In Defence of Fantasy

 “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living” Dr. Seuss

At a time where there’s nothing else to talk about except the NBA, Stanley Cup, golf tournament mania, where LeBron will end up next year, the NBA draft lottery (will the Wizards grab John Wall?), baseball season in full swing (yes, the Giants FINALLY beat the Padres, and yes, the Mets are still as bad as we expected them to be), I will talk about something completely irrelevant to both the month of May as well as to sports life in general….FANTASY leagues.

I never play fantasy baseball or basketball…there are too many games and I can’t devote that much of my life to something that has nothing to do with anything for 9 months out of the year.  On the other hand, fantasy football is something different (for me, at least).  Having limited games offers someone like me a bigger opportunity out-strategize my opponents.  I eat, breathe and sleep fantasy football for three months out of the year, and I love every minute of it…especially when I win (like I did last year, thank you very much). 

However, there is a cultural backlash against those of us who spend more time thinking about how many fantasy points some running back just gave us than the outcome of any particular game.  Now, as you all know, I’m a die-hard Skins fan.  I would never wish for them to lose a game, or even perform poorly in a game.  However, I will be drafting the best players for my fantasy team (usually not a Redskin-heavy team), therefore there will be inevitable conflicts when my Eagles Defense is up against the Redskins—who wouldnt be able to score a touchdown against a high school football team. 

Now there are some people who will just sit their defense and not play any player who would cause that conflict.  This requires them to take a huge point hit that week in their fantasy league, and likely, lose.  I’m competitive.  Too competitive to just lay one down for the sake of being a Skins fan.  Does that make me a bad fan?  A bad person?  Some would say yes. 

Another point of contention is that I am basically cheering for teams based on what they can give me in my fantasy league.  I could care less if the Steelers or the Dolphins win anything in life, but in fantasy, I’m watching those games with such intensity you would think I actually liked the AFC (which I don’t).  Basically, I’m tantamount someone with a sports gambling addiction, who is only concerned with the spread.  Is that wrong?  Some would say yes.

So I’m writing to you now, in defense of fantasy leagues everywhere.  To my fellow sports fans who cannot respect my competitive nature and my love of fantasy, please read and try to understand the upside. 

First, I would always choose the Redskins.  They are #1 in my book and I would never wish them to lose, even at the sake of my fantasy fate.  However, I will not just abandon my fantasy league in order to prove my loyalty to a team.  I’ve been a fan since I was 9.  I dont think I have to prove anything. 

Second, yes, I watch games that I should have no interest in.  I even cheer for teams that I loathe.  But this is for the sake of fantasy.  Real life Jenny wants the Ravens to burn in hell.  But fantasy Jenny needs Flacco to have two passing touchdowns this game then burn in hell next week.  I’m not really wishing that any team other than the Redskins wins the Superbowl, but since that isn’t happening, why not be a winner in some other capacity. 

Which brings me to my next point…what’s wrong with winning?  The Redskins suck.  They suck worse than the Browns and the Raiders, and that’s saying something.  They had no chance in hell of having a winning season, so why not put everythingI have into my fantasy team and win in fantasy world?  What’s so wrong with that?  I’m still hoping the Redskins can win it all, but come on, let’s be real. 

And that brings me to my very last point, which is…what’s wrong with watching sports anyways?  Before fantasy, I would watch Redskins games.  Maybe I would watch whatever game was on locally, and maybe I would watch any good rivalry game.  Maybe I would watch an NFC East match-up.  Beyond that, good luck getting me to watch anything else.  Now, I intensely watch every single game.  I know more about football than any other girl I know, and most guys.  I know every bad call that was made in every game.  I can ramble off stats like its my job.  I do this all for the love of fantasy.  AND even my non-sports fanatic friends can get into it.  My friends wouldn’t know the difference between Vince Young and Vincent Jackson if it weren’t for fantasy. 

So, in the end, maybe fantasy isnt our enemy.  Maybe we just need to embrace it, and accept that in order to deal with reality, a little bit of fantasy isn’t such a bad thing.

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