Fantasy leagues are a reality for geeksIt’s August. Yep, it’s that time of year again when your heart starts pounding like a jackhammer and you feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins. The pressure is immense. Competition is cutthroat. It’s like working a second job, only more intense. One that you can’t get fired over, but where a lousy performance drives you just as insane, if not more. You hate math but you spend more hours than you did preparing for the SATs staring at numbers, analyzing them. You belong to a fantasy world where real players’ stats on the field translate into points in a game called fantasy league. You also belong to a group that freely admits its geek status.
My cabal of friends and I just started another football fantasy league season and I think it’s going to be one of those things that falls into the category of tradition. It’s a nice way to have fun. Serious fun. We all live on different continents so this pastime has become a perfect way to stay in touch through a common passion.
If you ever wondered what drives people to cough up a good hunk of money ― the league I joined costs $49.95 ― and keeps them glued to the monitor, I’ll give you a glimpse of this world. Are drugs addictive? Try this. Religion? God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” but that was before fantasy leagues arrived.
Fantasy leagues are all about bragging rights. It’s that simple. Yes, there are cash prizes but that’s of secondary interest. Whether in football or fishing, one win gives you the ultimate bragging right (at least until the next game). Imagine winning your fantasy league Super Bowl. That means you’ve just been granted brag-all-you-want rights for the rest of the year, at least until the season starts up again.
I know what I’m talking about; I have learned the hard way. Friends never forget your losing record ― and I mean never. You become the mockery of your league, the laughingstock, carrying an invisible ‘loser’ stamp on your forehead until you prove otherwise.
It all begins on draft day for your players. In one hand you have your stats sheet, in the other your list of players earmarked as sleepers. You’ve marked draft day on the calendar as a day when all other activities cease to exist. It’s national draft day, a holiday. If you’re married you send your wife on a shopping trip. If you have a girlfriend you might call in sick, unplug the phone or blame a power outage.
Fantasy leagues are also about having the edge, any edge.
Only my day job distracts me from fantasy league season. My friend Yessa has married, has an adorable daughter, so that’s my edge. This other dude, Hide, happens to run his own business and that’s surely more time-consuming than just being an employee. I figure that’s my edge. As for the rest of our crew, again, I have the edge. Why? Because I am on the ropes. I can’t finish last for yet another season. My grandchildren would hear about it.
The fact that there aren’t any fantasy leagues for Korea’s professional sports is driving me crazy. Fantasy leagues help to create another fan base for games and cement existing ones. If one ever gets off the ground and becomes the next hot thing in town let me just say, “I told you so,” all right.
by Brian Lee