Are you playing a fantasy sport? If yes you are part of roughly 50 million people doing so. If not and just in case you may not have the slightest idea of what I am talking about: Wikipedia explains “fantasy sport” like this:
“a game where participants act as owners to build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by the real individual players or teams of a professional sport”
Fantasy leagues are available for virtually all sports, but probably (American) football and baseball are among the most popular ones.
So why are fantasy leagues such a great success? Why are they growing by nearly 10 per cent per year? Why do people invest time and their emotions into it?
Some are playing it for money, okay, but if you would ask the rest, most of the people playing would answer “because it’s fun”.
When I digged a bit deeper to discover what this “fun” is all about in detail, most studies I’ve seen on the subject state that people play fantasy sports because they feel they can do it better than the actual general managers. Players also like the feeling of competition – with their peers or others and fantasy leagues make watching boring matches more interesting because they give you a reason to care about them.
The more I read about fantasy sports, the more parallels I saw between some of those people sitting on a couch playing in a fantasy league and some of those people sitting in a cubicle playing with their e-mails.
Both think they could do a better job than the people in the really important positions. Both think they make better choices than their peers. And both are looking for a break from their boring routines.
I have personally never been allured by fantasy sports. What’s the point in having a fantasy team? It’s not going to happen anyway. Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez and A-Rod will most probably never build the infield of a single franchise in real life. And even if they would, the owner of that franchise would probably not pick me for general manager (by the way: winning the title with those players on your team would be too easy, anyway).
The opposite of fantasy is getting real.
Even if you are not in a top management position you have all you need to do a good job in your position as well. It may well not be about making better choices than your peers, but making better choices jointly with your peers. And if all energy spent on complaining about routine jobs would be used for improving these jobs, routines would be broken.
Sounds overly optimistic?
Sounds like seeing things through rose-colored glasses?
Sounds like completely unrealistic?
Maybe. But who wouldn’t allow some fantasies?