User Interview: Davkarball

Q&A with noted WhatIfSports user Davkarball

One of the greatest aspects concerning sports is that they transcend and blur almost all of the lines that separate individuals, be that through age, culture, religion, location, etc., while still providing a forum to shine a light on what represents a microcosm of our society. Even as a site devoted to some of the most knowledgeable fans, WhatIfSports.com is able to unite those from all over the world and generally all walks of life. To discuss some of these concepts and others more pertinent to simulation sports, we recently contacted Davkarball, who has participated in more SimLeagues than any other user (Admin would like to thank Davkarball for the new deck on his house.).

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

Davkarball

No problem!

WIS

Who is Davkarball?

Davkarball

Davkarball is a 39 year old Associate Pastor at a church in Central California. He has been happily married for 4 years, and is the proud owner of 2 cats. Prior to being in ministry, I managed restaurants for a long time.

WIS

What is the story behind user name?

Davkarball

My username is a combination of my name (Dave), my wife's name (Karen) and of course, "ball". I started out with the name "davkarsports", but I changed names because I wanted to have one for open leagues and one for theme leagues. I wound up doing so many theme leagues that I had all my records moved over to Davkarball - and that's been me ever since.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

Davkarball

I had 2 friends who were involved and they invited me to play one baseball league with them - ONE! After that league, they moved on and I continued. Over 700 combined teams later, I am still here.

WIS

Having been a user sine June, 2001, which SimLeagues or Dynasty games have you played?

Davkarball

I have played all of the SimLeagues, and was one of the original testers for the Hockey sim and the Hoops Dynasty.

WIS

Which do you prefer?

Davkarball

My preferences are the same as real life...baseball is on top, followed by basketball, hockey and football.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I injured my right knee playing in a softball league about 4 years ago. Before that, all of my hobbies were sports related and I was very active (and 40lbs. lighter!). I began slowing down as my knee buckled to where I was only playing golf. Once it started hurting to do that, I went and had surgery. I'm recovering from that now and hope by the end of the summer, I will be running the bases and the court again.

Besides that, my main passions are music and ministry. I have played piano since I was 3 and have been singing as long as I can remember. Over the past 5 years, I have been blessed to have been able to use that in my career. As an Associate Pastor, I oversee our single adult ministry and do the bookkeeping...but as the Assistant Worship Director, I get to lead worship at my church from the keyboard. There is nothing more exciting for me than being able to help lead hundreds of people in giving God His props for everything He has done! It would be real easy to get "preachy" at this point, but I would be remiss if I didn't say that Jesus is the most important thing in my life!

WIS

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

Davkarball

Sports have always been a huge thing in society. For most of us (especially on this website) our heroes, our role models, our childhood idols have been sports figures. For me growing up, it was Rick Barry and Reggie Jackson. We dream about having the opportunity to step into their lives and live the dream. Me and my friends would read the box scores every day and memorize the starting lineups of every team.

That has been magnified with the emergence of cable TV and the internet. People don't read the box scores as much any more - they watch SportsCenter. You don't have to wait for the 11:00 news to get the scores, you can jump online at get "up to the minute" scores. Every athlete is under a microscope.

The latest trend that has me amazed is the emergence of the "Sports Analyst". There are so many shows on TV now that are comprised almost exclusively of reporters and TV personalities TALKING about sports...not to mention that at least of every SportsCenter is focused on "talking heads" giving their personal analysis of the day's events. It's hard to believe that society is so hungry for sports that they would sit and listen to people talking about sports instead of getting out and playing sports...but more and more, that's what being a sports fan is becoming.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

Davkarball

I grew up watching the A's, Warriors and Raiders of the 70's. They are still my favorite teams today. Far and away my favorite team is the A's of the 70's with Reggie, Campy, Vida, Catfish and the rest.

WIS

Did you play any sports as a kid?

Davkarball

I played every sport I could get my hands on as a kid. Baseball was the big one. I played 4 sports in high school (soccer, basketball, baseball, track). Later on, I had a few pro baseball tryouts and bowled a few PBA events, but nothing of note. I would still love to be a pro bowler, but the time it takes to do that does not work well with my ministry schedule. (I maintained a 205-215 avg. from 1987 until I quit in 1996).

WIS

Do you play any sports now?

Davkarball

Once my knee is healed up, I plan on playing softball, golf and basketball regularly. I hope to eventually start playing tennis again.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Davkarball

Reggie Jackson is my favorite player of all-time, along with Rick Barry. I have always admired players who talked the talk, and then walked the walk. Deion Sanders may be my favorite football player just for that reason alone. Gretzky will always be my favorite hockey player.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

Davkarball

This question has kind of been turned on its ear since the steroid issues have come out. Mark McGwire is my 2nd all-time favorite baseball player. I like guys like Peyton Manning, Steve Nash and Baron Davis. I like guys who make everyone else better around them.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I believe very few players in this day and age can be considered "underrated" because of the extensive media coverage that every major sport now gets. However, I believe that hockey players as a whole are incredibly underrated. How they can have the skills on the ice, take the hits, etc. is amazing to me.

WIS

Overrated?

Davkarball

The most overrated athletes would have to be any athlete who felt they had to get ahead by using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. They obviously were not as good as advertised if they had to cheat to get ahead.

WIS

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

Davkarball

Breaking 80 in golf would probably be my biggest goal at the moment. My best score is an 88, so I have a ways to go. As far as going to an event, I have been to baseball playoff games...but I would love to go to an NBA Final. As much as I love baseball, if I had to choose between a World Series and the NBA Finals, I'd want to go to the Finals just to feel the energy in that small arena.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion?

Davkarball

Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Rick Barry, Charles Barkley & Jim Brown...that would make an interesting conversation. (I couldn't put Jesus in there, because He would always be right and that would be the end of the discussion).

WIS

What issues in sports today peak your interest? Why?

Davkarball

There are several issues. Steroids in baseball is a big one. The hockey debacle shocks me. How two groups of people cannot figure out how to cut a multi-billion dollar pie so that everyone is happy is beyond me. The other one is all the news from colleges about players getting arrested/suspended for rapes and other crimes. Don't they realize how incredibly blessed they are to get a college education and be able to make a life for themselves? It's like the player who signs a multi-year contract and then holds out mid-way through because he doesn't think he's making enough money...they're just so ungrateful!

WIS

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

Davkarball

Hockey needs the most help, so that's where I'd go. After sitting out for a year, I'd lock both sides in a broom closet...and NO ONE would come out until a deal was signed in blood!

WIS

Do you draw on the philosophies of any past or present coaches in SimLeagues?

Davkarball

Probably the closest I come to a real life coach would be Earl Weaver. His philosophy was to wait for the 3-run HR, and I love the power of baseball! I love guys who can hit the ball out of the yard, and pitchers who can make anyone whiff.

WIS

You've won over 40,000 SimLeague games. What is your greatest WIS moment?

Davkarball

My favorite moments in WIS have nothing to do with winning and losing. I have enjoyed creating my Theme Leagues and having other owners enjoy them as well. My "greatest moment" would have to be getting 48 basketball owners to each buy a 6-pack and compete in the "Best of WIS NBA" tourney.

Always remember: "DAVKAR" - The Name You Know for the Best in Theme Leagues! We will be starting Season #3 of the Best of WIS NBA in May.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

Davkarball

I love the sitemail and forums. I don't have as many posts as some of the "Pitsters", but the interaction between the other owners has been the most fun aspect for me and why I have stayed around all this time.

WIS

Least favorite?

Davkarball

I honestly don't have a least favorite thing right now.

WIS

You have helped with testing and consulting on many of our games and updates. If you could change one thing about each of our SimLeagues, what would it be and why?

Davkarball

After not playing hockey for a while, I was surprised to see how much better that sim is now working.

I am pretty satisfied with the basketball sim right now...except I wish that the programmer would look at the features that some of the other simleagues have and duplicate some of those components.

In football, I would have individual defensive players in football so that you were drafting your entire roster one-by-one instead of picking a team defense. Then, if I am drafting all 47 or so players myself, I would no longer draft a special teams unit - I'd have the owner pick who they wanted on special teams out of their roster that they drafted.

In baseball, I would institute injuries and revamp the salaries accordingly so that players who didn't play 162 games could get injured and that you would have to draft more than scrubs for your bench.

WIS

What are your thoughts on the latest baseball redesign?

Davkarball

I love being able to sort my team stats by category. That's my favorite part of the new design. Overall, I think it is a success.

WIS

Do you prefer open or theme leagues? Why?

Davkarball

I prefer a mix of open and theme leagues. If you only do one or the other, unless you only make "cookie-cutter" teams, you don't learn enough about the Sim.

If you are going to be successful in creating Theme Leagues, there are a couple things I'd suggest. First, join several other theme leagues and let those owners recognize you. Second, use the forums to your advantage. Let people get to know you so that they feel comfortable and trust that you will be a strong commish. That's one thing I think some owners underestimate. Someone will join your league if they know that you will stand by the rules you set and are willing to punish abusers. Third, I send over 100 sitemails to different owners for every league I start. For some, it's a friendly notice that I am getting something going. I will usually have over my leagues filled within 24 hours because I use the sitemail system to my advantage. Finally, there's nothing more important to filling a theme league than having a good reputation as an owner. People will play in your leagues out of respect and knowing that they will have fun in one of your leagues.

WIS

Having made the playoffs 283 times, winning 24 total championships, what is the best advice you can give to users in each of our SimLeagues?

Davkarball

The best and easiest advice I can give is simple...HAVE FUN AND DRAFT TO HAVE FUN! I have not won a lot in proportion to the amount of teams I have had, but I have had a lot of fun doing it. When I win, it's with the type of teams that I like and not the stereo-types that you see in the Top 25. I like high scoring in basketball, I love power in baseball...and that's what I draft. There is some balance that has to go into that, but I love to see my teams hit 10HRs or score 150pts.

WIS

What are your general guidelines to drafting in SimLeagues?

Davkarball

Like I said, draft to have fun first! Once you do that, you can make some compromises with yourself to take a couple guys that will help you vs. the sim. But, you won't stay very long if you're only drafting guys that will help you win - or drafting the same guys over and over again. Variety is what will keep the sim challenging and fun.

WIS

How do you approach the adjustable settings in the SimLeagues?

Davkarball

They're all important in baseball. I have learned to use the "recommendations" in baseball, and then I tweak them a little for my own taste. That speeds up the set-up for me. The only part that I set up fully myself is the relief pitchers. I don't like the pitch count recommendations that they set.

In basketball, I choose to use the double-team, although many say it doesn't make a difference. I use little else besides setting the positions/minutes for my guys.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I spend a lot of time in the forums. The Pit is not somewhere to go if you're faint of heart, but if you're looking for some interesting conversation about topics that have little/nothing to do with sports, that's the place to be. I don't agree with most of them (a lot of liberals in there), but I have never been shy about debate.

WIS

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

Davkarball

Sitemail is my main tool when getting a theme league going. Every once in a while I will get a sitemail asking for advice. In fact, probably because I am a Christian who posts in The Pit, those sitemails can be more about life than simsports.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I have much love and respect for virtually all of the owners that I have had association with. The other users are the real reason that I still hang out on this site.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I would suggest getting their feet wet with one or two open leagues, and then finding some good theme leagues with some established owners. Once you start interacting with the quality owners on this site, you're not going to want to leave.

WIS

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

Davkarball

I did have myself once as a AAA player in one of the baseball leagues. He was a relief pitcher and won 6 games in relief. As for myself, I'd have to go with real-life...I would be an outfielder with great speed, average defense and a .300 bat. I don't walk as much as Tony Phillips, so I would put myself in the $4-5M range!

User Profile

LoginID: Davkarball
Name: Dave
Age:39
Location:California
Occupation:Associate Pastor
Favorite Sport:Baseball
Favorite Team(s):A's, Warriors, Raiders
Member Since:June, 2001
Greatest WIS Moment:getting 48 basketball owners to each buy a 6-pack and compete in the "Best of WIS NBA" tourney.

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