"The Draft" is a 5 part series on this years Fantasy Football Draft by acclaimed Fantasy Journalist and author, A. Joseph
I sit here at my laptop on Sunday night watching a taped pre-season NFL Game, and the greatest night on the fantasy calendar is now over. All the planning and preparation, all the studying and thought, is now nothing more than a vivid memory. Like a kid on Christmas night, after the presents have long since been opened, I find myself filled with a deep melancholy. I can believe that its really, really over.
The good news, however, is that the NFL season has yet to begin. There is an entire season of fantasy football to be played. But I believe that if you ask any fantasy owner, they'll tell you that its really all about the draft. At the risk of tooting my own horn as commissioner, I think that this years draft was an unconditional success.
It began with the first round of e-mails a few weeks ago, a small teaser to the owners in my league to whet their collective appetites. I sent a custom invite with the first e-mail, designed to get em' excited. I probably spent a little too much time in photoshop working on it, but I was happy with the outcome.
And though the e-mails and invite were a quality touch, the true anticipation began last Thursday evening with an age old tradition.
My wife lay on the couch, battling sleep as best she could, whereas I was glued to my laptop toiling away tirelessly as I finished up the final touches of my pre-draft regiment. I realized that I had yet to address perhaps the most crucial component of of the pre-draft ritual... the draft order. I rushed to my feet and got all the essential tools. A pen, a notebook, and a hat.
And with that, I began the draft order. It is a process both simple and effective. It is time tested and proven. And in a world with internet drafts, complex software, and wireless networks, it is also a welcome respite. I wrote the names of each team on a piece of paper, ripped the paper into tiny squares, and then threw them into the hat. As always, I did my absolute best to ensure the legitimacy of the picks. I was careful to size each pick equally, to make folds inward so names were not visible, and I called a local Accounting Firm to audit the selections. Ok that last part was bullshit, but you get the idea.
I woke my wife out of her slumber so that she could ensure the accuracy. I subscribe to the "frozen envelope" theory as to how Patrick Ewing ended up as a Knick, so I figured having my wife make the picks would ensure accuracy. After all, she could give a shit who gets what pick. As pissed off as she was for being awoke, presumably from a dream involving Brad Pitt and a Beverly Hills shopping spree, she dutifully picked each name out of the hat one by one. The order was written on a sheet of paper and, viola', we were ready for the draft.
It wasn't 10 minutes later when I pissed her off for the second time that night. I dialed the number of my friend, who won the first pick, and I handed her the phone. Per my instructions, she pretended to be the secretary from the office of the Commissioner. She placed him on hold and passed me the phone calling me a "big dork" under her breath. I grabbed the phone and told my friend, "You sir, are officially on the clock." After yelling like a girl for about 30 seconds he asked me who I thought he should draft, at which point I called him a big dork under my breath. I was pretty sure that he was joking about the advice, but I was certain that he was not joking about the excitement. And the excitement was contagious. I found myself doing the math to figure out exactly how many hours, minutes and seconds were left before I would be making my own pick.
It's funny how a couple of tiny strips of paper, a grungy Red Sox hat, and a sleepy and angry wife could get the ball rolling so quickly. In the two days that followed, I found that I could think of nothing else. It was like Christmas Eve for a child. The air was thick with anticipation. Instead of thinking "I wonder what that big present is in the corner," I was thinking "I wonder who I'm going to get with the 5th pick."
The draft had unofficially, officially begun.
Stay tuned for "The Draft Part II: New School".