This week marks the beginning of the football year for me. Wednesday is draft day in my fantasy football league. It is difficult to explain to anyone who has never been in a fantasy football the intense anticipation involved. Who is the next LT, or Peyton Manning that has yet to be discovered? One player can make your team, or destroy it, like Ricky Williams (I am still angry at that guy). When Kurt Warner took over for Trent Green after he was injured in St. Louis, I picked him up off the waiver wire and he carried me to Super Bowl Victory that year.
I started playing in the early 90's and quickly became addicted. The mix of skill and luck is intoxicating. The smartest football person you know can look like a complete idiot, and the guy who falls asleep in the draft can stumble into a Super Bowl victory. The game is based on player stats and has been known to make a grown man cry.
It used to be a difficult game to manage. When we first started we used a revolutionary software package during my first year as commissioner, Terry Bradshaw's Fantasy Football. You had to buy the CD and then pay for the weekly stat download from the Internet. Chaos would follow with any glitches that might happen (they often did) and the entire league would be in an uproar. We used things called newspapers to check the stats and make sure everything was accurate. It took about 20 hours to manage and play every week.
For our League draft we would all meet at one guys house, drink beer and mock every player that was chosen. It was a confidence breaker when 7 guys would laugh at you and question the intelligence of your picks. It was great fun.
Now, everything is done online. Drafting players, lineup changes and trash talking is all digital. Most of us aren't even in the same city much less the same room. I will be lucky to draft with one other guy at my house. One of our team owners this year will be drafting live from Iraq eight hours ahead of us (I am in the EST zone). Amazing, but this was not even possible a few years ago.
Drafting is always a complete crap shoot, I don't care what anyone says. In the beginning, I created complete lists of each position, even having mock drafts based on what I thought the guys in the league might do. That was all before I had kids, when time was plentiful and I thought a League Super Bowl victory was all about proper planning. Now the web does all the work for me. I can get my hands on a positional ranking chart in no time- that is all you really need.
I have relaxed now because I have realized that when I win it is directly related to the good karma that I exude, and my lucky underwear. Sure, I haven't won in a couple of years, but last year I was 11 points short of a Super Bowl victory. So, the lucky underwear stays, and I will continue to try to be a better person.