Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tossin' Around the Pretend Pigskin

There is a difference between fantasy and life. Fantasy football is fantasy, and football is life.

This is why I am a little scared to enter my first foray in about five years into Fantasy Football. I have played before, but this year I think I am going to get sucked into it more than usual. My friend D. Blakes invited me to join a fantasy football league, and at press time the kinks are still being worked out. (Three teams in the league have a bye week every week, which means they don't play, which means they can't win. But we'll get it all worked out, don't worry Willie.)

I have always like fantasy football, because it gives me a reason to follow games I would not normally watch. For example, if for some reason I end up watching the Atlanta/Carolina game this Sunday (the opening day of the football season, i.e. my own personal Christmas), I normally would not have a vested interest. But with fantasy football, I have Alge Crumpler on Atlanta, and both Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster from Carolina, so I have a lot riding on it. Points-wise.

I have always kept fantasy football at arm's length, and that is where I'm a little scared. I have what doctor's call an "obsessive personality" which means that when I find interest in something, I tend to become completely attached to it for several weeks, often overloading. (See previous examples with blogging, Star Wars, Arrested Development, Iron & Wine, craft beer, etc.) I am the poster child for why people say there are "gateway drugs." Luckily, NyQuil is still as hardcore as I get, and that's only if I'm on vacation. Regardless, this lack of perspective and control is not something I want fantasy football to elicit from me.

And it's not that I don't want to get into it; I really do. But my problem is that I don't want to lose the forest for the proverbial trees. I am a football fan, first and foremost. I have been watching football for about twenty years, mostly following my star-crossed Bills through every wretched miserable season. But I always want to be a fan of football, not of "my players." I do not want to switch allegiances every year. Perennially, there will always be teams I will hate (Dallas, Miami, New York Giants) and teams that I kind of like (Philly, Seattle, Kansas City). And with each year, those teams, and the players on those teams, will have a firm place in my own personal universe of football.

But that's where fantasy football clouds the senses. For example, what if the Bills are playing the Dolphins, but I have the Dolphins defense on my fantasy team (this is strictly hypothetical as I would never pick the Miami Defense or any player from Miami ever). When game time comes, what do I want? Do I want my Bills to roll up yards and light up the scoreboard? Or do I take some sort of solace in the event of a defeat that at least the Bills lost, but hey, I got 6 fantasy points out of it!

Bullshit! Never! There will never be any joy in losing (especially to the goddamn Dolphins). And certainly no measly amount of points in a fantasy game should take away the sting of a loss. If I ever catch myself saying, "Well, the Bills lost, but at least the four interceptions that Losman threw are good for my fantasy D," I will repeatedly open a window and then slam it down on my own head. That's a Bill Shannon promise.

Quick story: A few years ago, I was at work, and there was this guy who worked in my department (he was canned shortly thereafter). And this guy was fat, I'm talking Orca fat. So anyway, I am walking around and I notice that this guy has a Buffalo Bills helmet on his computer. So I figure, hey this guy's alright. So I asked him, "Hey, you like Buffalo, huh?" to which he replied in the affirmative. So I said to him, "Big game this weekend huh?" I still remember, they were playing the Raiders. And this fat house of a man said, "Yeah, but I need them to lose because I have [Raiders quarterback] Rich Gannon on my fantasy team." It took all my inner strength to keep from taking his head and repeatedly slamming a window down on top of it.

Bottom line: if I ever turn against the Bills -- no matter how unrequited my love for them may be -- because of a fantasy player, please get me some help.


'Don' Cialini said...

Hang on to your ass skillet. I've seen fantasy football turn more diehard fans than you against their team. It will happen. Don't even try and fight it. Like you in the gym, its useless.

Willie Moe said...

Billy, I'll hold your hand through the whole thing. I'm an avid fantasy sportsman and I still don't turn on my squad. But you should have also mentioned to Orca there, that QBs don't get wins like a starting pitcher, so realistically Gannon could have had a good game and the Bills still win. I have both Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher in one of my leagues and they are playing my squad the Pats. So I will just cheer for a Pats win with lost of plays giving the Bills plenty of tackling opportunities. I also think you'll be alright becuase the league's not for money and that'll help.

tonypounds said...

why isn't there like a fantasy porn team, or something?

is that an oxymoron?