My fantasy sports nightmare
Miko Malabute | Friday, November 21, 2014
Consider this my official public announcement: I am absolutely done with any and all forms of fantasy sports come next year. Yes, that’s right, by the time 2015 rolls around, I will no longer partake in fantasy football, fantasy basketball, fantasy baseball or fantasy choose-your-favorite-sport-and-trivialize-it.
What’s that, you do not care about whether or not I play fantasy sports next year? Well surprise, surprise, that’s kind of the point here.
I realize that as long as there exists a divide of supremely blessed, hardworking and talented athletes and non-athletic wannabes like myself, there will quite probably always exist an absolute cornucopia of fantasy players in countless fantasy leagues. The apparent fun and thrill is there: a non-athlete can feel like a mastermind at sports, replacing the thrill of actually playing and succeeding in a given sport with the much more low-effort and low-stakes thrill of picking the correct players who will produce the most fantasy points. But the more and more I play, the less and less I pay attention to my fantasy teams, the more I realize I feel forced into watching players rather than teams, and I hate watching the real-life sport all for the sake of suffering over my fantasy team.
I love talking with my friends about sports. In my everyday speech, on any given topic I am more than prone to using sports analogies to convey very much non-sports-related topics. However, once my friends start to regurgitate fantasy points to me and recite stat lines like they’re about to take an exam on it, I instantly tune out. And it’s simply because I cannot summon up the enthusiasm in talking about the individualistic-nature of fantasy sports. And as I alluded to above, I have come to despise fantasy sports for three reasons.
First, for the majority of the sports that the most popular fantasy sports are based on (i.e. football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer), one of the things that is most celebrated on any and all winning teams is the virtue of a unit of players coming together to turn in a product much greater than the sum of its parts. However, the essence of fantasy sports throws that very idea away — in fact, for every fantasy team the sum of its parts is just that: the sum of its parts. That’s it. And it takes away from the beauty of transcending individualistic performances for the sake of team success.
Second, in my opinion it’s becoming increasingly easy for people to pretend to be the expert. It doesn’t take any extensive knowledge of any sport to be a fantasy guru — simply look up who will produce the most numbers, do a quick Google search of “fantasy sleepers” and you might as well have your own fantasy sports segment on your favorite sports news media.
Lastly (and admittedly the weakest reason), I have been simply awful at fantasy sports for the past few years. My sports luck has been absolutely putrid as my favorite teams have been perpetually underachieving and marred by misfortune. As a consequence of this, I never know who the most productive players are — the most productive players just aren’t going to be on the miserable Los Angeles Lakers, the underwhelming Los Angeles Dodgers or cursed Oakland Raiders. Or, in a weird roundabout way, they might be. After all, oftentimes the most winningest teams have the greatest players who could care less about individual stats.
So goodbye fantasy sports. I am looking forward to waking up from this nightmare and getting back to reality.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.