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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's This Fantasy Nonsense About?

I have just gotten over one obsession. Now my seasonal obsession has started.  Here in the US (for my overseas readers) American Football is about to start.  And, though, clinically this alone could be considered my obsession... sadly, it's not.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE everything about football (minus the rules on end zone celebrations).  I watch college games on Saturday.  I watch the NFL on Sunday and Monday (sometimes Thursday).  Then I watch the highlights of both on ESPN.  And now, during the week, I get to watch the rebroadcast of all of the NFL games on the NFL network.  And with all of that... It's STILL not my seasonal obsession.  My seasonal obsession is Fantasy Football.

I just heard the GROAN from 85% (more like 98% but who's counting) of my readers.  And they are all saying, "Not you, too?!? How could such an awesome husband and father get sucked up into a web of deception, intrigue and just utter silly nonsense???" Easy... My wife plays in the league, too!  It's always easier to live with a vice if you are with someone who enjoys the same vices.  Granted... she is not at my level of obsesstitude but she is trying and that's what really counts.

This post, however, is not for me to defend my FFO (Fantasy Footbal Obsession).  This post is another in a series (that I didn't know I was writing) about what men are thinking.  A lot of my posts have let the female mind into the simple but oft believed complex inner workings of the male mind.  This one is no different.  I was asked what is it about Fantasy Football that makes men want to sell their first born child to hold up the plastic trophy (worth $25 - $3 if you go by how much it costs to make)?  And I'm not sure we like it THAT much, but it's close.  My second or third born are completely acceptable trades for the trophy.  (But not both.  I'm not a monster.)

During this time of year a lot of my fellow male bloggers are being asked why we like Fantasy Football so much.  That is in no way meant to disrespect the female bloggers who play Fantasy Football.  But I'm sure you don't hear it as much as we do.  So I decided to see if I could explain it my way.

Let's change it from Fantasy Football to Fantasy Monopoly.  Now instead of the sheer chance of you landing on a property (like say Boardwalk), in Fantasy Monopoly you get to go around the room and CHOOSE which (unchosen) property you want.  So the first person is going to pick Boardwalk.  The next person will get Park Place and so on until all of the property is chosen.  Now that all of the property is chosen, you get to hire someone to play the game for you but you get to keep all of the money.  So THEY roll the dice and move the little dog, or boot or car around the board.  When someone lands on your property, YOU get the money.

Now some of rules have been changed.  I mean, who doesn't play Monopoly with house rules?  It has been changed so that now you can add houses and hotels to ANY property whether you own the whole set of colors or not.  Some of you play that way already!  So you are used to the house rules.  But now you can even put houses and hotels on the railroads and utilities.  And any time someone lands on those you get even MORE money.  Then you play this for about 14 weeks.  The person who has the most money wins!!!  Really, this is not much different than middle management at a Fortune 100 company (minus all of the zeros in the salary).  So it's a life-skill.

Ok... Now that I have explained that... I'm sure the questioning people have even more questions.  So let me try this another way.  Let's play a game of Fantasy School.

In this game, you get to use your child's school.  If you don't have a child you can really choose ANY school at random.  It doesn't matter as long as everyone playing uses the same school.  Before you play this game, you are given access to EVERY child's current grade level, test scores, I.Q. scores, last year's attendance records, medical records, current families' income, teachers notes, disciplinary records, after school activities, class schedule and, really, just about any piece other of information you would need to know about that child.

The point of Fantasy School is to take all of those factors and choose the children you think will make the highest grades week after week.  So you begin to do a kickball style "draft" of the "players" you want on  your Fantasy Team.  The good news is that you don't even have to pick your own kid!  This is Fantasy Sports!  They will never know.  (That has to at least peak the interest of some.)  You are purely picking the kids that you think will perform at the highest level.  And by highest level, I mean the highest test scores.

So now on to the scoring.  We all know that everyone can't get straight A's in school.  So there is a scoring system based on that.  A = 5 points, B = 4 points, C = 3 points... (You get the picture here.)  But you can't just draft people based on that.  Because in this league, you lose 3 points anytime the teacher has to "verbally" correct the student.  You lose 4 points if your child gets sent to the principal office.  You lose 7 points if your child gets expelled.  Then at the end of every semester of school (or whatever time frame you want (It's your league.  Get wild with the rules!)) you add (or subtract) the total points.  The person who ends up with most points, wins!

NOW you can see how addictive this can be (whatever).  But you have to enjoy the REAL sport behind the FANTASY sport.  And since I love football, I'm addicted to Fantasy Football.  And if you didn't like my explanation, I, at the very least, have made up 2 NEW games that I'm going to try to trademark next season.  Maybe that will take my mind off of my current 4-month long addiction.  Honestly, I'm not sure it can be counted as a real addiction because I'm only in 4 leagues this year.  I think it takes 5 or more leagues for you to call it an addiction.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Plus I'm playing with my wife so this is definitely going to be logged as family time (whether she likes it or not).  She loves to play.  But more importantly she loves to beat ME.  And we are not even going to talk about that one.  That's another blog for another day.