Last night I spent close to 3 hours doing something I love, but what most parents (at least parents of my generation) classify as an epic waste of time and just don't understand it. Even some of my close friends don't even get it or think of it again as a waste of time. But then again there are a bunch of us that fight, nag, rage, tease, troll, and generally enjoy the "sport that isn't a sport" of fantasy sports. I am commissioner (in other words, basically I run the league) of a organization on my college's campus called Christian Campus House's fantasy football league, and we had our annual draft last night. The draft itself took close to 2 hours, which is a little on the long side for a 15-round, 12-team draft; and the other hour to an hour and a half I was preparing for it-setting up the room and planning out who I was going to take when. We like to do it old-school. We draft offline, or in-person, rather than online wherever the heck we are. It's kind of a tradition. It adds an effect that you don't get online-being in the same room with 11 other guys that are all trying to troll you out of a pick that you know you want but aren't totally sure about.
So how does fantasy sports work? Well it depends on what type of sport you're working with-baseball, football, basketball, and some sick freaks do hockey or even racing. Still not sure how that one works. At fantasy sport's most basic level, you create your own team consisting of current players in the chosen sport, usually done in a "draft". In a draft, you and the other team owners choose available players one-by-one until each owners' roster is full. The draft is technically the most important part of the season because at that point you create majority of the team that will take you through the season. I say "majority" because there are some, including myself, that think that actually the way you manage your team-working Free Agency (FA, or "waiver wire") list (lists of players that are undrafted or available to anyone) and making trades-makes or breaks your season. After the draft, basically the season consists of matchups that usually last a week in baseball or one week's of games in football. During the season you are allowed to swap out players for available players on FA or making trades with other teams. The commish basically oversees the whole process, and if he sees a obviously one-sided trade he has the power to block it, and generally keeps the peace. After the regular season there are playoffs consisting of usually 4-8 teams based on the way the commish set up the league, completing with one League Champion.
That's how it works. Why then, do we play it? what part of that do we so enjoy that we play (like me) in multiple leagues and keep coming back year after year? First off, the camaraderie we form with the other team owners. Yes, we mash on each other. Yes, we troll and get pissed at each other at times. But it stands as a great way to stay in touch. Second, a way to keep up with sports. Trust me...as soon as you get in fantasy sports you will get to know EVERYONE in EVERY sport you play fantasy about. As impossible as it sounds, you get to know much more than your favorite player on your favorite team. You get to know what's the second-string kicker on the Cleveland Browns (haha gotcha...they don't HAVE a second-string kicker!) or the number 3 starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers (right now Aaron Harang, usually Chad Billingsley but he's on the Disabled List right now). If you don't know it, you better look it up.
And finally, the biggest reason is the sense of accomplishment you get at the end of the season when you bust up people in the playoffs and win a championship!!! Actually you really don't necessarily need a title to feel accomplished. A good season for me is making the playoffs (which my teams tend to do with regularity) but the one-uppance you can put on your friends is the best feeling in the world. Twice in the past year in two different sports my team has backed into the playoffs in the final match-up of the season as the bottom seed (the worst team to make the playoffs) and made the championship game. In one I lost in the title game. The other one is pending right now but I'm winning as of today (wish me luck!!)
And that's all I got.
Author: Steve Elsner - www.rounding1st.blogspot.com