This Just In: The week one fantasy hangover

In Columns, Fall Sports, Sports, This Just In

I’ve downed my fourth cup of coffee, crunched all the numbers, and studied to the point of exhaustion. Then Sunday morning had to come along and ruin the hours of painstaking work and research that I have put in the past couple weeks. It’s fantasy football season again.

No, this isn’t just the beginning of the NFL season. It’s far more important, the beginning of my conquest to be the best owner in the league. I want the praise of all my friends. I want the congratulatory text messages and posts on the league message board. Number one is the only option, nothing less. Much like the Raiders’ slogan, this franchise also has a  “commitment to excellence.”

I did not make good on this commitment, however, as I was defeated by a far less experienced foe. Personally, I would call it beginner’s luck but Michael Vick threw four interceptions, Hakeem Nicks did not have a good game, and my team had a myriad of other problems. To add insult to injury, my backup quarterback is rookie Robert Griffin III who had one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory. Griffin was the story of the weekend and there he sat on my bench while racking up the fantasy points.

Some might think that being this wrapped up into fantasy football is completely absurd, but 24.3 million Americans might disagree. I believe that it’s everything right in regards to professional sports. Having an additional investment in players, teams, and even coaches makes for an intensified emotional connection to the NFL or any other professional league.

This weekend I would yell at the television screen when one of my players dropped a pass or threw an interception. It is another reason to experience the agony or elation of an event you have no actual part of. Fantasy is more incentive to watch the world’s top athletes at the peak of their careers perform as you have more invested in each game.

Another great thing about fantasy football is that everything can change in a matter of days. Players have bad games, injuries or just happened to play top-notch competition. With a couple adjustments on the roster, it could be a completely different team.

Sports fans are some of the most fickle people in the world but their love and passion for a certain sport can get in the way of logical thinking. I often hear people say things like, “If I ran that team I would do it so much differently,” or “Even I would have caught that pass.” Fantasy sports are a way for these people to put their money where their mouth is, literally. In fantasy leagues, you let your players and your team management skills do the talking. There is added motivation for beating a loudmouth owner and boy does it feel good defeating the blabbermouth of the league. It isn’t actually owning an NFL team, but it is the closest thing any fan will have to it.

I believe that the biggest reason that fantasy sports are such a great thing is the camaraderie that comes along with it. People usually participate in these leagues with friends and family, and the result of this is a community that bonds over the shared experience of a sport.

My league drafted at a restaurant where we all made our picks, gave our feedback on those picks and caught up on how everyone was doing over dinner and drinks. Many people participating in leagues gather together every Sunday to watch the games. It’s a way for friends to bond over something as simple as a football game.

So good luck to all my fellow Titans participating in fantasy leagues, and remember it’s up to you to write the narrative of where your team goes from here.

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