Baseball season is underway and my buddies are all excited about their teams. Not the actual teams, but their fantasy baseball teams. They’re good and rested since the close of the fantasy football season and feel ready to give 110% (none of them being astute enough to realize this is mathematically impossible.) For those of you who don’t know, “fantasy” sports are those in which fans “draft” real-life players onto theoretical teams. Then they chart their players’ performances in the real sport over the course of a season. The better your players’ statistics, the better your team does. If they perform well enough, you might win the “championship.”
Somehow, this is supposed to be more entertaining than the actual sport itself. To me, it sounds like something dreamed up by accountants who found backgammon over-stimulating. There are fantasy leagues for every major sport, including golf. (Look it up.) All this fantasy living might lead us to think our society is becoming unrealistic. Not so. Because when we settle down to watch television, we now demand heaping doses of reality. We want to watch real people doing real things. Like being dropped onto a remote tropical island and followed around by camera crews. Or ballroom dancing with C-list celebrities. You know, the grit of real, everyday life. There is one common trait that fantasy sports and reality TV share: in both pursuits, we do absolutely nothing. Which is increasingly becoming both our grimmest reality and our wildest fantasy.