Monday, May 21, 2012

The Best Day in a Fantasy League

I've written in this space before that it is a goal for me to be a published author. I've also written at length about my weird obsession with Fantasy Football. You recognize it as the period of time from September to January when you stop reading my blog because it's on one topic.

What happened Friday joined those two together in a spectacular, and terrifying, way.

First, the foundation.

My fantasy league is ridiculous. The ten of us, alumni fraternity brothers from college, take the game too seriously and let it dominate too much of our social lives. Which, is a paradox because our social lives are 93% fantasy football, 5% Facebook, and 2% watching Netflix in our rooms alone drinking warm Fresca.

The ten of us have dedicated League twitter handles so we can talk to each other during the day wihtout filling your feeds with completely irrelevant thoughts and pure nonsense, like an episode of Community.

It was this, combined with the mid-May football lull, that ended up sparking a Fantasy Insider account: @DucalSchefter, created in light of ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter- the first to report on all NFL news, rumors and controversy. And it was this silly creation that opened an unexpected door for our league, and turned a "silly creation" into "the single greatest thing to ever happen on Twitter ever since forever".

What happened was What HAD happened was, one of our guys tagged Matthew Berry in a tweet about the creation of @DucalSchefter, pointing to how ridiculously awesome our league was. Matthew Berry is's Senior Fantasy analyst/writer/podcast host and whatever else you'd call someone who gets to play Fantasy sports for a living. Demi-god comes to mind.

Matthew Berry happens to be in the process of writing a Fantasy Football book (due out Summer 2013) and wants input from fantasy players on creative, weird, and fun stories, traditions, etc to include.

Well, when @DucalJDean tagged Berry in a tweet I certainly didn't see it ending in him and I exchanging emails the rest of the night. He replied to Jimmy (JDean) saying the DucalSchefter idea was funny and to email him more info on it and our league.

As Senior Fantasy Blog Writer (an irrelevant, and made-up, title), I stepped in and gathered ideas from the rest of owners to compile together in a write up for Berry. This was 3:30pm Friday. I tweeted back to Berry saying I was league commissioner (another irrelevant title) and wrote a blog for the league and would send him a write-up that evening. We tweeted back and forth for a little. I gave him more information on the DucalSchefter account, and he gave our league the greatest gift ever:

"@DucalAJM That's really hilarious. Please send that exact descrip plus more about your lg. Twitter, whole thing. U guys r def in the book."

"Def in the book"!? DEF IN THE BOOK!?! We're going to be in a book?! For def?!

For the next half-hour I frantically scribbled notes in my Top-Flight wide rule spiral notebook as the league fed me ideas. I spent the next 50 minutes on the train trying to settle my excitement, change my pee stained underwear, and put coherent words onto paper.

When I got home (after calling ahead to have Michele set up the laptop for me to maximize writing time) I transposed scribbled pen into neat lines of computerized ink. Read it a dozen times, edited it ten more and finally sent it to the league for review.

After reading it a dozen more times, and editing it a few more with feedback from the league I finally had it: an email packed with too many exclamation marks, over-compensation, and a write-up about our fantasy league to send to Matthew Berry for his book.

From: Me
To: Berry
Thanks for reading about us! Here's the tweets, then the write up (I attached the write-up in Word if it's easier for you. A picture of a tweet mentioned in the write-up shows up there). 

Obviously let me know if you have questions or need/want anything else! Awesome to get a chance to work with you!"

You won't see the text I sent him. Hopefully that will be in a book in less than a year and you can all buy it and the League will autograph it for you ($5 per signature, $2.50 for mine).

I awaited reply. To say it was done anxiously would be an understatement. Obviously whenever you provide your text in the email and then also attach it in a Word Doc JUST IN CASE, it's safe to say emotions are running high.

Exactly 5 minutes later I got it:

From: Berry
To: Me
"Terrific.  Do you have a picture of the trophy?  Thinking of a separate chapter on trophies."

What I didn't tell you was that in the body of the text I refer to our trophy (the Ducal Crown) as "a Stanely Cup you can wear on your head". In reality, it is more of "a trophy you hold in your hands".

My heart stopped beating blood and starting pumping pure panic. We needed to make a new trophy and get pictures of it and send it to him in 5 minutes, or he'd know my exaggeration and black list me from the internet forever (I NEVER said I was behaving rationally).

I scoured the internet for photos of us with the trophy to combine it with photos of a Homecoming Crown one of the guys had won years ago in college. It would have to suffice. Until I found this picture:

trophy and crowns.jpg

Me crowning current champion Austin (complete with literal crown and a banner that says "Suck it #boy" in the background). It would have to suffice.

I tried to act cool sending our not-quite-as-described trophy picture to Berry 14 minutes later.

From: Me
To: Berry
"Yea no problem. Here's a pic of me crowning the new champ from our Winter Meeting.

And a few more for good measure."

3 minutes later-

From: Berry
To: Me
"Great.  By the way, I noticed @Ducalschefter only has 8 followers.  Ten of you in the league, right?  Interesting, no?"

WHY ARE YOU BUSTING MY BALLS TMR?! WHY!? At this point I'm horrified. I'm already in panic mode over the trophy picture issue, and now I get an email (which I can only assume) is him questioning the entire validity of the account and our league as a whole. I assume he thinks I'm one lonely guy with 10 twitter accounts who plays imaginary fantasy football by myself.

I type about 10 emails in reply, erasing each because they sound incriminating, back-peddling, or suspicious.

I settle on:

From: Me
To: Berry
"haha, it's an off season thing that's just started up recently (you can see first post May 13th). might have to fine the two guys for not following yet!"

Nervous laughter? Check. Unasked for justification to cover you back? Yup. Weak joke? Check. Unnecessary exclamation mark? You know it.

It was 8:01pm.

I left the house for dinner with friends. Two hours later Berry responded:

From: Berry
To: Me and the League
"Don't go twitter bombing him now guys, but I did pass along this email to Schefter.  He thought it was funny.  Thanks guys.  Matthew"

The real Schefter has now read our story and "thought it was funny". I assume that means he read it, and sharply blew air out of his nose while smirking and shrugging his shoulders. I'LL TAKE IT!

This, of course, did not lead to twitter bombing Schefter, it did however open the floodgates for the League to email bomb Berry. After one particularly wandering email that concluded with information about a newborn son and how, one day, he'll be in this league, we finally stopped replying to Matthew Berry. I'm fully expecting the restraining order in the mail.

The frantic pace of the day was incredible. Something I wrote might actually end up being published in a real book. Like, permanently. I can have it on my shelf. Forever. (Give me a break, for a writer being published the first time is a big deal, even if it's in someone else's book.)

So I took a moment that night, before I went to sleep, to pull up what I had written (and had been inspired and edited by my nine good friends) and gave it a re-read. The idea that this text might be permanently in a book crowded my brain and overwhelmed my thoughts. I sat with a goofy grin on my face and read.

And I could not be more serious when I say this: I hated every word I wrote.

Look for the book on-shelves in Summer 2013! (or don't)

1 comment:

  1. Jimmy told me about this happening but your take on it just showed up on my blog feed for some reason! Such a cool story. I think I tweeted your blog to Schefter (I follow him) last year when you had good football posts! Hope your text gets published! That would be awesome! *Side note- I hope to see you and Michele next weekend at Jimmy & Tiff's Engagement Party!