There are two different types of sports fans these days: the old school diehards and the fantasy sports fan. Yes, sometimes the two are combined for some people, but usually one wins out over the other.
I'm kind of a crossover because I've loved sports since I was a kid and yet I've been bitten by the fantasy sports bug as well.
Even in high school I had fantasy teams. I thought fantasy teams were so cool, I had fantasy basketball, fantasy golf, fantasy NASCAR and yes even fantasy bass fishing. I think I tried fantasy football back then but was not very good at it and I wasn't a big baseball fan.
I've dropped some of the more outlandish stuff but did pick up fantasy baseball. Kind of. I missed my draft and didn't think I had a team until I received a call from the commissioner, a sports editor I got to know at my first two newspaper jobs. The conversation went something like this:
Commissioner: "Did you get the trade offer I sent you?"
Me: "What trade offer? I didn't think I was in the league since I missed the draft."
Commissioner: "Umm yeah, you are. It's called auto-draft. So how about that trade?"
I made the trade and a trade with his son, started rotating pitchers at the advice of our sports editor Jeff Hasselmann and eventually beat the commissioner at his own game. Jeff claims I would have won the league had I taken his advice from the get go. Perhaps I'll find out if that's true next year.
Before football season even started, I had five different drafts -- including a college football draft -- for fantasy leagues. Out of the five, I have been removed from the playoff race in three of them, am second in another league and the other league never got programed (A real bummer since I was looking forward to dominating it).
In every league, I tried to pick and trade for only players I liked, especially players on my favorite reality teams.
Just this past weekend I was still alive in two of my leagues. I actually cheered against a player on my beloved Kansas City Chiefs because I had traded him to my opponent for the week. That was when I realized I'm becoming more of a fantasy fan.
Basketball has started as well and I am off to a fairly good start in two different leagues: one with friends and one with strangers. I haven't caught myself cheering against my Bulls yet, but it may happen if I know we're going to win the game anyway (like I knew the crimson and gold would win Sunday).
I do know some people who have stayed away from fantasy sports because they believe it changes them as a fan. I also talked to a young woman who found herself cheering while at a gym because a player from her husband's fantasy team made a good play.
So, it's evident to me that living in a fantasy (sports) world does change people. What do you think.