Fantasy Footy: My dark secret

I have a sordid confession to make.

On the surface, I’m a middle-aged, middle-class, middle-brow guy from a middle-sized town. Nothing special here folks, move right along.

But I have a secret life. A life consumed by dark obsessions and manic compulsions. A life ruled by unholy urges and perspectives warped. A life that leads me to explore my most primal instincts; to frequently abandon the standards of civilised society and wage war in primitive and savage ways.

My name is John and I’m addicted to Dream Team.

It all started out so innocently. A friend, let’s call him Redsox, invited me to join a group of fellow footy tragics in a little innocent recreation. Innocent? Oh how naive and foolish I was. “Join our league”, he said, “just for laughs.” As I look back now, I ask myself how I didn’t see the signs. After all, the name of this league was Unhealthy Obsession.

It all seemed harmless at first. Just pick a squad of players that fit into the salary cap. Some blokes who might get a kick, take a few marks, kick a few goals. You play against other guys in the league; some I know, some I don’t. Menschy runs the league, and he’s good bloke. What harm could come of any of this?

And so begins the slow, insidious decline. You tell yourself you can control it. That you will be its master. That you can put it aside when you want.

But soon you can’t look at a game of footy without the mental calculations beginning. A mark, that’s 3 points. Kick it for God’s sake, don’t handball, you’ll cost me a point! That’s it, run past and get it again, even if you’re in the wrong position. Just get another touch! Are you kidding Champion Data? That was obviously a tackle!

Before you know it, all those outside receivers you used to scorn are now your heroes. Who cares about contested marks and hard-ball gets? Shirkers and lurkers rule. The real points are in cribbing out to the flank and racking up those uncontested marks, those cheap kicks. Who cares if they hit a target? Usually it’s better if they don’t, because you might get a crack at another possie.

Then you find yourself hoping Scottie Lucas will kick that goal. What’s going on? I hate the Bombers! I’ve even started picking Didak since he went to the midfield! Forgive me, Sticks, for I have sinned.

But it gets worse. I’m now locked in mortal combat within my league. I’ve made nemeses out of guys I’ve never met. I plot and scheme their demise like a military campaign. I taunt them worse than any real life enemy.

I hear stories of big prizes on offer; of cars and such like. But that’s just like dreaming of making it in Hollywood; a distraction from the real game. My chief obsession is how to beat Handley in the qualifying final. I’ve even roped innocent bystanders from work into this maelstrom.

Time that could be spent reading a book, watching a film, enriching my life, is now devoted to listening to Monty and Molly’s FanFooty podcasts. Now I’m watching vidcasts from DT Talk and Footy Tragic. I see more of Roy and Warnie than I do of my wife! I hear myself quoting Chopper when “I’m not Haaapppy!” The biggest decisions in my life are who to trade. Psychotic Reaction is more than just a team name, it describes my state of mind.

I see this madness enveloping others. Manger, a man of God no less, now considers himself a “Legend” after winning two flags. He invokes the names of Saints to venal purposes. He’s even drafted his young son to this ignoble cause! Otherwise sane colleagues are now referring to themselves as EkkyThump.

Enough! This all must stop. I may not be able to save the others, but I must reclaim my own life, my sanity.

They say the first step is to admit the problem. So consider this step one.

But more is required. They say you must invite a higher power into your life. I presume they don’t mean SuperCoach.

You must also make amends to those you’ve wronged. So Cubed, I hereby apologise for all the shameful things I’ve called you, all the questioning of your parentage and slurs against your heritage. I’m even genuinely sorry for the time when you traded in Bartel for our crunch Prelim, only to hear he was having his appendix out. No really, I’m sorry.

I know the path to redemption won’t be easy. Already, Demetriou’s siren song is calling to me. Pre-register they say, just a little taste. It’s not like you’re really entering. And think of those Grand Final tickets. Soon enough, Mensch will be emailing me the league code. But I must be strong.

Besides, I can take this all back if I had my fingers crossed? Can’t I?

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World’s Most Liveable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has been a Carlton member for more than 30 years.

Comments

  1. ONE OF US

    ONE OF US

  2. John, fantasy football can get very addictive, i agree with your article and it was a good read.

    However, Supercoach is better than Dream Team.

  3. John Butler says:

    Josh

    Every man gets to choose his poison.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Steve Healy says:

    don’t listen to him John,

    everyone knows Dream team is better

  5. Richard Jones says:

    Never been interested in either. Never been interested in the punt, either.
    Find horse racing, harness racing bores the crap put of me and as for selecting footballers from other clubs, and then wanting them to have a stellar game ….. c’mon.

    Maybe John, Monty and others it’;s time to get a life. As you’ve stated quite eloquently, JB — I’d rather be watching a film.
    In a cinema!

  6. John Butler says:

    Richard

    Like you, the lure of the punt eludes me.

    I have to confess, it’s the personal rivalries in the above-mentioned league that sucked me in. My rational side has difficulty arguing you. The other side knows where Monty is coming from.

  7. I think we need to hold FFAA (Fantasy Footy Addicts Anonymous) meetings – I truly have never come across anything more addictive.

    I can relate entirely, John – last year, I had to sit on my hands because I kept applauding the opposition if they were on my SuperCoach team and kicking goals.

    I’m not gonna join in the SC vs DT debate – sadly enough, I’m in both. And SuperTipping. I registered the first day pre-registration opened, and picked my teams and started up leagues the first day THAT opened.

    I think I need help :S

  8. Susie, i stayed up until midnight last week waiting for Supercoach to open, your not as bad as me.

  9. LOL – okay. You take the cake. That is impressive devotion.

  10. Susie, if you want too, you can join our Almanac league on Supercoach. The code is 838251. Any other Knackers with Supercoach, feel free as well.

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