Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fantasy Footballers: Please Hold a Live Draft

It's August, so you have millions of men (and women) searching through magazines, websites and digging up all kinds of stats to help them with their upcoming fantasy football drafts.

Fantasy football drafts have turned into and adult Christmas morning. Remember as a child, you couldn't wait to wake up, run downstairs and see what you have waiting for you under the tree? Well, draft day is the same thing. You wake up excited and filled with hope as you wonder who will comprise your team this season.

In the last 10-15 years, fantasy football drafts have changed quite a bit. Most people elect to go through an online draft. You go to Yahoo!,,, Fleaflicker or any other host site and have them do all the dirty work. I must say that having your league there instead of digging through a USA Today on Monday morning with a pencil, pad and calculator is heaven. And, yes, I used to have to do that (the first fantasy football league I commished was back in 1990).

That being said, one great tradition of fantasy football has gone endangered: the live draft. Nowadays, people sit at a desk (or lappy or phone) and participate in an online draft (note: back in the day an "online draft" meant getting a chat room or email loop and them just posting your picks). That works great when you are in a league where you haven't met any other owner or when the owners just can't all commit to meeting at one time. But if you have a group of buddies in a league ... hold a freakin' live draft.

Again, it's like Christmas. It is a guy's version of a baby shower (funny thing is my wife is hosting a baby shower the same day as my Fantasy Football Draft). You get some food, fire up the grill, drink a few and just B.S. on all that's been going on in the real world and in sports (usually there's a baseball game on while we're drafting). Plus, it is the one day where everyone in the league is together, talking smack and actually conversating.

And the league I've run has had the same 8 members (save one, who left and was replaced). Through moving and life choices, those members hail from Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Yet all of them make the trek to the draft site every year. So it truly is the lone time we all get together.

Live drafts are great and give you an excuse to geek it up. Wear your favorite player's jersey. Make up shirts or hats with your fantasy team's logo on it. We actually bring a podium with a microphone that you must walk up to and make your pick. Everyone hears it and it brings a bit of drama to the proceedings. We all bring some food and usually spend another hour after the draft just catching up.

Soon, we will have an entire generation of people who never will experience this. That one guy who we added in our league had never been at a live draft until he joined. He absolutely loved it and said it was one of the cooler things he'd been a part of. I'm telling you, it works.

So when you guys are out there planning your leagues, see if there's any way to hold a live draft. Have it at your house, a hotel room or a place like Hooters or BW3 who actually promote for you having your draft at their place.

Give it a try. It will be your next tradition.


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