Sunday, August 16, 2015

Five Reasons Why Fantasy Football Is The Worst

I Make My Own Hot Pockets, Dammit
It's not as if any of this will keep us from playing the game, of course. But that doesn't mean the game isn't wildly compro- mised.

5) It turns us into a nation of nits.

A nit is a poker term describing a small stakes, risk-adverse player, who winds up being irritating to play with, due to their lack of action / predictable play. Your average fantasy sports player will throw something like $20 into a pot, then grind and pule for up to half a year over that amount, as if that was the last $20 of their lives. It's embarrassing. I've got a lot more sympathy for you if you missed a 5-team parlay by a missed field goal. At least that way, I can think about whether you have a serious gambling problem.

4) Compromised fandom is the worst in fantasy football.

Football isn't baseball, where rooting against your actual team from time to time, while distasteful, isn't usually fatal. In the NFL, due to the very small season and sample size, rooting against your team in a situation that matters is an inevitability. Your half-measures of rooting in garbage time is just sad.

3) No one cares about your team, and yet, you feel compelled to talk about it.

Especially in head to head games, with agonizing small differences between winning and losing. No one has ever finished one of these conversations with an actually useful plan moving forward to fix the problem, or by feeling better. All they've done is ask for sympathy from a self-inflicted wound. Fantasy football is Mutual Masochism.

2) Most games come down to an unconscionable amount of luck.

Small sample sizes. Big bonuses for fluke plays like defensive touchdowns, or who gets the goal-line carry. Last minute and first-quarter injuries, both for you, and against your opponent. It's bad enough that real games basically come down to a handful of turnovers and big swinging penalty calls. (There's also rooting for people to get hurt, even more karmic awfulness.)

Putting the nerd games on a similar knife edge just makes America feel like Meth Nation, where very few things are just allowed to be, well, dull. If you've ever wondered why so many people seem so awful now, and need a phone in their hands all the time, with no one being able to just sit still and watch a game... well, fantasy contributes.

1) It makes life (even) easier on nerds.

I am small, nonathletic despite a lifetime of trying, and apt to obsess over things that well-adjusted people do not obsess over. It pays the bills, but the only way in which I've managed to make all of this work is through, well, focus and self-definition. I don't care what you call or consider me, and I also don't much care about your opinion of me. I'm 46. I'm not for everybody, and never will be. It is what it is.

This is, well, not today's nerd. Today's nerd gets the girl and the money and the job and more more more, and doesn't overcome being bullied or marginalized or whatever, because we don't do that anymore. Which means our modern nerds don't build up any amount of skin at all, and never develop the ability to get along with people who aren't you, of make an honest effort at things that you will never be very good at, without having your hand held and getting a post-defeat nice try trophy... well, you get where I'm going.

Want to know why today's young guys can't dress themselves? We've made life too easy on nerds. Want to know why every movie is genre-based, not written up a per-pubescent male sensibility, and has to make a special effort to give any role of substance to women? We've made life too easy on nerds. Want to know why fantasy football is too popular, and not nearly as much fun as it used to be, when only true number crunchers bothered with the exercise? We've made life too easy on nerds.

The toothpaste has left the tube a long time ago, and isn't going back. But if you've ever wondered why you don't feel so good in playing this game? You've got reasons. Good ones, really.

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