As I gaze out the window, en route to Phoenix, Arizona, I cannot help but question my last few pickups and trades in one of my three fantasy baseball leagues, TUCSESHEPIPAFBKL (The Urban Chic Sophisticated Erudite Superior Hardcore Extreme Passionate Intense Phillips Academy Fantasy Baseball Keeper League). Yes, that is the full name, but unfortunately, I have yet to understand the word “erudite.” As most of you know, I do socialize, finish my homework, and also eat three tasty meals per day. From this testimonial, I might portray myself as a character whose attitude and treatment of peers is reflected by the success of his fantasy teams, but believe me when I say that is false. What follows is the terrifying account of a fantasy junkie. Here at Andover, an enthusiastic assembly of students, especially those in the class of ’05, partake in numerous fantasy sports leagues each season. Now that the Lombardi trophy has found an annual home in Tampa, and that the basketball postseason prepares for a surge by the Celtics, the anticipated fantasy baseball season lies ahead of us, and I could not be more excited. Fantasy sports are online competitions between either close friends or complete strangers. From any location in the world, sports fans from the young age of four (in my case) are able to manage a team, like their favorite coaches. Each team is assembled with players from an entire professional league. First, a draft occurs, either by computer, live over the Internet, or in the case of the lunatics here, in the Bullfinch debate room, not four weeks prior to the season, but six months before Opening Day. As a baseball manager, it is my duty to draft a team of offensive powerhouses, pitching aces, and even a few overrated superstars that can be dealt in a trade. Players earn points according to their actual game statistics in categories such as wins, ERA, home runs, and stolen bases. Throughout the season, managers compete with each other in to start the most impressive lineup, uncover the youngest prospects with the most potential, and most importantly, to battle with vigor in an attempt be crowned fantasy champion. Some managers are more daring than their competitors. Others rely upon the advice of professional analysts. Some even value players for the plain sake of their name, in the case of Cocco Crisp. For most here at Andover, we do not intend to play in the MLB, NBA, NFL or even MLL. However, for all of you that dream of coaching the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or starting at point guard, shortstop, or running back for your favorite team, online sports offer a solution to these problems. Some of the most successful fantasy managers are unathletic men and women who watch the same episode of Sportcenter from 11 til’ 11, in search of new players to add to their arsenal. They devour bon-bons as energy supplements instead of power bars. Although it is unfortunate, many managers root for rivals if it benefits their team. Nevertheless most gurus, such as those here, are fervent fans in search of another sports related activity and some extracurricular fun. Each time my lineup dominates, I am more content when I fall asleep, and those common nightmares of having a team plagued with injuires do not occur, only those involving Count Chocula and three foot cucumbers. I’ll admit that I am a fantasy fanatic. I attend sports games nationwide, listen to broadcasts on the radio, read periodicals, and analyze coaches’s decisions, partly in hopes of advantages over my fellow managers, but most importantly for my love of sports. You might think that this game would bore an active teenager like myself, but you have no idea. So very few understand the art of fantasy baseball. I know the constant talk of fantasy sports for some of you is bothersome, but let us do what we were put on this planet to do; enjoy sports and play fantasy.
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