Fantasy sports have exploded in the past decade. Millions of Americans flock to ESPN, Yahoo and other sites year round to play fantasy football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. You name it you can play a fantasy version. Fantasy has become increasingly prevalent in the sports media world. Just turn on ESPN on Sunday mornings during football season and you will find fantasy analysts discussing and debating player rankings, updating injury news and informing audiences of potential sleeper picks. So why have fantasy sports taken off the way they have? You have to play to find out.
I’ve played fantasy three years now. I started with a single football league in 2011 with my buddies in high school (I won that championship and you know it Taylor). Last season I was in four football leagues and now I’m in two baseball leagues in my first try at it. Fantasy is more than a hobby for me, it’s an obsession. I’ve been up late at night scouring waiver wires looking for players to pick more times than I can count. I’ve stared at opposing owners rosters for hours contemplating the perfect trade. At first I equated my obsession to my competitiveness. I’m one of those hate-losing-more-than-I-love-winning type guys who wants to be good at everything he does. You name it, if I’m playing, I’m playing to win. The pressure for me to win in fantasy was higher than any sport I’ve ever played because when I lost in fantasy I got to hear trash talk for a whole week from my buddies at school. There was no escaping the potential punishment so failure was not an option. So I got good at it. I’ve at least made the playoffs every year in every league I’ve had (except for a 3-10 campaign in 2012 that I still cringe thinking about).
Naturally, I want to share something I’m good at with other people. Trying to explain fantasy to someone who has no idea what you’re talking about is problematic at best. They stare at you and you can see the “what’s he talking about” look on their face as you try to explain. You’d understand if you played. I got a copy of “Fantasy Life” by ESPN’s Matthew Berry, which is a must read if you play fantasy or not, even if you’re not that into sports… seriously open another tab to Amazon and order it now then come back… I’ll wait, I read that book cover to cover in a day. I told one of my most trusted friends what the book is about (she doesn’t play fantasy) I have never heard her laugh harder. She told me that was probably the dumbest thing she’s ever heard of. You’d understand if you played. The other day I was talking about my fantasy baseball team with my girlfriend, and after a while she looks at me and says, “I love it when you talk about your nerdy things.” You’d understand if you played! There have been these examples and plenty of other times where I can’t help but defend fantasy sports because it’s more than just a game.
Fantasy allows you to do something you would probably never get the chance to do otherwise: be a general manager of a team. You have complete control of a team and you make all the decisions. Your team is your own creation. You make it by drafting it and you manage it through the season. You’re proud of your team when it wins and it’s awful when it loses. Fantasy provides great highs and crushing lows. It can unify friends or divide them. It’s a great game to play even if you aren’t hardcore about sports. If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine.
You’d understand if you played. April 9, 2014 in Uncategorized.