By Becky Warren
I admit that I love fantasy football.
Doing the research, making strategic decisions on who to select, smack talk, watching the games, trades, ESPN NFL Countdown and ESPN NFL Primetime (the best football shows in my option) etc. It’s been a part of my annual fall tradition for nearly a decade.
One thing I have noticed is that many of my female friends either
- do not participate or
- participate but pay attention very little to their teams.
That’s not to say all of my friends but most. However, even if you don’t love football like I do, there are plenty of good reasons why a Girl on the Grid should consider getting into the game.
My league was started by my brothers and dad years ago, and it has morphed into an opportunity to stay connected with my siblings (as we are now located throughout the world). The constant discussion over the dumb trades my brothers make (of course I don’t make such ill-fated trades) is actually a great way to keep in touch. And yes, if you haven’t guessed, our family is very competitive. Every year, the winner gets the annual trophy (a silver bowl) with their team’s name engraved on it. On a side note – this tradition conveniently happened after the year I won the championships… but I digress.
#2: Benefits Your Career
My aunt gave me a piece of advice when I was in college. She told me to keep up-to-date with politics, movies and sports, and you’ll always have great conversation starters with clients. Fantasy football provides a great way to connect with clients. As long as you keep up-to-date with football – you can talk about one of the weekend’s big games or compare your fantasy football team and league with your client’s. For me, I’ve found on many occasions knowing a little bit about football has greatly helped with bosses, colleagues and clients.
#3: Guy Magnet
Guys, for whatever reason, are always amazed when women actually know what they are talking about with sports. One of my guy friends has always been suspect of my interest in football, regularly commenting that my interest in football would wane when I get married. I actually like football, but it is an added benefit to talk to cute guys about football – especially when you go to a sports bar.
#4: Not a Bad View
Football players are great to look at. I’m just saying… I don’t mind at all watching the games. The view is fantastic!!
A Few Key Tips That Are Essential to Playing
Find Your Inner-Competitiveness:
Our league is super-competitive and mocking is practically required. When one of my newest sister-in-laws joined our league, I have to say I was shocked to see how competitive she was. She seemed so nice, but when it comes to winning, there’s no holds barred. She is intense! Clearly she fits into our league perfectly, and everyone appreciates the full commitment. But fair warning – competitiveness is a part of playing. No one likes people who just want to sit back and say I don’t care if I win. You must get your inner competitiveness out there – front and center!!
A great way to rile your fellow fantasy footballers, is great smack talk. However – super important – is that you actually have to make sure it rings true. Smack talk doesn’t work if you say something that is not even believable. Like “I can’t believe you chose Drew Brees – what a waste of a first round/second round pick”. This kind of statement shows that you have no clue about football and will actually undermine your believability for the rest of the season. Read some football blogs, watch ESPN Sports Center and you will know enough to smack talk with the best of them. Don’t be afraid – it’s part of the fun. Warning – some boys are sensitive creatures, so if you are interested in one of these types of boys – smack talk should be avoided. In my opinion, these kind of boys are better staying on the sidelines and not playing fantasy football.
Get Involved (but maybe not too involved):
I got a little too involved in my football league and took over the Commissioner spot. But apparently, my brothers were not too happy with my reign and took me out a year later in a controversial coup. Lesson learned – I got a little too involved.
If this is your first time playing fantasy football and your league is comprised of colleagues, clients or boys you are interested in, make sure you study! That doesn’t mean you need to cram all night, just go to a few key websites that have cheatsheets, top picks, top losers, etc. My favorite website this year is: Fantasy Football Toolbox.
To play fantasy football to its fullest potential, you actually need to watch games. If you really can’t handle watching game after game or getting NFL Ticket – I recommend watching two key shows every week and you’ll know all of the controversies, the top games, the top players, and the top plays: NFL Countdown (8am-10am on Sunday) and NFL Primetime (430pm).
Okay – so football starts TODAY Thursday, September 9, but it’s not too late. There are still leagues getting ready to start or maybe join teams with a friend. I’m telling you – once you get involved you will get addicted!