Fantasy, Football, Come True

Many experts say the Titans' Chris Johnson is the No. 1 fantasy player. Where will he go in this weekend's draft? (AP)
Many experts say the Titans' Chris Johnson is the No. 1 fantasy player. Where will he go in this weekend's draft? (AP)

Football season is almost here, which means it’s time for fantasy football addicts to re-emerge from the baseball season — often known, to them, as hibernation.

Many football fans hate fantasy football. They charge that it dilutes a fan’s passion or that it relies on a bunch of numbers that don’t accurately sum-up the game. But what if fantasy football’s joys barely relate to the game at all? The way I see it, detractors of fantasy football are missing the point: it’s so not about the points.

I can't wait for my draft on Sunday. When I set up my computer I'll be connecting to friends scattered across the country — and the world.

Fantasy sports' detractors don't get the point: they're not about the points.

Attendance at the draft is mandatory for each “manager” involved. The last — and only — time my friends showed up at a mandatory event we were all wearing gowns and silly hats and receiving some piece of paper with Latin written all over it. (Where is that thing, by the way?)

True, some of us will only be “attending” virtually, stuck in far-flung locales. Amidst this tough economy for recent grads, most of my friends won’t be able to travel to Homecoming, but this is the next best thing. Under the guise of probing trade possibilities and scheduling the draft, I’ve managed to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in over a year.

And that's what makes fantasy football draft day one of my favorite of the year. Not because I’ll delight at announcing that I’m picking players like Golden Tate, Montario Hardesty, or Legedu Naanee to perplexed looks from my friends. And not, my league-mates know, because I expect to be the league champion in a few months.

It’s great because while drafting in-between “Full Tilt, Full Time” and “Tebow Is My Co-Pilot,” I’ll be sitting next to two friends I haven’t seen in ages.

One friend, currently serving overseas in the military, will be home on leave this Sunday. We're conducting our draft at his house. While others are drafting their heroes, I get to draft with one of mine.

And that’s been a fantasy of mine for a long time.

This program aired on August 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Jeremy Bernfeld Producer
Jeremy Bernfeld was formerly a producer for WBUR.