Way back in 2003, I was an unmarried rabid fantasy football and baseball fan. I spent anywhere between 10-20 hours a week tracking, reading, and researching statistics to build the ultimate fantasy football team. Sometimes, I would manage 3 or 4 teams at once. I’d read and research on my smartphone, computer, and read the newspaper for all the inside tips.
The more time I put into fantasy football, the more my teams won.
The pursuit of fantasy football success and points for my players was almost an addiction. It was exciting going head to head with other fantasy teams each week. Trash talking friends and strangers about how good my team was and how much their team sucked was fun. I almost never played fantasy leagues that charged money. It was about the winning and bragging rights. Managing a fantasy football team was a 7 day a week job and it was enjoyable.
But, was it?
As I continued my relentless quest for fantasy glory and street cred, my life took me other places. I entered graduate school, got married, bought my first house, entered into full-time ordained ministry, coached college lacrosse, had kids, moved, moved again, and my responsibilities increased. All the while, my fantasy football involvement stayed the same.
I finally realized that all the hours every week I put into fantasy football really didn’t produce much. The highs and lows of winning and losing was a thrill for me. My attention with fantasy football started to shift. My family needed me away from the computer or television, but I still tried to keep my family time and fantasy football time equal. But, I faced a grim reality: fantasy football is fun, but there are other people who need me more.
At first I went through a bit of grief thinking about losing fantasy football. It had been so much a part of my life that it was like cutting out a small part of me. After short time of grief, I accepted it: I gave up fantasy football.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Big deal, Alan. Fantasy football isn’t even real. People deal with bigger and more life threatening problems everyday. Giving up fantasy football is a first world problem. Get a grip!
You are right. Giving up fantasy football is not a big deal. That’s not what is important. What is important is that I discovered that my happiness realized in fantasy football was not a benefit to my family. It was too individualist. There was no gain for my family. I realized that all those hours spent researching, reading, and formulating match up probabilities was not really fun. What was more enjoyable was playing football with my kids.
Fantasy football can be fun. Millions of people can balance their life with it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with fantasy football. I just got too deep into it. The quest to win took time away from what is really important. As a pastor, my time is tight. I just can’t afford my limited family time for fantasy football and my life is better for it.
So, good-bye fantasy football. It was fun… for a while, but I have let go of you and I’m at peace with it.