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Surviving Fantasy Football:
A Girlfriend's Perspective
by Crystal Bolos, Posted: May 27, 2010
I grew up in a household that didn’t follow football, or any sport for that matter. We didn’t root for our home team, let alone take the time to watch any sporting events. Sunday’s were a day to get outside and play because all you could find on TV was lousy football games. When I did, on rare occasion, find myself stuck watching a game, it was a blur of stops, starts, uniforms, and dizzying announcements. I couldn’t follow what was going on and eventually I’d fall asleep or change the channel in frustration. I had spent most of my life despising football as a pointless waste of my time.
It was early fall, in 2001. I met a handsome man and fell in love. However, this particular man was a self-declared “football fanatic”. How cute! I smiled when he showed me his vast collection of autographed footballs.
I laughed politely when he said his Sundays belonged to the NFL. Ah, it’s that first year together that nothing bothers you…not even football. So, we plowed through our first football season together without incident. I would happily fall asleep during games and he would graciously give up half a Sunday to go shopping with me.
It must have been about late July of 2002 when suddenly I found myself on the receiving end of a statistical breakdown of the top ten running backs in the National Football League. I could see the excitement in his eyes as he spoke of the upcoming “Draft”. He also spoke of “Fantasy Football”. When he explained this was game he played, I almost laughed out loud. This was ridiculous. It was overboard and almost annoying. Oh, and I had jokes…the sarcastic side of me couldn’t let it go. “So, you play “fantasy football”, you pretend you have a football team and score pretend points?”
A few more weeks of suffering through ESPN’s mind-numbing, SportsCenter program and I was lost. I could clearly see that this year, his Sunday’s would be off limits. It was all gibberish, but I still wanted to understand. I could use this knowledge to better prove my theories, that “playing” fantasy football was just an outrageous kids game.
August rolled around and at the last minute, on a whim, I decided to pick up my own fantasy football team. I knew this was a game played predominantly by men in their free time, which made me think it was probably easy. I wanted to see what the excitement was about and maybe to be able to add to a football conversation once in awhile. I used a highly recognized website and obtained my first public fantasy football league. I gave the team some girly name and allowed an auto-draft. I helplessly asked my man for advice on every move I made. I kept a list of my players in my purse, so that when I was discussing my team, I had some accurate information. On Sundays I slowly started to watch games that had “my guys” playing. I had no idea what they were doing, but when the announcer said the name of one of my players, I knew I had to pay attention. I got excited when I began to understand the basics. My player ran with the ball = my team gets points. My player gets a touchdown = my team gets points.
That first year I did awful, but I learned a lot and surprisingly, I enjoyed myself. I came back the following year, and every year since, armed with the will to beat these guys at their own game. I have come close on a few occasions but I haven’t yet won. Every year I pick up a few more morsels of knowledge, and every year I enjoy Football Sunday just a little bit more.
In my early years of Fantasy Football, I learned most of the rules, and picked up a startling array of lingo. Recently I have been found on Sunday’s in front of my television saying prayers for yardage or in front of my computer, screaming “What the hell?!?”. A few weeks ago, I found myself wearing a jersey, watching a match-up I had no players in, and calling my man on the phone to tell him he’s missing an awesome game.
Fantasy Football Morsels for the Females:
1. Don’t give your team an overly sexy and/or cute name. This is football and you’ll be
more respected by calling your team the “Hellraising Ovaries” rather than the “FuzzyKittens”.
2. If you don’t know something, admit it. You can’t bullshit your way through this kind of conversation…even though you’ll try.
3. On the other hand, don’t be “that girl” who appears interested and informed, but whispers questions every five minutes and plays the part of the “Ditsy Girlfriend”. You’ll get on people’s nerves.
4. Don’t ever arrive at a fantasy draft and expect help from the people around you. They may offer, but you never know if the advice they’re giving is in your best interest to take. Remember, these are your competitors. Do your homework by picking up a fantasy draft guide at a bookstore or researching the players yourself online.
5. Trash-talking is part of the game. It is in a man’s nature to trash talk with his opponent. This has become an acceptable part of fantasy football. Don’t be the whiney girl whose feelings got crushed over some innocent jab at your team. Do your own share of trash talking…or better yet, draft a team that’ll blow these guys away. “Loser say what?”
6. Don’t accept any trade offered to you without research. I was taught that in almost all trades, someone’s getting hosed. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
7. Watch and/or listen to the NFL Draft each year. It’ll give you a head start on players you might be thinking of drafting and time to research them before your draft.
8. If you’re new to the game, don’t join pay leagues. There are plenty of sites online that offer free leagues where you don’t need to spend any money to play. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll undoubtedly be throwing your money away. Better to start with the free leagues and move on up once you’ve got your sea legs.
9. Make sure you draft back ups for your players that do not have the same (off) bye-weeks, and check injury reports every couple days at least.
10. Have fun. Take it seriously enough that you can win, but not serious enough to get stressed out about losing.
Good Luck! Hopefully my tips have been helpful enough to propel you to your first fantasy football championship.
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