I want to tell you a little story, once upon a time I was lost, confused, heartbroken and at the end of my rope. I was certain the light at the end of my tunnel was a train; and it felt like John Henry himself was stocking the fire and ordering up more speed. I needed something in my life; I needed something to belong to.
Under the disguise of a commercial during another monotonous NFL game I found my calling; I found my passion in life. The great world of fantasy football came a calling, and I answered loudly.
The last couple of years have been a learning experience for me and my new found hobby. The biggest thing I have learned is that you don’t know and you will never know what will happen on football Sunday. No matter how much you read or speculate, it never goes how you thought it would and that’s the beauty of it.
Let’s hop back and bring everyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about up to speed; for the rest of you hardened fantasy veterans “smoke em if ya got em.”
Fantasy football is a wonderful little invention where you can build and manage your own starting football team using any professional NFL player you think will score you the most points during a game. The year starts off with a draft, which is modeled like the one you see on television during the spring of every year. You draft available players from any team you would like, based on how you assume they will play during the up-coming season. Players are awarded points for certain things during a game, like catching a pass or rushing for a certain amount of yards. Touchdowns are awarded more points and points are taken away for mistakes; like fumbles and throwing an interception.
The game itself is simple; you choose an allotted amount of players on your team who you believe will perform the best during their next game. Your opponent chooses his players and then the battle begins. The most points scored wins the match. There are usually 8-12 friends who bring their teams together to form a league. This is where the fun begins
I devote all of my time and effort to one league, the league is made up of friends from high school and it’s a great way to keep in touch with old buddies, because it gives you a reason to talk; until one of your friends stabs you in the back on a trade or a waiver wire pick-up and then you have every right to hate them for the rest of the season. They will become your mortal enemy.
Fantasy football creates an environment that breeds cometition and that gets fun when you are around friends you are very comfortable with. Friends who you can tease about how great they looked in the 90’s hair style “the bowl cut” because you still have the picture hidden away somewhere in a drawer.
Take for instance, in my beloved league; we have a first place trophy and a punishment for finishing last place. Our last place punishment is that the loser has to dress like a princess and be our “draft princess” during next year’s draft.
This little hobby really helps build comradery amongst the group. The life of an adult leaves little time for friends and companionship other than your family or work family. Fantasy football gives you a reason to call them and explain how much smarter you are than them because you played the right player and they didn’t.
Once you start playing the game, it becomes easier and easier as the season goes on. You pick up on things and begin to correct your rookie mistakes and by the time it rolls around next year you are hungry for a win.
I’m not the greatest fantasy football player by any means. I am the greatest in my league, but that’s not saying much. Take for instance my best friend in the whole world; he owns a team in my league called the Sandsiding Sillynannies, it breaks my heart to watch him try so hard to win, but he never does. He even had the lowest score in the league last week, but he is hooked and he will never give up because he loves playing fantasy football with his friends. It’s admirable in a childish sort of way. He is like our Rudy.
Fantasy football is a great way to constructively manage time if you find yourself with nothing to do. It’s not hard to learn and makes the games way more exciting. Instead of waiting all day for your favorite team to play, you can enjoy different games all day because that player is on your fantasy team. You will gain a broader understanding of the game of football and you can’t say it wouldn’t be great to call up some of your old buddies and have a reason to meet once a year for the draft.
If you have been thinking about trying it out for a while but just haven’t jumped into it yet, that’s okay because fantasy football is designed to be flexible. You can create a team and join a random league or you and your friends can create your own league and make your own rules for said league.
The season is just beginning and I will be bringing more fantasy football information as the season moves along for those who are playing right now. Next week, we will talk about the different styles of fantasy players, the habits you need to pick up and the ones you need to drop in order progress through the season without ending up like the Sandsiding Sillynannies.
There will be more comical and embarrassing stories about the Sillynannies as the season goes on because they are always good for a laugh. Don’t forget to set those line-ups before the deadline. Have a happy football Sunday.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)