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Why Fantasy Football Matters: (And Our Lives Do Not) Paperback – August 1, 2006
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"This book is to fantasy football what the Bible is to religion -- only funnier -- and with more football." -- Jason Sklar, cohost of Cheap Seats, ESPN Classic
"This is the biography of every fantasy league out there -- the camaraderie, smack talking, and competition that drives us all. The only thing more entertaining than reading about how normally responsible, mature professional people turn into obsessed lunatics is when you realize most of the writing is really about you." -- David Dorey, TheHuddle.com
"The passion, brotherhood, and insanity of fantasy football are here in all their glory. The perfect read for fantasy football enthusiasts . . . or those who want to understand them." -- Brendan Roberts, Sporting News
About the Author
Erik Barmack is a director of business development at ESPN and is the former vice president of fantasy games at the Sporting News. He has written for the Sporting News, the Sports Business Journal, the Atlantic Online, and others.
He and Max Handelman have won three Bush League Championships, and bickered endlessly while losing the other five.
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One word sums up this book best.
I picked up "Why Fantasy Football Matters (and our lives do not)" and finished it within two days. It was hard to put down because every new chapter takes the reader along the next adventure of a leagues FF season. If you play fantasy football you will enjoy reading this in-depth look at a typical fantasy football league by Barmack and Handelman.
I loved the references to movies and other cultural icons like Bill O' Reilly, Seinfeld, Wile E Coyote, Cool Hand Luke, the Muppets and even DR Seuss. Sure some of the lists were for issues that are not of particular importance to me; however, for the most part, they were an enjoyable look back into some iconic moments from my past.
I especially enjoyed Chapter 20 "Rage Against The Experts E-Mail". It has an excellent diatribe about "expert advice and analysis" and the sometimes stupid questions (and answers) FF columnists get and give. I think every fantasy fooballer has had these thoughts on one occasion or another. It was good to see them in print!!!
As far as criticism, do not expect too much fantasy football wisdom from this book. Just sit back, read it and enjoy the ride. It does have an occasional morsel of knowledge, but if you are into fantasy football these "tips" and "strategies" will be well known by you now.
Another albeit small criticism is that "Why Fantasy Football Matters" was published in 2006, so some of the references to the fantasy football season may seem a bit old to new readers. But this does not distract from the obvious humor in these references.
All-in-all, this is an entertaining book that examines the stereotypical thoughts and actions of a 12 man fantasy football league from pre-season through their post season blues. I guarantee something in the book will remind you of your league and make you laugh out loud. Along similar lines if you enjoy this book you will also love "Committed, Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie." by Mark St. Amant which I have also reviewed (and others have mentioned in previous reviews). It too is a humorous look at a fantasy football league's season and the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF).
Sam Hendricks, Author of "Fantasy Football Guidebook" and "Fantasy Football Almanac"
There have been other books where the history of fantasy sports are explored, journeys are made to interview fantasy luminaries, etc. Not here. This is the story of a fantasy football season from start to finish. The participants are all regular joes, and they do what most fantasy owners do. There is talk about the psychology of drafting, trade offers, in-season trash talking, and many other things that make fantasy sports worth playing. I felt like they were telling the story of my league.
Barmack and Handelman do a great job of writing. The book never becomes mundane or boring. The writing is witty, and the different aspects of the fantasy season are presented in all of their glory. Each owner has a distinct personality. Even though they are each labeled as a specific fantasy sports archetype, the authors do a good job of keeping them relatable and human instead of becoming caricatures.
My only complaint is the many Top 10 lists in this book. They often don't even relate to the content. It feels like filler inserted to make sure this book achieved a respectable page count. That's a minor quibble. The reader can easily avoid these.
This is a great book for fantasy sports lovers and those who tolerate them.