My first foray into the world of NCAA fantasy football, or any fantasy league for that matter, ended in disappointing fashion last weekend, as all three of my teams fell in the first round of the playoffs. Now that I've had a few days to adjust to life without my fantasy teams, I've discovered some interesting psychological aspects to the experience. The closest parallel to my attitude and behavior over the past few months is how I acted when I was growing up playing video games against my brother. Back then, whatever twelve year old responsibilities I had, mainly schoolwork and the occasional chore, were endlessly delayed while I sat in front of the TV playing Nintendo. Homework went undone, garbage remained uncollected, and family interaction became a distant memory. After all, my season in Madden '92 was unquestionably far more important than earning my allowance or preparing for an upcoming test. Similarly, for the past few months I have spent each weekend ignoring my girlfriend, procrastinating with regards to any work that needed doing, and generally withdrawing from society between Thursday evening and Saturday night. And similarly, there was little doubt in my mind that my priorities were well ordered during this time.
Perhaps more tellingly, I found myself re-developing a familiar sort of paranoia. Fifteen years ago, if I lost to my brother in a video game, I was certain I had been beaten because "the computer cheated." I would wager that many people can relate to the feeling of having certain victory snatched from your grasp by the conniving and sinister "computer". Lately, with every bad break that befell any of my fantasy teams, I was certain that I was being sabatoged. Last weekend, 8-1 Boise State ran two wide reciever reverses in for scores, and on another drive was held on fourth and goal at the one by winless Utah State. Had a running back reached the end zone on any one of those drives I would be in the championship playing for $400 this weekend. I've since decided that Boise was on the take and conspiring against me, and no one can convince me otherwise. Just like the site that ran my league had it in for me when they stopped letting one of my tight ends keep racking up tight end points when he was moved to running back in week 8. After the past couple of weeks, I am fairly certain each of my new neighbors are now positive they have moved next to someone with explosive Tourrette's.
Can fantasy sports be played responsibly. Perhaps, though I'm not sure I possess the necessary tool kit. Restraint has never been my strong suit. I'm frequently mocked by my friends as the sort of person who takes each new hobby to absurd levels before abandoning it altogether not long after. Fortunately, NCAA football is the only fantasy option available among sports I care enough about to participate in. In fact, I have a feeling I've already discovered my next hobby. This past weekend, a friend introduced me to online virtual horse racing. There is very little chance that this is going to end well. I'm having flashbacks to the time I managed to lose $1300 in five minutes on internet blackjack, for which I was subsequently cut off by the casino. It's never a good sign when an online casino has to be your conscience for you.
Oh, and this Japanese potty training video is absolutely priceless, and also, apparently, well traveled. Hopefully someone out there finds this link (which I found on the brilliant comedy website Cracked) and sees it for the first time.