Fantasy Football

Hey ladies,

This is just a friendly reminder that it’s time to get in on your office Fantasy Football League and make your picks!

(Waits for it.)

I’m really going to miss Wes Welker this year. He was my favorite.

Yeah, I know. Some of you already love football (like my sister), but think Fantasy is stupid. Or some of you don’t like football and don’t even know what Fantasy Football is. Football is “other” to plenty women – either a weekend annoyance that may or may not drive your husband’s Sunday schedule, or a stereotype to be joked about. I’m quite positive that – the internet being what it is – a few of you are totally into it an have bold picks predicting a massive upset of the Panthers over the Seahawks in the season opener.

But here’s the thing – in workplaces all across America, people (dominantly male) are forming a group that will spend the remainder of the year talking to each other, building relationships and sharing experiences. They will show up on Monday morning and give each other a hard time about the weekend’s performances. They’ll send smack talk IMs. There will be elite performers and complete dogs. They will have hushed voices around monitors as they talk through strategy and predict performance based on data, experience and hope. At the end of it, that group of people will know each other much better, be more comfortable with each other and will have bonded.

Do you really want to self-select out of that group at work? Even if you don’t care whether Tebow works out with the Patriots, this is one of the kinds of things that makes it harder for women. Fantasy Football (March Madness, etc.) is an amazing way to build relationship and connection at work. And often we’re not invited because we “wouldn’t be interested”. And if we ARE invited, we’re not interested.*

So I’m recommending you casually ask the guy with the Giant’s mousepad who wears a team jersey every Friday for four months if there HAPPENS to be a fantasy football league you can join. Pay your $50 bucks to get in on the game (assuming he ‘fesses up and has the decency to invite you). There are AWESOME tools out there that will practically build your bracket for you, so don’t worry about the fact you don’t know a safety from a field goal. Learn a bit, make some friends, and plan on losing.

And if you DON’T make it into the group this year (and there is a group), don’t go all feminist huffy. Just make it known that you’re super interested and would really like to be a part of a March Madness group if there is one, or that you’d like to play next year. (It worked for me.)

Do you like football? Do you play fantasy football? Do you find it offensive that I’m suggesting you learn to be interested in something you’re not interested in, in order to connect better to people who are interested in it?

*Yes, I know this is a total generalization. But in a study I read, women’s participation in Fantasy Football is “way up” to 12%.