IT'S that time of year when you question your worth. When you sit down and take the veritable long, hard look.
It's relevant to include a qualifying statement here that although AFL tipping competitions have already ended, concepts discussed here may be familiar.
We're talking the final round of NRL tipping comps. You're either in the mix or ... well, you're questioning if it's even worth bothering next time around.
Should you save yourself the grief; the continual angst of having to remember if games start Thursday or Friday night; the second-guessing of whether key players are returning from injury when the club has indicated or a surprise three weeks early?
These are huge, first-world problems and for 25 weeks of the year, they can weigh you down, significantly so.
Footy tipsters of any code understand that heart-sinking feeling of getting the first match of the round wrong. It's depressing, it means every match of the weekend doesn't really matter.
Tip it correctly and there's hope. There's a beacon of shining light awaiting you on Sunday. We all live in the sublime hope of tipping the round, yet, so quickly it can evaporate.
Then, of course, there's that eternal dilemma - head or heart. Do you tip your favourite team regardless? Or do you attempt to follow the form?
A quick straw poll suggests staying loyal (unless you're a Storm fan or possibly a Rooster booster) gets you nowhere fast. Witness that ever-optimistic Knights fan quietly rocking in the corner.
But then are you even a ridgey-didge fan if you tip against team? Some would say not. Oh, the great existential debate of sports fandom.
What is even more distressing is discovering the tipping techniques of your rivals.
One (previously) much-loved member of an office comp admitted, confidentially at first, that he pitted club nicknames against each other. For instance, a Dragon would eat a Rabbitoh, a Tiger would overwhelm a Cowboy.
You can only begin to imagine the utter despondency of alleged league experts when he finished higher up the tipping ladder.
But the ultimate death blow came this week. A friend proudly boasted of her partner's near-certain tipping victory in the pub comp. We shared the joy of his success and celebrated his sporting prowess.
He submitted every tip on day one. No last-minute changes of heart, no injury hang-ups. Tips submitted six months in advance. Sigh.
Janine Graham is an ACM journalist