Stumbling Into Success Through Humility

by Kevin Burton

   This is not a story about soccer, but that’s where it starts.

   One time, I think it was while I was a reporter with the Muscatine Journal, I was assigned to do a soccer story.  I still don’t know much about soccer, but back then I knew next to nothing. 

   Don’t remember much about the game. After the game three reporters crowded around the coach of the home team to ask questions, two female reporters who appeared to know what they are talking about, and me. 

   They asked a lot of questions then left, having gotten what they needed.  I hadn’t said anything yet. I was just taking good notes.

    When we were the only two left, the coach then addressed me saying something like “don’t be afraid to ask a question.” 

   Well I wasn’t afraid.  I had held back in order to take advantage of the soccer knowledge and more intelligent questions of the two other reporters.  I was thinking, how can I get the best story possible, even though I don’t know much about the sport.  I then asked some follow up questions based on what the others had asked. 

   I’m sure my resulting story was OK, not memorable. But it wasn’t a disaster and wasn’t limited by my lack of soccer knowledge.

   So here I am 100 or so year later.  It’s about a month before my fantasy football draft for the USA Legends league.  I’ve been practicing with mock drafts on Yahoo.  I think I’m getting better at drafting, but most composite grade from yahoo is a 71, or a C-minus.

   Then it hits me.  There is a feature called autodraft in the draft rooms.  It is what it sounds like.  You hit the autodraft button and let the computer do the work for you.  It picks the players, based on its priorities. 

   I was humble, realistic enough to let those other sports reporters ask questions first, in order to improve my story. Maybe I should let the computer pick my players?

  (If you think fantasy football is worse than soccer, sorry, didn’t mean to mislead you.)

   Anyway, just for fun I did an autodraft on Yahoo. The hardest part was that my internet connection was interrupted twice. When I got back into the draft room I had to remember to click autodraft again. 

   So the computer did a draft for me that was pretty good. In fact when the yahoo grade came back it was a B-minus.

   I was wondering if the draft would just pick the highest-rated remaining player without regard to position. Nope It drafter intelligently.

   Here is how well it did. I got my second-favorite quarterback, the second-rated running back, my second favorite tight end, my favorite kicker and defense.  It picked a couple of New York Jets players I wouldn’t have chosen, but hey, I could be wrong about them.

   “You can’t always get what you want,” sang the Rolling Stones.  In fantasy football, maybe it will just rake a little humility for me to get what I need.

   I have had a similar notion in a couple of previous workplaces.

   I had some bosses who were self-absorbed in general, and dismissive of me in particular because I am legally blind.  At those times, whenever I would stumble upon what I thought was a good idea, instead of pitching it to the powers that be, I would pitch it to somebody who was more palatable to the alleged leadership.

   Never had as much success with that as I did with the soccer story. 

   There may be a related spiritual lesson here, something about standing back and watching God shape events rather than trying to do it myself. 

   Humility is a good thing, in whatever form it takes.

    Not sure what I will do when my real fantasy football draft night comes. I am getting better at drafting. That C-minus grade is actually up from the D range.  But that autodraft was a lesson learned for me, or should I say relearned.

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