Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: Fantasy football is a way of life

Fantasy football is a way of life. It’s ridiculous to tell that to people who don’t participate, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is sitting on the couch for 10 and a half hours, having a few beers and eating some food that you otherwise might feel guilty eating during the week. The sweet bliss of seeing your team outscore their weekly projection is unmatched by rooting for just one NFL team per week.

Those who don’t manage a fantasy team don’t understand how much time and effort goes into running a successful one. Sure, one has to be lucky not to draft players in August who are going to be out for the season midway through September. One has to have the knowledge when to add and drop players from the waiver wire. We need to know when it’s time to trade that guy who is just not performing to the standard that we’re used to. I traded Odell Beckham Jr. after the third week this year and got a bunch in return. You can’t always have a personal affliction for a person in fantasy football. It’s just not smart.

What most people don’t realize is this: I will be commissioner of my fantasy football league until I die. My league has such a solid group of people. We understand that the only thing that will serve as a sufficient reason to retire is death. It’s not weird — that’s how fantasy football works when you’re in a league with people who care as much about something as you do. It allows me to propose new ideas, rules and incentives without being ridiculed by guys who have only been here for a short while.

Some people look to playing sports at BU’s Fitness and Recreation Center or on Nickerson Field, but others look to sports where no real exercise is required. Only the mind has to be in shape to be successful. While it may be hard to not draft Tom Brady year after year, it’s important to look at all your options before making the hometown decision. In fantasy, I have no allegiance to the New England Patriots. All I care about is beating my buddy so I can talk smack to him for the rest of the year. There’s no more satisfying feeling than that.

Yes, I may have been impeached as commissioner from this same league when I was a senior in high school. However, I fought through adversity to re-establish myself as a trustworthy person. As the league grew older, I grew, too. We are all reaching the point of entering our real lives, our real professions. With this, I expect the league to grow to new heights. More money will be wagered as more people accept steady-paying jobs. It will only add to the fun that is experienced every Sunday.

While fantasy football may be something that people bring up in disgust, to me, it means a whole lot more. I may not get to see the people in my league as much as I want to, now that I’m older, but an invite to watch a full day of football together is almost never declined. There are sure to be laughs, anger and celebration at every meet-up. I hope that this league stays around for as long as possible, because it brings me more joy than most people would expect.

In life, there is real football, and there is fantasy football. Seeing as though I spent every year until my senior year of high school playing football, I would choose the virtual version. Friendships are strengthened, hatred is born, and strangers are brought together unlike any other way.

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