The Roanoker - May/June 2015 - 80
Carrying out the (Sports) Fantasy
Regardless of the sport that is part of your fantasy, there's likely a league for it and there are a
lot of players taking part. Sometimes for megabucks.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY DAN SMITH
JERI WARNER LAYNE is talking smack from the opening kickoff: "I killed him ... on our wedding weekend.
Stomped his ass. Wedded bliss."
That's her husband, Steve, she's talking about. She sent
him to the cold showers playing fantasy football, a game
the two play almost obsessively during the season - like
nearly 40 million other Americans. They're part of a growing cadre of sports fans who have re-defined "sports fans"
to mean those who watch and play at the same time, but
without the threat of crippling injury ... unless Jeri is serious about the effects of defeating Steve.
Jeri, who lives in Boones Mill, can't seem to stop,
though: "It's definitely, overall, a dude's game," she says,
"but the chicks in our league are tomboys and we're very
competitive. Usually, all of the women in our league make
it to the playoffs. We've had a few seasons where it was just
me as the only female that made it. I'm that awesome. It's
true. When my husband and I play each other, I'm pretty
relentless with the smack talking. I've made up some horribly awesome rhymes and puns to really [annoy him]. He
takes it like a man, overall. "
Wedded bliss, indeed.
80 MAY/JUNE 2015
FANTASY SPORTS BEGAN with Rotisserie League
baseball in 1979. Journalist Daniel Okrent is generally
credited with its founding in a New York bar. Fantasy
football had been around since 1963, started in Okland,
Calif. By 1987 the first fantasy football guide had been
published and in 1993, USAToday was publishing a weekly
fantasy sports column. Today more people play fantasy
sports than live in California.
Fantasy sports participation during work would likely
be considered a problem on the scale of lost revenue from
alcoholism ($220 billion a year), changing computer passwords ($16 billion) or watching the NCAA basketball
tournament ($134 billion), except that the bosses are playing, too. A senior editor at Vox magazine, wrote that adding up the lost productivity variables of "vices, distractions
and health problems" - including fantasy sports, costs
American businesses $1.8 billion a year. But, hey, it's fun.
ROLAND LAZENBY OF SALEM, who has written about
60 books, mostly dealing with sports and sports figures, is
not a fan of fantasy sports. He calls it "a low grade form of
gambling" which "distorts the original purpose [of sports].