"ESPN.com Fantasy Games" <email@example.com> Subject: ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Notice Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 21:36:59 -0700
As an ESPN Fantasy Football user, please keep in mind that the start of the season is rapidly approaching.
According to our records, you are a team owner in one of our free Customizable Leagues. Based on the overwhelming popularity and demand for ESPN.com's Live Draft, we need to limit draft slots to EDGE leagues only. Please upgrade your league with the EDGE before your draft date to use ESPN.com's live draft application. If you decide not to upgrade your league, it will automatically be switched to an Autopick draft.
This will give you the necessary time to prepare your team. We recommend Pre-Ranking your players at the earliest convenience.
Good luck and enjoy the fantasy season.
-- ESPN Fantasy Games Commissioner
Please do not reply directly to this e-mail as it will not arrive at a monitored address.
Note the date, August 31st, which was really early AM on September 1st when they delivered this to me. The first draft was to be this last evening, at 7:45 PM EST, which was less than 48 hours before the leagues were to begin. I had just finished all of my leagues that evening, right before the email.
When I started the leagues in my thoughts and planning a few weeks ago before this evening, I had the simple intention and objective of providing a group activity in which all that I had invited would have something to enjoy together with the benefit of fun diversion from reality.
ESPN's service offers the best action in terms of detail. Until this year, they only offered league action only to those who purchased it. This was my chance with the new free leagues to not only do something fun for everyone. It was a chance to host something in which I could be personable with people. It also served a personal agenda of fuel for my need to get back on my feet, with regard to my situation in reality. It also would show people how great the ESPN action was, of which I had enjoyed for the last handful of years when I had some extra money to afford it.
I clicked on the 'EDGE' link. For new league organizers, the price was $99.95 to sign up for the extra service.
That was $99.95 more than I could afford. For the three leagues that I started, I would have had to put that price X 3 on my credit card.
To add to my hassle, the notion that ESPN had essentially pulled a bait-and-switch on me (whether intentional or unintentional) added to my surprise and sudden discomfort. You see, ESPN advertised the leagues as completely free, and in that advertisement, they also offered live java draft applets which automate a lot of the things needed to hold a successful league. This feature was clearly advertised as an option for the free leagues to use.
At that point, it became a personal quest from that night until draft day on the first league to put together an alternative strategy to carry out the leagues. The plan could not involve money spent nor hassle experienced for all those involved.
I spent a handful of hours on the phone and through email with a close friend of mine to organize the alternative plans. Everything was discussed in detail. I called people in the leagues that I knew and could get a hold of during this time, and I started to find out that if it was an auto-draft that would take place, then these people would drop out of the first league.
You see, I really spent a lot of time and effort on only one key aspect, which was getting everyone together for the league to form.
As for my stake in this matter, I believe this mattered quite a bit to me to carry out as a success, of which success consisted of the full enjoyment shared which I had experienced in previous years with the gameplay on ESPN. Of course, I could not envision any of this in advance with clarity, as I was in the middle of dealing with ESPN's surprise.
I also believe that if you do something, you better do it right, big, and outstanding, to the best of your ability. Or, if you can't do that, then you shut the fuck up and don't ever so much as attempt. That's a belief that could be it's own discussion.
I spent time in organization of a manual draft, and I had hoped that would work well enough last evening. I did leave it open to discussion, which was also part of the point of getting Jim, Tom, Frank, Michael, David, a guy monikered "Fat Kid," Heidi, Michelle, Kris, and myself to the league's chat feature.
When we attempted to draft by my manual hand, I noticed a lot of dissatisfaction. I knew this option would take a mammoth amount of time to complete, and I knew that there would most likely be mistakes made at my hand.
What I didn't account was the general confusion by everyone over what they had expected to be a live draft applet. Instead, they got a league chat page with a computer processor that runs the process over a handful of hours, only to need 8 or more hours of power-down to recover from the ordeal, as I had not slept since early September 1st.
Right off the bat, people became rather impatient. I knew that if we didn't do it manually, that I'd probably lose people in the league. What I didn't expect was the chance for people to leave the league if I didn't do the other option, which was auto-pick.
Then, the mistakes came early. I botched the first round by losing track of the order. Also, on my end, I had great trouble in comprehension, given the lack of sleep. Yet, I tried, and that was what I needed to do. I felt compelled to give one last effort to see if my leagues were going to work.
When I realized that I caused everyone a lot of extra hassle in light of something that was supposed to be fun, I instinctually moved to abort. Only, when I abort things, I do it with as much detail as I put into the creation. The end was swift, sudden, and without warning, exactly like the email I received from ESPN. For all the effort I gave to create the leagues, I deleted them in 15 seconds in a frenzy of anger.
I also dropped out of my friend's league because I wanted nothing to do with ESPN.
To all those who wished to play with me, I am sorry to have shared with you the frustration by deleting the leagues. I could not afford to put any more effort into them, as the amount of what turned into work had increased tenfold.
I didn't think I would feel bad if it didn't work out to be a success, as I had mentioned earlier in this post. Actually, by deleting the leagues and the team I had in my friend's league, not only did I screw up all the collective work of all those who joined, but I hurt myself the most.
I probably wanted to play with such a strong desire that my deletion of work has caused me to be left with a giant sinking feeling.
Granted, I am not insane in totality, as I still wonder about the fate of one of my uncles who lived down in Louisiana, whether his home was spared by hurricane Katrina, and whether he is still alive. One person in my league lost their home in the storm. To add to all the typical topics of greater importance and a hope to avoid cliché, that is up to debate. Basically, I know how to rationalize and compare and contrast. Humanity and life remains the most essential in the matter.
However, without going into full detail on how I personally feel about myself and why I feel that way, I can merely share with you that my simple and trivial failure has actually destroyed my energy. I hate the feeling of sudden thrust into situations in which I find myself in the middle of two sides, and oddly enough, ESPN decided that the free leagues weren't getting nearly enough money, and my friends and relatives decided to argue when I made an attempt to salvage the efforts, of which I set myself up for that possibility by motion to take all of the efforts up on my own.
I also know that none of this would have happened if ESPN hadn't attempted to force people into spending money. I also know that I went beyond the realm of rational behavior by deletion of the leagues, since they could have been auto-drafted in favor of minor hassle in comparison to the large benefit of a season of free play that would follow.
I only wonder in passing at this moment whether ESPN would start to implement more ways to force money from their participants, but that issue is now irrelevant.
Normally, I would offer some fantastic comparisons, many of them loose enough for much amusement. As of today, right now, I feel horrible.
That would fit, as I am a criminal perfectionist.
So, I'm not crazy, as of yet, but I have this suspicion that my dejection points to the fact that a compound set of failures over a short period of time can lead a person to oblivion, even on minor failures that follow. I can visualize and feel and know how someone would actually jump off a building after losing all of their money and with it, their hope.
My hope is fucking torpedoed right now, ladies and gentlemen.
Since I know that any problem I currently have with failed fantasy leagues matters little in comparison, and I know that any personal failure of relationships or efforts matter little when compared to entire cultures that have failed, as well as collectives of people, you can be assured that I know that none of you are any more or less special (or not special, depending on philosophy) as I am.
Life can be humorous in the wake of a failure, and life can make humor of the failure to help move and close the moment.
However, it will be a while before I can laugh at this.