I called to wish my friend Jeremy a happy birthday today. As our conversation turned to our respective jobs, he quipped that I should apply to be the next coach of the Green Bay Packers. I responded that I would make a terrible coach; the best position for me would be as a general manager.
Delusions aside, that off-hand retort reminded me of something critical: like all of you who play fantasy football, I care about it. A lot. Maybe too much. I’m passionate, and it feels personal. Indeed, I spend the off-season and summer following football news, keeping up-to-date on players on my keeper and dynasty leagues, and working the trade market in leagues where that is an option. I begin to compile of list of players whom I am going to target and whom I am likely to avoid, and my anticipation of the fantasy season ahead begins to dominate my summer thoughts.
After the conclusion of my leagues’ drafts, I feel pride and excitement. My teams are ready to go. Yes, MY teams. The ones that I considered all summer and prepped for. My players — the ones whom I drafted — are ready to perform. For me, it’s not just money on the line (in fact, it’s not ever really about the money!), it’s about the pride and, of course, the bragging rights. I’ll even confess that fantasy football plays a role in self-validation and vindication.
I’m not just putting cash on the line, I’m putting my ego out there for public boasting when I win and for inevitable mockery from my leaguemates when I fail.
That’s right: I care — deeply — about fantasy football. It’s emotional, and it’s personal. And THAT is why I love it.
I’m also willing to bet all my 2018 winnings against yours that you love it, too, and for many of the same reasons.
I used to feel assaults of embarrassment for caring so much, reluctant to share my vigor for fantasy football with too many of my friends and family outside of my leagues. Ultimately, fantasy football is an ineradicable part of me — my story, my life, my glory, and my shame. I simply care too much to be anything but unabashed about my passion for fantasy football.
As 2018 is about to come to a close, the inevitable hope that typically accompanies a new year challenges us, daring us to dream big about the possibilities of our future. As we turn our thoughts to the year ahead, may we, even for a few moments, divert our attention from fantasy football and focus on the other things in our lives — particularly those which are truly more important than the game that we play. May 2019 be a year for all of us in which we are able to identify and live out our passions in life.
And, if it’s not too selfish to wish for, at the end the year, may they include a fantasy football championship or two.
Thank you to all of you for reading and contributing in 2018 to my website in this, its first year. I look forward to many more years of fantasy football celebration with all of you!