Of Fans Of Fantasy Of Football
Many years ago, I asked my father why he was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. He responded with some long drawn out diatribe on why the Cardinals were a great franchise and why true mid-westerners rooted for the "Cards" and not the "Cubbies" or some other random team in the mid-west. Then he went on to say that, he did not like to think of himself as a "fan", but rather someone who enjoyed the games played by the Cardinals. "Huh, why don't you want to be a 'fan'? Because fan is short for fanatic and I don't want to be considered crazy."
Fanatic - a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics. Synonyms: enthusiast, zealot, bigot, hothead, militant...you get the idea...
Therefore, this got me thinking about the word 'fantasy' and its origins.
Fantasy - imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained. OH THERE IT IS!!!!
Unrestrained, sounds a lot like enthusiast, which just happens to tie into fanatic, which brings me around to FANTASY FOOTBALL, aka Dungeons and Dragons for jocks (yes, you've seen the meme).
A bunch of people (mostly guys with personal hygiene issues) sitting in a room looking at numbers, hoping for random chance to fall their way, anxiously awaiting a specific day of the week, or going overboard and participating multiple times a week. Initially it starts out cheap, free leagues, borrowing a friend's books; before long, you are buying used copies and paying just a $5 entry fee. Somewhere down the line, you have started your own league (gaming group), have hundreds of dollars tied up in franchise players (dice, rulebooks, beloved PCs). You have a completely new group of friends (more like you, less like...people) that you see and talk too regularly, your old friends are still around, but they do not get you now. Entities that you have no reasonable expectation of ever interacting with have become critical to your happiness, completion and success. How does one cope? How does one go on? How does one make sure not to bench the RB3 who is going to have a monster game against a defense rated 25th against the run? It will be ok, right? I can bench Tony Gonzalez and play Vernon Davis against the depleted Arizona secondary this week, right? Wait, am I playing the Arizona defense this week in my PPR league? Do I go with swinging a 2-hander or sword and board, with the plate armor?
After all, it is just fantasy...right?