-an editorial by Hanover League Commissioner, Russ Chessor
I believe 8 years ago I was a nicer and better person. I believe all men and some women were better people back then, but now cynicism and mean spiritedness has taken hold. The reason for this downward spiral is not Washington, although the deviant behavior from our Capital has not been the positive role model one should be able to expect from our elected leaders, nor has it been Corporate and Wallstreet greed or even the Brittneys and Mileys we can’t bear to watch nor can we look away like a slow motion video of a out of control skier headed for a tree. The problem is 2 words, Fantasy Football. The online sporting event called Fantasy Football is an evil overtaking our society and should be immediately be outlawed.
Here’s why I think that. Just recently, two fantasy football teams, neither one my own, were locked in an epic battle where the victor might be decided by the last play of the last game of the week. The clock soon runs out on the Monday night game and we have our fantasy game winner. But wait, the next day scores are adjusted as can sometimes be the case when tabulating tackles, total yards and whatnot, and Boom!, the losing team gets credited just a fraction of a point to get a come from behind win in double super secret overtime,,,,,,, and I laughed and I laughed. Why did I laugh? My glee wasn’t for the fortunate underdog who caught a lucky win, it was because the team owner who thought he had the victory, (and would have remained undefeated by the way) got demoted to 2nd place in a 2 man race. Once the victor, now the loser, the patsy, the modern day Wile E Coyote who manages his way out of the tunnel just barely dodging the speeding locomotive, sighs a relaxing “Whew!”, and on his 1st step gets hit by a bus. That’s why I laughed, but I wouldn’t have laughed 8 years ago. This game outcome didn’t affect my game performance or status of my team in any way. My laugh came from the pure enjoyment of someone else getting the big fantasy shaft like I’ve gotten so many times before. It came from a jaded and callused person who has been sucker punched and had his heart ripped out so many weeks in fantasy football and I find joy and delight when it happens to someone else, almost a brotherhood of misery I can find comfort with. Hello, my name is Russ and I’m a heartless fantasy butthead.
Many people don’t know this but Fantasy Football was actually invented in the 1990’s by the Devil. Some of his earlier inventions like the Rubix Cube, Hagen Daz crème brule ice cream, Family Guy tv show, (Seth Macfarland is the actual Devil in drag), all snack food that gives you the illusion that it is healthy but once you read the nutritional contents realize you may as well be eating Doritos in dip, and other popular Devil treats have done irreparable damage, but Fantasy Football is his masterpiece.
Here’s how it works. First, it begins by appearing totally harmless like a Slow Loris (google it), maybe even a little gay or lame. Then a pusher that you know from your work or school says, “Psssst, hey buddy, do you want to join our fantasy football league?” You say “Sure”. After all, what could go wrong. Then the team owners, often good church going men and women with jobs and families, draft players for their team to score them points. These players, some veterans trying to maintain their status as time and injuries take their toll and new bright eyed rookies trying to live the dream of one day have their jersey retired soon begin to look like big padded pieces of meat to us, almost like big pork chops wearing jock straps and cleats. We quickly see them as pawns to fight our battles, race horses we can whip to get every point we can muster in our weekly matchups against our co-workers and classmates. And when one of these thoroughbreds lays on the field clutching a handful of turf in pain, we say, “Crap, there go my fantasy points!”. This is a person with dreams, a mortgage payment, and family members watching live on tv, but not to us owners. He is my jumping frog that I think is better than your jumping frog and we are right in the middle of a race. This is not the way civilized people behave! Here are just a few other ways FFootball sucks us to a lower level on the evolutionary plane.
- We spend countless hours researching stats when we should be working for our employer, helping our spouses with chores or playing with our kids.
- We envy, no wait, covet the stud players our other league members have. We attempt to acquire them for our own team thru trades and by proposing our own manipulating logic to the other team owner. “You need a RB for week 10, this trade makes sense for YOU.” “He’ll never stay healthy all year, I’m helping YOU out.” The BS can get so profound, I’ve often had to ask myself, “Is he that stupid, or am I that stupid?”
- We feel joy and revel in another owner’s misfortune when he loses a player to injury, his team just has a down week and best of all, when a team loses because the team owner played a player on a bye week. That’s a special victory for any fantasy owner. Do we say, “Tough luck, it happens. I was lucky to win, you should have beat me”. Or do we say “Dumbass !!!!!!”
- When we bump into any league member who had a bad coaching week, it immediately becomes a “What the heck were you thinking?” moment. “Hey, Chuck, I have a new puppy who hasn’t figured out stairs yet, but HE wouldn’t have started your running back against the best defense in the league, what were you thinking?”
- It’s highly addictive. This is not like Lucy holding the football while Charley Brown charges hard, then she predictably pulls it away. Fantasy football will hold it there for you, tee it up just a bit to allow you to crush it. You will stand in awe and amazement while it soars long and far, higher and higher coming ever closer to the face of God. It’s a special concoction of power and success we rarely get to taste. It’s winning the Presidential election and Sexiest Man alive in the same year. It’s crack cocaine, mixed with your Starbucks with a splash of nicotine for extra flavor. Then the next week when you charge toward Fantasy Football and the teed up ball even faster, you find that it has been filled with concrete and anchored deeply into the ground with a metal post. Pulling it away just before we swipe at it would be a compassionate act, but Fantasy Football has no such compassion.
And here comes the big one. There is no event that is more torturous, unfair, and fickle than fantasy football. It forces the human mind to perform some of is self protection tasks to help us get through the season like making us hard, jaded, insensitive, and uncompassionate. Jerks! I tell myself that I’m only that way with FFball, much like the contestants of the TV show Survivor say, sure I’m a lying deceitful pig here, but off the show, I’m the greatest guy in the world. Should their lying deceitfulness take them to the finals where they win a million dollars, what lesson have they learned that they can take to their real off tv life. The meek shall inherit the earth? I think not . More likely it’s, If you’re not lying, you’re not trying. Do fantasy footballer’s really click the switch and turn off their insensitive jerk mentality as soon as they close their laptop or does it linger? Do Marines in Afghanistan come home and hang out at Starbucks, and play with their new puppies and patiently teach them to sit, or do they wonder it they could achieve faster results with zip ties and pepper spray. A little bit of both I think.
Sure winning the league championship is an awesome moment, a thing of utter beauty. It’s standing on the top of a mountain on a day so clear you think you can see the ocean, and your standing in Colorado, or dating a Supermodel while she smiles and looks deeply into your eyes in total adoration., beauty untold. But know this, whether it’s a Fantasy Football Championship, a clear mountain day or dating a beauty queen, the stormy weather is coming. It will come quickly, it will be fierce and “It will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it”. (I personally believe all editorials should contain at lease one movie quote from either Hunt For Red October or The Big Lebowski).
I don’t have the answer to whether it lingers but if it does, then the 1st day you set your fantasy roster “You’re turning into the torpedo’s path”. (I said at least one quote, more is better).
Fantasy Football is an abomination! It should be instantly outlawed until a solution can be found. Sure I could just stop playing fantasy football and instantly be a better person, but that’s just crazy talk.