Monday, December 14, 2015

The Importance of a Diverse Portfolio

As any investment adviser will tell you, it is best if one has a diverse portfolio in multiple markets in order to maximize earning potential, while decreasing risk of losing everything in case one market goes badly.  After all, you never want to "put all of your eggs in one basket."  This principle follows in many other aspects of life (including life itself).

I have been practicing this principle, before I had ever even knew what it was, or what a principle was for that matter.  How?  Why, through my sports fandom of course!  Due to my competitive nature, I have always been a fan of all sports...but I don't think that I would have understood how helpful that that would be depending on what was happening in the different sports at the same time.  Sports are a constant source of new stories and drama, and, as someone who loves both of those things, it stands to follow that I enjoy all of them, despite the struggles that come up from time to time.  That being said, the struggles are easier to deal with when you have another team that you care about doing well.  Let's take a look at that, shall we?

Texas Longhorn Football: ugh, that was a brutal season.  So many young players looking lost (especially early on in the season), so many losses in so many different ways: some by absolutely being dominated and some by missing the extra point.  Some by special teams miscues, some by terrible officiating and some by turnovers.  If it's possible to lose a football game via a certain method, you can safely assume that the Texas Longhorns of 2015 did so.  All of that being said, they also beat a playoff team in Oklahoma, another top-15 team (at the time) in Baylor, and would have beaten Sugar Bowl-bound Oklahoma State if not for the obscene officiating that was mentioned above.  On top of that, the team played an unprecedented amount of freshmen and sophomores; during the final game against Baylor, there were plays where eight of the eleven players on the field on defense were freshmen, and that doesn't include their best freshman in Malik Jefferson, who was out injured for the entire game.  On offense, the two freshmen linemen were solid-to-good for the majority of the year, they found some strong players in the receiving corps, and they found a couple of potential stars in the backfield in sophomore D'Onta Foreman and freshman Chris Warren.  The QB question remains, and there will be a new system implemented for next year, but all-in-all, the future looks bright, despite the extremely difficult growing pains.  Hope springs eternal for next year.

Dallas Cowboys: as bad as the season for the Longhorn football team was to sit through, this season for the Cowboys has been far worse.  Unlike the youthful Longhorns, the Cowboys were expected to contend for the NFC East and, ultimately, the Super Bowl.  Instead, the season has been a barrage of injuries to the best players, putrid offense, defense that just can't quite make the winning play, and distracting/stupid comments from the veterans on the squad.  This has just been a bad year, and the sooner it ends, the happier I'll be.  If there's one good thing to draw from this season, it's that the team should return angry with a strong infusion of talent that comes with having high draft picks.  In the NFL, that's sometimes all you need to make a big jump in the standings the following year (just look at Carolina for proof of that).  If Tony Romo can stay healthy next year, along with Dez Bryant and some other players on the defensive side like Orlando Scandrick, who knows?

San Antonio Spurs: by far the best team of all of my rooting interests thus far.  The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge hasn't made the Spurs the offensive juggernaut that was expected thus far, but they're still more than solid on that end, as the team is currently fourth in the NBA in offensive rating (points per 100 possessions), despite taking very few three-point shots, which is nigh unheard-of in today's Association.  On the defensive end, the Spurs have been historically good, as they are currently giving up around 92 points per 100 possessions, which is the fewest in the NBA in the shot clock era.  Allow that to sink in for a moment: the Spurs, thus far, have played the best defense in the NBA since a time limit to possessions was implemented for the 1953-54 season.  That's incredible when you look at the numbers; when you watch them play, it makes more sense.  The starting lineup has two elite wing defenders in Kawhi Leonard (who may as well be a land-dwelling kraken with how far his extremities extend to snatch opposing passes) and Danny Green; a still-elite rim protector in Tim Duncan (by some measures, the best in the NBA at nearly 40 years old); and a surprisingly capable big man in the aforementioned Aldridge, and you have the makings of a formidable defensive unit.  Couple the fantastic defense with an improving offense led by Leonard, Aldridge, a rejuvenated Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and a solid stable of bench players in Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, David West and the young Jonathan Simmons and Kyle Anderson, and you have the makings of one of the top two teams in the NBA.  As a pure basketball fan, all I can do is hope for no injuries and have a Western Conference Finals between these Spurs and the Golden State Warriors, who've been even more impressive offensively than the Spurs have defensively.  Basketball and sports fans everywhere deserve to have these two teams healthy and playing each other in a seven-game series.

Texas Longhorn Men's Basketball: this team is a work in progress.  Under new head coach Shaka Smart, and playing in the murderer's row that is the Big XII in basketball, it was always going to be a bit of a retooling year.  That being said, coach Smart's team have been quick learners, and the team has made tremendous strides not even ten games into the season.  The Longhorns just beat the #3 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in a game that absolutely no one expected to win.  Great rebounding on the defensive end coupled with a couple of awesome offensive performances by Javan Felix and Eric Davis, Jr. led to a great win.  The team will definitely still have its ups and downs (they still foul too much, and free throws are a problem), but the team is exciting, and they should be on their way to contending in the very tough Big XII sooner rather than later.  The future looks bright, and an NCAA tourney bid most definitely can't be discounted this year either.

Texas Rangers: last season ended painfully, losing to the Blue Jays in the first round of the playoffs, but the future-again-looks bright.  The team has a solid foundation in its rotation, with Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Cole Hamels, and some solid youngsters in Chi Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez.  Add to that mix one Yu Darvish, who will come back at about mid-May, and that's one heck of a rotation on paper that has proven post-season success.  The lineup still appears to be solid, with Delino DeShields proving to be a solid leadoff man, Prince Fielder returning to past performance, Adrian Beltre still being a solid run producer, Rougned Odor being an absolute spark plug, and some strong prospects like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and the returning Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings, the team has pieces.  Will they put them together is anyone's guess, as baseball can be very difficult to predict, but they have a chance to make a deep run next year.

As these brief analyses highlight, my teams have been a mixed bag of successes and failures in the last couple of months.  This brings me back to my original point: it is wonderful to have a diverse portfolio, even in one's sports fandom.  Despite the Longhorns breaking my heart or the Cowboys putting on woeful displays of football, I still have my Spurs games to look forward to; I have the growth of the Longhorn basketball team to see; I have the spring training and the MLB season to look forward to with the Rangers.  It's more likely than not that at least one team will be relatively successful, which leads to better chances of sports satisfaction, with better stories to tell and more drama to be had.

As a sports fan, I'm so glad that my eggs aren't all in one basket.


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