BY PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Every year I fall into the same trap.
For some reason I can never say no to a fantasy league.
Each sports season I try to avoid it, but every time I fall into the same trap. I sign up and down the sports rabbit hole I go.
Over my sports-loving lifetime, I've tried my hand at about every sport possible that translates to a fantasy-type environment. I've had baseball, basketball and football teams. Last year I even competed in a fantasy soccer league. One of the soccer leagues led me to watching games on the internet in Spanish for months on end in an effort to track my players progress throughout the season.
Once I've committed to creating a team, there's the task of selecting my players.
That process can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Typically, it occurs by way of a draft. Round by round each team selects the players they want until all the rosters are filled.
I think it's fair to say football is the most popular of the fantasy sports. It's the one I'm most experienced in. Each week your team faces an opponent. Players can gain points through their own individual success on the field, scoring touchdowns and gaining yards and so on. The person with the highest amount of points is the week's winner and their record improves.
This continues for weeks and months until the final few weeks of the season when the playoffs begin. Using the NFL as the example, once again, fantasy league playoffs usually coincide with week 16 and 17 of the pro season. Whoever wins is declared the champion.
The internet has simultaneously simplified and complicated the cottage industry of fantasy sports.
I remember as a child competing with my brother. Our sports of choice back then were football and baseball, but everything we did occur by hand.
We hand wrote our draft selections. We scoured box scores each day to tally up the total points. The window for a disputed point total is left wide open.
Now there's a bit more simplicity to that aspect. With so many national sports sites across the internet, a draft can occur with a few dozen clicks of the mouse. Point totals are automatically completed by the computer.
The complexity comes in the strategy, and yes there is a thought process when it comes to fantasy leagues. Like anything else you can put as little time into it, or you can fritter your free time away.
Naturally I can't help but opt for the latter. Usually, my competitive nature kicks in. I spend hours of my free time reading injury updates and searching the wavier wire for better players. The end game is improving my team.
Last spring I joined a baseball league. In the last few weeks I've added football and soccer to my list.
So once again, I'm promising myself maybe next year is the I hold strong and refuse the pull of fantasy sports.
Paul Hines is the sports editor at the Register-News.