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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Column: Draft trivia

My plan was to write about how trivial the NFL draft is because the true value of players won’t be known until years later. We pay an extraordinary amount of attention to a glorified guessing game. But after a few paragraphs I felt what I was writing was even more trivial, thus trivializing my attempt at exposing the triviality of the draft. This threw me into an existential crisis that just couldn’t be contained. So let’s go exploring.

I understand it’s impossible to fully explore the crisis of my existence here, but that’s why it’s the perfect space to do it. I have 700 words or so to contemplate the meaning of life before I’m cut off. Without the limitation, it’s possible my mind would roam endlessly around the expanses of space and I’d be tossed in a looney bin before you could say “Bugs Bunny.”
Since there’s no logical place to start in this chaotic universe, I’ll just get down to the brass tacks. I watched Derrick Rose’s knee buckle Saturday and it felt like I got punched in the stomach. Not just because I felt bad for him and his team (I did), and not just because I was worried about his career that’ll never be the same (sad, but the dude’s worth millions and NBA contracts are guaranteed); it was mostly because my arch-nemesis, LeBron James, would have an easier path to the NBA Finals.
This is incredibly insensitive and, upon further examination, downright insane. Not only am I hoping for a man to fail, but to this man I don’t even exist. This is true for the millions of others who adore or despise him. We could all disappear from Earth like it was that picture from Back to the Future and, besides the fact that millions of people would be missing, he wouldn’t notice and probably wouldn’t care. It’s an insane concept to know such a small
What’s fame? Why do “Kardashians” exist? Why do we care? It’s not because they’re relatable — celebrities are the exact opposite. It’s hard to imagine a human lifestyle more alien to me. Is it because we want to be them? Do we want the wealth, the cameras tracking our every move, our every move capturing the interests of people everywhere, thus making those people want to be like us and completing this vicious circle?
Personally, I think we take interest in their lives because we want someone to take an interest in our own. Even more so, we wish our lives were interesting enough for someone to take an interest in them.
As depressing as it is, we know deep down that the vast majority of us will be forgotten. Life isn’t a bell curve; only a select few will be immortalized in history. Even our own bloodlines will forget us after a while. Our lives will at best be preserved in photographs, videos and public records. In the face of all this, we strive to be something.
But do we have a choice? We can’t accept the statistics and assume we’ll be nothing, because then nobody would be anything. This is almost more depressing; we’ll be the little engines that couldn’t. I’ve heard all my life that if I should fail, I should fail spectacularly. This means swing for the fences, consequences be damned. But what about those who think Mudville could’ve won? When Casey came up to bat, a deep single would’ve scored two and tied the game, giving us at least extra innings.
I mean, should we just enjoy the moment and not worry about our swing? Is studying more important than going out with friends in the grand scheme of things? Should we all be hedonists? If my life only matters to me, what’s with all this altruistic nonsense?
It seems like life is a glorified guessing game. We pay an extraordinary amount of attention to details we won’t know the value of until years later. It’s tough to see life as trivial, so let’s focus on what is: the Redskins’ fourth-round pick. Why take Kirk Cousins after they drafted RGIII? At least they failed spectacularly — we won’t forget this.
Wondering why this isn’t an article full of fun facts and trivia questions? If a dictionary isn’t around, NOLAN SHELDON can be reached at nosheldon@ucdavis.edu.


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