One of the things I’ve generally tried to avoid, partly because it seems too much effort for the pay off, is participation in fantasy sports leagues. That said, I have participated in two leagues before and have been recently been persuaded to join another one.
One of the things that’s kept me from taking part in fantasy leagues is how serious some of the participants take it. The first time I remember meeting a serious player was when an acquaintance of mine used paid holidays to fly back the USA from Japan for the fantasy baseball draft.To me this seems like something you don’t do unless lots of money, drugs or hookers are involved. Whatever was involved, the most surprising part was it made perfectly good sense to him to spend real money to fly back for a fantasy draft and his wife was supportive of it, in a kind of “you boys” sort of way.
A few years later I would be coaxed into joining a fantasy hockey league with a few Canadians and a couple Scotsmen. It is important to understand that despite their reputation for being nice, when it come to Hockey (they always capitalize it) they are as ruthless as the most bloodthirsty people you can imagine, even in a fantasy league. When they discus teams like the Leafs (Leaves?), Canadiens (Canadians?) and the Senators (Crooks?) which are the only teams I’ve heard them discuss, they lose all sense of humor but retain all their snark.
In the league, they started by stacking the rules to favor them: you select a team and you are only a allowed a few trades. (The game we joined allowed unlimited trades.) This hampered those of us who’d been on skates only once, thought you dribbled the puck and actually thought the highlighted puck on US sports channels was a good idea. Despite this, I managed to finish second in the pool. I was first for a while but a trip to dial-up land (my in-laws) prevented me from making an important substitution.
The next year we played again, but allowed unlimited trades. Once again I was first towards the end and once again was sabotaged by my in-laws (who I suspect were bribed by Canadians). Once again I finished second. Both years I had the Canadians (Canadiens? Habs?) worried but in the end one of them prevailed which is why I am still alive to write these posts.
Now, for the first time, I’m part of an NFL fantasy league and actually had to participate in the draft. Proving, once again, that I’d rather be lucky than good, my team is picked to win our league.
This means I won’t even finish in the top five in our league of four teams. I’m optimistic that way–and not that good at math.