Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fantasy Football Drafts: A Growing Social Event

  With a cold soda and sandwich, I settled in front of my home computer and went to work early Monday on something of the utmost importance.
  Not a story, feature or column.
  It was fantasy football draft time.
  In a league appropriately called the Bush League, college buddies (including former News-Sun sports editor Jon Roetman), a few friends of theirs and my best friend since I was in grade school took about two hours trying to take the first giant step toward becoming Bush League XIV champ (we also play fantasy baseball, so this is the second half of our seventh season).
  Don't worry, I'm not here to explain how my draft went. Talking about your fantasy league in depth ranks right behind bad poker beat stories and just ahead of how your child's t-ball game went on the people-don't-give-a-crap meter.
  But drafts have become this sacred event. It's a time of bonding. While my league does its draft online because we have people in four different time zones, many pick a destination and have it there.
  From someone's house, to a vacation-type spot or wherever, draft time is party time. Heck, I've heard of someone going to Las Vegas for their draft (though I think in this instance, the draft was an excuse to run wild in Vegas for a few days).
  What used to be seen as a nerdy fad has turned into a $3 billion industry with over 28 million people participating in fantasy sports in the United States. I fought it for a few years, sticking my nose up at it all and thinking I was a purist and didn't need a fantasy team to enjoy my sports.
  I joined in 2004 while at the University of Oregon and never looked back.
  With so many people playing now, it's a social event. It's a way to compete against your buddies when your playing days are behind you. It's a way to prove to your buddies you are the brightest sports mind in the group.
  So to all of you playing in leagues, may your season be injury free, may your competitors make uneven trades to you, may you be the first to the waiver wire and may you enjoy the bragging rights of being league champ.