All Hail the Mediocre Walloons

Most of you, I suspect, are well aware of my utter disinterest in anything relating to professional sports, so it may amuse you to know I am part of a fantasy football league, which I joined last season at the behest of my friend Norm, who needed another warm body to fill out his league, and to which I continue to be a part of more or less for the same reason. My team is the called the “Mediocre Walloons,” and my strategy for the team is to let the computers pick the team members, and then to do nothing from week to week, save swap the players around in case of injuries and/or bye weeks, if I can be bothered to remember, which sometimes I cannot.

The result so far? Well, at the moment I am at the top of the league, with a 6-1 record, including a game this week that I should have lost because I forgot to swap an injured quarterback and thus gained no points from that position, but which I won anyway. I am delighted by this turn of events, not because I care about the standings, but because I know other people in the league do, and I imagine it annoys them that the one guy who isn’t actually paying much attention is kicking ass. However, with a team name like “Mediocre Walloons,” you may imagine I will not be too put out if everything goes downhill from here. Indeed, I fully expect it will. But for now: Baby, I’m on top.

38 thoughts on “All Hail the Mediocre Walloons

  1. Ahhh – Fantasy football is so painfully addictive for me. I love football, and I obsess over my fantasy line-up. I have found that loving a sport does not equate to being an expert in the sport. As a result I’m 4-3. I guess that means I am truly mediocre. In my defense, who knew Peyton Manning would not be Peyton Manning this year?

  2. My 9 year old is taking a similar approach with similar results, much to the chagrin of the rest of our league. I, on the other hand, have a team entirely made up of Browns players. Needless to say, I am in last place. But I still loves my sad Browns.

  3. Congratulations on the Walloon’s delightfully random high ranking. I, too, am completely uninterested in professional sports but find I can skate through an imposed conversation with believers by saying something like, “Boy, football has sure changed since I was a kid.” They take it from there.

  4. “utter disinterest in anything relating to professional sports”
    And yet this is the third sports related posting in as many weeks.
    I sense a disturbing trend.

  5. Sometimes it seems like everyone I know cares and knows more about pro sports than I do, so it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my indifference.

    I find it’s easy enough to bluff my way through a sports conversation with a lot of smiling and nodding. Honesty is probably the better policy but small talk is small talk. I’m not a weather man either but if someone wants to talk about it while waiting for a bus I’m not going to jump all over them about it.

  6. I was in a fantasy baseball league two years ago that was won by a guy who didn’t even show up for the draft. Or swap out any players. Or do anything at all.

    I lost to him in the finals, but the whole thing was so funny I can’t help but laugh.

    I think that since the auto-picker is often more intelligent than the people picking, auto-picked teams tend to do fairly well, although this is very luck-based and vulnerable later in the season. (I always get far too many injuries for that sort of thing.)

  7. Well done, sir! Keep it up!

    King Kaufman at Salon magazine runs a yearly “pool o’ experts” during NFL season where he keeps track of the picks of all the expert prognosticators from various magazines/websites/tv/etc.

    He also lets his kids compete. They take all favorites of 6 points of more, then one actually picks (he’s 6) and one flips a coin (she’s 3).

    They usually come darned close to winning the Pool O’ Experts.

    One year, he did choices entirely by coin flip. That method finished in the top third.

    – yeff

  8. Darn it John, your fantasy team is selling out. How can they rejoice in the sobriquet “Mediocre Walloons” when they are in first place?

    And just how does a FF team win a game without its quarterback? Did someone (no names, ahem) dose the other team’s virtual Gator·ade with powerful narcotics?

  9. And it is people like you who also win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament challenge each year.

    The people who pick based on the mascots.

    Keep up the non-work there Scalzi.

  10. When I was in high school, one of my friends convinced me to join his baseball playoff betting pool. He knew I didn’t know a thing about baseball, so he offered to make all my picks, which were just like his picks except with a different upset or two. I came in 2nd in the pool. He came in 3rd. I think I won about $7. He was pretty steamed about the whole affair.

  11. In the name of universal irony and such, was the name of the team that bested your Walloons something appropriate?

  12. I did that one year in college, ignored the league and let the computer run it. I ended up second.

    Well, I didn’t totally ignore it. I talked lots of smack about how I was doing nothing at all.

    I haven’t been invited back.

  13. I did the same thing once to an office football pool when I was a temp. I hadn’t owned a TV in 10 years at that point and chose my winners based on whether I’d like to live in those cities. I won 4 of the 6 weeks I was there, and the other two weeks were won by a guy playing the same strategy. It drove the fantasy football freaks in that office nuts. I don’t think it was accidental that I was laid off by week 7.

  14. Kevin R @ 14

    And of course, the local zoo advertises during the games with Walloon Balloon Animals and the local S&L advertises Orange Walloon Balloon Accounts. (orange because they’re underwritten by a local political blog)

  15. Chuck @ #15 – “And it is people like you who also win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament challenge each year.

    The people who pick based on the mascots.”

    I’ll have to remember that one. Various methods including geographic proximity, number and positioning of vowels, and even/odd seeding schemes have yet to acheive any success in my family’s pool.

    I did end up ahead of my 3 year old nephew last year.

  16. I bet on the annual college basketball tournament. I know nothing about basketball but I’ve won 3 out of 10 years.

  17. I actually care quite a bit about the NFL; not to the point that I care to field a fantasy team though.

    So go Walloons! Three cheers for dumb luck!

  18. I have a friend who plays in Fantasy Football leagues, and has for years. He is a HUGE football fan, and had season tickets for the Cincinnati Bengals (back when they were actually good).

    ANYWAY, his team was called ‘The Spanish Inquisition’ (because, of course, nobody expects…) He designed a logo, went to a local team supply store and had a golf shirt, baseball cap, sweater *and* jacket made to wear. He was a contractor at WPAFB, and wore his FF league gear to work on casual Fridays.

    Their league had a play-off called (are you ready) The Toilet Bowl. There was a trophy and everything, which he won the first year he played. Of course, it *was* because nobody expects The Spanish Inquisition… (yes, i heard this phrase LOTS back in the day…)

  19. “Walloon” is one of those intrinsically funny words.

    Many years ago, sometime in the 19th century in fact, the great Belgian Field Marshal Amstel Gruntz decided that he had to come up with some method of counteracting the threat of the German and French armies who were spending a lot of time glaring at each other o’er top Belgium.

    Gruntz wanted mobility and firepower, so he considered the model of the Dragoon, a soldier who travels on horseback but dismounts to fight. Given the new (at that time) technology of lighter-than-air travel, Gruntz decided to create what was, for the time, a revolutionary concept: a quick reaction force delivered by air. These troops would be air-lifted to whichever border seemed most likely to be breached, and would hopefully arrive in time to catch an invader off guard.

    They were, of course, the “Ballooning Walloon Dragoons”. Unfortunately the Schleiffen Plan was so effective that they were never employed, and were thus lost to history.

    Until now!

    (If you sense from this that I, too, have no interest in organized sports, you’d be right.)

  20. “Half of Belgium thinks you’re really cool, and the other half is insulted.”

    Isn’t that pretty much the case regardless?

  21. Last NBA season, I stormed to the upper tier of the standings using a very similar method as John.

    Sign up, sit back, and watch. I didn’t even rotate players, and I kicked butt all the way to the semi-finals.

    Very odd.

  22. When I saw the title of this post my first thought was “I had no idea he took such a partisan position on the whole Belgian separatist question.”

  23. In honor of your upcoming appearance at ConQuesT, I named my team in the local sf club’s league Baconcats (I change the name every season; last year they were Flying Paisley Monster). Currently, Baconcats are 7-0 and the only undefeated team. It must be karma. Or bacon.

  24. Half of Belgium thinks you’re really cool, and the other half is insulted.

    Which half? Given that they are the mediocre Walloons.

  25. (Same “Norm” referenced above.) I can confirm it certainly does bug the league that Scalzi is leading.

    Feel free to follow John’s progress at
    http://games.espn.go.com/ffl/leagueoffice?leagueId=322462&seasonId=2008

    Also, Francis (post 32) should be warned that Scalzi will be able to change the team’s name to “Dominating Walloons” should the season continue on its current course. This will be the best thing that happened to Belgium since I moved out of Arlon (more specifically a suburd named Habay) in 1997.

  26. John “Mediocre Walloon” Scalzi went down in the first round of the “Luttbeg Invitational” ESPN fantasy football league playoffs. The score was 71 to 77. John was tied briefly during Monday night football (71 all) after the TB kicker missed a 39 yard shot (-4 in our scoring). However the kicker then went for 6 other points killing John. The biggest reason John lost this week was Brett Favre did nothing against a lousy SF team. 3 points against SF? Really?

    The Mediocre Walloons can now finish anywhere from 5th to 8th depending on their next 2 weeks. All of those results are in the range of being Mediocre.

    Regardless of the final placing, the Walloons did much better than last year when John “guided” them to a 9th place finish in the “Vick’s Break Out Year” league.

    My team (“Palin Grandbastards”) is still alive for the title but I have a history of getting my butt kicked in the semi finals.

  27. I forgot to mention that there is a Biology Professor Luttbeg from Oklahoma State who has dominated our league for the past 2 years and has yet to be eliminated from winning his 3rd championship in a row. Clearly his godly and mad stat skilz are a source of unfair advantage in a league full of morons.

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