A Funny Look at Fantasy Sports Addiction
Jesterville, Fl.- If you clicked on this article, you are somewhere in it. I obviously don’t know you and where you are in it…but you are definitely here.
Many people have asked me about my sports background. Quickly, in the 5 major sports (football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer) I have played each in organized leagues, coached in all expect hockey. Now, I am a writer and talk show host about them.
With sports, there are no gray areas. You simply like sports or you don’t.
Now, after years of playing fantasy sports, I find myself reflecting back. How the heck did I get here?
And if you don’t know where “here” is for me….hint, that’s how this baby wraps up!
So, I think about the road traveled thus far. WHAT drives a man to dye his beard the color of his sunglasses?
You can safely say, I’ve been asked about different addictions driving me to this. I’ve tried to reassure people, to moderate belief, that I do not have a drinking or drug issue. I have issues, but they aren’t drinking or drugs. Naturally, for those eager to believe this they ask, ” So, why?” I explain that I am a fantasy sports talk show host. Those now convinced that I do not have an addiction, then talk sports with me.
The other day when this happened, again, it hit me.
I’m addicted… to the point of having this fabulous goatee and Jesterville.
Jesterville is a happy place. I’m like the happy drunk uncle you don’t mind at parties. Yes he has a serious addiction, but nobody is doing an intervention because he is funny as hell.
That’s me…I’m your drunk uncle..great to see ya!
So where are you in this?
From what I’ve seen, I am the most severe case. Sorry, that’s not trying to be “that” guy. In reality, I am the only known case with matching beard and sunglasses. ( Shout out to one of my sponsors, Miami Sunglasses! ) (Sorry, habit.)
So…where are you on the addiction phases?
It usually starts with the simple betting person. You turn to your buddy, “Hey, I’ll bet you lunch that the Cowboys win.” The next day you are buying lunch. Haha..that’s right.. Go Big Blue!
Somewhere along those lines, that is how it started for all of us. Simple competition in the blood. Mix in a little sports knowledge, very little for some but that’s all it takes. And the idea that, hey, I could build a better team than the one that I follow.
Most fantasy owners are frustrated GM’s that don’t like how their team has been run along the way. Why sign that guy? Why get rid of that guy? Why..why…WHY? The inner frustration drives many of us.
Then it starts. For most of you, it started something like this…
Friend: Hey, do you play fantasy sports?
You: Nah, I’ve heard of it but no I don’t play.
Friend: Oh man you should (time out…ladies, I’m sorry but for the rest of this article, I will be referring to things from a mans perspective. After all… yea, it’s the only one I have. But I know you are out there, Mrs. Jester plays), I’m in a league and we a spot left. Why don’t you join?
You: I don’t know, seems silly. How much does it cost?
Friend: Dude, it’s free. Won’t cost you anything. You got nothing to lose and trust me…it’s fun!
You: Yea, alright. I’ll join.
You don’t know what a mock draft is yet.
But it’s comin’!
Welcome to the addiction. You have cleared phase one, the introduction. Phase two isn’t far behind.
Welcome to phase two: The Second Year
You have passed through phase one and while possible, it is not likely you won your first league. Kudos to you if you did. But not winning has not deterred you from reaching phase two. Here in phase two, you play again. This one is a little more serious. You are back and you are back to win!!
During phase two is where this branches off into the good and the bad.
During phase two, which could go on years depending on the person, is where you find out if you are any good or not. I have noticed that for some, not being good isn’t a deterrent.
In phase two, you are still playing for free. It’s for FUN…yay! You are in a couple of leagues and having a good time with them. Bragging rights is enough to feed your addiction. And again if you aren’t good, the perception that one day you will have bragging rights keeps you coming back!
It is at this point, some of you may be experiencing difficulties with your significant other regarding your time involved. Some, not all, of you during phase two experience this. In phase four, some do and some don’t, it gets extreme. Let’s not jump the gun though. For a good portion of you, you are well on your way to phase three.
Welcome to Phase Three: Your first money league!
Congratulations….I’m proud of you! Look at you betting on yourself. Feeling pretty good. Besides, it’s 20 bucks, it’s nothing.
For some, this still isn’t a deterrent if you aren’t good. You are my favorite people, on so many levels!! For others, you are learning, hey this can be fun and I can win some money. For many of you, this becomes the deciding factor about your fantasy career and if you are to have one that has money involved. It is in this stage, that many of you will experience serious nagging, I mean comments of concern, about your playing time. In most cases, this is a simple fix with a dinner to a favorite restaurant. This though, if you aren’t any good at fantasy sports, isn’t the end of your career. If you are at this point, whether you are good or not…you are likely headed to phase four.
Phase Four: Multiple Money Leagues
This could be attributed to two different factors. One, you have found out you are good at it and see potential for money to be made in your hobby. Or two, you are simply a glutton for punishment. It is at phase four, the significant other becomes a factor. In some cases, a force to be reckoned with.
If you are in phase four, you are definitely spending time on research. It doesn’t mean you are good, it just means you research. Winning is optional.
MANY, people come to me in stage four telling me that they can’t join any more leagues, their “other” won’t let them.
It is at this precise moment I KNOW, this person sucks at fantasy sports. Fantasy sports, done right, is an investment. We will get to that. But if your other is complaining. You aren’t winning. Because if you were winning, you’d be able to show her how you made money.
For some though, this is the end of the road.
It is an aspiring fantasy players worst nightmare.
You are at your computer. The kids are crying, one screams. The dog is barking and here comes “other”. Her hair is a mess. She is shaking and saying, “Listen. Stop that. Just stop. I need a husband. Those kids in there need a father. You are no good at it. You spend all that time and money and for what? To lose money? No, no, NO, this stops here!”
You look at her.
You look down at your computer.
Your fantasy life flashes before your eyes. You will never believe and get over the league suspended Zeke.
You close your laptop.
This is why phase four can be ugly.
You close your laptop, you get up and do…
The Fantasy Sports Walk of Shame past your other…never to play again.
It is a sad day.
A small portion of you will serve hard labor, for an undetermined amount of time, before being able to head back to the ranks.
The rest, never to be heard from again!
Welcome to Phase Five: Continued Years of Multiple Money leagues
You are full blown addict at this point. You are reading cheat sheets. You are following the Jester on BlogTalkRadio Live on Saturday nights 8p ET. Heck, you might be on his Facebook Page or Twitter page? Maybe you are one of those that like to join Facebook groups for Fantasy Football. Many join Year Round Fantasy Football Discussion simply because it is a great group to discuss fantasy football. It isn’t one of those groups that have the childish BS. It’s fantastic, check it out.
But if you are here and playing. Again, success isn’t a requirement for some of you. But while here in this phase, you are one or the other. You are either a gambler or an investor.
What’s the difference?
How you look at the game of fantasy sports itself. Are you plunking down $20+ per team? 50, 100, 250, 1000 and I can keep going. How are you plunking?
When you buy your team are you simply taking names? You are gambling.
When you buy your team are you going and getting your favorite team’s players? You are gambling.
When you buy your team are you doing moderate research? You are gambling.
Some are good at it and some aren’t. Just like any thing else you gamble on.
When you buy your team, do you research heavily? Do you pay attention to the “money” weeks (seasonal play) the playoff weeks? Do you look to eliminate risks at all costs and are you weighing risk options? Now you are investing.
Any successful Wall St. analyst will tell you the key to success is avoiding risk. Any successful fantasy sports investor will tell you the same.
There is money to be made in fantasy sports. The ones that make the most, aren’t the gamblers, they are the investors.
It changes decisions, when you start really looking at every aspect of risk reward.
I play seasonal fantasy sports. That is my expertise. If you are out there and play DFS, Daily Fantasy Sports, there is a guy in that Facebook group I mentioned earlier that gives great advice and puts a lot into it. Check out the folks at goingfor2.com
THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE FANTASY ADDICTION ROAD!!
Phase Six: Podcasting and Dreaming
These are the most extreme cases, the celebrity seekers.
Again, sadly it seems there is ZERO requirement to be good at fantasy sports to do this.
Even at it’s highest levels.
I am not one of them. I am hoping, that at some point, my fantasy expertise, knowledge and record come into the picture. I’ve worked damn hard to know what I know. Sometimes, yes, it is difficult watching people that clearly do not research as much as myself on major networks. But much like my pop taught me, I am keeping my head down and working. He’d say, “Jester (no he wouldn’t, I could be on a network and he would say my name) it doesn’t matter what others are doing, just work hard.” “Do it right or don’t do it at all.” was another he’d always throw in.
So I’m working at this, hoping.
I have the record.
I have the personality.
I have….the BEARD!!
I have Mrs. Jester. Her continued support is what makes this all happen.
When you are at this phase, and you are this good at what you do, it is the most difficult time.
The days you doubt, it is the person, or persons, closest to you that matter.
I am firmly entrenched in phase six.
Recently, I turned my attention to playing a well known fantasy football analyst, Adam Rank. Adam is one of the fantastic analysts at the NFL Network. He is someone that I highly respect in the business. This is both for his fantasy knowledge and the way he brings it. He clearly loves football and fantasy sports. He has fun with it! Period, end of story for me.
It’s not hard to figure that with a moniker like Jester, I like the fun side of everything, including my sports. Guests seem to have a good time on the show for it.
It is in that fun that I was able to get Adam’s attention. He posted on Twitter about a Portillo’s Cake Shake League. How awesome is that?!? Playing for a shake with Adam Rank!
PHASE SIX ADDICTION AT FULL BLOWN CODE RED!
I must get in this league! I’m laughing when I say, I taunted him. He has been great. Not because he let me in, which he did, but because he has accepted that I’m going to have fun with it!
HE WANTS FULL JESTER…HE’S GOT IT!
Phase Six… is in full effect.
Much like the Starship Enterprise, I am off to new endeavors and to explore the unknown.
My question…is there a phase seven?
Is phase seven discovery?
Is phase seven short because you drop dead from shock?
In the beginning I mentioned “here” for me. Win or lose in that league….this is HERE!
Where are you on this list?
Thanks for playing along.