This piece feels like it’s about a week late. With week one nearly in the rearview mirror, your draft is probably all but a distant memory. So I apologize for my tardiness. I took a few days off to hang with some close friends and celebrate our draft weekend. You’d be surprised at the number of emails that can accumulate in a teacher’s inbox over several days. That’s a lot of deleting! Nevertheless, I came to the conclusion that the article was still needed. Because as quickly as week one has come and gone, so too will your season. And many of you will be right back to square one, in the same unenviable predicament you are in now: searching for the perfect league.
In case you haven’t noticed, fantasy sports have reached a new level in our culture. As our sentiment for fantasy grows to unprecedented heights, most of us probably haven’t even noticed that we now refer to our favorite league in the same manner as we do the people we hold most dear to our hearts. Think about it. How many times have you referred to your league as “the best in the world”? Sound familiar? We’ve probably uttered the following a time or two in our day: “I have the best kids in the world!” “Luckily, guys, that’s not how my wife operates. She’s the best!” We believe that stuff despite the fact that there’s a good chance that these statements aren’t true. I mean consider the odds: out of all the sons and daughters and spouses on the planet, you have the best? Seems like a long shot to me. I know – that’s not what we mean. We mean these people are the best for us in particular. And that’s what counts. That’s all that matters.
Everyone deserves to have those special people in their lives, those who are perfect for them. And I’d argue, for fantasy players, we deserve that from our league. Everyone needs that fantasy league that you sincerely believe is the best. If you don’t, you’re missing out. You’re not getting all that fantasy sports have to offer. You see, I’m in the best league in the world. I couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s difficult for me to even imagine playing fantasy football in another league. In fact, this year will be the first time in ten years of playing that I will be participating in multiple leagues. I’m sure the other leagues will be fine, maybe even enjoyable. If nothing else, the league with other analysts from Fantasy ReaList will certainly be interesting, as I’ll do my best to hide what little I truly know about fantasy football. One thing’s for sure, however. I have no doubt that none will compare to one I’ve called my own for the past ten years.
My league isn’t for everyone. It’s just a ten team standard that still only starts two wide receivers. People laugh when they hear that. But similarly, my heart breaks a little every time I hear about those same people drafting remotely, or even worse that they still participate in the evil serpentine draft. While our draft settings may be uninspiring, our intangibles are anything but. This year we conducted our tenth league draft weekend in grand fashion. In Chicago. Ninety-five percent of my league hang our proverbial hats in either Georgia or Florida. And like most of you, we’re working men with families. So it’s a bit of a task to take off to the Midwest for a five-day fantasy football fiesta. Other past draft destinations have included Las Vegas, Tampa, and a small town in Northwest Georgia called Cartersville where it all began. However, each year most of our owners kiss their respective wife or girlfriend and children, tell the boss we won’t be feeling well for the next couple of days, and head off to some predetermined destination to make some new memories.
The trips are a blast, to say the least, but to quote the much mis-maligned Kevin Durant, “the real MVP” is the group of guys who make it worth it all – the guys who make it worth missing a ton of work and making it all up – the guys who make it worth being away from wife and three-year-old daughter. I remember we had a group page on MySpace, and I suggested we start a league as an excuse to stay in contact with one another on a more consistent basis. We had grown up together but had moved away from each other, started families and careers. We would have never guessed fantasy football would bring us closer than we had been in a long time.
I could tell you one hundred stories – stories of deep-rooted rivalries with a team named Monsters of the Subway that causes others to do weird and childish acts at various locations of the successful sub shop or avoid the eatery all together in the midst of anger-induced hunger even if it’s the only edible thing within dozens of miles – stories of ill-prepared owners who draft Marion Barber with a first round pick in 2010 despite the once prosperous running back being ranked outside the top 30 at his position, all because said owner was going off the rankings from the previous season – stories of newly crowned league champions and their smack-talk that backfired once one of the real NFL players they rostered heard of his owner’s antics.
But the only story that really matters is one I began with – that I found a league that is perfect for me. I wish you all the best this season and in your own personal search for the best league in the world.