A Fantasy Football Rookie's Journal:
The How and Why of Suckering Oneself Into Joining a League and Subsequent Choosing of a Team Name
By Nathan G. O'Brien exclusively for HotDogDayz
Dated: August 17th, 2012
Fantasy Football. Hurmpffffffff. Whatever. Or at least that’s how it was for me up until I went and did a stupid think like accidentally getting myself into a league for the upcoming season. To explain this story in detail would be certainly as confusing to the reader as it was to me exactly one second after it happened. The short version is this: A couple weeks back, poolside over some strong but tasty bloody Marys, a man—whom I will hence forth refer to as The Commish(1)—and I had a nonchalant conversation in which his question of whether or not I play Fantasy Football, was followed up by my patented sorry-to-disappoint-you reply (scruchy face, head shaking, silently mouthing “No”) and somehow, despite my better judgment, ended with me signing up for an ESPN fantasy account when I haphazardly misunderstood “new league” as “league of new players.” Basically, I volunteered myself—or perhaps, forced an invite upon myself, (that part remains unclear) which I promptly accepted—to join The Commish’s newly created league when I thought I was joining a league specifically for would-be fellow first timers.
So a week later I realized the reality of what I’ve gotten myself into, when a string of emails from The Commish and eight other dudes—all seemingly seasoned vets of the fantasy sports world, none of which I have ever met, but who all seem to know each other; united by a shared propensity for using homophobic slurs when addressing each other—arrived in my inbox with intent to hammer out the details of how the league will work. Some of the technical jargon made absolutely no sense to me (we’re forgoing the traditional “snake draft” in favor of an “auction draft”, it might be a “keeper league”, etc.) while some of inaner recommendations found me thoroughly enthusiastic (shit talking amongst team owners is highly encouraged, your-mom jokes are totes acceptable, etc.) Rather than chime on something I have no idea about, and admittedly, little interest in, I decided to remain silent on the sideline until all the specifics were in place. Instead I quickly got busy with the important stuff like trying to come up with a team name.
Once I was logged into ESPN, the first thing I tried was Bloods & Crips Bangin’ on Wax but it was rejected. Apparently you can’t use gang affiliations as part of your name, even if said name is a reference to a series of gang-unifying rap tapes from the early ‘90s.(2) They wouldn’t let me have my preferred profile name either, which was Lil Young Booboo Trill-Da Thug Killa—an ill-fated attempt to use as many trap rap clichés as possible in a singular name. Thwarted by ESPN’s conservative guidelines, I was forced to trim the fat a little and settle on Lil Young Trill—Da Thug. Apparently you’re not allowed to use “killa” or anything that has “boob” in it. (Come to think of it, it’s probably this exact type of tomfoolery [aka self-sabotage] that is the reason Grantland [an ESPN spinoff] has repeatedly ignored/passed any of my past submissions.) I wish I would have recorded the phone convo I had with the women at ESPN when I was trying to figure this all out. Yes, I literally had a phone conversation with ESPN, in which my thirty-something white boy ass had to spell out “L.I.L. space Y.O.U.N.G. space B.O.O.B.O.O. space T.R.I.L.L. dash D.A. space T.H.U.G. space K.I.L.L.A.” repeatedly to a nice women that, if I had to guess, was mid-twenties and black. We went round and round until she explained to that I would have to drop the “booboo” and the “killa.” I was laughing with her; she was laughing at me. Anyway, I briefly toyed with the idea of Da Meth Dealerz or Juggalo Meth Headz before deciding on what is quite possibly the best team name ever: Lil Young Black Teens With Guns. A hat tip to not only YBT(3) but to the time honored gangster rapper tradition of carrying a gat.
A little backstory so that you don’t think I’m a total weirdo/racist/meth user etc. As I mentioned, aside from FBL, I don’t know any of these dudes, but a little research (Google/White Pages/Facebook, etc.) shows they all live in like, rural Wisconsin or somewhere where it’s safe to assume they don’t care for minorities or hip-hop or whatever but possibly cook and/or deal and/or do methamphetamine. So that, combined with their aforementioned proclivity for referring to each other via various derogatory terms for gay men, and my penchant for lowbrow humor paired with a natural tendency to antagonize, well, pretty much anybody, I decided I have a justifiable enough cause to fuck with these guys by any means necessary. In short, I’m basically going to troll them—in an online environment of course—over the next few months. And it all starts with my team name. Plus, it’s called “Fantasy” Football, and, well, in a fantasy I can be Lil Young Trill—Da Thug if I want. And In fact I can have a whole team of young black teens with guns…and they can be “Lil” if I want them to be!
(1)-Not only because he resembles a The Commish-era Michael Chiklis, but because he is also the commissioner of the league.
(2)-Actual gang members from both sides auditioned on a tryout and the best
ones were chosen for the project. The album was released in 1993 on
Dangerous Records and was a success selling over 500,000 copies. There
is also another album from the Bloods and the Crips Bangin on Wax
project titled The Saga Continues, which was released in 1994.
(3)- Young Black Teenagers was an early '90s rap group, that despite their name, had no black members. They intended their
name as a tribute to the black culture they were influenced by, but that didn't work out so well for them. Naturally, I'm expecting it will for me though.