Handball and Professional Stock Traders – More Skill, Less Effort


When I was in my 20’s, my friend Marty and I started playing handball after work at the local YMCA.  It was great fun and exercise, leaving us both wringing in sweat at the end of an hour.

One evening, as we were ready to play in our allotted time, two old guys asked if we would like to play against them in a game of doubles.

I say old guys with a wry smile on my face as I write this, because they were probably about my age today, and I don’t feel old at all.  But to our twenty-something year old minds, well, they were old guys (chuckle).

We looked at each other, and the silent youthful, possibly even overconfident (chuckle) thought that passed between us was, sure, we’ll kick these guys @#$’s in no time.

So we agreed to play doubles against the “old guys.”

And a game of handball commenced that I remember to this day.  It seems the old guys never really moved much, but they would constantly return a smoking high speed handball to somewhere far away in one of the corners of the court – always where we weren’t.

And Marty and I were running OUR @#$’s off.  It was the classic battle of skill and strategy versus inexperience.  Or put more succinctly, one of my favorite quotes, which is that, “youth and vigor can always be overcome by age and treachery.”

As I recall, they beat us rather handily, and thanked us for the game and left – presumably to go find some REAL competition.

Likewise, in the stock and options trading world, the real professionals stack up the odds in their favor and use maximum technique and minimum effort.

Like selling options, where the odds are 80% they will win, as opposed to others buying those options, which will only win 20% of the time.

Or as I heard Warren Buffett say in an interview not long ago, “I don’t try to find investments where I have to jump over a high fence.  I look for those I can just step over.”

Or something like that.

To your health and prosperity (and finding low fences to step over) – John

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