Old School Fantasy


In fantasy sports today there are so many different ways to play the games. You can play daily games, season-long games, you have rotisserie leagues, points leagues, categories leagues, best-ball leagues, and likely some I haven’t even mentioned. But this wasn’t always the case. You only had rotisserie leagues. You have to remember that when fantasy sports were in their infancy, there was no internet. The league commissioner would have to get the new paper each day to manually record the statistics each day and update the standings, and in many cases so did the other league participants to make sure the standings were accurate. This also meant that the only way you could process waivers was to have meetings with your league mates so that everyone could choose players.

It is easy to appreciate how much work running and participating in a fantasy league would have been before the internet age, but it certainly wasn’t all bad. Even today there are few things that are as much fun as doing a draft in person. You get together with your league mates on a Saturday afternoon or evening, everyone brings some food and their beverage of choice, and you sit down with your pen and pad of paper and you do your draft. No computers, no spreadsheets, no phones to reference. You had to show up to your draft with your cheatsheet prepared and then track each player as they were drafted. Typically, these drafts would take your entire evening, by the time you add in some friendly ribbing, and maybe a few arguments, but for many people who played fantasy in that time, it was those afternoons or evenings that get them playing each year as they were often a fun and memorable occasion. This is often why you see people who still love to draft in person today.

While there is a lot to be said about how technology has transformed and opened up fantasy sports to the masses, like many modern technologies it has proven to separate and dehumanize what it used to mean to be in a fantasy league. Being in the league wasn’t just about winning, it was just as much about getting to spend time with your friends while you shared your common interest, and also your findings, and the trends that you might be seeing, or how you have been thinking about the game. Today, participating in a fantasy league can be a very isolated event. You don’t need to know anyone you’re playing with, and there is a very good chance that you might not interact with any of them through the course of the season, which could range from 17 weeks to six months. So like many things, technology has made things easier, but not necessarily better.