Commentary: Fantasy sports — continuously disappointed, always entertained

Fantasy hockey league logo, promoting the idea of friendship and sports. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

Fantasy season provides entertainment for millions of people across the globe. Whether it’s Fantasy football, hockey or soccer — or Fantasy Premier League, if you want to get fancy —  people look forward to getting back into their leagues for the ultimate goal of winning.

For me, while obviously trying to win – I accomplished this once in my fantasy career – talking with my friends and crafting the best team possible is the greatest reward.

I graduated from high school in 2018 with a great class, many of whom I still consider friends some five years later.

Although everyone has drifted their own ways to pursue higher education, full-time jobs or moving away, fantasy sports keep us together.

We started our fantasy hockey league during the 2019-20 season, my first year of university, and everyone’s favourite year (not) because of the pandemic halting our lives as we knew it. We all kept in touch through social media and playing games on our PS4s, so we thought it a good idea to start a league.

It went off without a hitch.

Nah, I’m kidding. Of course it didn’t. 

COVID nullified our league as there was no hockey to be played, so prize and forfeit didn’t happen.

Resuming fantasy in 2020-21, I came second in our league. Finally after years of failure, something for my efforts. 

The prize was … my $50 buy-in back — yippee.

Then the dark ages.

For the 2021-22 season we switched from ESPN Fantasy to Yahoo Fantasy after multiple people in our league stopped setting their lineup and then proceeded to drop top-end players, so we had to start over a month into the NHL season. With Yahoo, it was a learning curve to how their system worked.

I came second last, narrowly escaping 12th place to my friend Bailey, who didn’t even set his lineup.

To this day — going on four years later — we have disjointed conversations every year. With our disorganized group of guys, we couldn’t even plan a trip to Tim Hortons.

This year, instead of re-drafting players, our group came up with the idea of doing a dynasty league. That means everyone you draft from the fourth round and beyond will remain on your team year after year. The first three rounds are superstars, so they get recycled through teams. 

It’s not starting well for ol’ Keaghan.

I rebranded my team to be named the Sleeping Beauties because they haven’t woken up to produce points yet, but hopefully one day.

Every day in our messenger group chat, we’re talking, chirping each other, sending memes and the constant brag from everyone: “I’m gonna win.”

I love fantasy because building my own team to manage is incredibly fun and difficult at the same time. Constant tweaks via waiver wire pick-ups, trades or lineup shakeups make up a week in the life of my fantasy hockey team.

I’m sure every fantasy sports manager out there can agree on one thing: you can change your lineup any way you want, but somehow you still end up losing to someone with insane luck. 

That’s the way she goes.

When summer rolls around, we all go outside more, hockey has wrapped for another year and our fantasy apps remain untouched.

That is until the air gets a little more crisper and the leaves fall a little bit faster. Then I know it’s time for fantasy to start back up, my friends to send their best chirps in the group chat and for me to get continuously disappointed but always entertained.