Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Once you check in to the FantasyLand Hotel, you can never check out.

Monday night, the Minnesota Vikings took on the New York Jets. Having been a life-long Jets fan myself, I was very, very, very, very interested in the outcome of the game. Forget the Favre sexting angle. Forget Randy Moss’ return to the team he one starred on. Forget “Hard Knocks.” Forget a Minnesota team most thought was going to excel this season that came into the game with a record of 1-3. I just wanted to see the Jets apply a stranglehold on the AFC, which they subsequently did, winning the game and moving to a tied-for-conference-best record of 4-1.

The problem? Going into Monday night’s game, I was winning a fantasy league game by the score of 111-105. My opponent had one player left to play this week, and that one player was the New York Jets’ LaDainian Tomlinson. In a second league I participate in with family members, my opponent had Shonn Greene, another running back for the Jets. Naturally, I lost the former match-up and pulled out the win in the latter, evening my night, even though my favorite football team ultimately ended up winning, suggesting that my happiness be overridden by such an accomplishment.

But it wasn’t. I needed that win to become tied for first in the league. I now sit at 3-2 and a tie with 3,091 other people for second place.

Ahh, yes, ladies and gentlemen. The wonderful world of fantasy sports. It’s peculiar, don’t you think? I only began participating in such an activity a couple years ago when the guys at work asked me if I would be interested in joining a league. That then spawned off into another league with the better half of this blog, a championship in an NBA fantasy league on ESPN, and an on-going search for some type of fantasy soccer league I still can’t find.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After leading nearly all of the regular season before succumbing to defeat in the playoffs in my first year, I immediately became annoyed and frustrated. Then, after much the same scenario occurred in the league with the other half of this blog before seeing him ultimately win the title two years in a row, I all but promised I would never indulge in such mind-numbing, unrealistic, shotty-scoring-system-driven game play ever again.

But alas I did when my uncle inquired about jumping in a league with him, and the guys at work went along business as usual when our team names were saved from last year and the league was already set up. It’s a love/hate relationship I have with these things, really. Being in fantasy leagues makes you pay much more attention to the sport as a whole, but it provides conflict of interest whenever your favorite team is involved (and yes, this happens with everybody – no matter how much you try to deny that you secretly weren’t rooting for your most-liked team’s running back to sprain an ankle because you couldn’t give up the points, you know that it would dampen your mood if it cost you a fantasy league championship).

In reality, I need to get away from these things. They make me feel two things: Nerdy and disloyal. I still feel gooey from rooting against Tomlinson, and I feel stupid for refreshing my fantasy game’s score 1,045 times at work whenever I got a chance. But will I ultimately breathe a breath of reality and step away from such activities once next season rolls around? That depends. When can I begin drafting for an NBA squad?

Hey, it could be worse. I could be this guy…

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