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Playing Fantasy Sports Purely for Fun and to Socialize

by ja on 1/11/2012 12:00:00 PM

I play in a couple of fantasy sports leagues every year.

I played football this past year. I should have won, but I didn't and I don't want to talk about it. I'd played football before so no biggie.

I played baseball and it was same as always. Long season. Lots of days. I don't even watch baseball until August usually and to be honest I play the fantasy game to have fun with friends not because I love baseball.

I am playing fantasy Hockey for the first time this year - as with baseball I am only playing fantasy hockey because some friends are playing. I don't even watch hockey. About all I know about hockey I learned by playing Pro Hockey on the original Nintendo. I actually really enjoyed that game come to think of it [mental note: dig out nintendo console to play ice hockey], but hockey just is not my sport so I'm not predisposed to be the best fantasy manager either.

I'm not going to talk about fantasy basketball in this article. Why? Because this article is about playing for fun. When I play fantasy basketball I'm out to win and I don't care if it's a money league or not. I intend to destroy you. I'm hardcore, man. When it comes to fantasy basketball I feel about like the character called "Jesus" does in the Big Lebowski " when he's letting John Goodman know what he thinks about the whole pistol incident. I feel that strongly about fantasy basketball, and I talk that much smack, so we won't talk about basketball in this article because I'm trying to keep things light.

If you're playing fantasy sports for fun there are a couple of things to keep in mind or to try as the commish:

  1. Keep money out of it. Even the smallest buyins can make people all crazy later regarding trades and whatnot. The exception to this is when the money will go towards a non-money prize. An example is a reusable engraved trophey or something. Something that can be reused year after year and kept in the winner's cubicle or something as a reminder of their greatness. Of course if you're playing in a big money league you can rest assured it's not all about socializing so this goes out of the window.
  2. Don't set up all kinds of crazy rules regarding actual gameplay. Every zany strategy should be allowed in a fun league. If someone wants to stream players then let 'em. It's for fun and it almost never works anyway.
  3. Say up front if trades are going to be scrutinized and by whom. Then remind everyone to be fair in their trades and that if they must throw in the towel there is a right way to quit your fantasy league. Tell them to do it the right way! Hint: trading away all your players for nothing is not the right way.
  4. Encourage people to talk MUCH trash.
  5. Make other stupid little rules such as 'names should be based on current real life events' (and need to change once a week) or set up some other goofy quota like 'teams must have atleast 2 non-US born players'. These rules aren't to improve the game, it's to keep the fun going and provide a reason to maintain interest.

The idea is to keep things fun and to cause things to mix themselves up. There's a commercial I've been seeing lately featuring this guy harassing his coworker about getting a "Trade". It's funny because it's true. Some people play fantasy sports just to make trades! It's a thrill to pull off the deal. So encourage it. Give an honor for most trades made during the fantasy season that were fair. And do whatever else it takes to keep your leagues fun for those just looking to socialize.

Maybe you hatch a few new up-and-comers who want to play in a more serious fashion in the future. Maybe you don't. But you should be able to have a good time with it either way.


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