Today I embark upon an annual tradition of the utmost importance. I will gather with my most trusted friends and family members after driving two hours. We will each bring mountains of paperwork and confidential files that we will guard with our lives. We will need to fork over $50 just to walk in the door. Then we will embark on a series of personal choices that will deeply affect the next four months of our lives.
That’s right people: Tonight is my fantasy football draft!
Sure, go ahead and laugh. But I assure you this is no laugh matter. First of all, it is an investment with some serious financial repercussions. The winner gets $500 at the end of the season, which is roughly equivalent to two tanks of gas at this point. But it’s much more than just the money.
For many of us (especially those with kids), tonight has been on our calendar for nearly a year. It is one of the only nights some of us are allowed out of the house alone. For three hours we will sit around and choose players for our fictional team. For three hours we will rag on each other mercilessly and make fun of each other’s shortcomings with reckless abandon. We will tear at one another’s self confidence for making a terrible pick or unknowingly choosing a player who is injured. For those three hours, you would never guess that we were friends for the amount of insults that go around.
And we love it.
Seriously, this is my favorite time of year. I’ve been researching this for weeks and I’ll be bringing more than 100 pages of studies with me. Some other guys in the league are known to bring color-coded folders with in-depth notes on players. Better yet, many guys bring their laptops with Mircosoft Excel spreadsheets and mock drafts considering every possible contingency.
This is no joke people.
But it’s also a lot of fun and most of us end up spending the night and having a few beers. Our wives don’t understand though. They ask questions like: “So are you going to pick the Patriots?” and “Why are you spending money to build a fake team?” Fantasy sports are not for the estrogen filled masses and the two are better kept far apart.
But tonight I am ready. I will sit around with other fat, drunken men and heatedly discuss why Tom Brady is too risky a pick for the first round. I will lambast the fool who is suckered into taking Michael Turner as a running back in the first round despite his tendency to absolutely suck against a halfway decent run defense. But more importantly, I will wallow in my sports dorkiness with other fellow nerds and enjoy a night without wives and children during which I can burp, fart, scratch myself, swear, drink and hurl insults that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.
Fantasy drafts: They’re faaaaantastic!