User Interview: Smeric

Q&A with noted SimLeague and Dynasty user Smeric

There is a lot going on here at WhatIfSports.com, with game updates, a new game in the works, FOXSports.com features, more traffic, new users and more. However, the more some things change, the more we hope others change the same. Most notably, WhatIfSports.com is and will remain a community of some of the brightest, most interesting and most passionate sports fans from all over the world. We congregate here to compete, discuss and fuel that passion (in many different ways). And hopefully, we'll always continue to have fun with it too.

WhatIfSports.com recently contacted one such user, Smeric, who has played and competed successfully in all of our games (and who even comes from a whole different place in the world), to discuss, among other topics, getting the most out of WhatIfSports.com.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

Smeric

It's no trouble at all. This site has provided a lot of enjoyment for me the past 3 and a half years and I would never turn away from an opportunity to give something back.

WIS

Who is Smeric?

Smeric

First and foremost, I am a 32-year old husband and father of two. To help me fulfill those responsibilities, and provide the financial resources to feed my love of sports, I work as an Investment Advisor for the largest full-service investment firm in Canada.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

Smeric

In the summer of '02 I was desperately seeking an alternative to fantasy sports pools that would fit better into my busy lifestyle. In searching the net for fantasy links, I found a baseball simulation link on MLB.com and played a "Spring League", got hooked, and immediately bought a full-season team. Oddly enough, I didn't know I had stumbled upon WiS until months later (MLB.com made no mention of "Whatifsports" in the descriptions) when I accidentally clicked the "Whatifsports" logo in the corner of the league page. I have been feeding my addiction ever since.

WIS

Which SimLeagues or Dynasty games have you played?

Smeric

All of them. Each and every one of them. If you launch a SimSynchronized Swimming Game I'll likely play it as well.

WIS

Which do you prefer?

Smeric

Based on the full game experience (the engine, the people, the development of the game, the "Bang for Your Buck" factor) I definitely prefer Baseball SimLeagues. I also really enjoy Gridiron Dynasty, I think mainly because of the control you have over your team's long-term destiny (or Dynasty if you prefer) and my relative success there and the fact I seem to "get" it.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

Smeric

Being a Canuck, of course my first love is hockey but I also enjoy reading, watching MMA (and wishing I had the courage and skills needed to compete) and tipping a few pints with my family and close friends.

WIS

Why do you think it is that sports are so big in our culture?

Smeric

For the most part I think it comes down to a primal desire for competition and proving we can "conquer" an "enemy" - whether we compete ourselves or we live vicariously through our favourite teams.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

Smeric

1992 and 1993 were tremendous years to be a sports fan in Toronto. In the summer, the Toronto Blue captured the hearts of Canadians by becoming the first team outside of the U.S. to win the World Series and then DEFENDING the title. Carter, Alomar, Molitor, White, Olerud, Fernandez with support from Winfield and Rickey - I would speculate the 92 & 93 Jays were arguably one of the most potent offenses in MLB history. "Touch 'em all, Joe!"

While on the ice, GM Cliff Fletcher came to town and gave long suffering Maple Leaf fans reason to cheer by building a tremendous team out of basically nothing and guiding the team to the first meaningful playoff runs in what seemed forever. Definitely a great period to live through in Toronto and I will always remember those years with pride.

WIS

Did you play any sports as a kid?

Smeric

I didn't played organized sports really extensively until my teens, but my parents always tried to give me the opportunity to play softball as a kid. Softball always seemed to be a constant. Never the most skilled player, I always seemed to find a way to keep making teams.

In the winter it was always the desperate search in rural Ontario to find a pickup hockey game somewhere. More often than not though, we spent November thru April playing 4,000 games/day of one-on-one.

WIS

Do you play any sports now?

Smeric

Unfortunately, I have been pretty much permanently placed on the "Physically Unable to Perform" list. Most recently I spent my winters playing in the local ball hockey league (which is a growing sport in my area, and I highly recommend it to anyone, of any age or gender, regardless of ability). Unfortunately, my passionate and physical style of play wreaked havoc on my knees and back. Combine that with a blown rotator cuff and an expanding waistline leaves little chance for continued participation.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Smeric

Wayne Gretzky was by far the biggest factor in my enjoyment of hockey and sports in general growing up. I feel he transcended his sport with his dominance - his dominance FORCED the game to change. His dominance resulted in the rules of the game being changed in an attempt to contain his dominance. He did all this with respect for the sporting establishment, his colleagues and the fans. I don't think the same can be said for many, if any, other athletes in professional sports.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

Smeric

Roger Clemens and Greg Zaun in baseball - for the intensity and love for the game that I feel they both bring. Young guys like Jason Spezza, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley and Alexander Ovechkin in hockey - for the excitement they bring to the NHL, re-energizing the game after a dreadful lockout.

WIS

Who do you feel are the most underrated athletes of all-time?

Smeric

Canadian Football League players. Darn it, just because the game is played differently up here doesn't mean it isn't played well!!! Also lacrosse players - I've watched games with people seeing the game for the first time and they are practically horrified by the brutal physical aspect of the game. Those guys are definitely a different breed.

WIS

Overrated?

Smeric

Sidney Crosby in the NHL. The kid is a good hockey player, and as he develops he will become a great player, but in my opinion he should never have been considered an immediate cure for hockey's woes nor the savior of hockey in Pittsburgh. I really hope he doesn't wind up burnt out, as it will be a tremendous loss for hockey fans.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

Smeric

I must experience the atmosphere and nostalgia of attending a game at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium before these stadiums are mothballed. Joining the Whatifsports community provided me the incentive to visit Wrigley Field and meet some great people from the City of Chicago and it is something I now looked forward to each and every year. Boston and New York are definitely in the near future.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion?

Smeric

Bill Clinton, Steven Speilberg, Chris Rock, Terry Fox and any World War vet. All politics aside, this group of individuals has inspired me to consciously sit back and really think about so many varying issues. There may not appear to be much overlap in their backgrounds or experience, but I am of the opinion this group, with their combination of intelligence, passion, life experience and courage, would provide a lively and intelligent discussion on any topic for any duration of time.

WIS

What issues in sports today peak your interest? Why?

Smeric

I don't know about "peaked" interest, but I am absolutely dumbfounded as to why, with all the MUCH more domestically important issues at hand, so many governmental resources are being spent on "investigating" and imposing regulation on professional sports. I know it would be nice to remove performance enhancing drugs from the sporting scene, but on a wish list of things our nations need to "fix" this should be WAAAAAAYYYY down the list.

WIS

If you could be commissioner of any league, which sport would it be and what would you do to change the game?

Smeric

I would like to set into MLB and really work to find a way to establish some viable parity in the game. I think we have to admit that there are some markets in the game which have little to no realistic chance of ever fielding a WS winning team. Yes, small markets have made it before but not enough for my liking. To make the game really interesting, EVERY team should have a shot at winning it all, and that doesn't exist right now.

WIS

What is your greatest WIS moment?

Smeric

I have won a few titles, more than a couple in extremely competitive leagues, but my greatest WIS related moment comes each summer when my wife and I come down to Chicago for WrigleyFest. I have made what I think I can now legitimately say are some great friends there - fun times, great town, FANTASTIC people; if I never win another title at least I'll always have Chicago.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

Smeric

The fact that you can create a championship calibre team in any number of ways. In my opinion, there is no single formula that must be used to ensure success. If you spend the time you can really step outside the box, be unique and succeed.

WIS

Least favorite?

Smeric

The recent tendency to bow to the demand of the loudest, squeakiest wheels - whether it be in regard to engine "tweaks", site policy or censorship. Just like in real life, just because a group is very loud and persistent in their griping does not necessarily mean they represent the majority of the population, nor is their gripe necessarily in the best interest of the userbase.

WIS

If you could change one thing about each of our SimLeagues, what would it be and why?

Smeric

I don't think changes are needed in each of the SimLeagues, but it has really been heartbreaking to see the rapid decline in Hoops SimLeagues. That community used to be the 2nd strongest in WIS (after baseball, of course) and now it is a virtual wasteland. Look in the Owners and Classified forums - no one is there anymore, because they feel (and rightfully so, IMHO) that the Hoops sim has been neglected, resulting in the population drifting away and a lot of animosity in the remaining community. I know a major release is in the works, but it is far overdue and I sincerely hope it is not "too little, too late".

WIS

Do you prefer open or theme leagues? Why?

Smeric

I personally prefer theme leagues. Every couple years or so, I will toss a team into an open league just to see if I am missing out on an experience of substance - but that never seems to be the case. I relish in the challenge of having restrictions placed on my draft and firmly believe that open leagues are more formulaic than and nowhere near as enjoyable as themes.

WIS

Having made the playoffs 245 times in SimLeagues, winning 18 championships, what is the best advice you can give to users in each of our SimLeagues?

Smeric

Prior to beginning your draft, establish in your mind what you are looking to achieve with this team and how you want to achieve it. Then stick with that plan! In my experience, I doom myself for disaster when I begin second-guessing my initial plan. Avoid the WW monster; he brings nothing but trouble.

WIS

You have also played in more than 2500 simmed Dynasty games, what is the best advice you can give to users in each of our Dynasty games?

Smeric

Have patience. The key part of the name of this game is "Dynasty" - you have to put some blood, sweat and tears into building your program. Another important thing in my opinion is to build your own dynasty. Don't take the cheap way out - just like in real life, success is much more satisfying when it is a result of your own hard work and initiative.

WIS

What are your general guidelines to drafting in SimLeagues?

Smeric

Balance. Make every effort to provide your rosters with balanced strength at all areas. And never, EVER forget the value of defense - regardless of the sport. A dominating defense can really help compensate for an average offense and keep you within reach of the "promised land".

WIS

How do you approach the adjustable settings in the SimLeagues?

Smeric

I think these are key in most cases. Learn to understand the impact of these settings, because you can be sure your opponent has. Don't be afraid to experiment with the settings during the first few games with each new team; what worked for your last World Series winning team will not necessarily work for the next. Your opponents' rosters will be different, the ballparks, etc. - find your team's comfort zone and go with it. If there is a "Recommendation" option available, check it out - but in the end use your own logic to establish what is right for your team.

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums? Why or why not?

Smeric

I used to. Unfortunately, the forums for the most part have degenerated into either an adolescent playground or a constant gripe-fest, neither of which I have any use for. I come to WIS for recreation and enjoyment, not to watch children play or listen to chronic complainers. My time is more valuable than that. Most of my conversation is done in League forums now, by sitemail or on an alternative forum a few of us use to "get away from the kids".

WIS

How often do you use sitemail to contact other users? How often do other users contact you via sitemail seeking advice?

Smeric

Everyday. If you want to ensure your message is seen by the intended targets then send it right to them. I am contacted for my thoughts or advice from time to time, and I seek out advice from time to time and sitemail is the best means to efficiently find out what you want to know without being bogged down with the BS you usually will get in a forum thread.

WIS

Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

Smeric

I could go on forever, but for the sake of space I will try and keep it brief (and use their WIS IDs for the benefit of the uneducated): first and foremost, the Chicago WrigleyFest Crew - mudbone1969, tracyr, bosoxbill, Laura, MikeT23, ceez, kuzminsk, 98greenc5, Kermit, tram66; fellow Ditch members - peajay, Naismith, Braziman, deanod, ernestleifb, reino4, wylie, noose4; from baseball - sford, PennQuaker, eschwarz67, dn3524, deathinahole, The CL and APBL crews; from Hoops - davkarball, jakotay; kmakice, qistat, cpgecko; from Hockey - cpetsche, booman35, lenihan, The Room 12 Ladies and alumni, bigbuzz, damned, zlionsfan, SAKABAKBRG, xpoemtl, kettlevalley; in Gridiron - definitely elbruskinm, breum, davesanchez, Arodsagent; from WIS - Tarek and some clown he hired that goes my the handle of tinmanpb (Editor's note: We are actually all still questioning the decision by our boss to take me, I mean that tinmanpb kid, on full-time.) are great people and keep this place evolving. Oh and I can't forget the most important owner - smerics_wife! Hahahaha Love ya, babe!

WIS

What would you tell new users to the site who want to get the most out of what WhatIfSports.com has to offer?

Smeric

If I may use a cliché - Play for the love of the game. Have fun here, be unique. If you come here with your sole goal being winning titles you will lose out on so much more. This site, its staff and its community of owners is fantastic and is a great place - allow yourself to enjoy it to its fullest.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position and how much would you cost?

Smeric

Hockey. Defense. $165k, little to no offense, tons of PIM. In short: WADE BELAK, baby!!!!!!!!!!

User Profile

LoginID:smeric
Name: Eric
Age:32
Location:Ontario, Canada
Occupation:Investment Advisor
Favorite Sport:Hockey
Favorite Team(s):Maple Leafs, Blue Jays
Member Since:June, 2002
Greatest WIS Moment: Chicago WrigleyFest

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