19 August 2009

Fantasy Sports

You women readers may want to get the men involved in this one. The end of Summer always marks one huge landmark event for me: Drafting my Fantasy Football Team. I admit, I am addicted, hooked, lined and sinkered. I started playing fantasy football in 1997, out of curiosity to see what it was all about. I had no clue. All I knew is that when I was watching football games, they had a little ticker at half time about the fantasy impact. This was enough to get me to start to dabble. Sheer curiosity. So I did a team. Then I did it again, now I can not wait for it. It doesn't stop at football either. I do fantasy basketball. I have a fantasy baseball team. I even have a football survival team, football pick 'em bracket, and salary cap fantasy football. Shamefully, the same curiosity got me into a fantasy NASCAR bracket, fantasy Wimbledon Bracket (I have a crush on most of the female tennis players from Europe), and fantasy golf. Thankfully the last three didn't stick.

A quick synopsis of fantasy sports. You get into a league against friends (or strangers) who all draft a mock team. Any current active player is free game. You can draft the quarterback from the Dolphons to throw to the receiver from the 49ers. So you get your team together and place them in their spots and whatever stats they earn in the real game, gets transferred over to your team stats. So the trick is getting the lineup each week of the guys that are going to have the good stats. Then your fantasy stats are matched up against another's fantasy stats and the team with the best stats wins the game that week. This may be confusing to the non-fantasy player, but it doesn't matter.

My point in all of this is really not to give a sales pitch for fantasy sports. If you have not ventured into that world, and are a sports fan, you are definitely missing out. Think of it as Dungeons and Dragons for former athletes-or the "wish-they-were-athletes for that matter. The games come with all sorts of unspoken rituals and bragging rights. A "my dad can beat up your dad" sort of game.

In recent years I have realized something about playing fantasy sports though. It has ruined my fanmanship. (Did I just make up a word?) This has become more and more apparent due to the constant cajoling and mocking from my family. Yes, I will elaborate. ( Yes, I know I am pretending someone is asking me questions as I write.)

My family is a sports family. Sports fans all around. Football fanatics. (It was very important for me to use the entire root word for fan there when mentioning football. It really brings out the true definition.) My Grandpa played every sport and coached every sport. He was so actively involved in the sports program at East High, right up to his death last summer, that I am sure a field, arena, or weight room in the future will have his name on it. His sons, my uncles, all played every sport as well, some as far as college. My immediate family, IE- dad and brothers, all played. As far as football goes, they are all avid Chicago Bears fans. My sister-in-law, amazingly (or maybe not coincidentally), is a Bears fan as well. (That makes it easier on game days I would imagine.) I have 4 brothers. 2 of them, plus my dad, cheer the bears rain or shine, even the Kyle Orton years. They know exactly where they stand. The other likes the Giants, and one likes the 49ers. (Get to the point you say, and stop with the parenthesis?) Had you asked me years ago, I would have said I was a New York Jets fan-and I may still be. I am not sure what ever happened to make me a New York Jets fan, except I recall getting a replica Mark Gastineau jersey, number 99, for Christmas when I was not more than 8 years old. So I started watching the Jets. Thankfully I avoided watching the Broncos and the Chargers even though they were on TV the most.

Back to fantasy sports. Fantasy sports have destroyed my ability to choose and cheer for a favorite team. Living in Utah makes it hard to side with any football team. I know the Mormon world likes to side with the 49ers because Steve Young played there and that somehow makes them an honorary LDS team, but not me. So my brothers have given me a lot of lip the last few years and have tried to force my hand. I have been called a fair weather fan. A bandwagoner. Truth is, I am not sure what to do about it. I cheer for the players that end up on my fantasy team. To be honest, I do not like this situation. I need to pick a team. I thought for a while I would become a Packers fan, because I loved watching Favre, and I had a couple of the Green Bay receivers on my teams, but I just can't bring myself to get behind Rodgers. He looks too awkward. And I could never cheer for Minnesota. Favre should be ashamed of himself!

I want a team I can get behind. How does someone choose a favorite team anyway? Its almost obvious that if you live in Dallas, you like the Cowboys. Again, though, Utah does not have that hometown tie. With basketball we have it. With baseball we sort of have it (the Salt Lake Bees are the farm team for the Angels.) So I pose this question...what do you sports fans look for in choosing a favorite team? How do you readers choose your team? I know which teams I hate, but can't settle on one team to cheer on. I want one to hang pennants in my den and by replica jerseys again. Rebecca likes the Colts, but it started because she thinks Peyton Manning is cute. She use to like the Patriots for the same reason, as in Tom Brady. Obviously, I don't have that same draw. Over the last 10 years I have transitioned in baseball from a Mets fan to an Angels fan because of watching so many Salt Lake games and getting to know the players. (I was a Mets fan because that was my little league team mascot.) Not getting to know the players personally, but watching them in Salt Lake and then seeing them play in "the bigs." Baseball is easy. I am a huge baseball fan, almost to the point that I do not need a team because I just like watching the game. But...

I want to pick a side.

I want to be a fanatic.

Fantasy sports is making that difficult.


Danielle said...

The same thing happened to me with baseball, even though I have a hometown team (who are the Rangers though, honestly? But maybe now that they have Pudge back, I can get more interested.). And the Angels? NEVER.

As for football, this is my fourth season playing Fantasy Football. I'm actually playing in two leagues if you can believe that. I was really starting to like Dallas but then they got rid of TO, so whatever.

And that's all I got.

Andrea said...

Fantasy NASCAR? Are you kidding? Please tell me you are making that up.

Anyway, I played fantasy football once about two years ago. Being a huge college fan and not really liking the NFL that much made it hard to keep my interest. I ended up trading my best players to other, more "dedicated" fatasy players for free lunches. In fact I traded LaDanian T. for a lunch at the Blue Iguana. I thought it was fair and would do it again in a heartbeat. So yeah, maybe I will join you leauge just to see if I can get a free meal or two out of it.

You bring up an interesting point about being a fan in Salt Lake...my favorite NFL (if you could call it a favorite) would be the 49ers, back from the Montana/Rice days. Like you I got a jersey (Montana's) when I was like 7. As far as baseball goes, I like the Cubs...again going back to the grade school days when they had Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, etc. Other than thinking they were good I really had no other reason to like them. So for me, I guess I have choosen to be fans of the 49ers and the Cubs because I simply decided to like them as a kid. I'm starting to like the Rangers now too though...a trip to the ball park will do that, I guess...are you ready to head to Boston? Florida maybe?


Anonymous said...

I think Favre has ADHD. I bet he is hard to be married to, good thing he has lots of money!

I agree it's easier to have teams you hate. We grew up hating the Cowboys and Bronco's. All of my brothers has a different team to cheer. My mom suggested we choose by how cute the mascot was. That didn't fly over very well.

Jared has been a loyal Colt fan for awhile now and not because he thinks Peton is cute, Eli is cuter! He loves BYU so much he follows those who get drafted and that is how he has become so loyal with the Colts, it just sucks because we miss most of their games.

I agree you need to pick a favorite, it makes it more fun. Pick the Lions! They need some fans.

Chad said...

Angie, its funny that you mention the Lions. I was a huge Barry Sanders fan because when I was in 7th or 8th grade I met him while working at a sports card show. I became a Lions fan during his time there. I am not sure why I did not continue to follow them... maybe there is a chance there....

Kristi Kroeger said...

I am a fantasy football widow. I have been for 10 years. From the wife perspective, I hate fantasy sports. There is plenty of real life to be lived with three kids and the real sports they play. But if you need a team to root for, try the Lions. They are the worst team in the history of football! They could use a few fans, them being the under dogs and all!

Kristi Kroeger said...

uh, didn't read the previous posts about the Lions until just now. I might add that being from Detroit and all, that while they suck, Ford field might be the coolest stadium ever.

Chad said...

Jason, Your comment conjurs up deep thoughts and memories. My brother Danny introduced me to a "rule" the other day. See, my Softball glove has Ryne Sandbergs signature in it (computer generated of course- I am not that lucky!) Danny always gives me a hard time about my ancient glove and told me that as a rule of thumb, you should get a new glove when the name in your glove has retired from baseball. What do you think?

Chad said...

Danielle- So hateful towards the Angels. I think there is some pent up angst from something deep that you need to come to terms with. My friend Jason recently went to Texas and loved Texas' stadium.

Vanisi Family said...


Ok, really. There are only a few sports that I find exciting to watch or participate in. Hockey(blood & fighting are good), and kickboxing (more to participate in than to watch).

Sadly I found out that I really don't know much about football while playing a game of Catch Phrase w/ my cousins. My word was "Centerfield" and my clue to the guessers was that it had to do w/ football. (I can hear you groaning now Chad).

I did recently find out that I'm related to the Kemoe'atu brothers, so I think you should choose them for your fantasy team. Chris plays for the Steelers--didn't they win something important-- and his brother Suiti (don't know what they call him in the football world, but fam calls him Suiti) plays for the Panthers.

Now that I know that, I'm slightly more tempted to watch some games.

Good luck w/ all of that.

Vanisi Family said...

P.S. just so you believe me, I'll email you some picts.

The Sumsions said...

This is very interesting because I had this exact conversation with Cory before reading this post, i.e. I want a football team. I don't want to cheer for individuals but a team that I can say is "my football team." His team is the Patriots...not for me!!! I don't even think Tom Brady is that cute.

Farve is retarded.

Like "Jason" above I loved the 49ers back to the Montana/Rice days but they really lost me over the last few years. I'm trying to like them so that I am not just a "fair weather fan," but it's been hard.

We watched the Lions every week when we lived in Michigan, but their upper management was soooo out of it even the best fans were starting to think they were cheering for a team that may never have a winning season. I do always cheer for them though, but they are not "my team," at least not yet. Cory says I need to read up on their players and their stats and once I know about them, then I'll be more interested.

Let me know when you get this one figured out. I need a team too.

The Sumsions said...
This comment has been removed by the author.