Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fantasy Football: Kinda Like Playing Barbies

Remember back, if you will, to when you went over to your friends' house to play barbies. Maybe you brought your own, maybe you played with theirs. Usually the host provided the settings (Barbie Corvette, Barbie Malibu Dream House, Barbie Surf Shop) and perhaps some snacks. Then the "playing" began--which, from what I remember--consisted of setting things up for a couple of hours, playing for five minutes, and then going home. This, my friends, is Girl Fantasy Football. How can this be, you ask? Allow me to explain.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit in on a "live" Fantasy Football draft. My husband and his buddies all gathered at a friend's house (and they all arrived PERFECTLY on time I might add). Perfectly on time, super serious, and yet unabashedly giddy.

Now, when I say giddy, I'm not kidding. Guys are walking in screaming things like "Fantasy Draft 2009! Yeah!" Beers are cracking open left and right. Trash talking is rampant. If there had been more room, they would have run around the room pounding on their chests like monkeys.

Here's the scene as it settles: 10 guys sit in a circle with a piece of poster board up at the front. One stands at the poster board to write things down. Another guy is being conferenced in, meaning that someone has him on the phone--a headset, mind you--from Minnesota as he cannot be there for the draft. We'll call him Ted. The guy with the headset--let's call him Scott--is literally giving Ted the play-by-play of what is going on in the room as it's happening. I think this is nuts until I hear that Ted has no cell reception where he is staying in Minnesota so he had to DRIVE 45 MINUTES to sit in a parking lot and THEN be conferenced in. This is devotion.

As the group draws names out of a hat for the selection order, I realize that I am witnessing a scene very few women ever get to see. I look around. Toes are tapping, knees are bopping up and down. I hear giggling. The excitement is palpable.

I try to think what on EARTH this equates to in girl world. The only thing it reminds me of is the energy you feel when a group of girls are getting ready to go out for the night after they haven't seen each other in a while--gossiping, having cocktails, trash-talking people in the tabloids, giggling. Imagine a group of guys acting like that. HI-larious.

Now imagine that instead of going out for the night, you all pick Barbies out of a bucket (who happen to represent said people in tabloids) and then set them up all in a row, write down who has which Barbie and trash talk the other girls. This is Fantasy Football!

Basically, every guy now becomes a "coach" of their own "fantasy" team (Barbie squadron)--as in, if you could pick whoever you wanted out of ALLLLLLL the players from ALLLLL the teams (in the bucket), who would you choose? This is a little complicated by the fact that everyone else is probably trying to choose some of the same great players (best barbies), but I guess that's the excitement of it. At the end of the draft every guy now has his own personal team (usually named the Fart Knockers or something equally ridiculous).

During the season, the Fantasy Teams that are in the same league (those 10 guys) play one-on-one with each other (ie-The Fart Knockers vs. The Bone Heads) each week. This allows for much more personalized trash talking.

The "coaches" must pick players to "start" (play at the Malibu Beach House) or "bench" (stay home) certain players in each category. Every time a player does something like scores a touchdown (wins a race in the Barbie Corvette, scores a date with Ken) in REAL LIFE, the FANTASY team earns points. So, the fantasy teams' score depends on what the actual players do in Sunday's (or Monday's or Thursday's) games.

On the other hand, if you DON'T start someone who ends up having a really great game (you picked Paris Barbie to stay home when in reality, she rocked it out at the beach house), you miss out on the points. Are we getting this?

So back to the the picks begin, everyone gets anxious and starts yelling at the one who's turn it is to "Hurry up!", "Gooooo!". It feels like being trapped in a bad drinking game when people aren't paying attention. "It's your tuuuuuuuuurn!"

Things continue on in this fashion until everyone's Barbies are out of the bucket.

Now, you can begin to see why guys watch ALL of the games instead of just their home team's game. It's because, annoyingly, they now have to pay attention to players on lots of teams in order to keep track of their fantasy team. And, of course, it's rare that someone has just one Fantasy team--for instance, my husband has three.
I mean, it's kind of like a full time job at that point, right?

In any case, it was an experience I won't soon forget. Now I have to go play with my Barbies.



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