What’s Your Fantasy?

The following is a recap of events that occurred on the evening of Tuesday October the
17th, 2007 between the hours of 6pm and midnight. It’s a week to the regular season and
time for a fantasy basketball draft but my thoughts are all over the map. Due to various
circumstances of which you are about to read and the general craziness that is my life,
some of the following information will not be entirely accurate but is meant to give a
representation of the craziness that surrounds my life and my love for the game.

6pm – 3 hours to the start of the draft.

It’s raining, I’ve just lost half of my finger, I’m bleeding everywhere and have just
been dropped off on a street corner next to a seedy strip joint … Wait, that’s my
street …. The missing piece of the finger is still lodged on the door latch that took
it off on a couple of hours earlier when my friend Jodie and I were moving a couch out of
my place that I was giving him for his new apartment. So here I am helping my friend
move having taken the afternoon off work and my finger is hanging by a thread and The
draft is three hours away and I’m already late for a three-hour conference I can?t miss
that starts at six and ends at nine. Just the time my basketball fantasy draft starts.

6:30 pm – 2.5 hours to the start of the draft

I was all wet and smelled like I should after helping a friend move in the rain but still
managed to have a thirty second shower and hustle my ass downtown to miss nothing more
than the hosts wasting everyone’s time trying to figure out how to work a projector while
simultaneously pissing everyone off by with their cleverly contrived sales pitch. These
people want my money, but my mind is wondering to the players that?ll still be left in
the draft when I pick 11 of 12, ten or so minutes after nine tonight. Right now, I’ve
got Gilbert ranked at number eleven but I know he’ll go well before then but I figure
someone, maybe even two players in my top ten seeing as how I end up with the 14th pick
as well, will end up in my lap. I’ve got CB4 ranked fourteenth and would love to end up
with him for some home team lovin but I?ve gotta concentrate. This is a finance seminar
and equations and balance sheets are getting thrown around left right and centre.

7:30 – 1.5 hours to draft time

I’ve got algorithms and standard deviations staring at me, Jodie just texted me to see
if I?m coming back to help him paint later that night, my hand is bleeding through my
last band-aid and it looks like I definitely won’t be making it back to the draft on
time. Here I am trying to work out a calculation that I’ve got no idea how the guy at
the front of the room arrived at and all I find myself thinking about is what my top ten
were. I know it starts with KG, Kobe and Lebron but after that, I’m not too sure. I
know Yao, Dirk, Nash and Matrix are in there but the rest has escaped me and to make
things worse, this year I’m in a league with sports media members who obviously know
their stuff and have done their homework. I on the other hand have had absolutely zero
time to do any research and am going in with nothing but my memory of last season and a
bias for all things Raptor. Thank god for the www putting everything at your fingertips.
Better still, it looks like this thing may run late and I’ve had nothing to eat all day
but a shitty slice.

8:50 pm – Ten minutes to draft time

I’m in a cab heading home. I took off from the conference cause my hand is now
officially in pain and seeing as how it’s the ring finger on my right hand and I’m right
handed, I’ve gotten blood on my shirt in all the wrong places. It looks like I’m dressed
for Halloween and that is not for a couple more weeks. I also think the loss of blood
and surreal feeling of being in such a huge room with so many people discussing math
problems has made me feel woozy from university flashbacks. My phone’s ringing again
with Jodie on the other end wondering if I can help paint. I’ve been up since six in the
morning and the last thing I want to do is paint walls but that’s what friends do and I
promise that once my hand stops bleeding, I’ll try to make it over. I run up to my
apartment to apply pressure to my wounds and clean up the mess.

8:59 pm – 1 minute to draft time

My hand is now tightly wrapped up and as I stare at my hand feeling the blood flow away
from the stricken appendage……it hits me. The draft is on in a minute. SHIT, where’s
my computer! SHIT, why isn’t my Internet working! I thought this thing was supposed to
be my saviour tonight. DAMN. What’s my top ten? Will my pre-draft order work? I need
something to eat…

9:02 pm – 2nd pick, first round

I’m in, thank God. Check in with the commish, see what I missed. WOW, Lebron beat out
KG for the number one spot and I don’t think fantasy basketball will ever be the same.
The Big Ticket has had a stranglehold on that spot for like a decade so something’s gotta
be up tonight. Second pick is on the clock and I’ve officially got just under ten
minutes to get organized and get all my research done. Open up a couple of windows on my
Mac and check in on the league on the wire. Hogtown has made it. Finally. The baller
formerly known as The Kid goes number two bringing the world of fantasy basketball back
to normality but it wasn’t the same as we left it just a couple of minutes earlier.
‘Trix goes number three and Kobe goes four and Gil goes five so there goes my eleven.
Time to start digging into the numbers and fast.

9:12 pm – 11th pick, first round

Nash went six followed by Dirk, Kidd, Amare and Pau. I couldn’t be happier cause I’ve
got two of my top ten at my disposal and two of the next four picks. I opt for Yao
thinking this has to be the year he can play at least seventy-five games and be the best
centre in the L. Ladies and gents, knock on wood for me and for maximum points, rebounds
and blocks.

9:15 pm – 2nd pick (14th overall), second round

CB4 lands to me at 14 as planned. I call Jodie back after missing his last call and let
him know that I’m going to grab a bite, relax for a bit and enjoy my fantasy draft.

9:43 – 11th pick (35th overall), third round

Aside from a few picks that have been a bit of a reach and one guy insisting that he’s
got inside info that DWade is coming back to start the season (Ed’s note: DWade is back), I’m feeling
incredibly lucky, smart or stupid as T-Mac has landed in my lap. It occurs to me that
the guy hasn’t had an injury free season since he was a Raptor and never made it out of
the first round but something tells me, if this was any other year, he’d be a top twenty
guy so I take my chances and load up on H-Town. A couple minutes later I pick 2nd in the
4th round and grab uber-rookie Kevin Durant hoping that his 6’9, 180 Lb frame can hold up
for an 82 game sched. Then I look in the mirror and realize that I weigh like 175 and am
5’9 and realize 82 might be asking a bit much. Ah what the heck, lets roll the dice

10:12 – 2nd pick (62nd overall), sixth round

The wire is blowing up with everyone ripping on one of the teams for picking David Lee
about 100 spots before he’s projected to go and he’s defending himself like Lakers
defended themselves for picking Kobe over Shaq. We all saw how that one turned out but
part of me says this guy may have unearthed a gem. Still, I just got my first PG a few
picks earlier grabbing up Leandro Barbosa and am left trying to decide between Ginobili
and Kirilenko for my 6th pick. So I flip back and forth in my head and use the full
minute and a half to come to my decision. Do I take the flashy Argentine who just who’s
coming back from another brilliant championship season with the Spurs or do I go for the
Russian who played horribly for the Jazz last year then played out of his mind at the
Euros taking his country to an upset W over hosts Spain only to win tourney MVP and
request a trade out of Salt Lake. Granted I can’t blame anyone for wanting to get the
hell out of Utah but I still grab AK47 hoping that he’s in a better mood these days maybe
because he finally took his wife up on her offer for an annual ‘mulligan’. Besides, last
year he was taken in the top ten of my fantasy draft so he’s a great sleeper at 62.

10:53 – 11th pick (107th overall), ninth round

I’m just recovering from getting grilled for picking Ben Wallaace in the 7th round and
although I got some props for grabbing Jameer Nelson in the 8th, I really turned heads
when I grabbed Stephen Jackson with my following pick. Oh they all had jokes….Did I
think he was going to shoot at anyone while in Toronto visiting the Brass Rail? Would he
be the next Baller Ternt Rappa to ask for some time off to promote his album release?
Or would he simply incite another brawl now that he was on the most thugged out team in
the L? Oh , and incidentally it looks like he’ll miss just as many games as DWade with
his suspension for keepin it real…. oh and have you seen that tat? Nah, I just figured
he’d help me out in the three-pointer category where he’s been dropping bombs for a few
years now and has a ring with San An to show for it. Not to mention, I just like those
fuck the system kind of guys. I’m beginning to either look lucky, incredibly smart,
incredibly stupid or simply on drugs. I put that on the wire and one team responds by
telling me that he is ‘on drugs’. I think I’m gonna love this league.

11:12 – 11th pick (121st overall), eleventh round

The draft has been going on for over two hours now and Jodie’s blowing up my phone again
trying to convince me to get over there and help out as some of the other boys are
starting to lose some steam. I’m also a couple of beers in but not all that tired so I
tell him if he covers the cab there and back, he’ll have a painter for a couple of hours.
But before, I still have to make a pick and line up some picks for the last few rounds.
So I grab Ashton Kutch… I mean Kyle Korver to help Jax out with the three-pointers and
start to plan out my final few picks.

11:47 – Cab ride to Jodie’s

It’s been a long day and it’s not over yet. I’ve got some more beer, pizza and painting
in my near future but having excused myself from the last few picks and thanking everyone
for a fun night, I reflect. Although I’ve never met any of the people in The Charity
Stripe league face-to-face, spending a couple of hours online, joking about who was dumb
enough to grab Greg Oden, the merits as to why Tim Donaghey would’ve been an acceptable
ref even when convicted of fixing games and which Canadian sports station has the worst
coverage (Ed’s note: please see Rogers SportsNet); I thought to myself in that I just had some good fun with some new friends who like me, loved the game.

A few years ago, I would’ve never even bothered with a fantasy pool but today, if you are
not in one, you are the exception. It’s no longer acceptable to just be a fan of the
game but you’ve got to be a student of the box scores and storylines if you want to be
able to hold your own in these leagues. And sure, there may be some friendly wagering
and bragging rights on the line but really, I?d like to think it all comes down to the
love of the game and every guys fantasy of having his own team and choosing the players
who make it up. This game that has grown men sitting in front of their computers for 3
hours on a week night, hiding from wives and girlfriends and maybe even bleeding all over
their keyboard.

The things we do for love and friends. And to think, I didn’t get home until 2:30 am
that night but on the way home, all I could think of was who I ended up with for those
last few picks??? not the finger that I lost to amputation the next day.

(…. Ed’s note: I ended up with a team of Yao, CB4, T-Mac, Leandro, BWallace, AK47, KD,
Jameer, Stephen Jax, Ashton, Luis Scola, Juan Carlos Navarro, Bobby Simmons and Devin
Harris… oh yeah, and my finger was never amputated but I’ll bet just writing it there
got your attention didn’t it?)

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