Tuesday - Apr 23, 2019

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The Not So Good Old Days of Fantasy Football

Back in my day, we didn’t have fancy things like the
internet, running water and electricity.

 
Okay, I admit, I am lying about running water and electricity, but I am
speaking the truth about the internet.

  Before
Al Gore invented the internet, fantasy football wasn’t as glamorous as it is
today.

 In fact, we had to walk 14 miles
in three foot of snow uphill just to get to the draft. Alright, you got me,
that was an over exaggeration as well, but I promise you, things were not quite
as easy when I first played fantasy football; all the way back to the year
1994.

A lot has changed since I first played fantasy football,
thirteen years ago.

  I remember it like
it was yesterday.

  Man, I am getting old,
but let’s focus on the issue at hand. Running a league in 1994 was twice as
difficult in operating or playing in 15 different leagues in the present. Let
me start at the beginning.

Fresh out of high school and straight into college, I had a
part time job at a grocery store for extra spending money.

  This is where I met a bread man by the name
of Bill Fenney, who introduced me to the wonderful world of fantasy
football.

  When he first mentioned the term “fantasy football,” all I could think about was playing tackle football with
half naked women.

  After he knocked me in
the back of the head, waking me from the most wonderful daydream, he explained
to me the whole concept of fantasy football.

 
I have to be honest; I thought that was the stupidest thing I ever
heard.

 

Like any college student, I had better things to do, like
partying and mingling with members of the opposite sex. Oh, who am I
kidding?

  I don’t drink, and the only way
I was going to score would be in a fantasy football league, so I decided to
give this strange new idea called “fantasy football” the old college try.

Preparing for the draft would be my next task in my quest
for fantasy football world domination.

  I
was not even sure how to exactly do that, but I was determined not to look like
an idiot. At the time, there were no fantasy sharks or 20 different types of
outdated magazines.

  I would have given
my sister’s first born for just one of those crappy fantasy publications.

  Once, I even asked a complete stranger, but
that really didn’t get me very far. I said “fantasy football” and he had this
happy stare on his face.

  I knew what he
was thinking about.

  That’s right, half
naked chicks in shoulder pads.

 

This was the exact moment, I realized, I had no idea what I
was doing.

  At least, I could admit it.

  Thankfully, Mr. Fenney lent me this ten pound
almanac with every stat from every known (and some unknown) player since the
Truman administration.

  This book would
have been helpful had I been able to draft Jim Brown and Otto Graham, but as
far as I knew, they weren’t on any active roster.

  After streamlining, the book to players that
are actually playing, I figured out my game plan going into the draft.

On the day of the draft, I was ready to show my competition,
that there was a new sheriff in town.

  I
was sure I was going to dominate. Yes, sir. After Barry Sanders was taken with
the first pick, I had a huge smile on my face.

 
The guy I wanted was there. And, with the second pick, I chose Steve
Young.

  At that moment, everybody proceeded
to point and laugh at my selection. After many years of internal reflection, I
guess, I should have taken that Smith guy from

Dallas.

  What did he have that year, something like
1400 yards and 21 touchdowns? Of course, my fatal mistake, offered me the luxury
of being stuck with Ron Moore as my top running back on my team.

  Hey, he did have a pretty impressive ’93 season,
I figured, how bad could it be? Well, I finished 20th out of 20
teams.

  I hope Mr. Moore is really proud
of himself for starting to suck at the exact same moment he would be picked for
my fantasy team.

  Thanks a lot. Am I bitter?

  Hell yeah, I am, but I digress.

After the draft, our commissioner received some terrible
news that his wife had fallen ill and was to be hospitalized.

  Being the wonderful guy I am, I asked if
there was anything I could do to help.

 
That was when I was volunteered to be the acting commissioner until he
was able to resume his duties. After, just a few weeks, that experience changed
my life forever.

 

 There are better things I could have done at
the time, like peel off all my skin and jump into a pool of rubbing alcohol.

  Why did I have to be such a wonderful guy?

You have to remember, that in 1994, there were no internet
ran websites that would manage your league automatically. No sir, you had to do
every thing the old fashioned way.

  Armed
with a number two pencil, a USA Today, and a Casio graphics calculator, I would
go to work every Tuesday and compute the results using the stats from the box
scores.

 This was about as fun as
listening to public radio with a chainsaw, but it had to be done.

  Otherwise, there would be an angry mob of 19
owners with pitchforks and torches at my door waiting for me just to step out on
the porch.

  And, don’t ask for anyone to
help you.

  Oh No.

  You would have thought you were asking them
to donate a lung, so, I just shut my mouth and carried out this tedious task
each and every week.

Another responsibility of the being the leader of the league
would be to record all the lineups.

  This
had to be done in person or over the phone, and sometimes, I would not be home
to take down their lineups.

  Judging by
the death threats and rude messages, I concluded that this just caused a lot of
confusion and frustration.

  I mean, how
hard would it have been just to record their lineup on my machine?

  There were pretty good at swearing into to
it.

  God forbid, I actually go to class
or work or even go on a date. Well, probably not the date part as I was not the
chick magnet you all thought I was.

  I
know that is shocking, but anyway, between computing weekly results with an
abacus, and dealing with the nineteen most moronic people in the world, I was
ready to jump off a building.

  Thank the lord;
the real commissioner came back when he did, to save me from either certain
suicide or mass homicide.

As much of a hassle as it was to run a league, I had a ball competing
in one.

  To say it changed the way, I experienced
football would be a major understatement.

 
It made every game exciting and really mean something.

  Yes, I did suck terribly, in my first season
as a player, but it gave my insignificant life a whole new purpose.

From the beginning, I was hooked.

  The next season, I continued my quest for
fantasy football dominance.

  Eventually,
I figured out what I was doing, and even won my fair share of championships
through the years.

  One thing is for
sure, things have certainly changed since my first season.

  Now, there are numerous websites solely
devoted to the subject, and many more sources to help even the most inexperienced
of players.

  However, the most welcome
innovation would be league management software and the internet.

  It sure beats the heck out of running a
league with a notebook, a calculator and a number two pencil.

So, let this be a lesson for all you youngsters out
there.

  Be thankful for what you got,
because fantasy football wasn’t always fun and games.

  Trust me, before the internet, in the not so
good old days of fantasy football.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.