Hi. My name is Guy and I’m a Fantasy Premier League junkie. I haven’t looked at a form chart in 14 days (polite applause).
How did it all start, my falling into the dementia of Fantasy Premier League? I was minding my own business….really. I had a subscription to ITVN (whoa….flashback!), which I had gotten primarily to watch the 2007 Super 14 rugby competition. Right away there were rights issues and the matches soon disappeared. I innocently logged on to the forum to see what was going on. First mistake.
I had never been on a forum before. I started looking around and found the discussion on the soccer forum interesting, filled with passion and humor. There was an invitation from one of the posters to join the ITVN fantasy league on the Prem’s main site. Even though I had never done any fantasy leagues before, since I had no rugby to watch I thought, “What the hell.” Second mistake.
So, picture the fantasy newbie. Clueless. It took me the better part of a day to even figure out how to pick a team. At one point I was almost done and somehow hit “reset”. #$%^&*! Back to square one. I toiled along picking players of whom I had absolutely no knowledge, other than their prices. I had never watched an EPL match in my life although I love the game and had been a soccer ref and coach for many years.
Anyway, I got through it figuring I hadn’t done badly given the dollar limitations on a roster and my lack of insight into the players’ actual abilities. I then rashly decided to also sign up for “I Know the Score” (IKTS). Need I elaborate? Big, big mistake. Strike three, you’re out, Guy. Welcome to Junkieland.
Talk about obsession. After plummeting to the bottom of the standings in both leagues I discovered form charts, physio charts and all the myriad of “help” that’s out there to be consumed. I dove in, completely hooked. I can not begin to count the hours I spent pouring over every piece of information I could get in an effort to lift myself off the bottom of the standings.
Slowly, but surely, I began to inch my way up. Those of you who play know how hard that can be. I was getting better, but so was everyone else…..and they knew way more than I did. I finished the season in the upper part of the bottom third in the standings in both leagues. Success, of a sort. I came out of the den and reintroduced myself to my wife and dog, already planning for the 2008 season.
Part 2—My rise and fall (again)
2008. Let the new Fantasy Premier League begin. I’m experienced. I know the players, know the teams and am ready to kick some butt. I make one change in IKTS strategy. No more hours debating with myself over form, standings, home or away. That really, really took way too much time. I need a system. I decide to pick all matches 2-1 for the home team unless the away team is one of the top six. Then I go 1-2 for the away team. If they’re both top six, it’s still 2-1 for the home team. Five minutes time, maximum, to enter every week. Brilliant!
Needless to say, I *am* brilliant in my second year. The junkie’s rush is exhilarating. I bound up the standings making much better choices for my fantasy team and the IKTS system is astonishingly successful. Each week I watch multiple games and repeatedly log into the fantasy Prem site to see if the scores and standings have been updated. They take too long! I need the information NOW damn it! Do you sense I’d lost a bit of control?
I finish the season in the top 5% in IKTS and top 15% in team competition….worldwide. There will be no stopping me in the 2009-2010 season. I am the man…..and delusional.
2009. I’m so good I start my own league. I trash talk on BigSoccer and bait others to sign-up. There are forty by the time the season starts and I prepare to make them eat my dust. One rational thing I did was decide not to do IKTS as I was at least sane enough to realize the previous year was probably a fluke and could not be improved upon. So, you see, I hadn’t lost *all* sense of reality. Now, for my fantasy team? That’s a different story. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!!”
Idiot. Down to #38 within three weeks. How can that be? In typical junkie fashion, I am in denial. I seek answers everywhere, but in the mirror. About half way through the season I finally come to grips with my collapse and once again simply try to slog my way up the ladder. Barring a miracle there will be no glory this season. I set my sights on reaching the top half and barely make it on the last day of the season. #20. Congratulations, big guy. Time to take a close look at what fantasy football has done to me.
I had been watching matches not so much to enjoy them, but to keep track of how the players on my fantasy team were doing. Did my captain get a hat trick? How about a clean sheet for my goalie? Same thing when I was in IKTS. What’s the score? What’s the score? The joy of football had been lost on me. I really wasn’t paying attention anymore in that regard. I had completely flamed out.
So this year I sucked it up and decided it had to end. Cold turkey. No more fantasy footy of any kind. Watch the matches for fun, for the actual beauty of the game. Two weeks in and I’m doing quite well, thanks. I can’t say I miss the weekly time in front of the computer plotting moves or my obsessive logging in to the Fantasy Premier League site to see if the fixture’s points have been tallied. It’s amazing how much more I enjoy watching the matches, to say nothing of how much more time I have on my hands. I think I’m cured. Maybe. Does any junkie ever really know?
But enough about me (more applause). What about you? Do you have a fantasy story to tell? The thrill of victory…the agony of defeat? How long have you been at it? Does it eat you up or have you been able to keep it fun?
Tell us all. The doctor is in.