Stuart White is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest. His collaborative humor blog can be found at Wheel of Why.
Much like quoting Entourage and wearing tank tops that reveal deltoids comically malformed by creatine, playing fantasy sports is an aspect of “dude” culture I’ll never fully understand. I just find the whole concept misleading. When I hear those two words together, I imagine Tom Brady dying on the field from weeping-induced dehydration after his team is destroyed in the Super Bowl by Chip Kelly’s unstoppable offense helmed by Kate Upton and Topanga Lawrence.
Evidently/sadly, that is not what fantasy sports are about. Instead, it is just nerdy math combined with foolish gambling, all designed to transform you into Benedict Arnold. Thanks, but no thanks: I prefer my fantasies as defined by Ludacris and Shawnna.
On the surface, fantasy sports appear analogous to sports video games with terrible graphics; you play the roles of imaginary coach, general manager, and vice president without any discernible qualifications. What they don’t tell you when you join a fantasy league, however, is that you’re voluntarily committing yourself to five months of math.
As someone who hasn’t done math in six years, besides calculating how much I should under-tip my waiter for forgetting I explicitly ordered no olives, the amount of equations and calculations involved create quite the turn-off.
Listen, if I wanted to stare at numbers all day, I’d become an electrical engineer and make enough money to buy my own real team (I’d put a football franchise in the beer-haven of Bend, Oregon, because it is utter crap this section of the country is only represented by the Seattle Seahawks). Math isn’t lame, but willingly doing it outside of a scholastic or an employment context seems a tad masochistic, something enjoyed by people who like gardening or reading Finnegans Wake for fun.
Considering all the numerical components of fantasy sports, it is easy to understand how wagering money on your fantasy teams seems justifiable. Much to the disappointment of Lonnie Donegan, however, bein’ a gamblin’ man, especially one who bets on events beyond his immediate control, isn’t exactly the soundest monetary decision. This isn’t to say a friendly wager can’t be fun. Want to throw down twenty dollars on a round of Mario Kart 64? Sure, I’m game for that (unless you want to play Special Cup, because that series is a hell-spawned quartet of misery). See, I can control my performance at Mario Kart 64, whereas the same can’t be said for Thabo Sefolosha’s statistical achievements. If you want to bet your hard-earned, trickle-down-economics-produced cash, you should gamble it on a skill you possess, not on if Joakim Noah or Anderson Varejao will lead the NBA in rebounds/hairdo monstrosities.
Potential financial ramifications and calculation cramps aside (hey, those TI-89 buttons can be really hard to press), the least desirable aspect of fantasy sports is how you will inevitably become a turncoat. Disloyalty isn’t very becoming and sports-fan disloyalty is especially deplorable. While you don’t have to bleed and die for your favorite team (though minor blood sacrifices can’t hurt), rooting for a rival because of your fantasy squad roster is inexcusable and disgusting.
As a Trail Blazers fan, I would never “draft” Kobe Bryant, no matter how many points he scores nor how many pints of jersey-sweat he slurps. One of the greatest joys of following sports is irrationally loathing opponents; fantasy leagues aim to eliminate the concept of team boundaries and to produced an egalitarian, let’s-all-cheer-for-everyone system that reeks of hippies and European social democracy. I don’t want to live in a country where both blind allegiance and illogical antipathy are no longer celebrated as core principles. My great-great-grandfather did not sacrifice his life to pass military secrets to the British just so I could root for sports with a willy-nilly abandonment of ethics.
There are, of course, likely many arguments in favor of fantasy sports. Really, you should pick your own pleasures in life; guiding your preferences and proclivities based by the words of an online columnist isn’t the wisest of decisions. If you choose to focus your energy on fantasy sports, though, I shan’t be joining you. Sorry, but I tend to avoid such frivolous pursuits. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my Dungeon Master responsibilities; there is a renegade centaur uprising in the H’rothmor Valley that requires quelling.