FANTASY FOOTBALL: 5 WAYS TO KEEP IT FROM SACKING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Fantasy football used to be that random thing that your boyfriend did, and you didn’t really get, but had no interest in learning about either. Now, it’s huge with 33 million people participating each year compared to about 2 million people in 2000. And it’s not just something guys do anymore. Out of those 33 million fantasy football participants today, it’s estimated that 6.4 million are women, according to Forbes.
That makes sense considering how popular football in America has become. The 2014 NFL season had 202.3 million unique viewers, representing 80 percent of all television homes and 68 percent of potential viewers in the United States, according to The Nielsen Company.
Part of the appeal of watching football (other than cheering on your favorite team) is seeing how the players on your fantasy roster perform. You have a vested interest in your particular squad, which you’ve probably named something silly, since you’re the owner, president, general manager, and coach. You pay the league fee, vote on the league rules, and then draft, trade, and set your starting lineup each and every week in an effort to defeat your family, friends, or complete strangers. It’s usually less about the money, even though that’s a part of it, and more about the bragging rights.
Some people involved in fantasy football leagues also try to create their own real life version of the sitcom, “The League.” And yes, we already know that the members in your league are just like Pete, Ruxin, Taco, Kevin, Andre, and Jenny. If you’ve seen the show, you’re aware of the situations that can arise and potentially strain or destroy your relationships with your friends and loved ones and/or the other random people who you don’t even know why they’re in the league in the first place. If you haven’t seen the show, all you need to know is that lots of chaos ensues when people take fantasy football too seriously. Here’s how to avoid the landmines:
- Manage Your Own Team
One of the leagues I’m in pits wives against husbands, boyfriends against girlfriends, brothers against brothers, and friends against friends. And that’s the way it should be rather than having a team with husband and wife as co-owners, according to Jess in our league. While it may sound like a cute idea for couples, Jess says that having two people running one team can be problematic since they may blame each other for any mistakes or losses, rather than having fun competing against each other.
- Understand There’s a Difference Between Joking and Being Just Plain Mean
The football IQ of most people in any given league will vary. There are some people who grew up playing football and know the game inside and out. Then there are others who make their picks based on whether or not they like a player’s last name. If you’re in a league with a significant other and he or she makes a bad decision drafting or setting a lineup, it’s one thing to rib them a bit, but it’s an entirely different thing to say how dumb or stupid he or she is and then list all of the other unrelated instances in which they made “terrible” decisions. There’s no place for that. Keep it light and have fun. That’s what fantasy football is supposed to be about.
- Value Your Time And Your Partner’s
Fantasy football owners spent at least an hour a week managing their rosters in 2012. That’s probably a conservative assessment if you take into account the amount of time fantasy football participants spend researching before they set their lineups. Checking your roster and doing research isn’t an excuse neglecting your partner. Sure, everybody needs a little space, but be honest with yourself about how much time you spend checking your fantasy football team versus the amount of quality time you spend with your loved ones.
- Have Other Interests
If all you do during the fall and winter months is talk about your fantasy football team and the trophies that you’ve won along the way, you need to get a life (said in the nicest possible way). As soon as you become a one-dimensional person, you are less attractive as a romantic partner. Sure, Antonio Brown is incredible, but how about that phenomenal sunset? Have fantasy football be a part of your life, not the whole thing.
- Know Your Priorities
The key is understanding that, yes, fantasy football is a lot of fun, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. One of my best friends, Joe, who invited me to join a fantasy football league with his college friends, missed the draft last year because he was on an anniversary trip with his wife. He had to use the autopick system to draft for him and ended up with players he wouldn’t have picked himself. No matter how much of a hard time we gave Joe—which we did the entire season via our text chain—he knew he done the right thing. If he had a bad fantasy football team, which he most definitely did, so be it, he said. His wife was the priority and he wouldn’t change a thing, especially not for fantasy football.