Ahh, the NFL season is back and all is right with the world. For better or worse, some things never seem to change - The Cowboys will find monumental new ways to collapse down the stretch, The Patriots will cheat their way to the Super Bowl, and Eli Manning will drool through another mediocre season.
But luckily it's 2016...nobody actually cares about real teams anymore. Now Sundays are all about the church of fantasy football. Praise be to Redzone!
The problem is that fantasy sports are far from perfect. It happens every year...a few teams start nose-diving around Week 4 and then the owners quit checking their line-ups the rest of the season. Well what if I told you there's a way to simultaneously prevent this while also enjoying some of the best schadenfreude entertainment available? It's called the Loser Punishment and if your league doesn't have one, you're seriously missing out.
It works like this: at the end of the season the two worst teams in your league square off in the Dumpster Bowl. The loser of the Dumpster Bowl must then complete the Loser Penalty decided on at the beginning of the season (or get kicked out of the league). Sure, the point of the league is technically still about winning the championship, but at the end of the day what really matters is not being your league's biggest chump. It's a win-win for everyone (minus the loser).
So here's 5 potential Loser Punishments to take your league to the next level:
5) The Bathroom Attendant
For one painful night, you will become one of the universally-hated, privacy-invading, powder room peppermint peddlers. To complete this punishment, you must spend one full evening (10pm to 2am) in a busy local bar's restroom dressed in a full tuxedo. At a minimum you should have a plentiful stock of hand towels, mints, gum, cologne, condoms, and uncomfortable small talk that you shall offer to all your potty-seeking patrons. On the plus side, you might earn yourself some tip money!
Excruciation Level = 6.5/10
4) The Sleepover at Walmart
A magical evening is right. From 9pm to 3am, you will be spending your Saturday night wandering the never-ending aisles of Walmart with America's finest!
A large flask and a live video stream is highly encouraged. Your itinerary may include:
- A candlelit dinner/drinks alone at McDonald's
- Napping in a tent in the camping department with a sign posted on the front that says "Keep Out!"
- Hiding in the clothing racks and scaring patrons as they walk by
- Posting up in a lawn chair in the electronics section and jamming out to some Michael McDonald while watching repeat loops of The Jungle Book
Excruciation Level = 7/10
3) The Charm Bracelet
Commemorate your dumpster fire of a season with some glam!
Each year, the loser must find a glitzy charm to add to the illustrious Loser Bracelet. You must then wear said bracelet for one week straight (timing may be voted on by the league). School, work, dates, out on the town…you'll be sure to catch everyone's eye. This one-of-a-kind wristlet will be passed down from team to team like a treasured heirloom for failures, growing in gaudy sadness each season.
Excruciation Level = 7/10
2) Join Farmersonly.com
You may not have found many victories but you might find love!
This penalty consists of signing up for the oddly specific online dating site for farmers and allowing the league to collaboratively make your profile. From there you have 2 options:
Option A) You must message 1 new person/day for 1 month straight (something along the lines of "What's cookin good lookin?" seems like a solid opener on this site). You may not be the person to end a conversation. You must re-post all conversations in your league's group thread.
Option B) You find the first horse-loving cowgirl that crosses your profile and you take her out for a night at the local honky-tonk. You must dress in full farmer garb (overalls, straw hat, piece of grass hanging from your teeth, etc.) and you must post a photo of the night on the social media of your choice.
Excruciation Level = 8/10
1) The Sandals Resort Vacation for 1
The grand-daddy of them all. Upon losing your highly-esteemed league, your consolation prize includes a full weekend getaway of romantic fun in the sun...(all alone). That's right Bob, not only will you be vacationing like a regular old Steven Glansberg, you will be doing so at a resort specifically geared for dysfunctional alcoholic couples!
The rules are simple and must be completed as follows:
- Must explain to everyone that your significant other left you at the altar and your honeymoon ticket was non-refundable
- Pina coladas only
- Must attend and live-stream all free activities
Note that doing this is actually not as far-fetched as it sounds. If you have a standard league of 12 people, you can easily make this happen for under $100/person. This is what all serious fantasy football league's should aspire to.
Excruciation Level = 9.9/10
Bonus) Re-taking the SAT
Of course this list wouldn't be complete without the old tried-and-true classic. You really can't go wrong with making this a staple in your league. The amount of sheer awkwardness of being in a high school taking this test as a grown man is difficult to describe (trust me, I know).
You can read about my full experience here, but I re-posted my essay below as a reminder of what it means to embrace the great sport of fantasy football for all that it is.
There's a pretty good chance it may be my life's Mona Lisa.