paris : lovers as fantasy football : wankers

One and the same . . .

Autumn approaches . . . and with it, glorious, vicious, smashmouthy football. Evil knows you’re as excited as he is.

Over the past decade, however, a shadow has fallen over Evil’s enjoyment of the coming of what he affectionately calls “footfall.” The purity of getting hammered and shouting your loyalties at a TV screen—or the guy in the wrong jersey standing in your section of the stands—has been sullied. Now you watch a game and half your buddies are distracted eyeing the crawl at the bottom of the screen, searching for some unrelated player from Asscrack City’s rushing stats . . .

Yes. That shadow, one threatening to ruin autumn for all, is fantasy football. And the wankers who play it.

The National Evil believes society should dole out equal dollops of scorn for equivalent behaviors. Yet somehow fantasy football players, 75 million or 100 billion players strong in the U.S. alone (the number depends on the passion of the player questioned), feel weirdly entitled to not be mocked. Today that stops.

If you play fantasy football, Evil forgives you–but understand that doing so abolishes any right you have to mock anyone else for his or her hobbies, interests, fetishes, etc. You don’t see people who play Magic: the Gathering or collect yard gnomes strut around the office nattering incessantly about it. You don’t see them talking trash about their achievements. But for some reason fantasy football geeks have convinced themselves theirs is a publicly acceptable dorkiness. And—and!—that playing fantasy football somehow bolsters their manliness, rather than revealing the pitiful shell of a man they once were.

Evil doesn’t care if you play fantasy football. Go put on your Spock ears and fantasize away. If you wouldn’t talk about it all the time like it was the most normal thing in the world, Evil wouldn’t have felt compelled to comment. But since you do, Evil—America—the world—needs you to acknowledge the following truths:

1. You are a dork. You are a geek. No one besides your geek-ass friends wants to hear about your geek-ass hobby. It is not cool. You and the acne-scarred, introverted coworker who obsessively collects first edition Star Wars action figures still sealed in their original packaging? One and the same, man. One and the same. Evil recalls the first time a coworker admitted he played fantasy football. It wouldn’t have been any different to the Evil if the same coworker had confessed to dressing up in a Stormtrooper costume and hitting the Star Wars conventions. Whatever floats your boat. But imagine Evil’s surprise, then, when he heard the same coworker mocking other “geeky” pursuits . . . as if he wasn’t ardently pursuing one himself. And worse, trying to recruit the Evil into it!

2. Numbers don’t matter. Don’t tell the Evil—or anyone else—that the fact that 75 million/100 billion dudes play fantasy football makes it any less geeky. Millions of people also play World of Warcraft. Millions of people are convinced they’ve seen UFOs. Millions of people can’t find the United States on a map. The “millions of people” justification, in short, is no justification at all. For anything. Ever.

3. You are deluding yourself. Fantasy football is no more “real” than other geeky hobbies. Possibly the lamest of all excuses for fantasy football is that, superior to all those other dorky pursuits, fantasy football deals with “real” people doing things in the “real” world. (FYI, this is how celebrity stalkers get started.) Um . . . why don’t you give that a try? Like, say, cheering for your team with the rest of the gang instead of cursing some slot receiver from Asscrack City because he dropped a pass? Or hey, instead of spending precious weekend hours on a fantasy football draft with your geek buddies, how ‘bout tossing the football in the backyard with your kids?

4. You are a weasel. If you’ve played fantasy football long enough, you know you’ve done this: rooted against your own team when it was having a down year, or had already wrapped up a playoff seed, because you need the other team’s quarterback to throw three touchdowns for you to win the Dorkass Accounting Dept. Fantasy League. You toss every life lesson sports can possibly teach—the value of teamwork, of sacrifice for the common good, of maintaining loyalty even in the face of a losing effort—out the window so you can talk trash in the break room.

Sadly, Evil comes by this knowledge firsthand. Years ago he was roped into an office fantasy league. He well remembers the breaking point, when the ludicrousness of the game became painfully apparent. Daunte Culpepper, having a career year, was “his” QB. One Sunday, Mr. Culpepper threw up an absurd statline: four TDs, something like 350 yards. (Evil actually saw this game because it happened to be the Fox feature for that time slot.) However, Culpepper also threw a ridiculously stupid interception returned for a TD that cost his team the game.

. . . Yet the Evil returned to the office on Monday to discover he had rocketed to the first place in his “league” based on Culpepper’s performance. How was that possible? Evil demanded. “His” QB made one of the most boneheaded plays imaginable. How could there be no punishment for that in this “reality”-based league?

There were no answers. Only blank stares. And then the trash talking began anew.

One last note: when you do a Google image search for “fantasy football”, this is the first image that pops up. At least the algorithms over at the Goog have their heads on straight . . .


One thought on “paris : lovers as fantasy football : wankers”

  1. I too was convinced to play fantasy football several years ago. At first it seemed fun, but I didn’t take it as seriously as my coworkers did, and about halfway through the season I had pretty much lost interest. For the last week of the season, I actually started 4 players who had already had season ending injuries simply because I didn’t care enough to know they weren’t going to play. The “champions” of the league were exactly as described above: neglecting family and cheering against their own favorite teams. It is a strange world when people are more passionate about fantasy football and Madden NFL than the actual in the flesh football games. At the other end of the spectrum, I took Jake to his first NFL game last night to watch the Bucs play the Jags. I hadn’t been to a game in a long time and I was amazed at how electrifying the atmosphere was with the cheering, the music, and the thunderously loud cannon on the Bucs’ pirate ship. And this was just a preseason game. Fantasy football and Madden can never replace the real thing.

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