September is my favorite time of the year. It isnít perfect. Itís still hot, thereís not much on TV, and there are few holidays. But there is one thing that excites me more than anything else: the return of fantasy football! For those unaware of fantasy sports, the concept is simple. Friends form a group and select professional athletes to represent them. The friends compete with each other based on the athletesí performances. For example, I could win at fantasy football when my players advance the ball, fantasy baseball when my players get a lot of hits, fantasy basketball when my players get a lot of points, steals, and assists. I like fantasy sports because choices are under my control and there is no limit to how good I can be. I will never be a professional athlete and I will never change the outcome of a game, but I can be smarter than all my friends! I can pay the most attention to news, matchups, history, talent, weather, and statistics and be the best fantasy player in the world! In my years of playing I have noticed some similarities between fantasy football and things I say in Individual Valuism. Things such as:
Values are subjective. The most common scoring systems reflect real football. Six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, one point for 10 yards gained because that helps in winning football. Negative two points for an interception because that is detrimental to winning football. Different people have different beliefs about what actions should have what values. Some believe that yardage should have even less value or none at all. Some believe that players should receive a point for each time that they catch the ball to balance the infrequency with which that happens per player. Some even like to play where bad football actions like fumbles and interceptions have positive fantasy points. While values may differ, none of them are objectively wrong. Being a reflection of real football is not the point. You can think and decide what system you want. In real life, it is the same way. People agree and disagree on what is worthwhile. There is no objective standard to say what is right or wrong.
However, you might be lonely if you donít compromise your values. I play in three leagues: one with high school friends, one with college friends, and one with work friends. All of them have scoring systems that I donít completely like. But I am lucky to have any of them; itís not easy to organize ten or more people. So if there is a current or proposed rule with which I disagree, I make my objections known and state my reasons. But if the prevailing opinion is against me, I have to shut up and accept it. If I fight it, I might get my way, I might not, but also everyone could decide that they donít want to play with me anymore. And then Iíd have nothing. Sure, I could play with random people on the internet, but thatís no fun. In real life, you will sometimes disagree with your family, friends, and government. Sometimes you speak up, sometimes you shut up. You have to choose between making things better, keeping harmony, and being outcast or punished.
You win with preparation, intelligence, and luck. Some things are beyond your control in fantasy football. You usually canít choose your draft order and you canít predict if your player will get a concussion. In real life you canít choose your parents and you could get hit by a drunk driver anytime that you are on the road. But in general people have a good amount of control over what they do. It is a choice to pay attention to your surroundings and your future. It is a choice to find what is best to you and act on it. Or you can choose not to think, in which case you will make random decisions based on nothing, and your life and your fantasy team will probably suck.