Skip to main content

Tim Brown: Playing Not to Lose

The markets are so volatile, I'd make more money sitting on the sidelines.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Momentum is an important factor in pro sports. It can give players extra confidence or it can run them down and rob them of the belief they have in their own skills. It's a very powerful factor and one that can't and won't show up on a stat sheet.

Some good teams have become great by getting hot at the right time. They have parlayed their talent with an extra emotional boost to go on to do great things. On the flip side, some dominant teams have gotten cold at the wrong time and missed out on taking home the crown, even when all the reporters, fans and newscasters predicted they would win.

You need look no further than last year's Super Bowl, when the New York Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots. The


Patriots!!! This Major League Baseball season has its own examples as well. Look at the Chicago Cubs -- who were the best team in the National League this season. They were bounced in the first round by the Los Angeles Dodgers -- a team that has gotten a boost by the acquisition of outfielder Manny Ramirez -- but by most accounts, was the weakest division leader in the N.L.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Angels were knocked off in four games by the Boston Red Sox. Now, the Sox are the defending world champs, but they failed to win their division and got into the playoffs by clinching the wildcard spot. They had lost Manny's bat, and although Jason Bay is a real solid ballplayer, many quipped that there is only one Manny. Plus, the Angels were the best team in the American League this season and many had predicted great things for the Halos.

Momentum is a powerful factor and something to consider, especially in the markets. Yesterday the market was brutal, but it looks like nothing compared to the way traders acted after the opening bell this morning. The government's actions have done little to calm people's fears and the plunge in the market is getting really scary.

Now, I'm sure it will bounce back. It always does. But if you are looking to buy low, sell high for your long-term investment, it's nearly impossible to know when this panic-selling will stop. At this moment, I am not looking to make money. I am looking not to lose any.

I feel that until this craziness subsides, I would be potentially throwing money out the window, or placing it in the market with a lot of downward potential. It may climb back, but may take some time. Now, the point here is there is no predictability. The data on many stocks does not matter if there is a stampede to the exits. And good ones are getting dragged down with the bad.

So, for today at least, I am content to ride the pine and wait to see when I can get back in the game.

Keep moving the chains!

At the time of publication, Brown had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tim Brown played 16 seasons in the NFL, where he made nine Pro Bowls. After a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Brown retired as an Oakland Raider. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college for Notre Dame.