My friend Andrew is not the type of person who plays fantasy football. He’s hardcore into comics, role playing games and literature. He is a nerd, in the absolute best sense of the word. When one of the fantasy football leagues I’m in this season was short a team, I got desperate to the point of asking Andrew to play. He – at the very least – was good for the $20 entry fee. He was not, however, a man who knew much about football. That is to say, he knew absolutely nothing about the game. Fast forward two months and the motherfucker is 9-0.
There are dudes in that league who whittled away hours doing mock drafts; they devoured every bit of strategy one can prior to a football season. These are adults who have been playing fantasy football since middle school. So, what does Andrew’s instant success with something about which he knows nothing mean? It means fantasy football is a total crapshoot, for one. Moreover, it’s symptomatic of broader trend that slithers through humanity: the cosmos fucking with you for no good reason.
To Andrew’s credit he hasn’t half-assed the role of fantasy owner. In keeping with the gung-ho fandom that informs his other pursuits, the guy threw himself into it. Here’s a text he sent me when I told him about this blog:
“Ha! My team is amazing. A hand-picked squad of highly trained titans in their peak physical condition, each one playing their hearts out for me.”
Jesus … you can take the guy out of the comic book store, but you can’t take the comic mentality out of the guy.
Andrew’s success doesn’t bother me. The message it sends – and this is no fault of his – does. The fact the Razzle Dazzlers (a flamboyant team name that Joe Six-Pack never happens upon) have Darren McFadden, Aaron Rodgers, Willis McGahee and the Ravens D is simply a middle finger to fantasy lifers. It’s the celestial justice that allows Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer to make movies while talented screenwriters go ignored; it’s the Bush Tax Cuts affording the Koch Brothers another yacht. That’s not to say Andrew represents the incompetency or treachery of those examples. His mastery of something that others invest years of effort and time into simply yields the same emotional result.
So what’s the takeaway? I’m not gonna go into a nihilistic tailspin. There are surplus examples of tireless work contributing to deserving people getting ahead via determination and fortitude. Andrew’s runaway success isn’t indicative of the death of fairness and the futility of devotion. Instances like his undefeated season simply ring louder because of their novelty. Still, try explaining that to the fervent fantasy football student that drafted Jamaal Charles in all of his three leagues.
- by Jay Boller