Hi, my name is Mike, and I’m a fantasy football addict.
They say admitting the problem is the first step. I think recognizing the problem is probably a more accurate view of the first step.
If you know me, you know I don’t take losing at anything very well. It’s not that I’m afraid of losing; it’s that I loathe it. You’ll also know that I enjoy researching something to death and want to master everything (I’m an insatiable learner according to every personality test I’ve tried). These factors make for a deadly combination in fantasy football. Why? Because there is a league to win and thousands upon thousands of bits of information to soak up, that’s why!
I started playing fantasy football about five years ago now. In my leagues, I can generally be counted on know about obscure players that other folks haven’t heard about. I’ve won the championship in most leagues I’ve competed in. But prior to last season, Maggie asked me to dial it back.
Already struggling with work-life balance, I was putting too much late-night time into trying to find “the next breakout player” before the other guys in my leagues heard about him. It took a little bit of time, but I recognized Maggie was right; I was spending too much time on something that had no real significance.
So, last season, I dropped out of two leagues and resigned as commissioner of two leagues. I stayed active in my work league and my primary keeper league (a group of Christian men) as well as another church league. But I did virtually no research for these leagues. I have to admit, it was tough. I had good teams, but I didn’t win a single championship last year (I think that’s a first). It hurt.
But I won more at home in the real world than I lost in fantasy. So, I am working to shift my view of fantasy football to being more about fellowship than about winning. It may be silly, but that’s a hard shift for me. I don’t enjoy most things if I’m not winning. Of course, I’ll still try to win; I’ll just try to not let the effort consume me or cheat my family.
That brings me around to our pastor’s sermon this past Sunday. Dwayne said he was at Starbucks last weekend when he saw another local minister and a group of guys studying intently. He was impressed with their dedication to doing a Bible study and the fervor with which they approached it. After some time, he went over to tell his friend how much he admired what they were doing. It was at this point he saw the guys were doing their fantasy football draft.
You know what’s even funnier? Maggie saw that coming way before I did. I’m usually pretty quick on spotting the punchline in advance, but she beat me by a mile this time. She even had to repeat it to make sure I got it. Personal blind spot, I guess.
Anyway, it did make me think. What if I research and study the things of God as intently as I used to study football players for a fantasy game? Wouldn’t that be an even greater fantasy? Talk about your ultimate keeper league!
Of course, I’m still excited about fantasy football. And I’m very excited about college football, too (Go HEELS!). But I aspire to have that same level of excitement about serving the holy and most high God of the universe. In this case the reality can be better than the fantasy.