By John Lecci, contributor to Fantasy Football Sideline
For anyone that is a parent, you realize there are an enormous amount of books and literature telling you just how to raise your kids so they grow up smart and successful. You also know that there is a lot of junk out there too. Well I remember a book from about 10 years ago that was called, “Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten.” This book’s basic premise was that the formative early years were so important because we shape our foundation for making decisions and coping with life at such a young age. Well, that got me thinking. Many times we here at Redzone fantasy are amused by just how helpful being in a Dynasty Auction Ranked Keeper league is in our personal lives. You don’t believe me? Well let’s try on a few examples and many of them come from real life scenarios with names omitted to protect the guilty.
Think of some of the most stressful things you have had to do in your life such as speaking in public, purchasing a house or car or negotiating a raise with your boss. Those are things that most of us find unappealing and would rather not have to do them. Well what if you were able to look at it like an opportunity to obtain something you wanted? A negotiation if you will! What is life really but a series of “negotiations” to try and get what you want out of it. Are you married? Well at some point you had to sell your spouse on the fact that you were worth him/her forgoing ALL the other people in the world to settle down with you. That was a win (even if he/she may want a return on their investment now). How about when you first applied for a job? Weren’t you selling the interviewer on why they should pick you over ALL the other candidates? Or that shiny red sportscar that you just had to have but couldn’t afford. You were able to drive it off the lot because you “made an offer the salesman couldn’t refuse” Corleone style!
The point of all this is, fantasy football, Dynasty Auction Ranked Keeper style is preparation for all of those scenarios in life and can be a lot more costly losing Adrian Peterson on a bid than losing that interview where you can always go out and find another job but can’t always find a stud RB. The above examples are essentially negotiations over “relationships,” “money,” and of course “happiness.” Let’s look at what fantasy can teach us about each of these through the laboratory of “fantasy negotiations.”
Relationships: We know pleasant ones are a lot better than bickering ones. Why? Because they make it easier to communicate and we tend to like people that make our lives easier. When you are comfortable, you let your guard down and have a better dialogue without worrying. In relationships, we want to be with people that compliment us and help us to grow. Well what does that have to do with Fantasy? In a word, EVERYTHING. You see, I know in our 15 year QFFL league, the same groups of people always tend to keep putting deals together each year and they do this because, even though they realize the person on the other end would sell their mother to get Peyton Manning in a deal, they have “worked” together before and they are comfortable in their relationship prior to any talks of this player for that one. Our league has even coined one of the “trading groups” the LITF standing for the Long Island Trade Federation which has about 4 teams plus a couple of occasional participants who rent space in the Federation. Relationships are the tonic for making things happen and allow you to get to your point quickly without the dance of getting to know a stranger like the time you had your first date with your spouse and you had spinach in your teeth the whole night. Now that is what a relationship is built on!
Money or Business: In business, who would you rather buy from, a stranger you never met or someone who has treated you well in the past and has a track record that you appreciate and makes you feel good when you walk out of the store? I think we would all choose the latter. When we negotiate, we all come into the situation knowing that I am probably not going to walk away from this interaction entirely satisfied. Both sides realize there is a give and take in a business transaction. You may need to give up your backup RB if you really want to get the QB you need. You realize this and are thus happy to throw him in the deal. That is no different than telling the car salesman that you are ready to sign for the car but only if he throws in the satellite radio and a sunroof or the deal is off. Leverage and timing are important aspects in business. He who has the leverage wins! So, when you come to your buddy for a RB because you built your whole auction on one “stud” RB who has been less than studly, he knows you are over a barrel. Thus, like a good friend that he is, he extracts everything short of your first born to make you feel good about your team again. Ditto for the car salesman or the selling realtor. Fantasy has taught you to negotiate a hard bargain and hold out for the best deal possible, especially when you have the leverage. I bet you are counting all those dollars you saved over the years right now because of the skills you learned in fantasy!
Happiness: This is just about life in general. Your status for example can make you happy or sad. The friends and family you have, your education, experiences, travel, hobbies, etc. Yet all of these are essentially negotiations too. Are you going to take that expensive vacation this year to Bora Bora or are you going to put that money towards the kids college fund (including your winnings from this year’s fantasy championship)? Life is about tradeoffs and negotiations. Take it or leave it we tell the travel agent, which is the same thing we said to The Marauders at the trading deadline last year when they were trying to decide at the eleventh hour if they should take auction cash for next season to trade their less than stellar Michael Turner? Something is better than nothing right? Ultimately, getting the things we work towards in life makes us happy, at least temporarily and that is taught every year in the school of fantasy football auction leagues everywhere.
So the next time you have to explain to your spouse why you are spending so much time trying to manage your team to a championship so you can spend all your winnings on him/her, try another angle. Show them examples of that time you stood up to the contractor who wanted to rip you off by a few thousand dollars and you told him about the other quote that you had (but really didn’t) and were able to shave $2,000 from his price. Show them what you achieved at work by using the trading tactics honed in your league to obtain a raise this year above the company minimum because you came prepared for that meeting with stats, I mean sales figures, etc. Fantasy is more than just a game, it is a way of life. Embrace it and let it teach you!
John C. Lecci