Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Revenge of the Nerds

Online social networking has been a fascinating and highly entertaining experience for me for a variety of reasons. First, it’s interactive. It isn’t “read only.” I can actually speak with or share things with people I know. Or knew. Or figure I should know since we share 85 friends but can’t remember who the hell they actually are. Secondly, it exposes people’s nuances, intricacies, weaknesses, and talents. I never knew I had so many friends that were brilliant artists, gifted writers, angry activists, and political soapboxers. I know who is grammatically challenged. Some have aged well. Others have done something to piss off Father Time. I have a bone to pick with that grey-bearded bastard.

More than anything, though, I think online networking gives insight into the nature of karma and/or the chaotic, natural flow of life. Let’s face it….we are all pinballs in the wizard’s game, knocked hither, thither, and yon. Where we end up is pure chance. Or luck. Or is it? Is there some element of karma involved? Are hard work, perseverance, and difficult patience through formative years rewarded with glory, riches, and love later in life? On the other side, have the cruel and indifferent been punished with misery and woe?

Throughout time there have been legendary battles between fierce rivals. Palestine and Israel. Green Bay and Minnesota. Fire and Rain. Cake and Pie. Age and Cher. Plastic Surgery and Kenny Rogers. Hippies and Metalheads. Jocks and Nerds. Some rage on, i.e. Palestine and Israel. Others have been tragically but emphatically decided, i.e. poor Kenny Rogers. And lately the Jocks suffered a crushing blow, much like Kenny’s face, which ended their war. The Nerds have prevailed, courtesy of Fantasy Football.

Look, I’m a sports guy. I’ve played several sports and was pretty decent at a few of them, so I can identify with the jocks. I’ve also bumped pocket protectors with the nerds. Hell, I have hundreds Phish concerts on CD, meticulously labeled and cataloged chronologically on Japanese-only compact discs, stored such that no man or child could possibly reach or damage them. I played EverQuest for years, spending hours of my day as Rutherforrd Gnarlyarmour….barbarian warrior in Norrath. THAT is nerdy. But, my friends, nothing I have ever done in my life on earth has been as nerdy as playing fantasy football this year.

My neighbor Jeb invited me to play Fanasy Football with him and some of his friends. I was loathe to do it, but I saw myself slowly (through little fault of my own) becoming “that guy”….the one that always has an excuse to not participate in anything he’s invited to do. I like Jeb so I reluctantly agreed. How involved could it be, right? I just get a few players and let them rack up points for playing well. No? HELL-tutha-no.

I knew I was in trouble when I went to Jeb’s brother’s house for “draft day” and we sat around in a group of 12 with spreadsheets and expert forecasts as to who would be the best players to pick. We went through 16 individual rounds of a draft. By pick #9 or so I’d had it. My butt was sore from sitting and I had no clue who the remaining players were. We rushed through the last hour, taking the total to THREE, and finally finished the draft.

That was the easy part.

There’s no sitting on your laurels in fantasy football. Each week you have to look at projections, compare stats, and manage your lineup. There are complex algorithms involved in calculating points after a performance. (Catches+Receiving Yards) – Dropped Balls / Yards After Contact x Touchdowns. Or some nonsense.

Did you see that, jocks? I just said “calculating” and “algorithm” in a paragraph that is talking about YOU. You all have triumphantly BECOME the NERDS!

Memo to FF-playing jocks. You are nerdy. Professional cup stackers think you are nerds. Anime manga collectors wouldn’t be seen with you in public. Star Trek conventions would ban you from the premises. You can retire the jersey and don the hammer pants because you are nerds. Sheldon Cooper is jealous. And he can build Tesla Coils and speak KLINGON. And I don’t want to hear, “it’s not even the same dude, we’re talking about sports!” No you’re not. You’re talking about MATH. True football fans are the ones that lock themselves in their man caves and violently cheer for their team to beat the bloody hell out of whoever dares line up across the ball from them. They don’t cheer for Brett Favre to throw touchdowns just because he is on their fantasy team. They know he’s a filthy loser and want him to throw countless interceptions before having his knee folded back by Julius Peppers. Hoping enemy players do well goes against the grain of logic and is foreign to the lifeblood of the true sports fan. Bottom line, the word “fantasy” should clue you in that you are in nerd territory. Do you know what lives in fantasy? Hobbits. Dragons. Unicorns. Spiderman. The Easter Bunny. Beautiful women in fur bikinis that fan you with palm fronds and grill a mean steak. And YOU if you think you are anything but a nerd. A true fantasy team would have Juggernaut at tailback, Legolas and The Flash at receiver, a Minotaur kicker, Darth Vader at tight end, an offensive line of Golems, and Moses under center.

The circle is now complete.

Nerds-1 \\\///Jocks-DONE