Friday, December 4, 2009

Fantasy Football: Destroying (My) Friendships and (My) Phones Since 2005

What a stupid game. A stupid, stupid game. A game where all you do is pick a list of 10 players to "start" for your "team" each weekend, then leave everything to the fantasy football gods or whatever other deities you believe control these sorts of things. Even though you only have control of the roster you build and zero control over the injuries and failures of the players on said team, you blame yourself for losses. These losses, by the way, are invariably more painful than your victories are joyous. The perfect example happened in Week 8 this year. My game against my buddy all came down to the Monday Night game between the Saints and the Falcons. Facing near certain loss, two of my guys (Drew Brees and Pierre Thomas) combined for a TD, vaulting me improbably into the lead. Almost as soon as this happened, the Saints D, whom my buddy employed that week, picked off Matt Ryan to snatch the victory right from under my nose. Seconds later, my phone was flung 15 feet into the wall across the living room. May it rest in peace.

I have been the early 1990s Buffalo Bills of this league as of late. I have made the four team playoffs in our 10 team league each of the last three seasons. I have finished second, fourth, second. Even last season, when my team ripped off 10 consecutive wins to steamroll to the championship game, I lost by 20 when it mattered most. Second place finishes (and money) is alright, but not what I'm looking for.

So why would I play if it puts me through so much misery? It's because I love competition, for one. Why just sit around and watch football when you can gamble on it in multiple forms and beat your friends in the process? Also, it makes every game that affects your team interesting. I can sit through a Lions-Rams game as long as I started Kevin Smith that week. Finally, the victories are sweet, even if the emotion isn't as strong as the one created from a tough loss. So yes, fantasy football drives me crazy and I hate it...

...but I love it, too.

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