“Yo Cuzz!”, came the greeting as the two men entered my home. Despite the salutation, neither is a cousin, it is my brother-in-law and his best friend who have arrived first. No sooner are hand shakes and hugs exchanged when there is a sharp bang at the front door. “A little help” comes the request as I peer around bodies to see the cause of the commotion. On the other side of the screen door, stands a burly man with a case of beer tucked under each arm. This one actually is a cousin, “Yo Dude” he says as I open the door to help him inside. Trailing behind is his son, the 14-year-old is carrying a large tray covered with aluminum foil. No doubt that he is toting delicacies which his mother has prepared to add to the festivities of the day. Before long, everyone has arrived and all pleasantries have been exchanged. I need to get a handle on this group quickly though, as this is no casual get together. It’s draft day and I am the commissioner of a family league.
Seven large men, two women and a teenager squeeze around a table designed to accommodate six people comfortably. The top of the table is now cluttered with soda, beer, pretzels and chips, so there is barely enough room for everyone to place the plethora of notes and fantasy magazines that each has brought with them. Adding to which, I hand out league rules and sheets with grids drawn on them, so that everyone can follow along and note the players taken. A deck of card is produced from a nearby drawer and the Ace through 10 of spades is removed. It is agreed upon that oldest through youngest is how we should pick cards. The ace is located and everyone else moans but finally we have our order and the draft is ready to begin.
Starting with the party atmosphere of draft day and for the 16 weeks to follow, there is a lot in common between this and most fantasy football leagues. Where would the fun be in writing about the similarities though? After all, it is some of the unique differences that make a family league interesting.
Familiarity breeds comtempt: whatever issues arise during the season have a way of carrying over to other family gatherings. Because he snagged that undrafted rookie wide receiver before you, and the phenomenal game he had caused you to lose, you may not want to see your Uncle Joe. Well, its cousin Betty’s wedding and you can’t, not attend, knowing he’ll be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. Why? Because you know that your mother will never let you hear the end of it, that’s why.
Having suffered through the trials and tribulations of commissioning a family league, I would like to pass on some wisdom to any of you that are considering the same. Don’t do it. However, if you must, maybe there is no one else everyone can trust or you have the most experience and there is no other option, here are a few ideas that may help you survive.
First, follow the
Stupid. You will be amazed when you find out that even the relative who can rattle off the birthdates of all 20-something second cousins still manages to get amnesia when it comes to league rules. Definitely find a user-friendly, trustworthy site: your brother may program computers for a living but even he will have issues when it comes to setting his lineup on a weekly basis. Beware of teenagers: it may seem like a harmless idea but they have a lot more time to peruse the waiver wire after school than anyone else has after work. Be sure to use the default settings for all of your rules: this way you can blame the site if someone gets an unfair advantage due to a rare whacky play. Finally, try to have fun, after all that is the reason we play fantasy sports, isn’t it?