Fantasy Football: Not Just For Men

Fantasy Football: Not Just For Men

Fantasy football is one boy’s club women should feel no shame in crashing.
Rachel Lu
By

I understand why Andrew Stiles doesn’t want women playing Fantasy Football. To male eyes, this looks like perfect Boys’ Club material.

Any idiot can play and even win at Fantasy Football. Along the way, we get to invent specialized lingo, choose champions, and manufacture ruthless competition around something completely arbitrary. What man wouldn’t relish the notion that he and his testosterone are uniquely suited to this activity?

I can think of a few other things that have been designated, rather dubiously, as “guy-only.” Rubbing sticks together to make sparks. Cooking animal flesh over a flame. Fishing. Didn’t Dr. Pepper actually use Fantasy Football in that run of commercials for their supposedly male-oriented diet drink? It’s a guy thing, ladies! You wouldn’t understand about low-calorie beverages!

Neanderthals could handle these things (well, possibly not the diet beverages) but we’re told modern women can’t. Hmm.

Fantasy Football in the Maternity Ward

My husband loves Fantasy Football. I’m a huge fan, too. But I didn’t (like the featured females of Stiles’ column) take it up for his sake. He’s my Fantasy convert. Truthfully, my husband’s love of football can mostly be attributed to me. I’m not saying I had to teach him the rules (he is an American male), but when we first met he was mainly a baseball guy. Football was a New Year’s thing. He’d never recovered from the heartbreak of the Oilers leaving Houston when he was a kid.

Truthfully, my husband’s love of football can mostly be attributed to me.

In our brief pre-courtship period, he invited me to go to a Saturday evening Mass with him. (Slick move!) I said it would depend on Notre Dame’s football schedule. That was a startling, but not wholly displeasing, answer. I never asked him to give up baseball, but we’re overwhelmingly a football family. I guess he just figured, if your lady is genuinely excited about a major American sport, you should go with it.

Even so, he scoffed a little when I took up Fantasy Football. It’ll be boring, he said, and time-consuming. And it’s mostly a guy thing.

As I have related before, my first year of Fantasy was easily my most obsessive. I was expecting my first baby in November, so I did kill a lot of time in my doctor’s waiting room researching players, comparing stats, and trash-talking. It definitely wasn’t boring. On the highest of estrogen highs, and with active discouragement from my husband, I became a Fantasy fanatic.

I could hardly wait for the weekend to see how the storylines would play. I remember being thrilled as Darren Sproles lit a fire under the Chargers (because it’s not the size of the dog in the fight) while rookie Percy Harvin snagged balls thrown by a man old enough to be his father. The intrigue was pretty much endless. And it was all easily accessible from my smartphone. What a world!

I guess he just figured, if your lady is genuinely excited about a major American sport, you should go with it.

In the small hours of a Sunday morning, our son came into the world, just in time to celebrate the firing of Charlie Weis as Notre Dame’s head football coach. Following the gushy new-baby routine, I caught a nap, glanced to see that the child was still breathing, and settled in for the really important stuff: setting my line-up. The nurse stepped in and smilingly asked whether I was “texting everyone the good news.” I told the truth. She seemed to think I was weird, or something. Some people, right?

Playing Fantasy Football together is now a staple of our fall, and even though my husband is clobbering me as I write this, I think it’s been good for our marriage. Obviously, my example persuaded him that Fantasy was too good to miss.

Man Up, Stiles

Guys love arcane, esoteric activities that are beyond the ken of females. Just in general, they like doing things that girls can’t. I get it, but if you really want to revel in your manhood, you’ll have to get a little manlier.

If you really want to revel in your manhood, you’ll have to get a little manlier.

Playing football is something men do much, much better than women. Other properly manly activities would include pulling tree stumps, fighting in elite military units, and becoming a Catholic priest. Please feel free to impress me with your prowess at these testosterone-happy activities. Fantasy Football is fun in part because it allows us to revel in the masculinity of the uber-macho. It turns out (surprise!) that women enjoy this.

Don’t ask me to believe, though, that managing a fake team is “a guy thing.” I honestly can’t think of a better way for storyline-hungry, multitasking housewives to enjoy America’s greatest sport. Now that computers do all the math for us, you don’t even have to obsess over the statistical minutiae. It’s entirely possible to win your league with as little as three minutes’ worth of research time each week.

Men who need to bolster their manly bona fides should go enter a caber toss. Or, if all else fails, pee on a campfire. But, ladies, don’t let Stiles or anyone chase you away from Fantasy Football. Liberation has to be good for something, and virtual sports trophies seem like the kinds of spoils our foremothers would have wanted us to seize. Go girl power! And pass the chips.

Rachel Lu is a senior contributor at The Federalist. As a Robert Novak Fellow, she is currently researching criminal justice reform. Follow her on Twitter.

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