approaching which could ultimately outline what the completed puzzle will display. The festive season may seem just far away enough right now, but, it’s the passing combinations of pieces collected and discarded during this period which will heavily determine the final depiction of The Game.

Make your choices.

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XIV. Samhain

Halloween History: Samhain

Muhahaahahaaa… so about rolling my GW7 FT. 😄 The FPL Gods have handed the reigns to their version of Atë and she is an evil trickster of epic proportions! I love her! 😈

Digne got a red card for an innocuous challenge so I had to bring his planned transfer forward a week. I was methodical as opposed to reactive for a change, which resulted in bringing in a player who although featured in the stats perused when scouting players, had not yet made my watchlist, Ben Chilwell. I was more focused on a WHU or AVL DF due to their defensive stats plus upcoming fixtures, Cresswell being the most likely candidate. It’ll be interesting to track and compare the returns of these two defenders over the coming GWs.

When you release ego and stop trying to dictate to the darkness, a sense of clarity can be found. With this clearer perspective there’s a chance you can attune your thoughts to the harmony of chaos.

With dimensions about to collide, Atë is mischievously chaotic in the extreme, but, she still has a plan, however evilly abstract it may be. Her Dastardly Digne Red a ploy to drag me back into the Void. However, this Hallow’s Eve coincides with a Hunter’s Moon and I’m a selenophile, my clarity maxed like some wronged blood-bender!!

Rodriguez drips yellow like an old spectre of impending doom floating above the green acid sea. Ghouls still taunt me for willingly succumbing to Ate’s initial trick. A spell cast on the Sirens who enchanted me into Jorginho’s Hell, away from the golden shores of Bamford, where 17 tables of banquet were laid to usher in this dark half of the season. Yet, this fleetingly subtle melding of dimensions beneath the reflected light holds no fear.

Chaos in and of itself, still has to operate within the confines of chaos, so naturally, a pattern emerges.

The thing with this season is, nothing is what it seems. What we know as reliable structure no longer exists. The rules of engagement are void. For instance…

How?!

I have no idea of the mind behind this team, but even if it was a -44 to change every starter, 51pts in GW6 would still be a haul!😄 Obviously -44s are folly, however this team serves to simply display that as chaotic as the selection is, you can still find harmony, however fleeting (this is chaos after all!), in the moment.

-4s seem to be my goto though, even when I attempt to avoid! It must’ve been a premonition, or maybe with the thinning of the veil between worlds, I pre-empted Atë’s next trick. I took a hit 💉 (before the presser) for Rodriguez 🔄 Foden blunting her “surprise”. This must’ve vexed her! She sent her minions out, resulting in a Saiss no-show for a Wolves CS, a benched Jorginho (1st sub) AND Foden!! The latter made a 9 min cameo! I had to laugh, even through being 3pts in the red!!

I’ve countered her evil chaos with my own though…

Saiss 🔄 Kilman

Jorghino 🔄 Ziyech 💉

Paid £7.9 for Ziyech, turning her anger to my advantage as he’s now £8.0 & I would’ve been £0.1M out had I dallied! 😈 The final battle of wills between us will manifest on what Justin returns as my Saiss auto-sub.

Trick? Or Treat!!

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XIII. Hit Squad

A syringe used for injecting the opioid heroin.

-8 this week. Brewster 🔄 Kane; Pulisic 🔄 Jorghino. It had to be done.

A -20 across 2 GWs. It has to be fear of missing out. Maybe it’s being smart. Could be points-chasing. Whatever. There’s no way I was going through this gameweek not owning Kane. It’s GW6 and since playing my WC in GW2, I’m 6 hits in. Addicted. 💉

I’m going to give it up, go cold turkey! Honest.

Bollocks I am. If the hit is necessary, I’m taking it 😁💉.

Pulisic is out sooner than he was in, as I wasn’t happy with his positioning during the game. I jumped the gun, again, on another Chelsea asset, like some maniacal recidivist! I’m already on my 5th Chelsea asset! I’m going to break this habit, rewire my default neural paths. With this in mind, (it’s about time I started this list) the first of my “Rules to FPL By” this season is…

Rule #1: I must wait until all big hitting FPL assets in any team, especially where newly purchased players are involved. have started at least one match together before deciding which one to get.

What I’ll be trying not to overthink this GW, is captaincy. It’s between Salah & Kane. I was ok until I watched FFS’s captaincy stream, I was set on Salah. Bonkers says Salah too, and after my late (and disastrous) switch last GW to Pulisic, I really should go with the robot. At least it’s a Friday night deadline, I’ll have less time to deliberate into a bad choice. That said, neither of them are this week… bar a positive CV19 result on Monday morning that is!

Well, we can’t live in fear can we.

The Everton triple-up keeps bugging me. I don’t like it. Digne will have to leave at some point. I have no idea why this bugs me, he’s returned in every other game so far, I shouldn’t have a problem with him, but, I do. Maybe another RtFPLb is needed here? Maybe I’m scarred by my GW1 Chelsea triple-up, so now, triple-ups are just bad!?

FFS! I benched Bamford! 😅

Bamford gets benched as AVL are the best defence in the league (or were)! 🤪

My FT was Barnes 🔄 Rodriguez, who may now be injured and not play. Within 24hrs the news changed to, James has trained and may start! As Bhuna would say… “INJECT THAT SHIT! 💉💉💉💉

On hearing the news of Rodrigeuz’s injury, my initial thought was, ok, I can bench him. I then spent the next 15mins looking at options of hitting him out. That default autopilot neural process kicking in again! It’s ok, I regained my senses. Enough to actually say “Fuck it!” I’m starting him anyway. #SonTwoPointOh! I’ve been here before, lesson learnt!

It’s about growth right!

Being now high on shiny things (have you seen the constellation in my 11!!), you’d think I’d be satiated. Why is there now want, when just a few days ago, immediately after the TOTWHU match, I was content with my transfers and felt my team to be now invincible?! I need to understand this. Is it greed? Gluttony? Unlike in real life, in FPL, you can’t have it all. This runs contrary to the instilled belief that we can accumulate as much of anything that we desire. How do we reconcile with this season continously ramming the constraint down our throats? This is going to be a problem. If I were to truly embrace my impulses, I’d have taken an additional 2 hits: Digne 🔄 Konsa & Bamford 🔄 Maupay. Imagine if I had done that!

Rule #2: Do not make hasty decisions. Own the initial knee-jerk feeling & allow it to pass. Then, apply reasoned logic and take time to contemplate whether the move is actually necessary. Maybe even sleep on it.

Like busses these things! 😁

Our habitual thought processes manifest as neural pathways based on repetitive behaviour. These pathways become the path of least resistance that our brains will automatically follow when the related situation arises (habit). Being aware of this – with diligence – can allow you to notice that you’re about to repeat offend. You can then check yourself, arresting that default behaviour. Do this enough times and you’ll create a new neural pathway which leads to more positive results. This new “good” habit eventually becomes the path of least resistance (autopilot). Brain rewired.

To this effect, for the 1st time this season, I have no transfer plans for the coming GW! Stillness is the plan. Observe the chaos, find the pattern. I am rolling this weeks transfer!!! Whether this is due to still being high or step 1 in acknowledging my recidivism is yet unknown! 😄

It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of this GW pans out, will I get my 17 benched Bamnaldo pts?! 😆

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