I’ve always been a sports fan but I have to admit, I just don’t get this fantasy sports thing. Although living vicariously through your sports heroes is nothing new, it seems as if we’ve sunk to new depths. When I hear guys talk about this topic, it’s all I can do not to scream, “Get your fat butts off the couch and actually go out and PLAY a sport! What you’re doing is NOT real!” I’m not sure they would get it. I want to tell them they’re not the same as the general managers of sports teams because they’re not risking anything. They’re not the same as the athletes because they’re not exerting any energy or making any sacrifices. IT’S A FANTASY!! Most of all, I want to tell them to grow up. Get a life. Children spend a great deal of time in a fantasy world. The difference is that most children actually learn from this process and as they mature, they take what they’ve learned and use it in productive ways.
People have always had dreams. If you look at the successes people have had over the centuries, you can count on the fact that each accomplishment began as a dream. Someone used their imagination and visualized something grand. Then, however, they took the next step. They came up with a plan and put it into action. They moved toward their vision step by step, often with many a stumble along the way. The successful ones picked themselves up and continued moving toward their goals, their ambitions fueled by the fire of their dreams. When Horace Greeley wrote the words, “Go West, young man,” people didn’t just sit around New York City fantasizing about it. They got in a wagon and did it. They risked everything. Many paid the ultimate price for failure but over time, they settled the West. It’s a good thing we didn’t have computers back then. We’d all still be living on the east coast playing “fantasy cowboys & Indians.”
What’s the harm, you might ask. No one gets hurt in this fantasy sports world. It’s just good clean fun. In the short run, you’d be right. I’m just a geezer on a rant about a 21st Century phenomenon that’s out of my comfort zone. In the long run though, I believe it’s insidious and destructive. People get used to finding their gratification with a minimum of risk and effort. They get comfortable with the idea that if their fantasy team is at the top of the league standings, they’ve actually done something noteworthy. Imagining an accomplishment replaces the actual doing of the deed. They live a “virtual life.” Their personal reality becomes disconnected with the real world. As this mentality grows and spreads, who knows where it will lead. Wait…I think I just described the plot for the Matrix movies. Hmm, maybe I’m onto something. I think I’ll sit around and fantasize about writing a futuristic science fiction opus about people sitting around fantasizing. If I do it long enough, maybe a book will pop out.