Monday, August 28, 2006


I enjoy sports and enhancing the enjoyment of sports is my enjoyment of the fantasy sports. No doubt you've heard of this. It's now a multi-million dollar enterprise in it's own right, with magazines, web sites, talk radio and even television programs. The concept is pretty basic. You draft and trade for a collection of real life players on pro teams and then use your sports accumen to make line-ups that pit the best of your players against another person's players. Based on the real life statistics produced by of those players, your team earns points. The winner is the person who can most effectively manage his or her team to earn points and defeat their opponents. The reason it's called "fantasy" sports is because you get to be the coach, general manager and owner of a team of players! That concept sounded like a great deal of fun to me and is what attracted me to the fantasy sports realm. I relished the idea of having my own team and doing whatever I wanted with it. For instance, I made up team colors, logos, stadium names and even front office employees whose exploits I would detail in regularly issued press releases. Like this one, from my hockey team, the Wimauma Surf Midgets:

WIMAUMA, FL (October 15, 2001) - After extensive negotiations, the Wimauma Surf Midgets have reached an agreement to sell the naming rights to their home arena. The building, formerly the Wimauma School Book Depository and Sheep Shearing Pavilion, will from now on be known as the Sip N Zip Arena.
"We're very excited to have this partnership with the folks at the Sip N Zip convenience store", said Surf Midgets president and general manager Buddy 'Bud' Buddweiller. "Sip N Zip presented a much more attractive bid than the ones we got from Buy N Fly, Gulp N Go or even Shop N Suk".
After some initial resistance, the Wimauma City Council supported the re-naming of the semi-historic building. "I didn't know that they had the legal right to sell the name", said councilman Luther Gringo. "But then, I didn't even know we hadn't torn the place down after the '95 fire so I guess it don't really matter".
The financial benefit of this move is expected to pay immediate dividends for the Surf Midgets, currently in 3rd place in the Red Rocket Fantasy Hockey League. "Now we can finally put a down payment on that puck refinisher we've been looking at!", said head coach Lester Guy.

Unfortunately, most people who get into fantasy sports don't have any interest in nonsense like that. For them, fantasy sports is just another form of gambling and they invest as much creativity into it as you would in buying lottery tickets. Of course, they would have you believe that there's much more skill to it than that; it's more like handicapping thoroughbreds. Ok, I'll concede that. But I know more people who've pocketed cash scratching off lotto tickets than those who've picked derby winners. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, yesterday I went to a draft party for a new football league I'm joining this year. The draft is the one time during a fantasy season where all the particpants are in one place, sharing camaraderie. I didn't enjoy myself, as is always the case with gatherings like that. As I allude to in the profile, the concept of male bonding is completely lost on me. A Guy's Night Out (Men! Hanging out with Men! Doing Manly things!) is pretty much my idea of a totally wasted evening. All nice enough guys at this particular draft party, but I just don't crave any desire to spend my precious leisure time among guys. For one thing, you always get the sense that everybody is trying a little too hard to get their testerone on. Everybody wears a football jersey, everybody drinks beer from cans and everybody swears a lot. Ok, I like to wear jerseys (I didn't yesterday, though) but I hate the taste of beer from a can and I already think I swear too much so I frequently find myself making a conscious effort not to. At this party yesterday, there was actually a guy playing DJ with an assortment of porn DVDs all afternoon. I guess a banner stating "THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF GUYS IN HERE BUT ABSOLUTELY NONE OF US ARE GAY" in the front yard probably violated some neighborhood deed restriction. Also, anytime you get more than four guys together in any kind of sports environment, you're just about guaranteed get at least a few of the hyper-competetive jock wannabes. They're either guys who were super stud athletes in high school or guys who didn't play sports at all in high school but they're from somewhere else and nobody knows that about them, so now's their chance to show them (whoever 'them' is). You find A LOT of these guys in rec league softball but they're also heavily involved in the fantasy sports scene. They tend to laugh really loudly when somebody drafts Deshaun Foster without knowing his 40 yard dash time is 3/80ths of a second slower than it was last year. They're assholes and I find assholes tedious. Not that there were any assholes at this thing yesterday. As far as I could tell, there weren't. But it still wasn't really my kind of thing. So while everyone else spent the time between their draft choices contemplating the combined all-purpose yardage of somebody named Santonio Holmes, I was looking at the clock, wondering if I'd get out of there in time to have a quiet dinner with some friends before going back to their apartment to do some more work on the documentary film we're producing on women leaders in Tampa Bay government.
So why do I do it? Well, like I said, it is fun. Even if nobody else enjoys the silly stuff I waste time on, I do. Like the fight song I wrote for my beloved Wimauma Surf Midgets:
"Hail, Hail Wimauma
Onward maroon and black
For we are the mighty Midgets of the Surf
Always on the attack
We rant, riot, rock and rave
As we seek the perfect wave
We never, ever get uptight
Or too depressed about our lack of height
Bow, bow to Wimauma
Legends of the ice
For we are the mighty Midgets of the Surf
And we're cheap at half the price"
Plus, maybe this year I'll win the motherf***ing championship and show those c***suckers who's the man! WHO'S THE MAN? WHO'S THE GODDAMN MAN?!?

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