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Fantasy Sports: The Lowest of the Low of Human Ambition (An Ill-Tempered Week Part Last)

 

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I play fantasy sports.  I have done this for years and years and years.  Let me admit: I am occasionally pretty good at this, playing a math game over far more talented people than myself, the athletes, judging, predicting and gauging what these people are going to do in the games they play in their overpaid careers.  I love sports, as I suspect many of you do too.  There is no better distraction, regardless of your level of interest, than watching physical dynamos play games you were probably never very good at.

 

Listen:  I played baseball as a child.  I was actually pretty good.  I was a pitcher and I threw hard and many of the useless children I threw high and inside fastballs to were scared and did not really want to be there.  I boxed, briefly, as well, my first fight at the age of eleven against some frightened boy whose terrible father forced to stand there in the ring to “toughen him up” while I, at the very least a serious fan of the sport, jumped around and pretended that I knew what I was doing.  Once the fight began I awkwardly whacked the kid in the face twice and he crouched down on the canvas and started crying.  What was I supposed to do?  I figured I was awesome.  I made this kid cry.  I was a future superstar.  I was going to be, I don’t know, the middleweight champion of the world seven or nine years later.  Of course four fights later I went against someone who knew what they were doing and my ass was thoroughly kicked.  I still loved the sport and, if nothing else, it taught me how to take a punch (something that has unfortunately been useful throughout my life).

 

This competitive nature, and an awareness that I am not and never will be the best, probably has helped to make me a serious competitor in fantasy sports.  Much to my surprise, the “league” that I compete in, something I have avidly attempted over the past twelve years, is made up of a group of men, some of whom are actually my friends.  Two of them I have known since I was a child, while another I met long ago in my early twenties.  There is another who has been an an acquaintance since I was fifteen, the older brother of a friend who has moved away to parts unknown.  The rest of them are mostly roving individuals I see once a year when we have the draft, or the random new guy whom I will never see again.  Of course the game is football, my least favorite sport.

 

Here’s my team this year:

PLAYERS
SCHEDULE
RANK
TRENDS
FANTASY POINTS
EDIT POS PLAYERS OPP GAME TIME BYE POSRNK OVP OWN START PER. 2 AVG PROJ
PLAYERS
SCHEDULE
RANK
TRENDS
FANTASY POINTS
EDIT POS PLAYERS OPP GAME TIME BYE POSRNK OVP OWN START PER. 2 AVG PROJ
TQB Cardinals TQB | ARI CAR
Sun 4:05pm

12 89% 40% 4.00 10.50 12.40
RB James Conner RB | PIT @SF
Sun 4:25pm

7 17 5 100% 84% 10.00 8.00 9.60
RB David Montgomery RB | CHI @WAS
Mon 8:15pm
6 23 19 100% 77% 12.00 7.50 9.60
WR Brandin Cooks WR | LAR @CLE
Sun 8:20pm

9 16 1 100% 83% 13.00 8.00 9.40
WR Mike Evans WR | TB NYG
Sun 4:05pm

7 17 30 100% 96% 6.00 4.00 11.40
WR Sammy Watkins WR | KC BAL
Sun 1:00pm

12 11 19 100% 91% 4.00 20.50 10.60
TE George Kittle TE | SF PIT
Sun 4:25pm

4 6 26 100% 94% 5.00 5.00 8.80
DST Texans DST | HOU @LAC
Sun 4:25pm

10 15 23 64% 37% 8.00 5.50 6.03
K Eddy Pineiro K | CHI @WAS
Mon 8:15pm
6 21 16 11% 7% 10.00 6.50 5.50
RESERVES
TQB Redskins TQB | WAS CHI
Mon 8:15pm
10 13% 2% 12.00 16.00 7.20
RB Kerryon Johnson RB | DET @PHI
Sun 1:00pm

5 20 9 100% 87% 14.00 9.50 11.60
WR Demarcus Robinson WR | KC BAL
Sun 1:00pm

12 30 19 82% 35% 29.00 14.50 6.40
WR Kenny Stills WR | HOU @LAC
Sun 4:25pm

10 18 23% 2% 3.00 6.00 5.80
TE Darren Waller TE | OAK @MIN
Sun 1:00pm

6 9 6 90% 58% 6.00 6.50 5.20
DST Chiefs DST | KC

For those of you in the know clearly I have no idea what the fuck I am doing.  Yes, sure, once upon a time I think ten years ago now I actually won the league, taking home something like $400 because we all have to pay for this league to exist online.  Last year I unexpectedly made the final round, where I was thoroughly crushed.  My winnings allowed me to play this year for free.  This is the team I managed to gather, literally every planned picked taken before I had a chance to get them.  I am 0-2 this year, about to be 0-3.  I accept that the accomplishments of others sometimes do not work out as I wish they did, being a fan and all, but the curious thing, and I suppose the point of this entire piece is that some people take this nonsense very personally.

 

There are people involved with this silliness who gauge their masculinity on how some person they have never met performs in a game they were never good at, or even never played.  They scream about their knowledge of teams, their recognition of unexpected talent, and just how great they are for realizing how good another person is at what they do for a living.  And we gamble on their lives, on their genuine experiences, and hope they do not get hurt and end their careers (or wish them injury if our team is playing against them).  We are fans only of the players we choose and the teams themselves, regardless of our location or our deeply held passions, are only worthwhile once we have either lost or our team consists of numerous hometown superstars.

 

I state every year to those hyper-serious people (and one of them has always been the same guy, the otherwise kind and generous soul who allows the twelve of us to visit his home on draft night, get drunk and loud and stupid, and challenge each other over the accomplishments of others.  After the draft we all look over the board and predict who will win and how we might challenge them if we can only engineer a trade or find some unheard of player who will rise to the top of the real world.)–every year I tell them that this is not a dick-size contest.  I state that these players are not playing for us.  I mention that their lives are their own and that many of them are horrible people while others are charitable heroes who should be celebrated not because they scored a touchdown, but because they raised enough money to save another person’s life.  None of us do this.  We only look at the stats, hoping that they score twice so we can win, and fuck those cancerous children the player has dedicated their lives to helping.

 

This is what bothers me about this stupid, although honestly fun and genuinely social experience, nonsense we play with our friends as we grow older and older and have nothing left to talk about.  It becomes so angry at times, and psychotically competitive as the season winds down.  Genuinely unforgivable things are said to one another and the attacks once the play-offs begin prove that our worship of people other than ourselves who do things we could never achieve makes us small.  It makes us petty.  It causes anyone involved in these games to realize that our lives have far less meaning than we ever thought they would when we were young.

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