It’s that time of the year again. Preseason hockey officially kicks off today with Carolina facing Columbus this afternoon at 1:30pm. The Garden has a fresh sheet of ice down, ready to see the Rangers skate their first preseason game tomorrow night. Less than three weeks stand between us and the regular season. We’re already getting injury reports. Life is good for the hockey fan.
Late September also blooms into a time when, if you’re very rabid, you find nothing wrong with planning social events around your several fantasy drafts. Each of these is special in their own ways: admit it, the head to head with your co-workers is important cause of 40 hours a week bragging rights, but your keeper league that Jim has won three years in a row needs a new king in town, right? So you strategize. You agonize. You figure out your way to win and you go for it.
Lucky for you, faithful reader, I have been watching a disgusting amount of Grey’s Anatomy lately and I feel confident in diagnosing the Five Stages of Fantasy Drafting.
Stage One: Planning
Once everyone has agreed on a time and date, you get crackin. This usually happens with the first draft you really care about, and honestly that’s where these steps come in. You really make sure you’ve read up on the prospects that are coming up this year. Who will be the breakout star this year? You filter through articles, bookmark posts, abuse CapGeek and even might put together a nifty little spreadsheet. You might even learn things in Excel that would help you with your career. Who knew fantasy sports could be so life changing? After you’ve done enough planning that your boss has become suspicious, you begin feeling confident. That brings you directly to stage two…
Stage Two: Anxiety (thinly veiled as Excitement)
It’s draft day! Congratulations! You make sure all of your necessary tools are available: beverage (I prefer water to alcohol, but some people need it to pull the trigger when deciding between Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the first round), aforementioned bookmarks and Excel sheet, good friend on gchat to help in those moments of crisis, and some delicious snack to keep you from getting hangry, but light enough to keep you from a food coma. As soon as the draft room opens, the trash talk begins. You start to analyze who you could take with the pick you’ve been handed. Everything looks good, right? RIGHT?
And then it begins, and we take a little break until OH MY GOSH ARE YOU F%@^ING KIDDING ME HOW COULD HE TAKE HIM THAT EARLY I WAS JUST ABOUT TO TAKE HIM!! And then you’re at the third step.
Stage Three: Anger/Panic
You want to throw your computer. You want to throw your cell phone. You want to throw your cat. You want to go through the computer and choke your friend/colleague/friend’s friend who weaseled their way into the league. These are all normal thoughts (NOTE: they are not normal ACTIONS so don’t do them or else you’ll likely find yourself in some trouble) and they are not beneficial to your team getting any better. That’s when panic sets in – you only have 1:30 left to draft somebody, and that can’t be a bad rebound. So what, you wanted Logan Couture and Bob the #fancystats nerd from audit took him with the pick before yours. Do you just throw it all away and draft a goalie? Will Teddy Purcell put up numbers in Edmonton? He’s kind of Couture-ish. Should you just forget about Couture overall?
When you finally make the pick, you go back to hating Bob until it happens to someone else and your misery enjoys their company.
Stage Four: Delirium
You’re probably well into your second hour and on the 18th pick, wondering why there are 14 teams in your league and you’re so stubborn you refuse to autodraft the rest of the way. This is where you start getting wacky, half due to staring at a computer and not being a productive member of society for so long, and half because you’ve deluded yourself into thinking that you’d actually be an awesome GM. This is when your strategy is garbage, no matter how good you feel. You’ve somehow come to the conclusion that you know that the Flames are going to have a breakout year and that Curtis Glencross might find his old form and be a quiet 50 point player. You’ve also become outspoken in the chat portion of the draft and are now getting angry for “steals” across the board, even though, let’s be honest, nobody cares where either of the Schenn brothers wind up.
Stage Five: Acceptance
The draft is over. The following day, you look at your team with a clear head and a fresh cup of coffee. You did the best you could, and your team is a contender. You’ll worry about waivers and trades once the season starts. This phase is great, since it brings closure to the draft you just experienced, but beware: you will feel all of these feelings again with your next draft.
Happy Hockey Day, friends.