Thursday night’s kickoff of the 2011 NFL season also kicked off of the 2011 fantasy football season, and I’d like to wish all the “owners” the best of luck with their “teams.”
That said, a word of friendly advice: Shut up about it.
No one cares who you drafted, or how you got a sleeper pick, or really pretty much anything else about your fantasy team — except other fantasy players. Identify those people and carry on short, quiet conversations with them — far, far away from me.
Everyone is boring on at least one subject in their lives. For some people, it’s the constant discussion of their health problems. (You know who you are, you know you’re doing it, you can hear yourself doing it, you want to stop, but you just can’t. I am sometimes this person. I understand. I feel your pain. Literally. For instance, Thursday morning I went to have some blood drawn and the phlebotomist couldn’t find a vein . . . see what I mean? See how easy it is? Stop!)
For others, it’s the inability to stop talking about their children or grandchildren. (You don’t know who you are, and no one’s going to tell you who you are because there’s no way to do it without sounding terribly mean, so you’re going to continue to go through life cluelessly babbling about tots who have no special gifts or powers. If your kid really is using E-Trade, get back to me.)
For me, it’s genealogy. I try never to introduce the topic unless asked, although I’m sure at times I fail. But I do make an effort. So let’s strike a bargain: I won’t tell you about my hunt for elusive great-great-great-grandfather Cyrus G. Noble if you won’t tell me who you’re starting at quarterback in Week 7.
I have nothing against fantasy-ers personally. Some of my favorite people play fantasy football — my nephew and Gene Wang, to name two. Many of my colleagues play as well. NFL Sundays in The Post sports department sometimes threatened to become MMA-style cage matches because one person was cheering for her favorite team and another was rooting for the opponent, so he could get points in his fantasy league.
These days, ESPN is feeding the beast, not only by hosting a fantasy league but by actually projecting how certain players will do as fantasy players during an actual newscast. This is news? ESPN blurs the line more and more, but couldn’t “SportsCenter” at least try to focus on how players did in the real world of the NFL world, not in the pretend world of Timmy’s basement, filled with the odor of dirty socks and unrealized dreams.
(I will, however, admit that I love ESPN’s commercials for its fantasy leagues. If someone actually steals the karaoke draft idea, call me. I want to party with you, cowboy.)
Clearly, I do not currently play fantasy football, although I’ll admit that every year I’m tempted to have Geno give me a tutorial so I can join the fun. But I’m old school; I used to run a rotisserie baseball league back in the dark ages, before the interwebs, when I actually had to subscribe to the Sporting News so I could get all the box scores and figure out the standings. If I was in a good mood, standings went out about once a week — and by went out, I mean they were printed out and posted on a bulletin board in the sports department. If I was having a bad week . . . eh. Whatever.
I loved the draft at the Knights of Columbus hall near Tiger Stadium. I even loved being the scorekeeper, despite the ridiculous amount of work. But I never deluded myself that anyone else cared about my team.
So I ask you, fantasy players, as the season begins, to think before you speak. You are slowly taking over the planet; there can be no shortage of like-minded individuals who will be fascinated to hear your moves, if only so they can share theirs. This is your target audience. Please, leave the rest of us alone. Good night, and good luck.