Monday, August 29, 2011

Fantasy fail

My fantasy football league blew up yesterday (is it imploded or exploded?)with the resignation of the league commissioner over the resultant hysteria caused by a clerical error at the draft. This was after he resigned earlier in the day over a disputed rule change and was coaxed back.
For those who don't participate but have undoubtedly heard of fantasy football (it's a global, multimillion dollar industry now), it's touted as ALL THE FUN AND EXCITEMENT OF CALLING ALL THE SHOTS OF YOUR VERY OWN FOOTBALL TEAM! Except it's not that at all. You don't call plays, you don't negotiate stadium leases, you don't even design uniforms (for what it's worth, the uniforms I'd design would be incredible. Picture helmets with flames! And I'm not talking about a flame decal sticker, I mean helmets actually set on fire at kick-off and not extinguished until the game is over. Safety concerns? Hey, if the NFL doesn't care about it's players in real life, don't expect me to care about them in a fantsay scenario). It's just an elaborate form of gambling; you pick a certain set of players in the hope that they accumulate better personal statistics than those picked by your opponents doing likewise. If truth-in-advertising standards were applied, it would be more like ALL THE FUN AND EXCITEMENT OF SCRATCH-OFF LOTTO TICKETS! The appeal of participating for reasonable people comes down to two things: the chance to win bragging rights (and sometimes money) among your peers and The Draft Party. For unreasonable people, I'm sure there's much more to it but I don't really want to know.
The typical Draft Party is the annual get-together where everyone in the league gathers and selects their lottery tickets players while eating nachos and chicken wings. While it's not limited to strictly men (lots of women participate in fantasy football too), Hollywood frequently presents this kind of thing, men sitting around, grunting and farting, wolfing down junk food and openly discussing football, porn and farts, as typical male behavior. But in my experience, it rarely exists in real life outside of bars and fantasy football draft parties.
So there's all that, which can be lots of fun, but there can also be a lot of melodrama and petulant bitching, which is definitely not fun.
This particular league, with whom I've been involved off and on for over ten years, crumbled after a discussion that went something like this (for the sake of illustration, try to visualize grown men with beers talking about a football player and not the mental image of toddlers with juice boxes talking about a red crayon that will naturally come to you)
Guy A: "I'll take Darren McFadden."
Commissioner: "You can't take McFadden, he's not available."
Guy A: "What are you talking about? He's not on the 'keeper' list."
Commissioner: "Yes, he is."
Guy A: "No he is not! I'm looking at it right now."
Guy B: "You can't have McFadden, he's mine."
Guy C: "McFadden? Available?"
Commissiner: "Yeah, that's an oversight. He definitely should be on there."
Guy B: "I absolutely kept McFadden. There's no way I wouldn't have kept him."
Guy A: "Maybe he should be on the list, but he's not. So I'm taking him."
Guy B: "You can't do that! He's mine!"
Guy A: "Suck it up, buttercup. He's mine now."
Guy C: "I didn't know McFadden was available..."
Guy B: "McFadden has been mine for two years and everybody knows it!"
Commissioner: "I must have made a mistake when I copied and pasted the list. I'll fix it right now. Just pick somebody else, okay?"
Guy A: "I don't care whose mistake it is. It's not mine, so too bad. McFadden is not on the 'keeper' list and I want him."
Guy C: "'re making changes to the 'keeper' list now? Because I thought the deadline was last Thursday and this affects my whole first three rounds strategy...."
Commissioner: "No! We're just correcting a glitch. No changes!"
Guy A: "Good! Then I get McFadden!"
Guy C: "I feel like we should just start the whole process over..."
Commissioner: "NO!"
Guy B: "McFadden is mine! You hear me? He's mine! I own him and I'm keeping him. I am willing to go to war over this! You hear me? War!!"
Everybody in the room: "..."
Guy C: "What's that mean? Go to war?"
Guy B: "Exactly what you think it means."
Guy D (me): "I think it means you're willing to put life and property at stake in order to defend what you perceive as your right to pretend to retain ownership of a person."
Guy B: "Well, when you say it that way it makes the whole thing sound kind of stupid but yes, goddamn it."
Guy D (me again): "I'm sorry, is this a fantasy football league or a civil war re-enactment?"
Commissioner: "I quit."

Darren McFadden: Object of desire, source of discord.


JamesB said...

I could see this acted out by the kids from South Park. I think Cartman would be Guy B. You could make Kenny Guy A, and then instead of having him quit, maybe Darren McFadden could run through your draft room and trample Kenny to death.

Why, it's Clark! said...

I like that! Because Guy C is definitely Butters.

citizen janey said...

That's a genius idea. And also why I'm happy -- as a league commissioner myself -- to run my draft online. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Oh -- I wanted Darren McFadden too. Some other #$)*^ got him.