Posted by: Mark Nielsen | September 6, 2007

A Little Fantasy Never Hurt Anyone… Did It?

  Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, upset over that stupid pick I made in the 12th round of my fantasy football draft.

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock the past few years (and among my friends and readers, I’m sure there are many), fantasy football has gotten really big.

Oops. You know what? I apologize for saying you live under a rock. It’s just that I had my fantasy football draft last night, and I must not have gotten all the trash-talking out of my system. I think the mutual teasing and self-flagellation is one of the unheralded benefits of being involved in a fantasy league. Though in my league, there is a bit of money at stake, the main investment we make every fall is our own egos.

In the league, we are neighbors, friends, co-workers, or maybe we don’t even know the others in our league all that well. Nevertheless, it’s a fun, safe environment to try our hands at becoming an expert, and if we do fall on our faces, only eleven other people really know about it. And failure IS an option, let me tell you.

Maybe we need a low-stress situation like this in our lives, where if we experiment a little and it doesn’t work out, still no one gets hurt. It’s not rocket science, after all. It’s not parenting, or high-powered sales. Heck, it’s not even a contact sport (thus the need for trash talk, a safer outlet for any aggressive tendencies… not that I have any).

In a fantasy league, we often fall into certain familiar roles: the rookie-lover, the sleeper-seeker, the wheeler-dealer who offers a different trade every week, the buy-and-hold guys (either too busy or too scared to make changes… though I did have some success my first year using this strategy). We get to “play dumb” — or else really be dumb, and then make lame excuses. We get to be the defending champs or class clowns, in the grownups’ sandbox that is your average league.


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