Fantasy Football and Rooting · 6 November 2011

The song says we need to “…root root for the home team.” I do not always do that anymore. I guess fantasy football is messing up my loyalties. Or at least my rooting.

I remember long ago seeing a coworker looking at statistics for baseball and calling his friend trying to make trades and get his fantasy baseball team set up. It took lots of time and apparently some money as all trades were researched and cost at least a few pennies. There was no internet back then and I imagine paper and pencil as well as plenty of newspapers were used to keep track of people’s leagues. As I watched my friend devote so much time to statistics, I never figured I would be involved in any sort of fantasy sports, but here I am all these years later, trying to win the league against my coworkers.

Our fantasy football league is just for fun. There is only pride and a little trophy at stake. We talk about it at lunch (much to the chagrin of some of our colleagues) and do a little trash talking to each other in passing, but we do not have any time during the work day to devote to fantasy anything. I do try to act like I know what I am doing to keep the banter at lunch lively, but for the most part, I just set up my roster and let the chips fall where they may. After all, I am not the big sports fan like most of the rest of the team owners in our league are. Or for that matter, even like my Mom is.

I remember Mom saying that she would always be a Broncos fan when we moved from Denver, Colorado to Spokane, Washington. She vowed she would never be a Seahawks fan. If not that year, then certainly the next fall, she was rooting for Seattle like she had lived there all her life. She would get excited and pump her fist on great plays and hang her head in shame on poor ones. Mom yelled at the TV when the referees made poor calls. She was as entertaining as the games. Apparently, I did not get the fanatic gene, because now, I do not even root for the home team. Which brings me back to fantasy.

If I had the inclination, I would have a team or at least root for the home team, but I do not. As a matter of fact, last weekend, I was flipping through the channels and found the Seattle game. I was not that interested in the game, but I did check to see who I had on my fantasy lineup that week. Somebody on my roster was playing against the Seahawks. Unlike others who participate in fantasy leagues, I did not find myself torn. I started rooting for the other team. Fantasy had trumped reality. (My parents were actually at our house that day so it is a good thing Mom is more into baseball than football these days. If she saw me rooting for the bad guys, she might have disowned me. Or at least given me a hard elbow in the ribs. I suppose she will still get the chance. After all, she reads my blog. I can already feel my sore ribs.)

Fantasy football has given me enough interest in pro football so that I just root for my players. Regardless of who they are playing. Some folks secretly root for the specific players when they are against the home team. Others keep players on the bench who are playing against their favorite teams. This week, I am using that knowledge against my opponent so he will root for my guy who is the quarterback for his favorite team. It will probably backfire on me, but the whole league is just for fun and bragging rights. There is not much better fun than having somebody root for me while he is rooting for his favorite team. Or at least being torn and having to decide whether fantasy or reality is more important.

Fantasy sports have come a long way since the days when people had to be hard core statisticians to even figure out who won a game. With the internet, we get instant updates and can watch our fantasy scores change while the games are happening. I am not that fanatical, but I will check the fantasy scores a couple times on Sundays. And even though it goes against what Mom showed as an example and what the song says, I will root for my guys. Even against the home team.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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