The Madness of Fantasy Sports

Earlier today, I was reading a post from the Walla Fantasy Sports and Gambling forum to Tammy. Upon hearing it, she quickly pronounced: "he's crazy. This is a married man with a child, why does he behave as if Fantasy sports is that important? Has he no perspective?"

And it's a valid question. In September, during the evening of the first day of Icon, I was at dinner with Guy Gavriel Kay. GGK is one of my favorite authors, a man I was thrilled about meeting. And yet, every ten minutes, I used the internet browser in my cellphone to check how my players were doing in the Fantasy NFL. To my mind, this was justified. My team was 0-3, and a loss would mean kissing hopes of the playoffs goodbye. But looking back, isn't it a bit silly? Here I am, in a restaurant with a great writer, the man who wrote Tigana, and all I can think about is Fantasy NFL? Why do Fantasy sports matter as much as they do?

I think the answer is a combination of factors. It all starts with love of the sport. One gets into fantasy in order to enjoy watching games more. When you have something at stake, you're automatically more interested in games which otherwise might be meaningless. A big part of it is bragging rights. Winning in fantasy means you have outwitted and outlucked your fellow players, and it is a great source of satisfaction. Beyond bragging rights is the desire to test yourself, your savvy, your knowledge, your research skills. Finding a site that has detailed stats other sites just don't have gives one an edge. Reading articles about teams and players allows one to have more insight. The element of luck also draws one in. It's a bit like gambling that way. You can have great players, but an injury or two will destroy your chances. This year, I've had to scramble after losing THREE top receivers in my NFL Fantasy league. Both of my top running backs were slowed down by injuries, and one of them missed several games. Overcoming odds makes one care even more. And even one's downfalls can add to the passion. Last year, my first draft pick in Fantasy NBA, Tracy McGrady, lost some games and was slowed down in others due to injury. My team did not go far without him. So this year, I built what I believe to be a stronger team. Now I want to show the others that I can win in Basketball just as well as I can in Football.

In our leagues, we have another bit of incentive – both leagues have weekly recaps and predictions written by league members, and the NBA league even has power rankings. So, added to everything else is the desire to read on Tuesday or Wednesday that my team demolished the opposition, or overcame odds to win. And winning when the prognosticators predicted a loss is as sweet in fantasy sports as it is in real sports.

So that's why I answered Tammy the way I did: "He has perspective. Fantasy NFL is IMPORTANT." It may be a little bit crazy, but I guess it's my kind of crazy.

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