Most CityBeat readers probably don’t participate in fantasy sports but are likely aware that Cincinnati is a big-time sports town. Even the cowardly Marxists that read our weekly rag have relatives, friends or colleagues who care way more than they should about some part of our yearlong sports cycle, which goes like this: The Bengals and University of Cincinnati football seasons overlap UC and Xavier basketball in the winter; basketball runs right up to Spring Training when the Reds’ six-month season brings sports fans all the way back around to football season.
Cincinnatians really do love their sports. That’s why someone you know probably declined an invitation to your house recently in order to participate in his or her fantasy football draft. But before you go all liberal media on a member of your extended family for skipping your pot luck dinner, please realize that what he or she did is more common — and reasonable — than you might expect.
Here’s how fantasy football works: Twelve people with a considerable amount of extra time on their hands take turns picking individual players off any team. The Internet keeps track of each person’s collection of dudes, and during every week of the NFL season it keeps up-to-the minute score of six head-to-head matchups, allowing groups of friends to spend all day Sunday putting individual statistics ahead of team goals.
The standings are updated every week, and at the end of the year one person gets a picture of a trophy in an email.
Many Cincinnatians’ lifestyles pretty much revolve around watching sports and, to a lesser extent, drinking beer. That’s why fantasy football is such a big deal here. Instead of feeling like a huge loser when the Bengals miss the playoffs because they can’t kick an extra point, you can have a pretend team full of non-Bengals and beat your friends at something. And that something is important, because the fantasy football league archive stays on the Internet forever. Draft Antonio Gates in the second round in 2007 because you were new to the sport and a little drunk at noon? No big deal because it worked out.
Same goes for the message board.
In addition to explaining in various writing styles (aristocratic, biblical and Rap lyrics are the most-used in our Loser League), you can make fun of your friends for the many bad things that happen to them. It’s best to get pretty personal. If someone works manual labor you can write essays in the message board that end with, “And always remember: Lift with your legs, not with your back.” Suggest that your divorced friend has to give so much of his paycheck to his ex-wife that he only gets to eat lunchmeat sandwiches instead of Wendy’s when his fellow workers go on break. That’s pretty funny when you think about it.
Or you can satirize politics and social issues — seriously, things can stay on a pretty high level if you really want them to.
Once your team is out of contention because Philip Rivers is a total piece of crap, just tell everyone that you can’t pay your league fees because Barack Obama stole all your wealth and spread it around to a bunch of poor people like your league mates. They’ll laugh at first.
One of the Loser League’s most notable losers is Isaac Thorn (who you can find walking the fine line between libel and irrelevance on the following page of CityBeat). Thorn, whose fake football franchise is called “Hoagy Time” for some dumb reason that has something to do with Adriatico’s Pizza 10 years ago, spends considerably more time on his “fuball” smack than he does his CityBeat articles.
Exhibit A: “Long story short, unless y’all are laser- and fire-proof you better steer clear of HOAGY TIME LTD forevermore. The ways of this world have been eschewed in favor of the bodies on pikes lining the country roads with birds pecking their eyes from their skull and the screams of the dying-type nightmare which has been ordained to become your reality this year and every year after.”
Then someone else posts a .gif of a little girl doing a wheelie in a battery-powered Jeep.
Do you seriously have something better to do than this?
I’m not saying that everyone needs to spend 15 hours a week analyzing statistics, reading articles by fantasy gurus or studying matchups. But if you know people who do, you should probably give them a break. They don’t have a problem — probably just a lot of Internet friends and a really cool team name like the Scary Animals.
CONTACT DANNY CROSS: firstname.lastname@example.org