Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Is This Just Fantasy?

So this year, like every year, I've signed up for two Fantasy Football leagues.

This year, like every year, I'll enjoy it for like two weeks and then it becomes a chore.

As I've talked about in the past, I have a weird relationship with professional football. I grew up in a very decidedly non-sports oriented environment, and I don't think I watched a full game of any pro sport until I was in college--not even a Superbowl. (It's possible I watched a game of the Stanley Cup finals in 1991-1992 or so, but don't ask me under oath.) It took a while, but I eventually warmed up to football and hockey and (less so) baseball.

Anyway, even though I watched football fairly regularly for a while, I never got into it into it--I know about the players in Pittsburgh and I kinda know the players in Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati,* and I maybe know some of the quarterbacks and star players. I just can't bring myself to care all that much who is on the O-Line of a West coast team that we may play once every four years.

This is all a little weird. Y'all know my interests at this point, and it would seem that professional sports wouldn't rank very high. And I've found myself rather disinterested altogether for the past few years--a lot of the decisions made by the NFL has left me unimpressed, and while I know for the most part they can only do so much, I can't not feel a little disappointed.

Fantasy football, however, would seem like it's right up the alley of people like me, who love playing weird games and also somehow like to watch athletic competitions. And that's part of the reason why I do it every year--there's something a bit fascinating about the entire concept of fantasy football. The best part of football specifically is that there's a pretty hard deadline each week, unlike, say, baseball, where as far as I can tell each team plays sixteen games a day.

I actually sometimes stress about fantasy football (for no good reason!). So help me if there's a week where both of my QBs are on a bye week. And, really, in the end, it means nothing. I've never won a championship, although I once made it to the finals in a 16-player league, which was fun because I totally forgot about it for two weeks straight. And at the end of it all, there's no prize or glory.

I occasionally wish that I could come up with a fantasy version of some other competition, but there's nothing good out there. I thought about having a political fantasy league, where people draft words that will be said during a debate. If we had a decent steady schedule and a way to automate it, that might be...interesting, although we'd only get to play every four years. (Maybe that's enough.)

So this year, like most years, I'm going to put in  minimal effort, probably get minimal returns, with a small but not trivial chance of making it to the big leagues. I like to think of it as the world's least efficiency metaphor for life. 

*For you non-sporters, these are the other teams in the same division as the Pittsburgh Steelers, so they are played against more often. If you don't know what a division is, that's okay; Portland has all sorts of other forms of entertainment.

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