Are fantasy sports ruining the integrity of the fan viewing experience? The short answer is yes.
Every year, young men and a select group of women partake in Fantasy Football and Fantasy Basketball (lets be serious no one plays the other ones. Fantasy auto racing or golf? Come on). I have been a fantasy participant since the age of ten. I have seen fantasy sports grow from fun heartfelt banter on the sidelines to obsessive tyrannies drooling over the money at stake rather than the actual fun of watching the sport. You can be a good fan and participate in fantasy sports. There are just certain rules to be followed.
- Never be an owner of more than TWO teams.
Realistically you should only have one team, but I forgive and understand if you have so many friends that you have to make two. Having more than two teams is quite ridiculous. More times than not your teams have different players. If you go into a football or basketball season rooting for more than 10-15 players, you have a problem. Having a starter for every game that’s on TV on a Sunday gets real lame real fast. Not to mention confusing. You don’t want your team in one league to clash with your opponents in another. Then you have to start picking favorites.
- If you’re at a sport game, don’t root for a player on the opposing team.
I don’t give a fantasy damn if your starting QB is Matt Ryan. If you go to a Patriots vs. Falcons game, never cheer him on. A concealed fist bump near your hip when he throws a touchdown is acceptable, but if your best friend next to you sees it, you need to stop. I had an experience at a Celtics Knicks game where I caught myself hi-fiving a Spike Lee wanna-be. Looking back this was not my best hour. Just because Melo hit a 3 to give me the lead in my match-up, does not mean that I root for an opposing team. Worst part is the Celtics ended up losing by two.
- Draft players from your home team.
Go out of your way, even if it means taking a risk. It makes you a more interested fan. If you’re from Chicago, scoop up Matt Forte. Brooklyn? Snag Brook Lopez. Following your home team is easy enough, but you become more dedicated if your fantasy team is stacked with your favorite athletes. Snag as many as possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise your team’s infrastructure.
- When fantasy season ends, don’t continue to fantasize.
Fantasy playoffs end, but the sport season continues. Your fantasy team should be left behind with the end of the playoffs. Please detach yourself. Don’t continue to root and stress over athletes that are no longer a part of your life. No one likes the fan that roots for players after the fantasy season has passed. Gloating about a victorious season or what will happen next year is a completely different matter.
Follow these rules and you will maintain yourself as a fan. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will become a brainless fantasy fool that cares more about statistics and names than records and teams. There are less important guidelines that fantasy rookies should follow as well. Never let your girlfriend play. It will only start a fight. Don’t create a league with rando’s on the Internet. Fantasy leagues are fun, but you get the most out of them when they are competitive between family and friends. Don’t waste your time with a bunch of nobody’s. Finally, make sure you know your stuff. If you know a lot about the sport you’re drafting, you will be a good owner. Do your research. Come draft day make sure you know what you’re doing. Don’t be the goofball who picks Eli Manning in the first round.
So, are fantasy sports ruining the integrity of the fan viewing experience? The short answer is yes. The long answer is if you are smart and know how to handle yourself as a fantasy owner, you will be able to balance being a sport fan and being a fantasy expert. But if you let superficial fantasy activities get in the way of your responsibilities as a sports fan, you are sacrificing your integrity as a viewer. In summary, bad fantasy owners are bad sport fans.