Starting in 6th grade, my friends and I have engaged in our country's most popular hobby. No, not NASCAR, not fishing, not baseball, not even political partisanship. A pastime that captures the minds, hearts, and productive work times of millions of Americans today. The one and only fantasy football.
Having maintained a relatively stable and functioning league for a number of years, I can say that fantasy has strengthened relationships, created everlasting memories, and produced innumerable taunts, rifts, and controversies. Our group has fluctuated slightly, and the eight-team league consisting of teams of two has seen dropouts, new additions, and internal movements among teams. However, a core membership has persisting throughout it all, and I am pleased to say that our league is currently stronger than ever (a certain Mathewsgate nonwithstanding).
Sustaining a well-running league for a good period of time has resulted in certain traditions that are very dear to our league. We always have a live, in-person draft with an actual draft board, and preparation for the draft ranges from obsessive studying of preseason magazines and articles to simply showing up the day of the draft and going based on instinct. There have been modifications to the type of draft, the manner in which drafting positions are assigned, and length of the draft, but the basic structure has been relatively preserved. After we graduated from high school, the last two drafts have been held in the basement of Cheyenne Arapaho residence hall at CU and in my house on the Hill this past year, with out of town participants weighing in through Skype. Needless to say, both college drafts involved intense gamesmanship and passion. However, new traditions have been implemented in recent years, including the newest addition to the league: this season, the prize for losing the last-place game was the wearing of a Winnie the Pooh costume around campus for a day, which is scheduled to take place at the beginning of the coming semester in January. This year, Griffin and my dear cousin Joseph managed to win, despite the best efforts of many, and they are sure to come up with some new additions to the league during their time as reigning champs. We are constantly looking for ways to liven up and enhance our beloved league.
From the start of the NFL season in August to the the beginning of the playoffs in January, fantasy has taken up a large chunk of my time the past seven or eight years. Pre-draft preparation followed by the weekly setting of lineups and constant trade negotiation and banter almost always takes priority to schoolwork (don't tell my parents). Football Sundays during the fall are unlike anything else, and bolstered by the Broncos, have been a staple of my life for many years. I wouldn't trade them for anything, and I look forward to many, many fantasy seasons to come in the future. It may be called fantasy football, but there is definitely nothing fake about it.