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football for the neighborhood

You know the game. In the fall, men (and women!) everywhere gather together for a sacred ritual known as Fantasy Football.

Each year, wannabe gridiron gurus act as general managers of their team trading, adding/dropping players, changing their roster, and competing with those in their league. It’s an occasion that my husband and his friends look forward to all year long. One of the best things about Fantasy Football is the community it creates. Who doesn’t like to gather ’round, cheer on their favorite sports teams, and bond over some smack talk? Now, anybody can start a league and draft their teams online. But why not make it special?

Here are a few suggestions to make your league more than awesome:

Meet regularly—Have a draft day party to kick off the season and choose a few marquee games throughout the season to get together for. Whether at a sports bar or the man-cave, people can come together over some chips and dip and smile/sulk over the big moments. End the season on a high note with a party for the last game of the regular season. This is the week that will decide the winner, and those in the consolation bracket can get in on the action by placing bets on their picks to win.

Let them eat smack—Men tend to strengthen relationships when they’re talking smack. It’s crazy, but true. Encourage smack talk through chat rooms, text messaging, and any other medium to increase the competitiveness and overall fun level.

Create fun league and team names—No Fantasy Football league or team is complete without an ironic or otherwise clever name that is somehow a play on the NFL’s current events. Flacco Seagulls, Skeltons in the Closet, and Forgetting Brandon Marshall are among some of my favorites. Click here to see a list of 50 hilarious names for your teams.

Take home a trophy—If there’s one thing I know that brings out the competitive spirit, it’s a trophy. Give your friends something to work for. At the end of the season, reward the winner of your league with a trophy with their name engraved on it. The possession of this trophy gives the winner bragging rights until the next season. While you’re at it, why not give the loser one, too? Give them something like a stuffed fox or donkey head. It can be a joke that is passed around for years to come, and your friends will work twice as hard NOT to take it home.

However you do it, make it fun. Create an exciting environment for your league to grow. It will expand each year until the whole neighborhood wants in on the action! So, here’s to the NFL RedZone Channel, Robert Griffin the Third, and making your next fantasy football season the best one ever.

Photo by Anderson Mancini
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