For the last seven years or so, I have been playing
fantasy basketball online. This means, come basketball season every
year, I become a crazy person with one focus, that focus being to beat
all my asshole friends in a game of chance. It's basically glorified
gambling. Sure, the buy in is between $50 to $200. This could mean
over $1000 dollars to the lucky winner. But when you do the math for the
amount of work put in to maintaining a competitive fantasy basketball
team, that's about negative 48 cents an hour.
The funny thing about this is that I'm in no other way an addictive
person. I'm not even that competitive when I play real sports. Something
about the want to humiliate those I'm close to seems to be the driving
force behind it. But, there is so much more to fantasy basketball than
just humiliation and low level gambling. On the positive side of things,
I now know more about every half-assed basketball player in the NBA
than I ever need to. This opens the doors for many great inside jokes
amongst my fellow fantasy nerd friends. Also, when you win a close
battle (every week you go head to head with a new person), it's truly
satisfying. Almost as if you had actually coached your team to victory.
On the down side, I now no longer root for teams. I mean, sure, I
want the Knicks to win (LOL at that actually happening), but
fantasy sports has changed how I watch, and therefore, enjoy sports.
Nowadays, I root for who ever is on my team. So, if the Knicks are
playing the Milwaukee Bucks, and I have a player on the Bucks, you best
believe I'm cheering that motherfucker on the whole game. Every rebound.
Every assist. Cursing at him for every missed free throw. Basically, fantasy basketball has turned me into a couch version of a shitty little
league dad trying to relive his former glory through his child.
Also, this has led me to watch games and teams I would never even
think about watching normally. While this could be looked upon as a
positive, I have a few New Jersey Nets on my team and, thus, I have
pretty much seen every game played this season by the worst team ever in
basketball history. Not a good look.
Worse than all that, though, is explaining this obsession to people
who don't understand it or give a shit about it. Primarily: Girls. To be more exact: girlfriends.
My girlfriend is a pretty understanding
person. Her tolerance thresholds are far beyond most. But she looks
at me like I'm crazy when I'm staring at “Stattracker” (every fantasy
nerds best friend and worst enemy), screaming, “Gimmie a fucking break
Yi! Hit a fucking shot for once in your stupid fucking life!!”
She'll occasionally throw me a bone with “how's your team doing?,”
but I know this is a courtesy question and if I were to ever answer her
honestly, she'd probably break up with me before I could wrap up my 45-minute monologue on “how my team is doing.”
So, yeah, fantasy basketball. Reading this, it sounds pretty awful.
But, much like heroin, you don't really know 'till you try it (I'm
kidding). I'd recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in
basketball and lots of free time. Anyone else? I hear dungeons and
dragons is off the hook.