What I learned from Fantasy Basketball
Trill or Not Trill?

I LOVE basketball. So much so, I believe that if offered the opportunity I could run an NBA team (I couldn’t). However, I fulfill that void by playing fantasy basketball which is the closest thing I’ll ever get to running a team. I am proud to say my team made it to the finals. BUT I am ashamed to say that I spent way too much time playing. And it wasn’t even for money. This year I played in a really competitive league where people were hungry for the chip. What I will say is that I learned a lot about being a leader and a good decision maker. If only I could apply this same type of energy and excitement in parts of my life in which I struggle. I’d like to offer up a few things I learned from playing fantasy basketball this year.

Staying Patient
Oh, YES! This is the hardest part of playing fantasy basketball. With injuries and underperforming players it may be an impulse to want to discard or trade players for low value. However, it takes doing some research to see what exactly is going on and whether they are worth keeping. I think about how often we may count out those student leaders around us, when they have the potential to be great. Staying patient for me this year was what helped me make it to the finals . I kept guys that were inconsistent, because I knew their potential. For those of you that you are trying to motivate young leaders, stick with them. Sometimes they may be coming off an injury or may not be a right fit on a team and are adjusting. Consider all of the circumstances before giving up on someone. If you notice the potential, then it is your job to help them push through to their greatness.

People are petty
This was certainly true in our league. It became so petty that we renamed our league PBL the Petty Basketball League. We were all in a chat, where most of the trash talking and trading was occurring. There a few reasons people are petty 1) they’re a hater 2) they’re trying to get into your head 3) they simply enjoy it. While typically not one wants to engage in this type of behavior I found myself becoming the Petty Mills (You’re welcome) among the Petty Wap’s and Petty Labelle’s. It was mostly all fun and games but I imagined a world where we were all presidents of our student organizations. We see the pettiness happen even among departments and offices. Maybe not in a verbal context but certainly through action. Whether it is by “stealing” events or running a program at the same time as others, it is for these reasons animosity grows. In these situations, it is better to find ways to work together and not engage. Simply, keep the Petty Murphy to yourself.

Making Connections is Key
One thing I do well is understanding the importance of making connections. I would LITERALLY spend hours talking to the GMs to try and perfect a trade until it was mutually beneficial. They generally trusted me because I was honest and transparent with my needs. For example, being straightforward about trades where I may have been asking for too much or that didn’t make sense. Sometimes, I was even approached about advice for potential trades one was trying to make with another. There was a benefit to me sharing my expertise with them despite them being my competitor. I understood that this could later translate into them looking out for me. And that’s exactly what happened. Similarly, in your professional lives doing unsolicited favors for others will keep them obligated to help you later on. There is no need to be afraid to ask for help from others or give advice that could assist them. Even if they are your competition. The saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” applies perfectly for this model. Just substitute the word enemy with the word competition.

Gut Decisions
I can’t count the times that I had to use my gut to make a decision related to a trade or a line up change. Gut decisions are made not by the heart and not by the brain. They are decisions inspired by intuition. It is often a feeling that tells you that something is not right or that you should rethink your options. I remember one trade specifically that I lost sleep over for a few weeks. I felt that I had traded away too much even though the numbers showed me otherwise. I turned out that I was right and it was exactly what I needed to take my team to the next level. Another example of this, is when I traded Kevin Durant for Demaracus Cousins and bunch of other players. While I was enamored by the idea of having KD, I felt that something was going to go wrong. A few weeks later he gets injured and remained out for the rest of the fantasy season. Trust your instincts when it comes to choosing a major, joining a club or deciding whether to live on or off campus. There are reasons your body is trying to warn you and it often knows better than your rational self. At the minimum, take time to listen to your body because it may be trying to tell you something that can change your life.

Well, it seems like I’ll have to wait until the beginning of the next NBA season to create a team that can win the championship. I hope that you are able to take some of the lessons I learned and apply to your fantasy teams or your student organizations! Until next year friends.

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Antonio Talamo is a young higher education professional that has experience working in Student Activities and Advisement. He has brought his talents to Montclair State University where he will be the Coordinator for Commuter Students and Programs . He has grown from a go-to-class-go-home student to a professional who is passionate about giving students the best college experience at any level. He is a huge sports fan that loves the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox and swears he is the reason the Red Sox broke the Bambino curse.
#GYLT #GetYourLifeTogether