Rewind back to August. You can feel it in the air, a stir grows across the nation, and most guys hunger for the start of September. The draft is on its way. The leagues are formed. The competition is set. Preseason rankings are set. Discussion is heard everywhere: who will be the sleepers, the busts, the stars for the year? People play for pride, for money, and to avoid acts of humiliation that one might have to endure if things just don’t go the way they had hoped.
From your league’s draft to the end of the season, you know copious amounts of time, energy, and observation will be spent on the players of your team, and the players of others’. It was the most wonderful time of the year, and unfortunately, it has just come to an end.
This glorious competition I speak of was none other than Fantasy Football.
Firstly, I want to congratulate Austin Sun and his Pondering Pandas on his recent championship run, obliterating his opponents in the process to capture the FFL 2013-2014 crown. From the the brink of elimination to being saved by a Tom Brady interception in week 11, Austin notched the second highest seed (after me), and breezed through the playoffs. He earned it, and for all the other league champions out there, I believe you earned it too. Winning is not an easy task. It requires mental focus, determination, ambition, and just the right amount of charisma to swindle other players out of unbalanced trades. For Austin, this all came together in just the right amount to crown him king. All hail.
But in only my second year of participating in this great five-month long event, I have taken away more than I had ever envisioned myself doing so.
In a time of college essay procrastination, long term assignments piling up and weighing me down, and the plethora of all the other stressful dabblings in life, ESPN fantasy football has served as an escape. Yes, it might not be the most serene escape, nor the most relieving either. But the wonderfully ironic thing about fantasy football is that people, including myself, are able to find peace and joy in chaos. It doesn’t sound right, I know. But as league manager, in some weird way I enjoyed seeing everybody reach for top spots in the league, while some succeeded and some utterly failed. I enjoyed regulating trades, keeping player’s egos in check, and making sure everyone paid their monetary dues to the cash po–erhm, collection of finances that the top two teams will win as rewards for their efforts with discretion. Most of all, I enjoyed watching my team boast the league’s best record at 8-3, as my ‘curse’ limited my opponents to record low scoring when I played them.
I came up short, hell, I couldn’t even get past one playoff round. But just as sports offers you to be part of something greater than yourself, and allows you to believe in something, fantasy football allows you to cultivate your team, your baby, and stand by it through good and bad times. It offered everyone in the league something to bond over, to discuss at school, often to the annoyance of those who didn’t participate. It offered me to still get that sports dosage after baseball season. It offered me an escape from the ups and downs and stress of student life. It was, in essence, a fantasy, but one that wasn’t based off artificial entertainment. One that I could draw meaning out of, and appreciate.
For me, and to all those who came up short, to better luck next season.
Contact Danny at firstname.lastname@example.org