Fantasy football could actually be the reason why I barely squeaked through college. During the fall semesters of college, I found that my grades were noticeably worse than my grades in the spring semester--which for most people it's vice-versa.
Taking a Walk in My Shoes
Spring semester is when the nice weather comes out and so do the bikini's. Although that kept me distracted as well, nothing compared to when fantasy football was in season. I'd find myself waking up first thing in the morning, just staring at my line up for a good 20 minutes--just pondering scenarios, strategies, tactics, improvements, etc. How could I better my team!?
Next, I would go to class, sit down and open my laptop. I would type in two links--nfl.com/fantasysports or football.fantasysports.yahoo.com. I would look at our fantasy page update, rankings, articles and of course my favorite--I would sit on the waiver wire.
After class, I'd go to PayCafe and eat lunch with co-fantasy football pro, Nick Schreck and all we would talk about was fantasy football. We'd talk about BS trades that were being proposed throughout the league, who we thought was going to win which matchup, strategies and we'd even propose our own trades. The one thing that always remained unspoken was who we wanted off the waiver wire, there was too much to chance by saying anything.
I'd go back to our dorm room, open up my computer (planning to study and do work) and just sit on my fantasy league pages and scan over the waiver wire. After studying the waiver wire I'd breakdown each opposing owners team to see who I could make a deal with to improve my own team.
Now this all sounds like a kid with some weird and sick obsession who has no life, in which some cases...you might be right. The beauty of it is that it gets so competitive and unpredictable, you can't help but be hooked. Of course it is important to have a good life balance, meaning that the obsession should not keep you from going to work, school or from being social... but if you play it right, it will take over a good portion of your time.
Greater Enjoyment of the NFL
I had played football from the age of 10 years old all the way through high school. As I grew up I became and remain a die hard Green Bay Packers fan. My biggest idol is Brett Favre...and despite what he was accused of doing I say leave the dude alone. I don't support adultery or an attempt at adultery, but the chick was hott.
So although I have surrounded my life in the game of football, it wasn't until fantasy football that I appreciated the NFL the way I do now. I would watch every Green Bay Packers game that I could, as well as enjoy the playoffs, but there were just some games I could not bare to watch.
Although sometimes it is still unbearable to watch them, there was a time you couldn't pay me to watch a Jets game--or anyone at their playing level at the time. Ever since I have participated in fantasy football, it is imperative to watch every game.
Appreciate the Free Time You Have
This past season I was working at the Newark Airport and only had one Sunday off a month. As much as I want to say quitting my job was in debate (it wasn't), it was an excruciating, torturous September and October for me at the airport.
Missing almost every game for the first two months was worse than watching Favre throw that pick in overtime in the 2007 NFC Championship...God damn Giants -__-.
Ever since fantasy football, owning different players from different teams keeps me on my toes for every game I watch. It also has me rooting for teams that I never thought I would root for. Although, there is nothing worse than when the person you are matched up against that week has a player on your favorite football team. Or worse when you have a player on your favorite team and he doesn't do squat. Bottom line, you begin to appreciate the NFL as a whole at a much higher level.
Oh the Conversations You'll Have
I have discovered since playing fantasy football that I can have conversations with complete strangers for hours. Where I work I deal with a lot of customers on a daily basis. During football season I have actually built great rapport with customers when discovering that they also participate in fantasy football.
When building a strong rapport with a customer/client it opens a door for the both of you that can lead to establishing a strong network. I have received business cards from countless people all from sharing a passion over something as "silly" as fantasy football. Who would've thought?!
It also has led to building friendships with co-workers that has lasted even after they have left to join other companies. You just never know when fantasy football can lead to a networking opportunity.
Rivalries are the Lifeblood of Fantasy
There is nothing like some friendly competition--unless your rival is named, Kyle. When that is the case there is no limitations when it comes to such a rivalry.
In all honesty, having rivalries in your fantasy league is AWESOME. What more to look forward to than rivalry week. Trash talking, bet making, over preparing and double guessing. It's nothing but anticipation and nail biting.
Don't mistake a fantasy football rivalry as being less of a rivalry because its "fantasy", it just as serious as any real rivalry you've ever experienced.
If you win, you have all week or in some cases--all season to gloat and rub it in--which is something I am known to do. If you lose, well lock yourself in your room, turn off your phone, laptop and any other form of communication to the outside world. Especially if you lose to a Kyle.
Building Friendships that Last
I saved the best for last.
Five years ago, co-expert, Nick Walsh, asked me and 9 other friends of ours to join a fantasy football league. Only few of us had some experience but our goal was to stay close during college. We were entering our second year of college and all of us were scattered in different schools between NJ, PA and MA. We were all good friends high school--besides our co-expert Matt Rodgers, whom was a college roommate of Walsh and another one of our League Awesome players, Tyler.
This has led our league to a great friendship with Matt--a prime example of this topic. We all liked football and we all liked different teams for the most part. (Matt and I share interest in the same and of course greatest team--the Green Bay Packers).
What Walsh and the rest of us didn't realize was that it would lead to even stronger friendships, a love for this hobby and this blog. We are now going onto our 5th anniversary of League Awesome and we have made some drastic leaps of knowledge and interest since our first season.
Not only does it build friendships but it enhances them. Because we are in a serious league, we do fun things for it. We have a league trophy where we engrave the winner of each year onto it, we also have a curse for our league--Ask Schreck about that one LOL, we have a "league bitch," we have a weekly update written by the commissioner talking about the previous week performances and predictions for the upcoming week, and we also are planning a tip for the 5th Year Anniversary of League Awesome.
I am now in 4 leagues and enjoy each and every one of them. I have an awesome time with all of my friends in each league. As stated before in the networking topic, I have made and kept friends whom were old co-workers. We keep in touch by seeing how our draft results are, how the season is progressing and of course the end results. We also will BS during the offseason about free agents and trades.
I am truly thankful that Walsh has opened our eyes to fantasy football, because it has helped lead me to where I am now--writing about it--and most importantly, fantasy football has not only maintained them but it has created new and strengthened old friendships.
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