Overchoiced And Underconfident

by Kevin Burton

My longtime beep baseball team mate Mike Miller who pitched for the Columbus Vipers is famous for calm under pressure and for saying “It’ll all work out.”

So it was his voice I heard in my head Sunday night when I realized, against all odds, I was in position to get four wins from my four fantasy football teams in week one of the season.

After all the anxiety over who I drafted, who I didn’t draft, who to play, who to sit, which advice to listen to, injuries, trailing by 70-plus points in one game, the numbers from games around the country floated in, leaving two of my teams ahead and the other two within striking distance of wins.

Sure enough in Monday’s game the Denver players I had produced just enough fantasy points to secure all four wins. It took one last catch by wide receiver Courtland Sutton to secure a one-point win for my K&J Sonics team. Denver lost, but I won.

The thrill of victory! The agony of too many choices!

“Overchoiced” is a word my spell check doesn’t like, but I trust it left you with no confusion. (Of course we all know, spell check is a ninny.)

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called that feeling of dread we get when faced with too many choices, “the dizziness of freedom.” If we are free to choose, we are vulnerable to risk.

You knew when I mentioned fantasy football that sooner or later we’d get to Kierkegaard, right?

“Kierkegaard’s early work was written using various pseudonyms to present distinctive viewpoints interacting in complex dialogue. He explored particularly complex problems from different viewpoints, each under a different pseudonym,” according to Wikipedia.

This dizziness of freedom is something I know all too well. Technology does it to me. Faced with seemingly infinite choices on cell phones and computers, I am paralyzed into inactivity. My famous flip phone is very close to falling apart and four months away from being orphaned by Verizon (oops, three and a half). Still no movement from me.

I have had many good, intelligent friends gush about the virtue of Apple products, only to have others praise android. Me, I’m waiting for an apple to fall off a tree, hit me in the head and provide some enlightenment.

It’s the same thing for major home repair projects. Who to hire to replace the siding, the deck, the front door? Fear of getting these decision wrong has elongated the process of getting these things done, to the distraction of my wife Jeannette. She reminds me of these projects and i physically recoil. It’s not just that I don’t want to decide, I don’t want to hear about it.

Yet somehow when it comes to fantasy football I charge through the anxiety willingly, eagerly. It helps that the choices are all marinated in sports, so at least I understand the options, and that there are no lasting consequences from losing at fake football.

But I can’t help asking, what if my fantasy football courage and diligence could spill into other avenues of life?

Maybe if I listened to podcasts about deck repairs and paced the floor, created spreadsheets and scribbled things in a little notebook – all things I do in pursuit of fantasy wins – maybe that would give me what it takes to handle projects quickly and intelligently.

Even planning our upcoming vacation, which should be a source of fun, merriment even, has its share of stress. Why? Too many choices! Where to go, what to do, flying, driving, what about the cats, what about the virus?

This dizziness of freedom Kierkegaard talked about doesn’t feel like freedom at all sometimes.

Of course you don’t always win fantasy football games. This could very well be the only time I can report four wins out of four games. And my life decisions won’t always turn out right either. But it’s do the research, trust your gut, make a choice, make it happen.

And if all else fails, my ultimate go-to option: let Jeannette decide!

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: