My recent posts have been of a more serious nature–placing politics, human emotion, parenthood, and important life experiences at the center of my work. Today; however, I wish to lighten the tone. As you may tire from reading earnest and intense accounts of great moral conviction and hope, I too tire from writing them (for now). Sometimes, I just need to write about the most trivial of things. Today, that thing is fantasy sports.
After only a few weeks of partaking in my first fantasy sports league, I was hooked. Like many of my friends, I salivated at the idea of constructing a team of superhero athletes able to perform feats that leave the rest of us astonished and begging for more. After all, watching an out-of-market NFL game is far more interesting when you need that team’s number two receiver to score a touchdown and accrue 30 plus yards to win that week’s matchup. Or sometimes you just need a defensive stop, turnover, or field goal. However you look at it, fantasy sports have changed the landscape of how many view, internalize, and value the entertainment. Frankly, it’s ridiculous–and that’s exactly why I love it.
My wife thinks I am crazy–and that truth spans far beyond the mere reach of fantasy football or other sports, but my desire to trash talk my buddies while watching something that none of us have control over has a child like quality that is indescribable and fun in nature. Take last year for example. I needed David Johnson to score 30 points or more to win a matchup, and while it was not impossible, it was highly improbable. Even though Johnson was emerging as an elite back, it was still unlikely. Would he turn in a 100 plus yard performance and 1-2 touchdowns? Maybe. But if you know anything about the point scales of fantasy football, and this league is not PPR, then you recognize the challenge this presented. Needless to say, my opponent unleashed loads of trash talk prior to the game, and I would have done the exact same. But the reason that fantasy sports is so fun, among many, is the unpredictable nature–at least in the eyes of the common man who knows not the algorithms that seem to make a few regulars highly profitable on sites like FanDuels. I had to listen to my opponent say things like, “Hey, great job. You’ll only lose by 20 or so.” Or, “Too bad you didn’t start half your bench.” And again, I reiterate, I would have done the same thing. But that night, Johnson went off for 187 yards rushing, 42 yards receiving, and 3 rushing touchdowns. In my league, where 100 plus yard efforts yield two extra points, this night turned out 42 points for Johnson and a victory for my fantasy squad. But what came next is what really made the evening fun for me.
Memes. Memes are Internet gold. At this point, Johnson had sealed the victory for me and I had stopped receiving text messages from my opponent. The group thread that all of the league members had been frequenting seemed to cease–the week of football was over and we needed to consider bigger picture items before next week’s antics began. But I couldn’t wait that long. It was now my turn to talk trash, so I turned to a meme generator app and found a nice picture of David Johnson smiling at the camera. I added the text, “That feeling when you think David Johnson can’t possibly beat you…and then he hangs 42 on you.” The group chat had a nice time with this message.
So while I will never grace the mound of a major league stadium or throw a game-winning touchdown, I will always be able to build teams, make trades, and create unsupported, convoluted, immature, and childish arguments before, during, and sometimes after a friendly matchup. Fantasy sports has given me a ridiculous outlet that I so enjoy–one that makes every game meaningful in the most meaningless of ways. Go team.
All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?