here is a primer.) If my fantasy team won, I'd go to the championship game next week and I'd be in the money. Both first and second place get paid ($500 for first, $100 for second). But if I lost, I'd play for a meaningless third place game that paid butkus.
I won't get into the nitty gritty, because I've learned firsthand that there are few things in this world more boring than hearing, in excruciating detail, how someone won or lost a fantasy football game. Suffice it to say that I lost, and the $50 I paid to enter the leagues is lost and gone forever. So, while the defeat is fresh in my mind, and before the long off-season starts to woo me with nostalgia and the siren song of geeky victory, I have to ask: is it all worth it?
There are eleven other similarly obsessed football fans in each league. So while I feel I might have some sort of edge, and while I have won more money from fantasy football than I've put into it over the past decade, the odds really aren't that good that I'll win in any given year. Let's say that with twelve competitors, I have a one in ten shot at victory.
And as anyone who's played will tell you, it sucks to lose. The season is as long as it is miserable. Even when it's clear your team will not contend, you still have to go through the motions each week and trot your group of losers out there into cyberspace. This isn't like a team sport where even if we suck, we at least get to hang out and exercise and drink beer after the game. Fantasy football is a lonely thing, made lonelier by the fact that I am a grown man playing fantasy football.
On the flip side, when I win, it is fantastic. The money is nice, as is the comical little trophy declaring my offensively-named team as this league's champion. Like any gracious winner, I get a lot of pleasure by lording it over my friends and competitors, and generally being a huge ass about the whole thing. I'll remind my friends that I was the one who won this year in casual conversation. I'll wax poetic about waiver wire strategy and proper in-season management. I might even refer to myself as, "The Champ," in third person.
Still, by playing, I am giving myself a 90% chance that I'll be unhappy about the whole thing for about six months, and a 10% chance that I'll be over the moon for six months. From a psychological perspective, it is a terrible bet. But from a financial perspective, I am betting $50 to possibly win $500 with 10:1 odds. It's as even a bet as you'll find.
I feel I need to make this decision now, before the months wear on and draft day approaches, because over the offseason I will forget that losing sucks. All I will think about in that moment is the fun of draft day and the chance of future victory.
So, what do you say, blog readers? Should this, the night that our Savior was born, be the day that my fantasy football career dies?
In all seriousness, I do wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with hugs from loved ones, mugs of eggnog, and plates piled high with all the fixings.
*Photo is from Beth and Christian at Flickr Creative Commons.