07 Jan Why I signed up to the Fantasy League
Following my enthusiasm over the Soccer World Cup last year, Darren was pretty amped to start watching the Premier League together. Little did I know that the league is basically 9-months long, takes place most weekends, some weekdays and is crazy addictive. It’s no secret that I have been bitten by the bug, so much so that the Instagram algorithm will ALWAYS show me updates from the Premier League, Tottenham or my favourite players before any makeup launches.
Going into the season, I only knew a handful of players who stood out during the world cup, but having supported England, I realized that most of my favourite players played for Tottenham. It wasn’t long before I was buying their team t-shirt, Googling player stats and planning my weekend around their games.
Right from the start, Darren and his friends had joined the Fantasy League, but being scared of embarrassing myself, I figured I’d sit this season out and maybe join next year when I had a better idea of what to expect. (In case you don’t know, I hardly ever try something new, when it means I’ll likely fail at it, the first time!). By week 8, I was so involved in Darren’s fantasy team that I was practically begging to manage it (he makes impulsive decisions and I can’t stand it!).
So, I ended up signing up to join the Fantasy League in week 8. Sure, that means that I stand no chance of winning the league because I will, on average, be about 400-600 points behind everyone, BUT I am in it for the fun. Something I am trying to embrace more of.
Knowing very little of what to expect, I just took each week as it came, but at week 17, I learnt there’s a Cup. I only learnt this when my husband was shouting at 2am that his team had just made it into the cup (and that I apparently had also made it!) The instructions seemed pretty simple; each week, we’re assigned a new opponent, where we go one on one. To stay in the cup, my team just needs to score higher than the other guy.
They only took the top 4,1 million Fantasy League players, and each week, that number is halved, until eventually there’ll only be one winner. Darren’s friend was out in the first week, and D was out in the third. But me? I am getting ready for week 22 and have literally just been assigned my new opponent. I am currently in the top 125,000 players which equates to the top 3% of Fantasy League Players, and feel quite confident that I am probably going to get knocked out this week – but who cares?
I LOVE setting up my team each week. It’s like a weird sudoku puzzle, only my tries are very limited, and you don’t know if your answers are right until your teams have played IRL. It makes each and every match that more exciting and often means you will find me sitting up at 11pm, watching the last game of the night, praying that Salah blanks so that my opponent loses.
I guess, to some it might seem strange for me to go from talking about makeup every day on my Instagram, to changing my weekend plans based on when my team is playing and getting excited over how well my Fantasy Team did each week, but I freakin love it.
I love how many moving components go into the league and how far people will go to have the tiniest bit of an edge or a greater understanding of their teams and players – some people (read: Darren) will subscribe to special subreddits and blogs, to keep up with any injuries and transfers. He usually knows when a player has a niggle in their groin and will sell them before it’s even been confirmed. And then there are people like me, that literally choose players based on what I feel, what I see on the field, what Kick Off has to say (a weekly show that discusses the Premier League at length), and who I follow on Instagram. Suddenly, I have gone from blindly liking every picture, to looking at the background of their training photos to see who is actually in attendance, making sure my boys will be playing.
I love learning the stories behind players – where did their stories begin and how did they get here, what loyalty do they have for their club and who did they play for before. And don’t get me started on managers – I stand by what I said; Football managers are more dramatic than the Kardashians. But more than that, I love the passion of their fans, the cheeky banter between presenters and past players, and I love how it connects people. Just a month ago, when I interviewed for my new job, the first thing my new employer said was, “I see you’re a Tottenham supporter. I’ll put that behind us for now.” It was an immediate ice-breaker and opened a conversation that went beyond my ability to do the job because for a minute, she got to see me light up over watching soccer on Saturdays, with my family.
P.S. Darren has always supported Chelsea, until recent years where he is sort of in-between teams. He has a soft spot for Bournemouth and enjoys watching Liverpool play, but will never support them hahaha. He never misses a Tottenham game (he has no choice) and says that it’s probably his favourite team to watch, mainly because it’s the one team that I get so freakin excited about. Internationally, he supports Croatia and I, of course, support my English roots.
Soccer is pretty epic and being part of the league is even better. I won’t lie, seeing Tottenham play IRL is number one on my bucket list right now. And, I know, I will make it happen. Lamela and Kane have no idea what’s coming for them!