To Drink Or Not to Drink: DRINK!!
First let me say this: I don’t get out very much anymore. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sure I’m wiser, but I’m older, and there are many other demands of my time now. The days of waiting for Lou to open the doors and let us into the Muddy Charles Pub on the campus of M.I.T. every Thursday at 4pm are long gone. That’s ok. Times change, this for the better.
That said, there are a couple of days out of the 365 that are sacred, and one of them is the day of our fantasy football draft. And by saying sacred, that means good old suds. Other league owners now know better than to even say hello or try to strike up a conversation with me until I’ve heard the classic “Crrrffffttt” of the bottle opener. What a sweet sound. Sure, I get to hear it once and a while at the homestead, but it sounds that much better knowing I’m surrounded by eleven other football fantatics. And does anything go better with beer than the piles of buffalo wings and stacks of meat lovers’ pizzas that will also be consumed that evening? I think not.
Beer (or some other reasonable facsimile) is an absolute MUST on draft day. The barley and hops mixture, if done correctly, not only will enhance your experience at the draft, but can only help your team out. While you certainly want to have your wits about you in the early rounds, as it’s well documented that this is where you need to establish the cornerstones of your team. However, late in the draft you might need a little “looseness” to get you over the hump and help you out in making that “outrageous flyer” pick. There’s no sense haggling with yourself at that point anyways, as long as you have filled out your position requirements, you just need to call out names to fill out your roster. May as well have the beer be talking at that point in time. If nothing else, you won’t hemm and haww over who you’ll pick, you see a name (if you can see at that point), and just call it out. So what if the guy’s retired or out for the season, that’d just make it easy for you in free agency week one, someone to drop.
And this doesn’t even touch upon the vocalizing you can do along the way in the draft. After knocking back a few, you can really shake up the other owners by mercilessly riling them over just about anything. I believe my colleague Bill Leonard wrote on article that can help you out in this area, keep that handy! Hey, every town has a drunk, why can’t a fantasy football draft, right? Anything you can do to get your fellow owners thinking more about you than their cheatsheets is a victory. There will be someone that is on a short leash and needs the draft to get over early, so he’s not drinking. By mid-draft, this guy is devoting nearly 100% of his concentration in trying to get you back in line, ha ha ha, he’s done!
Having said all that, washing down the cold one’s at the draft is an acquired skill. Here are a few suggestions and rules that I’ve put together over the years:
1) Don’t get to the draft too early. You’re going to be walking a fine line so if you’re like me and can’t say no when someone gets up to the cooler and offers to fetch you a cold one, don’t be there. My recommended time of arrival is no more than an hour before the draft starts. You don’t want to be tossing out flyers and blurring your vision in the first four rounds.
2) Have a sustenance plan. My draft starts at 7pm, so draft day I make sure I eat a regular sized lunch, knowing that we’ll be eating pizza before the draft begins. Knocking down 3/4 of a pie is a requirement of mine before the draft begins (it used to be a full pie in my younger days, alas, now I must settle for 3/4). You don’t want to be caught with an empty stomach, not a good combination with the beer binging that is ahead.
3) Set a pace. You want to set a strong pace early on in the evening (say, three an hour), but you should have a scale-back plan in effect. In other words, three brews in each of the first two hours, then cut it back to two brews per hour for the next two, then back to one brew the next two hours, etc. At any point, if you feel the beer is starting to flow too quickly, mix in a round of soda or water – but always have at least an empty bottle near you to give the impression of drinking, another way to throw off your fellow owners, they’ll think you’re “out of it” whether you are or not!
4) Have an evacuation plan. It goes without saying that after a full night of beer, you shouldn’t be driving. Set up a designated driver, can another owner give you a ride (this is a bonus, since he’ll be worrying about getting you home during the draft!). If that’s not possible, you’ll either have to scale back the drinking VERY early, or better yet, fire up some other activity when the draft is over (darts, cards, playstation2, etc, etc). Or just stay over. No sense wasting all your draft preparation by doing something foolish and endnagering others on your way home.
Be safe – but plan ahead, you gotta fire back some brews at the draft. Oh and an unwritten rule I have, since I don’t get out much, I always hold a “mock draft” a week or so before the actual draft. No, not to see where the players will be picked, but to have a practice run with my buddy Sam Adams. Happy drafting!!