Football Philosophy: Is Fantasy Football Ruining Football Fandom?

How Do You Ruin Someone’s Life?

It’s mid-November. Josh is walking into the classroom, and I catch a glimpse of the sun off of his aviator sunglasses. It’s 7:50 in the morning. Why is he wearing aviator glasses?

Josh sits down next to me in the controlled-plane-crash sort of way that only he could properly pull off without causing serious injury to either himself or others. He’s not about style points or whatever, just brutal efficiency. But he’s clearly licking his metaphorical wounds. I decide to probe him, see what’s going on. The conversation goes something like this.

“Hey man, how’s it going?”

“Goddamn Antonio Brown, dude.”

In the span of five seconds, of course, he had communicated everything he wanted and needed to. Brutal efficiency. I don’t inquire further, simply because I don’t need to. We may have been doing just fine in the class, but in the world of fantasy football, the most important thing in Josh’s life, he was in a rough place.

As a casual enjoyer of fantasy football, I can’t say I let it get to me that much. I mean, I forget to even set my lineup half the time. I can’t say the same for my friend here. For about a month afterwards, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown had effectively ruined Josh’s sports life, and the team he liked didn’t play his team once in that span. I didn’t really get it at the time, and to be quite honest, I still don’t. And then, like the flip of a switch, everything took a turn for the better.

It’s now mid-December. The last week before classes. Josh walks into class. It’s 7:47 in the morning. He shows me, with beaming pride, that he has replaced his morning coffee with a 30 oz Yeti tumbler of pretty low quality champagne. Josh and I are both eighteen years old. I still have no idea where he got the champagne. He offers me a sip, which I politely decline. Even in pre-COVID times, I wasn’t about the “drinking out of other people’s cups” lifestyle. It’s gross.

The champagne on this occasion was for a combination of things. First, the semester of college was coming to a close. But that event paled in comparison to Josh winning his fantasy league. I guess 1,000+ articles can’t be wrong. The dude knew his stuff. The pain of losing to Antonio Brown by five fantasy points had given away to the pure euphoria of knowing you’re the best. Of winning a championship. And he was having honest-to-god sports-based human feelings about this whole thing. I didn’t get it, but it’s not for me.

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