Enough with losing Fantasy Football Guru’s! After 27 titles, the easy way to win at Fantasy Football

fantasy football draft

 

Curing cancer is hard; fantasy football isn’t.  Keep it simple. 

How to Actually Win at Fantasy Football:

     The winning formula for fantasy sports is pretty simple and easy but few really follow it totally.  I don’t claim to be a guru or an expert but I have won over 71 documented trophies (1st, 2nd, or 3rd place finishes) in basketball, football and baseball; including 27 first place trophies.  The following is the strategy that I hope will help players of all levels.

Get into a league that you feel comfortable with:

     It’s important to be in a league that you like.  Smack talk is fun and is part of fantasy sports but some go too far.  I don’t want any drama.  I’ve been in leagues with immature hot heads and it can ruin the experience.  If you find a good league with good people, then stay in it.  Think about being a commissioner of a league and keep the same league every year.  I’m in three leagues that have been around for 9, 10, and 15 years respectively. 

     I personally would not be in a league with more than 12 people.  For me, ten people is best.  I’ve realized over the years that the more teams that are in a league, the greater the chance that there will be flakes who stop playing due to more teams missing the playoffs.  I’d rather be in a league with 8-10 hard core players that never quit, than in a big league where half are quitting by mid season.  Again, everyone is different so you have to do what is best for you. 

     It’s also important to be in a league where you feel good about the scoring settings, and team format.  I like a more basic format but you will see some leagues with 2-3 quarterbacks, 2-3 tight ends, and many other interesting configurations in the daily line up.  I personally would never be in a league like this, but there isn’t a right or wrong format.  Find a format that meets your taste.

 Join a league where you can be there for the draft:

     I personally would never join a league without a live draft.  The draft is part of the skill of fantasy football and although it isn’t vital to have a great team, it is really important.  I’ve been playing fantasy sports since 2000 and only once did I win a league with a really bad draft.  I ended up with only 4 original players but due to good pickups, I won. 

     We personally have a “shut up” rule.  While the draft is going on, no one can talk about a player that hasn’t been drafted yet.  Nothing is more sophomoric than people chatting during the draft ripping or talking up another player that hasn’t been drafted yet.  It’s kind of ridiculous to give opponents that you are trying to beat information on players.

 How I view the draft:

     I don’t follow anyone’s rankings.  I’ve never seen a ranking system that I liked or agreed with.  The best thing to do before the draft is to look up the players and list them by fantasy points.  List all of the players and look at their total scoring points, and then list them by position.  Keep these boxes open during the draft.  Running backs are at a premium so they usually go first.  Obviously their situations may have changed so draft accordingly.

     Realize that the NFL has changed.  With the new rules greatly favoring passing offenses, seven of the top 10 passing seasons of all time have been seen in the last 3 years.  The NFL is going to continue to see passing records fall so quarterbacks and wide receivers have taken on an even bigger role in fantasy sports. 

     I’m a huge Tom Brady fantasy football fan and he’s won a lot of leagues for me so more than a few times I have chosen him as my first pick.  My first and third picks though are usually for a running back and for my second pick I choose a quarterback.  Most players draft that way.

     I then make a list of my top running backs.  I stay away from teams that have a backfield by committee scenario.  I’ll draft a less rated player who has less competition over a better player who has a really good backup that steals carries.   

     I hate when drafters are not prepared for their pick.  If you are taking 90 seconds on every pick then it doesn’t show that you are thinking, it shows that you aren’t very prepared.  When your pick is coming up, don’t have 1 player that you want to pick.  Instead, have 2-3 guys that you want to draft in the pre-draft box.  If someone picks the pick you want, you will have a back-up plan.  If you have just one guy ready for your next pick and he gets picked, now you are scrambling for 90 seconds to draft someone, and that pick usually isn’t that good.  You have more than enough time between picks to choose 2-3 players that you want’ to draft.    

     There are always players wanting to trade.  We laugh because most of the players looking to trade, often are the ones that end up not playing the entire season because their teams aren’t very good. 

     If there is a player that you really want, don’t lose your mind trying to get them.  Most trade offers are fairly ridiculous and most fantasy players over estimate the players they have.  I trade on occasion but it’s not a big part of my team.

     I personally feel byes are overrated.  I do not EVER draft for the byes.  I never draft two tight ends or two defenses.  I would rather draft a backup running back behind a star than to have a backup tight end that may just help me one week of the year.  I don’t even care if I have 4 or 5 players on the same team when I draft.  My goal is to get the best possible players during a draft and I will scramble to field a team during my bye week and hope for the best.  As long as I get into the playoffs, I feel good about it.  Many will disagree but I’m telling you how I do it and my record of winning is pretty good.  I’m not going to draft for one week of the year.

     I personally would NOT draft a player who is always hurt.  It’s my pet peeve.  Players like Hakeem Nicks and Darren McFadden would never be on my team.  I also obviously stay away from players on really bad teams. 

     The schedule counts too.  For example the Raiders have the hardest schedule in the NFL based on last year’s results.  I have NO confidence in Matt Shaub and with a running back by committee scenario I’m not thrilled with any of their offensive players.  Last year the Raiders had the second easiest schedule and they won 4 games. 

     Things like not drafting a kicker until the last pick, being wary of rookie wide receivers, and picking the backups behind your superstar running backs (called handcuffing) are basic knowledge but I’ll add this for players that are just starting. 

Strategy during the year:

     Realize that everyone will be scouring the free agent market for any injuries or hot pickups.  The time that I look at picking up players is game day.  While the games are going on, I pay attention to injuries or benching of players and will pick up a player accordingly.  When big injuries occur during a game, picking up their replacement can make or break your season.  Twitter especially is your friend. 

     Never bench a player because they are playing a hard opponent.  Always go with your stars.  If it’s a borderline player, then you may want to replace them but always play your stars.

     Look at the NFL weather forecasts during the winter; it takes 30 seconds.  Just type in the term NFL weather forecasts in any search engine and it will show you all the cities.  Snow storms, cold, or severe downpours can greatly change a game and it’s scoring.  Florida is usually good for a few terrible rain storms and cities east of the Mississippi have epic snow storms on game days.

      You always want to win every game but your realistic goal is to make the playoffs and win your league.  Never quit.  In my favorite year, I was 0-4 and in last place.  I then had 2 great pickups due to injury and barely made the playoffs.  I methodically won in the playoffs and became league champion and the after party was sweet after all the ribbing I took!

     It’s smart to be patient but don’t be stupid.  If you draft a big name player that was rated high and he’s played terribly, make sure you give them four to six games before you bench them.  I try to keep them on my roster though, but every year there are huge busts. 

Game Day:

     The fantasy football shows on the major sports networks are popular but some of the time they are beyond inaccurate.  I don’t know how many times their “insiders” say someone may or may not play, and that player does the opposite.  It’s frustrating how wrong they are sometimes so I don’t rely on them.  Their rankings are also kind of bizarre to me so I watch them occasionally but most of the time I take it with a grain of salt.  If you look at how many times some of these guys are right on their predictions and ratings, or how some rarely if ever win a league, then you’d understand my skepticism.

     If I’m wondering about one of my players I usually do a search on a search engine to see if someone will play or not.  The best and fastest outlets are local news services who follow their teams closely and it will show up in the search. 

     I always set my teams on Saturday just in case Saturday night ends up being filled with adult beverages or fun times, or if I have something going on Sunday morning. 

Post season:

     If you know you are going to be in the playoffs, start dropping the players that are not going to be a factor, and get players that may help you win.  For instance teams that are way ahead in the standings and have clinched home field advantage or a playoff spot will many times bench their stars.  The ultimate pick up was when then Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns against Detroit on the final game of the 2011-2012 season.  Aaron Rodgers was hurt at the time and Flynn’s game allowed him to sign a big contract with Seattle, and helped fantasy players who had picked him up. 

Have Fun:

     Some people that have been playing fantasy sports for a while sometimes think they are curing cancer and that they are experts, but don’t be intimidated.  I never listened to those people.  I listened to the people that won leagues and then made a system that I felt good about.  If you stop listening to all the “guru’s” and just do the basics, then you have a chance at winning.  Evaluating talent is important, and so is choosing players who are in the right situation to succeed and amass good stats.  Luck, injuries and other things play a role in fantasy football as well so don’t expect to win all the time.  Make a system that works for you.  I hope all have fun in the upcoming season, and may all your draft picks and pickups be golden.

 

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“The Sad Death of Robin Williams; Another Comedian Gone too Soon”

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I think the world feels like Mr. Keating did when reading the poem at Neils desk after he committed suicide in the Movie Dead Poets Society.  Oh Captain My Captain.

I remember meeting someone who once tried for 10 years to become a stand up comedian.  He told me horror stories about the immense travel, drug and alcohol use, broken relationships and lonely times.  He talked about living near poverty for 10 years and being ripped off by many of the people who he hoped would help him. Eventually he said he just didn’t want it anymore.  He eventually married, had a child and is a very a happy man.  Comedy is a rough life.

It has been said more than a few times that comedians are usually the saddest and most dysfunctional of all the artistic performers.  The suicide of Robin Williams is another in the long line of tragedies involving comics.  The list of troubled and tragic comedian deaths over time reads like a who’s who of hollywood.  From John Belushi and Chris Farley, to Freddie Prinze Sr., Gilda Radner and Andy Kaufman. Add John Candy, Bernie Mac and John Ritter to the mix and that is the tip of the iceberg of those with great comedic talents who are gone but yet had so much more to give.  From cancer to suicide, to drug and alcohol abuse to overdose; there just seems to be a sick joke often played on comedians.

I remember when I had my medical business in Marin County.  I talked to a lady at my old church who had studied with Williams at the Marin Theater.  She said once that the class was making fun of Robin until the teacher scolded them and said, “That guy is going to make it big someday”.  She said his talent was easy to see and he was a very caring and nice person.

Robin Williams was a poster child for the lifestyle of the 70’s and 80s.  He rocketed into stardom with his appearances on the hit show Happy Days, which soon turned into his own hit show with Pam Dawber called Mork and Mindy.  Just like that show, Williams had a long strange trip ahead.  His break on Happy Days was preceeded by a couple of appearances on the Richard Pryor show.

In the 70’s and 80’s there were no limits to the excess of the party scene.  For many the drug of choice was cocaine.  It allowed people to be able to party all night and yet be energized for the demands of their busy careers.

In his early years you could see the effects of his lifestyle.  On talk shows he would talk so fast and so long, that you didn’t have a clue sometimes what he was talking about.  Soon that lifestyle would take it’s toll and he lost his friend John Belushi in 1982 from an overdose.  Two years later he would lose another great comedy friend; Andy Kaufman; who as a non smoker; lost his battle to lung cancer at the age of 35.

As with most comedians his relationships were also very hard and strange at times. He was married three times, including marrying the nanny of his son.

After entering rehab in the 80’s Williams embarked on 2 decades of sobriety.  He said the birth of his son and the loss of John Belushi were key things that made him want to stay sober.

I was never a huge Robin Williams fan and I didn’t lose my mind over Good Will Hunting, but I did enjoy his talents.  My top 3 films of his were Dead Poet’s Society, Good Morning Vietnam and Awakenings.  Each movie had amazing casts. He portrayed an honest depth and sincerity in his roles and showed off his amazing wit and sense of humor, to go along with a passionate heart.  When given the right material, he was pretty special.  Williams had so many good films to go with a dud every now and then.

As with so many comedians, the demons seem to always reappear though.  In 2006 Williams re-entered a rehab facility after he began drinking.  In 2009 he had his aortic valve replaced but had a good rehabilitation.

Many Comedians such as Williams have hearts of gold.  He was very giving of his time and money and was a big part of the Comedy Relief fundraising efforts.  When his good friend Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in an accident, he visited him and his family said it was the first time Reeve’s had laughed since being hurt.  He was a kind man.  Reeve’s wife Dana talked about how Robin helped pay for some of his treatments after his tragic injury.

Now that he is gone, there will be a frenzy of media attention.  Why did he do it?  We will probably never really know.  It’s hard to know what makes people do what they do, especially celebrities.  Some famous people can’t handle not being on top; some can’t handle the lack of notoriety and attention.  Some are just troubled souls due to the long effects of addiction and the torment and the destruction that it brings.   No matter how far they’ve come or how much they’ve accomplished, they still can’t find their way. Some fans, family and friends are going to be angry and some will be overly apologetic.  In the end, suicide is a terrible thing for all; and the pain for family and friends can be suffocating.

I will always have a special place in my heart for comedians though.  I love going to comedy shows and it drives me nuts to see hecklers or comedy club owners who don’t treat comedians right.  And even with so many who will be close to judge, in reality there is a little comedian in all of us.

And so closes another chapter in a sad tale of a comedian that we lost too soon.  As a society we lose big time.  Family and friends have a loss that is beyond measure. All we can really do now is say thank you Robin Williams for making us laugh and for being so kind to so many.  We pray for the ones you leave behind.  We hope that in some way you have found the peace that you were always looking for.

This is the poem that was read at the opening of the Dead Poets Society meetings:

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life!
To put to rout all that was not life
And not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…”

 

Fast & Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps:

asian wraps

 

Fast & Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps:

  • 1 pound of your favorite chopped/minced meat (i.e. hamburger, pork, turkey)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped to taste
  • 1-2 TBSP fresh ginger chopped to taste
  • 1–2 red chilies, deseeded and chopped (use a different chili if you’d like)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1-2 TBSP soy sauce to taste
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • Head of your favorite lettuce (I like butter lettuce)

 

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 TBSP of chili garlic sauce
  • ½ cup julienned carrots
  • ½ cup of peanuts or cashews

 

Instructions

  1. Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. Season raw meat well with salt and pepper.  Cook the meat on high stirring constantly.  Fry the meat in the hot pan for 5–7 minutes until crisp and brown and broken down. Drain the crisped meat and put aside.
  2. Wipe out the pan and add a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil, or just plain oil.  Add the garlic, ginger and chili (and carrots if you are using them. Fry with a pinch of salt and then add the sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Add the drained meat to the pan.  If you are using chili garlic sauce, add it now.
  3. Add the soy sauce and heat through. Add the spring onions, stirring for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.

 

 

Suggestions:

-eat plain or put a little hoisin sauce in the lettuce, or a little chili garlic sauce before adding the meat mixture.

-add a squeeze of lime or lime zest if you want before you add the meat in the last step

-if you want a quick sauce put a TBSP soy sauce, tsp toasted sesame oil, ½ a red chili, squeeze of lime, and a tsp of brown sugar with tsp water or rice wine.

-you can use hamburger/beef, ground turkey, ground pork or chicken, or even use ½ pork and ½ beef.

-For a vegetarian version, take a pound of your favorite mushrooms and chop them finely and cook it as you do the meat.  Again make sure you cook it on high to get the moisture out.  Do what you like.  Recipes are guides, not laws.  Enjoy!

“Potion of Motion” amazing & easy alcoholic & non-alcoholic punch

potion of motion

Potion of Motion” 

My love for champagne is of legend and this is a great and tasty drink that is amazing for parties.  I still love it straight but this is a great summer drink for home parties or barbecues!

Ingredients:

-Drinkable bottle or bottles of brut champagne depending on how many people are drinking.

-for one part of the juices you can use cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, guava, mango, orange, grapefruit, or any other juice that you’d like.

-large can of pineapple juice

-tall glasses filled with ice

-sliced fruit of your choice

Directions:

Put as much ice as you’d like in a tall glass.  (per your taste) Add 1 to 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite (or exotic) fruit juice (look above).  Fill the rest of the glass with champagne.  Enjoy!!

Tips:

-Add exotic fruit juices for a unique and great flavor.

-put all of the juices and sliced fruit on a side table.  Put the chilled juices and champagne on ice next to it and let your guests serve themselves.

-Use sparkling water instead of champagne for the kids.  Don’t leave them out of the fun!

Awesome!!

“Summer Ginger Splash” drink recipe

 

 

 

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Summer Ginger Splash” 

For a refreshing and unique twist try this great drink.  I like adding maraschino cherries and a slice of lime or lemon.  Add a zest of fresh ginger on top of each glass and you are in heaven!

Ingredients:

-fresh mint leaves (add 1 tbsp. of mint per glass; more or less per your taste)
-1 cup cherry juice, OR cranberry juice, OR pomegranate juice OR Guava, OR Peach, etc….
 

-4 tablespoons lime juice
-3 cups ginger ale

*add a tbsp of sugar if you are using pomegranate juice

Directions
Add the desired amount of mint to each glass. Mash the mint with the back of a wooden spoon or crusher. In a large pitcher, add the cherry and lime juices. Stir. Add the ginger ale. You can either fill the glasses with ice or the pitcher with ice.  Pour into glasses, and garnish with any fruit you like.  Place fruit on a tray and let your guests choose!

TIPS:

****For garnish, after pouring into glasses put a thin slice or a small mince of fresh ginger on top of each glass.  I like it with a slice of lime and maraschino cherries as well!

-Slice up various amounts of fruit.  Peel oranges or grapefruit and cut into slices or chunks,  Use cherries, mango, lychee, blackberry, blueberry.  Use your imagination!

Yield: 4 servings  Enjoy!!

 

“How to Begin Dealing With Your Insomnia Starting Now!”

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Too many people want quick easy fixes for their health without putting any effort into it.  Everyone wants a pill to immediately deal with what they have when many times they can treat themselves.  Whether it’s overeating, drinking too much, drugs, or poor sleep habits, many times the answer lies within.

More and more studies are showing that people have terrible sleep habits. You need to train yourself to sleep better. DON’T just rely on medications.

In 1900 the Avg. American slept about 8.2 hours; now we sleep about 6.4. Electricity, the internet, satellite tv, tablets, phones and texts that we think will kill us if we don’t answer. Change your habits and in no time you will sleep better!


PROBLEMS SLEEPING?
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep through the night, but there are many things that you can do! Read on and learn some techniques to sleep well.

These tips can help you attain proper “Sleep Hygiene”, or sleep habits. (You may need to follow only a few of these.)


**Today’s lifestyles can contribute to the inability of being able to sleep consistently. Regular exercise can also help you relax. This is especially if you have more of a “type A” personality, tend to get anxious when things don’t go well, have a lot of stress in your life, or if you just worry a lot. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and do what works for you; everyone’s different. Here are some suggestions; 


• Sleep only when sleepy 
This reduces the time you are awake in bed. If you sleep enough and are still tired, you may have a sleeping disorder. 


• If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in another room until you feel sleepy. Do not eat or drink in bed if you have insomnia! 


Sit quietly in the dark or read something very boring in another room.  Don’t expose yourself to bright light while you are up. The light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up. If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to go to sleep, you also may be going to bed too early. Some people stay in bed for 10-12 hours a night but only sleep 6-7 hours; they should go to sleep later. Remember also, the longer you sleep, the deeper you sleep.

Having poor sleep habits while taking medications to sleep may not fix the problem. Improving sleep hygiene should be the first thing you do. (If you travel a lot or have problems with jet lag, remember to stay in the sun as much as possible and sleep at your regular hours.) 


• Don’t take naps unless absolutely necessary 
This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you just can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is less than one hour, and before 3 pm, or your sleep at night may be affected. Even a short nap though can affect your sleep at night. Each person is different. 


• Get up and go to bed near an hour the same time every day and night respectively 
Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel and sleep better. Staggering your sleep times will make sleeping consistently difficult. Inconsistent sleep times will create poor sleep habits and you will feel sleepy or tired.


• Refrain from exercise at least 2-3 hours before bedtime 
Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep. 


• Develop sleep rituals 
It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine-free tea, or do light relaxation exercises, or stretching. Do whatever works for you. (Make sure to do this outside the bedroom).

• STAY OFF OF THE INTERNET, tablets and cell phones  WHEN YOU SHOULD BE SLEEPING!!
This is self-explanatory; you may end up on the computer for hours before going to sleep.


• Only use your bed for 2 things 
Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, eat/drink, pay bills, do work, or read. This is so that when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex and sleep are obviously the only exception. 


• Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 3-4 hours before bed. 
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end up having fragmented sleep.  If you snore or have sleep apnea, alcohol will also make it worse. 

• If needed, Have a light snack before bed. 
If you eat early and your stomach is too empty, that can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere as well. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which may act as a natural sleep inducer. Tryptophan is probably why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended. If you have reflux problems, try to sleep on your left side, and don’t eat near bed time.


• You can take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime 
Some people enjoy taking a hot bath near bedtime. This will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature afterwards that may leave you feeling sleepy.


• Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet, cool, and comfortable 
A very warm room may feel comfortable, but it will make sleeping difficult because it will increase your body temperature, and make sleeping more difficult. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a “white noise” machine. 


• Use sunlight to set your biological clock 
Soon after you get up in the morning, make sure that you create a lighted environment. This will tell your brain that it’s time to get up. (i.e. open the curtains, electric lights, sunlight by going outside, etc…)

**In ending, to sleep well, create a good cool environment, and have consistent quality sleep habits.  A cool room is vital to good sleep.  We all have different personalities; and some are more anxious or “Type-A” than others; but don’t make sleep such a stressful event that it makes sleeping even more difficult. People that sleep well don’t think much about it because their quality sleep habits have become second nature to them.

They don’t really stress about it. If you’re a worrier or more of a “type-A” person and think about things in bed or go over and over about your thoughts, take these suggestions to heart to improve your sleep.

Some people have had difficulty sleeping and poor sleep habits for years, so this may take time. You are the key to creating proper sleep hygiene. REMEMBER, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT SO DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR SLEEP WILL IMPROVE SOONER THAN YOU THINK! If you sleep enough but are tired, you may also have a sleeping disorder.

Good sleep habits lead to good sleep!!

“The Soccer Country Brazil and a Continent Devastated”

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For Americans to somehow understand how Brazilian fans felt today, just think of the extreme joy that even today many Americans feel about the amazing hockey gold medal that the U.S. won @ Lake Placid in 1980.  Even today people talk about it and it touched our nation like few sporting events then or since.   Brazil feels the exact opposite.

I’m lucky as a casual soccer fan.  I’m part Spanish and part German.  For 6 years I’ve enjoyed being a fair weather fan celebrating the greatest 6 year reign in the history of soccer, by Spain.  Now Germany is on the verge of possibly reclaiming the World Cup.  Something happened to me along the way.

I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person to peoples struggle and pain and today was hard to watch.  As I was enjoying the complete German domination to the undermanned Brazilians, I started to watch the people in the stands.  I saw a young grand daughter with tears in her eyes, trying to comfort her grandfather who was clutching a replica of the World Cup.  You could see them quietly holding hands sharing a comforting moment knowing that the one thing Brazil holds most dear, was now being destroyed.  The tears and sheer pain in the stands at their dream being destroyed by the steady and powerful German team, was something many struggled to watch.

To the credit of the German team, they also realized what was happening.  In the second half, famous soccer analyst Tommy Smith admitted that the Germans were now missing shots and trying not to score.  Germany could feel the pain of the players and the fans and their goal was not to crush a country; they just wanted to move on to the finals of the World Cup.  The graciousness of the German team after the contest was a great show of class to a team that was obviously stunned and broken.

The sadness in the stands wasn’t just over losing or being dominated.  It was literally a destruction of their hopes for a little glimpse of sunshine in an obvious bitter and sorrowful time in the great country of Brazil.  The country and people of Brazil were playing poker by spending billions to get the World Cup and they had a full house and wen’t all in; unfortunately Germany had 4 of a kind.

Many Americans at the World Cup have commented online about the shock of seeing such severe poverty in Brazil.  Most Americans that could go to Brazil, I’m sure are doing well financially, so their shock must be even more severe.  There is a reason so many people have been protesting in Brazil.

Like so many countries; including our own; Brazil has lost their way.  The gap between the rich and the poor is beyond large.  Right now 40% of the money in Brazil is owned by the richest 10%.  The poorest 10% have less than 1% of the money.  The slums known as favelas in Brazil would leave any American shocked.   Their crime rate is very high.  Their infant mortality rate in poor areas is also very high and usually schools in poorer areas get a fraction of the education and support that schools in rich areas do.

Many Brazilians were outraged that the country would spend billions for the World Cup while letting their own people suffer.  Protests were angry and sometimes violent.

The 2014 World Cup was filled with controversy and turmoil.  Some of the stadiums were barely completed days before the World Cup started and just last week an unfinished overpass that was supposed to be used for the soccer tournament collapsed and killed and injured many people.  What a waste of life and money.

The Brazilian government has admitted that many stadiums will never be used again or barely be used after the tournament. Brazil spent 300 million dollars building a stadium in  Manaus which is the 4th poorest of the 26 Brazilian states.  An amazing 25% of the cities inhabitants live in extreme poverty.  There is no major soccer team there and after the World Cup, it will become a white elephant that has no chance of ever filling up with fans again.

There are also still many roads and other structures that were partially built and were never finished.  The protesters predicted as much.

This is why this loss is so devastating to Brazil.  The upper 10% thought of the glory and joy of proving that the billions spent on this World Cup were worth it, by bringing a soccer championship.  They felt that winning would bring joy, hope, pride and positive publicity to a country struggling to watch out for it’s own.  The protesters now were proven right, and many Brazilians will now have nothing but despair thinking back to the 2014 World Cup.  To spend Billions and neglect your people in the hopes of glory, and then getting beaten 7-1 in the semi-finals was too much to bare for many.

Now tomorrow all of South America will be rooting for Argentina.  They all dreamed of an all South American final with Argentina and Brazil.  To have the Netherlands and Germany in the finals would bring a sadness to a soccer crazed continent that may be unequaled.  All eyes will be on Lionel Messi and Argentina.

I pray for Brazil.  I pray that things will get better for many of the people.  I hope that something happens with the government and that the greed and desire for wealth and glory will be exchanged for feelings of compassion and pride in helping give opportunities to everyone.  I pray that the team will play well in the consolation game, and I hope that they win and a little smile will be put on peoples faces.  And lastly, I pray that the young girl will have many happy years of joy with her grandfather.  The people of Brazil deserve no less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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