Whether it’s a viciously-timed grenade toss in an online Halo war, a last second-buzzer-beating half-court shot, or simply giving up all your property to Grandma in Monopoly (who let her be banker?), there is nothing fun about losing. Builds character, they say. Strengthens resolve, they remind. Well hey, guess what “they,” no one asked you in the first place! It stinks and I hate it. So there.
This past week, my run to a championship in season-long leagues came to a crashing halt at the hands of Odell Beckham, Jr. In most of my matchups, I went in to Monday night with a comfortable lead; a mediocre performance from the league’s most dangerous wideout, and I would escape and live to fight for the trophy.
But the league’s most dangerous wideout doesn’t get such a moniker by playing mediocre. Wearing Joker-clad Nike cleats, Beckham made a joke out of my playoff hopes and torched me. Woof. Talk about making a pencil disappear.
But luckily for me, I did well in the regular season of all my leagues, and at least gave myself a shot. There are many out there who weren’t quite so fortunate however, and now have to face the dreaded “last-place” punishment. Unfamiliar with this? Well let me share some personal favorites I’ve stumbled across …
The Karaoke – Simple. Classic. You’ve never seen true beauty until you’ve seen your buddy try to contain his jiggling belly as he strains to hit the high note from “Livin’ on a Prayer” in a crowded bar. For extra fun, surprise the sad-sack crooner with your best American Idol impersonation as soon as it’s over. The Paula Abdul role should be easy; you’ll already be drunk.
The Dress-Up – Cross-dressing never fails to get some decent reactions, although, in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s year, perhaps this one is beginning to look a bit dated and unfunny? Regardless, the mere act of having one of the guys shave his legs smooth is sometimes good enough. But in reality, the outfit can be just about anything just so long as some amount of public shaming and humiliation is involved.
The Tattoo – Not for the faint of heart, there are several leagues out there that go for a more permanent punishment, in the form of a tattoo that will forever highlight the ineptitude of their season. This is usually coupled with the image of someone no one wants to see branded on her/his body, usually along the lines of Justin Bieber, Barney or Donald Trump. No thanks, not for me. There isn’t enough whiskey in the world for that nonsense and I don’t think any artist can accurately capture the ridiculousness of the Trump’s coif.
The Test – This is one of my all-time favorites. Remember taking the ACT back in high school? How’d you do? Think you could beat that score now or do you now think the Pythagorean theorem is something you order at P.F. Chang’s? Well, some leagues force the league loser to not simply register and take the ACT, but then email the results and brand it on a trophy which must be “proudly” displayed until the following year. Pair it with a locker stuffing and a girlfriend fight via folded passed notes and you can relive your worst high school days all over again.
The Naming – If you are anything like me (and if you are still here reading this column in Week 15, you are), you take great pride in naming your team. Be it a pun reflecting the best player on your roster, or a hubris-driven nickname, making sure your attitude and creativity is proudly displayed above your roster is one of the best parts of fantasy football. What if that were suddenly taken away, along with your ability to change it? Trust me, if your leaguemates are anything like mine, the results will not be flattering. (I’m serious – I can’t even write them in this column).
The Beer Wench – This one is for live-drafters only, but just imagine, at next year’s draft, never having to get up for your drink, and having someone wait on you hand and foot for the entire time? Now what if that person were a fellow competitor who also has to try to follow along and draft a good team? Yeah, things get ugly real quick. For them.
The Stand-Up – And now we arrive at one of my favorite punishments, and the one my 16-team, points per reception league of record will be using for the 2015 loser (sorry, Paulie B): Five minutes of standup comedy at a live open mic night. Combine public speaking with bright lights, a live mic and the duty of not only talking, but attempting to make a crowd of people laugh? You can all but guarantee that owner puts in double effort the following year to ensure that she/he never sees a stage again until he is claiming an award. Don’t forget to bring the tomatoes.