The Mundies: Slow It Down
My wife and I are big fans of “The Great British Baking Show.”
We have watched every season and every single episode available. If you are not familiar with the show, the first order of business (after finishing this column of course) is dropping everything and watching all of it. Just wear an adult diaper, you’ll be fine.
It is a baking competition between highly skilled bakers, who are required to produce very elaborate bakes. often in a ridiculously short amount of time. It is a high-stress situation for the contestants, and they are obviously forced to rush everything they do to meet the time limits. Each individual bake is anywhere from 2-4 hours, during which the contestants are constantly in a hurry, rushing around the kitchen the entire time.
When I watch I can feel the tension, I can feel the hurry. Partly because it is a TV show and TV shows know how to amplify their intended emotions from the audience. But also because I know that hurry. I know that rushed mindset all too well.
There are certainly times and situations where one must hurry, where the task at hand must get done as fast as possible, such as a timed baking competition. But for every appropriately implemented rush, there are countless situations where I find myself in a hurry, my mind shifts into the frenzied rush mode, and it is completely unnecessary.
Historically this would surface for me while driving. Whether I was late or not, my default was attempting to get to my destination as fast as possible, assuming all the bobbing and weaving through traffic would save a lot of time. I say historically because this is an area where I have changed (for the better). I’m a “middle lane guy” now. Five to seven miles per hour above the speed limit on the freeway is my ceiling. One thing modern technology showed me, specifically GPS capabilities while navigating the roads, was that the amount of time saved with all that effort could be measured in seconds, minutes at the most. And yet I still see so many people driving as if someone is about to give birth in their car and the hospital is within range.
I chose the example of driving because it is tangible and relatable. We’ve all likely been in both driver’s seats at one point. But this unnecessary quest for expediency, for me, permeates many aspects of my life.
Something as simple as doing the dishes or folding the laundry, I find myself rushing through it, and until recently, I never took the time to ask myself why. “What is my motivation?”
The answer varies but for the most part, it’s the same residual adolescent thinking I’ve discussed with some of my other struggles. I want to get the thing or things I don’t really enjoy done as fast as possible to arrive at and create more time for the things I do enjoy.
“Do your chores before you can watch TV.” And every second I am not rushing cuts into my TV watching time (Ironically, that is an example from my childhood, but watching TV is still a common end goal).
So, what’s the problem? Well, I am a human, so I already deal with stress and anxiety, and the place my brain goes when I am unnecessarily hurrying only feeds my stress and anxiety. It affects my mood, my patience and my temper, as well as the length of my tolerance fuse with other people – you know, like my wife and kids. My guess is many of the times I have acted like a jerk to my family, my mind was in one of these spin cycles. And although I don’t have any satellite-provided quantitative proof like I do with driving, I’m pretty sure rushing through the dishes or laundry (or most things) doesn’t end up saving me a noticeable amount of time to “play.” It’s all in my head.
So, what’s the solution? It is simple (but not necessarily easy). Slow down.
Consciously and intentionally slow down. This has been part of my constant progression with self-awareness. It is similar to “grounding techniques” that can be used to reduce things like distraction and future tripping.
The first step for me is recognizing when I’m in spin mode. Then, when I am able, I literally slow down. I slow my body movements associated with a certain task. For me, when slowing down, the body has to come first, then hopefully my mind follows. But I have found that it works. I will replace rushed movements with exaggerated slowness.
Like when I put a dish in the cupboard, I will focus on my hand holding the plate, watch the plate all the way to the stack of plates, put it down carefully, and physically let go a second or two after it’s safely stacked. I will audibly say “slow down” to myself. It may sound odd, but these simple things have worked for me, my mind slows down with my body, I stop focusing on the video game I want to play later, instead of focusing on things at a very basic level. When I have been able to do this I feel more centered, more peaceful, happier.
And now, the Mundie Award.
THE “SLOW MEANS FAST” AWARD
Jaylen Waddle (WR, Miami Dolphins)
When the Miami Dolphins selected Jaylen Waddle sixth overall during the 2021 NFL Draft, I think I made a snarky comment. Maybe it was the Henry Ruggs effect, maybe it was the fact that I am not a college football or Developmental (DEVY) analyst, but my outlook on Waddle was a boom-or-bust speedster not worth a top-10 pick.
Through the first 13 weeks of the 2021 season, I was completely and utterly wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I have grown to absolutely love Waddle as a player, and he unleashed one of my favorite touchdown celebrations of all time in Week 12 versus the Panthers.
So, what does the “Slow Means Fast” Award mean? How can the adjective “slow” possibly relate to Waddle, who ran an unofficial 4.37 40-yard dash and is one of the fastest players in the NFL?
You have likely heard the concept of the game “slowing down” for a player. This idea is not unique to football. In general, when an athlete graduates to a new level of competition, oftentimes bigger, faster, stronger competition, there is always an adjustment period to that new speed. Once that adjustment is made, it is said that the game slows down for that player. I am speaking generally and qualitatively here. This isn’t something in and of itself that can be measured.
It seems the game has slowed down for Waddle. Overall coming into Week 13, Waddle ranked as the Points Per Reception (PPR) WR11 in total points and WR19 in points per game. Among top-36 wide receivers, Waddle ranks 11th in targets per game (8.6) and sixth in receptions per game (6.4). I assume he’ll bump up from that slightly after his nine-catch, 90-yard outing versus the Giants.
As far as box scores go, Week 6 looks like the “slow-down” game for Waddle, with 10 catches on 13 targets for 70 yards and two touchdowns. From Week 6 on, Waddle is the PPR WR2 in total points and the WR7 in points per game. He is top-five in targets per game (9.6) and receptions per game (7.1) in that span. Waddle has been about as consistent as you could hope for in his rookie season, and he is only going to get better.
Here is where Waddle ranks (not including Week 13) among top-36 wide receivers by a few other WR metrics:
- Target share: 19th (23.5 percent)
- WR target share: 29th (32.2 percent)
- Targets per route: 20th (24.3 percent)
- Yards after catch (YAC) per reception: 18th (4.3)
Coincidentally, it’s pretty aligned with his WR19 in PPR points per game. What I see here is an already established high-points floor. Waddle ranks second (only behind Keenan Allen) in the percentage of his fantasy points that come from receptions (42.5 percent) and receptions are the most likely of the three main metrics (along with yards and touchdowns) for a player to maintain consistently.
But I also see a high ceiling. For one, Waddle can take any pass to the house with 4.37 speed. But more telling to me is Waddle is already a top-20 WR even with the ranks I stated above, even with a 36th ranked yards per reception among top-36 WR (9.9). We have to remember that he is still a rookie, and as the game slows down for him even more, I believe he will improve in all of these categories (target share, WR target share, targets per route, and YAC), which will, in turn, increase his yardage totals and opportunities for touchdowns. Waddle should be in the WR1 (top-12) conversation for years to come.
If you play in a redraft league with keepers, Waddle is an excellent choice looking ahead to 2022. With a consensus Average Draft Position (ADP) of 105 overall in PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros.com, you likely got him later in your draft and will be a steal at that price as a keeper.
Writing new and different editions of “The Mundies” will be a lot of fun, but I’d love some help. If you have ideas, hit me up, and I’ll include a shout-out for any suggestions used.
And as always, find me on Twitter, talking fantasy football, joking around, posting GIFs and lending my support where it’s needed @MunderDifflinFF.