Printed on: November 11, 2012

Dear Mr. Fantasy: no thanks

Paul Lambert

Remember those cute little puppies? They were just adorable sitting in that cardboard box outside Broulim's.

Sure were cuddly.

So cuddly, in fact, you just had to have one.

Halfway home as this Mastiff-Chihuahua mix was making water on your passenger seat, you realized your condo has a "no pets" policy.

You couldn't very well move or take the pup back.

Then it hit you. You could give it away to a friend. Better yet, a family member.

So there you stood on your father's porch, wet puppy in hand, yelling, "Surprise, I got you a present!"

But it's not a gift at all. It's a puppy. It's a responsibility. And it's a damn inconsiderate gift.

Just like fantasy sports.

When you ask folks to join your fantasy league, you are asking them to do a job.

An on-call job as a depth chart, injury report analyst.

Whether it's fantasy football, baseball or basketball, the winner is not the guy with the better strategy. The winner is the guy who has the quickest waiver wire trigger finger.

The guy with the 4G satellite connection and smartphone buzzing on his belt.

If you want to win you must set an alert to notify you when Miami's backup slot receiver gets shin splints.

There is no best team or best strategy. Just the best triage specialist who can rightly guess the Mariners next closer.

It has become something you do out of habit, like clearing the dishwasher or shaving your back.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Fantasy sports was supposed to be fun. A way to follow sports and keep up with friends in a competitive format.

It should be fun. It was designed to be fun.

And like a new puppy, it is fun for a time. You're all gung-ho in Week 2, sifting, sorting and studying matchup ratings.

By Week 8 it becomes just another chore. That pup became a needy dog, scattering her night soils in the crusty winter snow.

There's got to be a better way to keep up with friends, family and co-workers.

Sitting in your basement at 5:15 a.m. looking for a bye-week backup tight end is not social. Not fun. Not healthy.

It's 30 minutes of you will never get back. And for what? Fantasy sports bragging rights?

Please.

Instead, maybe you could play a fantasy stock market or commodity futures trading game. At least there's an opportunity there for self-betterment.

Study quarterly earnings, not quarterback ratings. Pore over candlestick charts, not depth charts.

If cash-money doesn't appeal, you could organize a local fantasy league and draft only high school players from District 6.

In football, you could argue who should have gone first in the draft -- Firth's Mitch Orme or Shelley's Chad Leckington.

In years to come you could spin yarns on how Bonneville's Jordan Vielma was the best 10th-round draft pick since Salmon's David Schroeder.

Basketball is just around the corner, and the smart pre-draft money is on Challis post Madisen Garlie.

One thing, though.

Before you stop by his house to pick up consultant Donnie Baldwin for the upcoming D6 basketball draft, show some respect and wash that stain out of your passenger seat.

Paul Lambert is a sports writer for the post Register. Contact him at 542-6772 or plambert@postregister.com