Pete Norton - Getty Images
An insightful article about the way that fantasy sports games have changed our "relationships" with the athletes who play the sports we love.
I read this article last week and really saw a lot of myself in the way that the writer described his relationship and the relationship of other fantasy football (the oblong kind) managers to specific players in the National Football League. There are without question a few major differences between the dominant formats of Fantasy NFL football and Fantasy EPL football but at least some of the points remain. I was particularly taken by this quote:
There was a time when I watched football in order to not think about my day-to-day life, but fantasy sports slowly changed that - in fact, my affinity for fantasy only makes it worse. I turn the players I draft into tiny parts of my life, which stops me from remembering that they have no relationship whatsoever to who I am. It makes me unconsciously think of them as extensions of myself. And I wonder if this is more problematic than I want to accept. Do I have any right to get angry at Chris Johnson? Does anyone? The fact that Johnson is killing fantasy owners should not factor into his legacy. But it will. I can see it happening, right now, before my eyes. It will end up being more galvanizing than the improbability of his 2009 greatness. "We can't change the present or the future," says Dylan in that same interview. "We can only change the past, and we do it all the time."
Chuck Klosterman, Grantland.com
For those who aren't familiar, in NFL fantasy owners group themselves into leagues of between 8 and 14 teams and draft players who will be on their roster alone. You can make trades or add players who weren't drafted to your roster throughout the season but this format, as opposed to the EPL version where all teams add and drop overlapping players and could theoretically have identical rosters, certainly ties you to a set of players throughout a fantasy NFL season. Still, I know that we as fantasy EPL owners get attached to players that we have at discounts (Bale at 2.71 anyone?), that we paid a premium price for a given weekend (any weekend with RvP or Rooney), or that we feel like we got in on the ground floor with before everyone else realized that they were going to be studs (hello Gylfi).
The archives of the blog are littered with players that we have developed a "relationship" with based on our interest in the fantasy game - Ashley Young, Dean Ashton, David Bentley, James Milner, Fabrice Fernandes, and the list goes on and on depending how far back you go - but I'd like to hear from you about players that you have "a relationship" with or a perception of beyond what you would likely have if you didn't play fantasy.