Vindy.com

Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dreaming of an end to fantasy



When I was a kid, the last week in August was reserved for the Uniontown Fair, which, like all fairs, consisted of overpriced funnel cakes, crummy rides and that diabolical 3-point shooting game where you spend $12 to win three miniature Texas A&M basketballs because all the Ohio State and North Carolina basketballs are gone.

I hated this fair. It basically served as a reminder that summer was almost over and it was going to get colder and I had to spend the next nine months getting up at 6:30 a.m. to do math problems.

Thankfully, that part of my life is over. But September still means the start of some terrible things, namely the end of summer, the start of the NHL preseason and, of course, fantasy football. (Or Fantasy Football, depending on the person.)

Fantasy football is sort of like Dancing with the Stars. At first, it seems like a silly idea. Then it gets popular. Then people start talking about it at work. Then people start expressing admiration for Emmitt Smith, the most overrated running back in NFL history. Then you're forced to kill these people.

Inevitably, you end up watching a Browns-Seahawks game in early November with one of your friends and he says something like, "Shaun Alexander is on my fantasy team, so I hope he scores three or four touchdowns and the Browns win," when what he should really be doing is directing all his negative energy through the television set to help Alexander suffer a season-ending spine injury.

Or, at the least, game-ending.

Coworker conversations
lead to frustration

Meanwhile, you're forced to muddle through eight extra pages of fantasy football coverage in your Sports Illustrated each week and listen to one of your coworkers agonize over whether to start Santana Moss or Andre Johnson on Sunday.

COWORKER: Who do you think I should start, Joe?

JOE: I don't care.

COWORKER: Because on the one hand, Johnson had a better 2006 season, but who knows if Matt Schaub ...

JOE (interrupting): No, I didn't mean that I don't care who you start. I mean that I don't care about the entire argument.

COWORKER (ignoring Joe): But the Redskins are playing the Dolphins this week and Miami's defense ...

JOE (interrupting ... more loudly): Trying to write a story here.

COWORKER: I mean, Jason Taylor is a stud, but there's a lot of question marks and I just don't know ...

JOE: SHUT UP! IT DOESN'T MATTER! Yes, Miami's defense has struggled at times. Yes, Zach Thomas has lost a step. Yes, J.P. Losman might not be bad. Yes, your wife makes very poor choices. Yes, I fantasize about stabbing you in the neck with a pencil.

COWORKER (pauses for 10 seconds): I just wish I knew if Joey Porter's knee was OK.

Five rules for
fantasy owners

Unfortunately, fantasy football, like the WNBA, Jimmy Kimmel and lower back tattoos, is probably here to stay. Which is why I've come up with five rules for fantasy owners to follow.

Never discuss fantasy football with someone who is emotionally invested in the game he or she is watching. So, for instance, cheering for Willie Parker this Sunday against the Browns is absolutely out of the question if you're sitting near me, although the sound of my sobbing might drown you out.

Belonging to more than four free fantasy leagues or three pay leagues is prohibited, unless you are a compulsive gambler, in which case the limit is two.

Compulsive gamblers may not use more than one kid as collateral.

Anyone caught drafting Randy Moss or Terrell Owens will be subjected to a Liza Minnelli movie marathon, starting with eight consecutive showings of "Cabaret."

Anyone caught participating in a fantasy NASCAR league will be forced to get up at 6:30 a.m. to do math problems.

We'll start with an easy one:

Q. A man leaves his house and travels at 60 miles per hour for 30 minutes to attend a fantasy NASCAR draft. What do you call his girlfriend?

A. A fantasy.

Joe Scalzo is a sportswriter for The Vindicator. Write him at scalzo@vindy.com.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When I was a kid, the last week in August was reserved for the Uniontown Fair, which, like all fairs, consisted of overpriced funnel cakes, crummy rides and that diabolical 3-point shooting game where you spend $12 to win three miniature Texas A&M basketballs because all the Ohio State and North Carolina basketballs are gone.

I hated this fair. It basically served as a reminder that summer was almost over and it was going to get colder and I had to spend the next nine months getting up at 6:30 a.m. to do math problems.

Thankfully, that part of my life is over. But September still means the start of some terrible things, namely the end of summer, the start of the NHL preseason and, of course, fantasy football. (Or Fantasy Football, depending on the person.)

Fantasy football is sort of like Dancing with the Stars. At first, it seems like a silly idea. Then it gets popular. Then people start talking about it at work. Then people start expressing admiration for Emmitt Smith, the most overrated running back in NFL history. Then you're forced to kill these people.

Inevitably, you end up watching a Browns-Seahawks game in early November with one of your friends and he says something like, "Shaun Alexander is on my fantasy team, so I hope he scores three or four touchdowns and the Browns win," when what he should really be doing is directing all his negative energy through the television set to help Alexander suffer a season-ending spine injury.

Or, at the least, game-ending.

Coworker conversations
lead to frustration

Meanwhile, you're forced to muddle through eight extra pages of fantasy football coverage in your Sports Illustrated each week and listen to one of your coworkers agonize over whether to start Santana Moss or Andre Johnson on Sunday.

COWORKER: Who do you think I should start, Joe?

JOE: I don't care.

COWORKER: Because on the one hand, Johnson had a better 2006 season, but who knows if Matt Schaub ...

JOE (interrupting): No, I didn't mean that I don't care who you start. I mean that I don't care about the entire argument.

COWORKER (ignoring Joe): But the Redskins are playing the Dolphins this week and Miami's defense ...

JOE (interrupting ... more loudly): Trying to write a story here.

COWORKER: I mean, Jason Taylor is a stud, but there's a lot of question marks and I just don't know ...

JOE: SHUT UP! IT DOESN'T MATTER! Yes, Miami's defense has struggled at times. Yes, Zach Thomas has lost a step. Yes, J.P. Losman might not be bad. Yes, your wife makes very poor choices. Yes, I fantasize about stabbing you in the neck with a pencil.

COWORKER (pauses for 10 seconds): I just wish I knew if Joey Porter's knee was OK.

Five rules for
fantasy owners

Unfortunately, fantasy football, like the WNBA, Jimmy Kimmel and lower back tattoos, is probably here to stay. Which is why I've come up with five rules for fantasy owners to follow.

Never discuss fantasy football with someone who is emotionally invested in the game he or she is watching. So, for instance, cheering for Willie Parker this Sunday against the Browns is absolutely out of the question if you're sitting near me, although the sound of my sobbing might drown you out.

Belonging to more than four free fantasy leagues or three pay leagues is prohibited, unless you are a compulsive gambler, in which case the limit is two.

Compulsive gamblers may not use more than one kid as collateral.

Anyone caught drafting Randy Moss or Terrell Owens will be subjected to a Liza Minnelli movie marathon, starting with eight consecutive showings of "Cabaret."

Anyone caught participating in a fantasy NASCAR league will be forced to get up at 6:30 a.m. to do math problems.

We'll start with an easy one:

Q. A man leaves his house and travels at 60 miles per hour for 30 minutes to attend a fantasy NASCAR draft. What do you call his girlfriend?

A. A fantasy.

Joe Scalzo is a sportswriter for The Vindicator. Write him at scalzo@vindy.com.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007
When I was a kid, the last week in August was reserved for the Uniontown Fair, which, like all fairs, consisted of...