So the past few weeks have been great. Well, let me take that back; it's not all been great... it's been relaxing. No, let me take that back too. It's not been relaxing; it's been without pain. Yeah, let's go with that.
The two-week break between Gameweek 3 and Gameweek 4 started out with a resounding thud. It was the kind of thud that greets you at the end of an FPL freefall; where your Captain plays against a newly promoted side at home in the early kickoff, has a little bit of a shitfest, gets yanked after 45 minutes and notches you 2 points to set the tone for the gameweek. Without sorely needed contributions from others, and having 8 guys in your squad bring home 3 points or less, the gameweek closes, you look on in horror, scan all of your minileague rivals while the FPL site goes into update mode, and you just feel yourself drop into the dark thin air.
Arms flailing, legs kicking, looking down into the seemingly bottomless pit, you gain speed, watching all that was once below you rocket on past as you whizz by, knowing that the landing is gonna hurt, but having no idea just how far you're gonna drop while bonus points are being tallied and distributed and the league tables are updated; when finally, after almost blacking out, you smash into the ground and do your best to limp away, seeing stars all the while and wondering if you'll ever heal.
|Click the screen shot to zoom in!|
That's how gameweek 3 ended for me; and how the past two weeks started. Luckily I was cognizant enough to activate my wildcard immediately after the gameweek closed, but I was still dizzy, battered and bruised. After a few days of recuperation, I got my wits back about me and felt brave enough to revisit the scene of the accident. The crash was serious, the damage was heavy, there was still mangled pieces of debris and heavy layers of dust scattered over a widespread area, but that beautiful little wildcard gave me the piece of mind to know that there was time to clean up the mess. And the real healing began.
I know; kinda crazy, but that's a little bit how it feels, right? These wildcards are priceless. But they are extremely limited and must only be used after carefully examining all other options AND the consequences, including the lost opportunity of not being able to ever ever ever get it back. Once you've reached that place though and are convinced that the time is nigh, they're wonderful. Once you click "Activate Wildcard", you get to breathe a little. And when you've activated it during a two-week break, the pain of the crash subsides and you're left with a renewed feeling of optimism; a chance to relax and forget about how shitty the squad full of you-know-whats you carried for the past 3 weeks has performed. You can turn your attention from the ranking "they left you with" and focus on getting "better" guys in to get you moving back in the direction you want to go.
And just like the start of the season, having that wildcard puts the world at your fingertips. You don't have to worry about the 6-7 step sequence it would take to rearrange your squad to where you want it or the injuries that might set you back at steps 2, 4 and 6 that would cause you to deviate from your master plan. And most importantly, you get to dream again.
Let's face it; we all do it. We scan through the FPL listings, starting first with the multi-position "Total Score" listing, and we come face to face with all of the guys that we considered having in our original squad but didn't. We get on Twitter and lament the fact that "Of course I had that guy in version 284 of my original squad!", "If I had done what I wanted to do in the first place I'd be 150,000 spots higher!". And my personal favorite, which I have painfully experienced first hand this year, "I swore back in June that that guy would be the first guy in my squad this season; I can't believe I didn't follow through!" Seamus Coleman, thank you very much. You have proven me quite wrong my friend, and I will now gladly pay 0.4m more to get you today than I could have spent in August, so don't start sucking now. I really don't have a good reason for not selecting you for GW1 like I had planned, other than the fact that I tried to outsmart myself by considering your opening fixtures and had this new defensive strategy that blah blah blah okay I'm just a freaking idiot.
But it's okay; because I'm an idiot with a wildcard! And I can live with the stupidity I've exhibited over the past 3 gameweeks while carrying this do-over card in my hand. I know that the last three gameweeks are still shit for me and forever will be, but I can get 9 or 10 new guys now; even though the 9 or 10 I just let go of are about to reach levels of FPL greatness that even they never dreamed possible. And it's okay. Because it hasn't happened yet. I'll worry about that on Saturday. (Okay, I've already started worrying about it today and the stress will increase like a balloon being blown up between now and Saturday morning, but you know what I mean).
Here's to two more days of freedom!
If you've activated your wildcard as well, have fun with it over the next couple of days. Mix and match all kinds of combinations and permutations of EPL'ers. Sometimes in the randomness we display while simply fooling around with different options, we open up windows into new ways of thinking about FPL that we hadn't before, and you just may surprise yourself with a squad you feel 10x better about than the one you almost locked in yesterday. It's the only wildcard we get until 2014 and is one of only two chances during the entire season that we get to reset our entire squad for free. Plus, I for one am left with the almost guaranteed assurance that there is no possible way I can pick a squad that will do WORSE than the one I've had for the first 3 gameweeks.
See; no pressure;)