I am going to preface this by saying I stink at fantasy football. But I love it. For me, it’s about getting that additional piece of rooting interest on Sundays. I love watching NFL games, the athleticism, speed and mental make-up of all players and coaches is unparalleled in any sport.
A little over 20 years ago I was invited to join a league. I had no idea what I was doing, and it showed. I showed up with a pen and a Fantasy Football Magazine, that was it. Guys had binders filled with player info (see what I did there?) with colored charts and talking as if they were the Mel Kiper of the Fantasy World. I was in way over my head.
I got trounced that year. I wasn’t the worst, but it felt like I was. But I had fun, and thus started my two-decades-long journey through Fantasy Football.
I only lasted two years in that league. We parted mutually, I just wasn’t the right fit for the league. It was cool. I am still friendly with those guys, and I am not even sure their league still exists. In 1999, I started the league I currently am in with seven buddies. The league is now 12 teams deep. Up until two years ago we had a waiting list to join.
Our league is very competitive. We make fun of each other endlessly and talk trash. We have our version of historical games compared to the “Immaculate Reception,” “The Catch” and “The Snow Bowl.” Ours sound like “Favre’s Dead Dad Game,” “Somebody Please Tackle Shaun Alexander Game” and “He started Flacco over Brady? Game.” That last game directly led to me winning my only championship in 2016.
There was one year where one of the owners was leading going into Monday Night by some ungodly number and he took a victory lap the morning of, taunting his opponent endlessly basically telling him to wave the white flag. He lost. sooner had the Monday Night game ended than an e-mail blast came from the winning owner and it was his version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but in fantasy terms, just sticking it to the trash talking owner. Clement Clark Moore would be so proud.
If I were to explain our league, we could have been the inspiration behind the FX show “The League.” We are highly-functioning human beings, but put this game between us and we are a scene out of “Animal House”
Our league has your standard rules, but it has some heavy punitive rules that nearly cause fist fights when being enforced. We have a mandatory “in-person” draft. Not showing up puts you at the last pick in the first two rounds. We do have a few people that live out of state, so we “try” to accommodate
We have a losers playoffs called the “Magnum.” We created this playoff to avoid tanking for next year’s draft. the first person eliminated, which is usually the worst team, has to wear a bushy mustache two weeks prior to the draft and during the draft. I had to wear it last year, and to be honest, I looked more like Tony Clifton than Tom Selleck.
After the draft we have a bonfire and we just hang out like we have done for the better part of our lives.
I don’t do other fantasy sports. It’s just too much of a time suck because it’s everyday. I don’t have that kind of time.
I normally only do one Fantasy League. The worst thing ever is having Tom Brady and going up against Tom Brady. It compounds the issue when it is in the playoffs. However, this year I joined a league at work and I plan to write about it weekly.
Fantasy brings the best and worst out of me, I mean that in the best possible way. It adds a level of togetherness on Sundays, when several guys in my league get together at each other’s houses and watch the games (obviously centered around Patriots games). We never root Fantasy over Pats, that’s the rule!
I know this isn’t just me, but when a player gets hit real hard in a game and is barely moving, is it wrong to get online and check who is back up is and put a waiver claim in? C’mon, you’ve all done it.
If playing fantasy football and being obnoxious about it is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. It doesn’t consume me, but it makes the NFL season that much more fun. As a Pats fan, there aren’t many more left before it comes crashing down.
P.S. For the people out there who make fun of the Dungeons and Dragons players, fantasy football is the same thing with less imagination. Don’t kid yourself.