Fantasy football: Get ready for ‘Rock Out With Your Lockout’ | Sidelines

I take my fantasy football pretty serious. And I’m not alone. A lot of people take their fantasy football serious.

Fantasy sports participation has grown over 60 percent the past four years as over 32 million people are now actively playing in the U.S. and Canada, according to new research conducted by Ipsos for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA).

This finding shows the highest participation numbers in the history of fantasy sports. One in five males in North America played fantasy sports in the last year.

Think about that. That’s a lot of fantasy football drafts taking place in the next couple of weeks.

“The fantasy sport industry continues to grow at a strong rate even through tough economic times,” said FSTA President Paul Charchian. “The combination of great passion for the hobby and inexpensive participation has made fantasy sports very recession resilient. We’re delighted to see participation numbers continue to grow.”

I am also excited about the continued growth of fantasy sports, football specifically. There are some things that even I hate about the made-up sport. A lot of those things just happen to take place on draft day.

I’ve played in the same league with 12 of my friends basically since fantasy football was invented, before websites like Yahoo!, ESPN and CBS were even around.

We are so old school, that my buddy Meines used to have to tally up our team’s scores Monday morning when USA Today’s sports section came out. But even the fact that I’ve known these guys for the past 30 years, there are still aspects of their personalities that bug the crap out of me. And a lot of those idiosyncrasies just happen to come out on draft night.

I always look forward to our draft, but there’s always a couple of my buddies that put a damper on things, making it kind of painful to get through.

The air is sucked out of the room when it’s Gooner’s turn to select his next player. He is the slowest picker in history and has to take the full amount of alloted time available to him.

Then there’s Lance, who only drafts so-called “sleepers” and rookies. He announces before every pick that this player is a huge steal and has tremendous “up side.”

Marty won’t say very much during most of the draft. But when he does, let’s just say he’s not the most positive member of our league. “That is a terrible pick, bro,” or “He sucks and is always hurt,” are his go-to lines. And if anyone ever tells Marty to shut the bleep up, he’ll just say he’s just trying to fluster people into bad picks.

And then there’s Mr. Name Game himself, J.W.

This is the guy that scours the Internet for the funniest team names around. I have had the same name (which can’t be posted in this family column) since day one of our league. But J.W. changes his handle from season to season.

So I will be expecting nothing less this year. Will J.W.’s 2011 fantasy football team be named “Rock Out With Your Lockout?” or possibly “Favre Dollar Footlong,” “Romo-sexual Tendencies,” “Kibbles and Vicks” or “Revis and Butthead?” I’m going with my personal favorite, “Bros Before Shiancoe’s,” in reference to Minnesota Viking tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (pronounced She-on-co).

Are you ready for some fantasy football? I know I am.


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