I have been playing fantasy sports for close to a decade now. My overall enthusiasm for sports has waned somewhat over that time, but the actual doing, the concerted activity of being shrewd, playing the markets, making trades, evaluating risk and balancing intuition and statistics still stimulates what must be a “game cortex” nestled deep within in my reptilian brain.
But what I truly enjoy most are the opportunities for punny names and bizarre cultural cross-pollinations that fantasy sports represent. Everybody likes to give their teams funny, referential names, but I like to take things one step further and photoshop (I’m using the verb here – I actually use a program called PhotoFiltre) an accompanying picture. I’m just an amateur at photo editing, and the end results usually get shrunk down by fantasy sports sites to some tiny, near-indecipherable representation, but I enjoy the process, and often the results, nonetheless. Here are a number of my pictures from the last several years, with brief notes and explanations.
If you currently play and want to borrow any of these for your team photo, by all means go ahead.
Suhsie and the Banshees
This one came on the “heels” of Ndamukong Suh’s infamous stomping of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day 2011. I’m actually from Michigan and root for the Detroit Lions. It always makes me queasy when white sports fans call black players “thugs” and “animals” on the ESPN comment boards, so I thought this was a good way to mock Suh over the incident in a light-hearted way.
Barrett Ruud .51 Cal
I’ve been playing Fantasy Football with Individual Defensive Players for a long time, so I ended up learning a lot about the tackling habits of certain linebackers. Barrett Ruud used to be the shit when he was with Tampa Bay (and my fantasy football team), but for whatever reason, his career went into an early dusk. I used to play Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare as well, and in that game, the Barrett .50 Cal sniper rifle was a fearsome weapon.
Braylon Edwards Scissorhands
Braylon Edwards was a big, strong and fast wide receiver, but he also used to have an infuriating habit of dropping the damn ball – and now we know why! In a side note, a friend of mine from Ann Arbor says he once saw Edwards exit a barbershop with $50,000 of jewelry around his neck and climb into a Bentley Continental (this was during Edwards’ college days at U Mich… hmm). Now that I think about it, I also saw Edwards in Ann Arbor, a year or two after his NFL career had fizzled. He was standing next to the open trunk of his car and changing into a button down shirt.
I occasionally played fantasy basketball as well. Greivis Vasquez offered lots of assists on the cheap. Sometimes the best puns are the effortless ones.
DeMarquis De Sade
DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most frustratingly talented, immature, inconsistent players in NBA history. You have to be a sadomasochist just to keep him on your roster, in fantasy or real life.
The Hurt Locker
Jake Locker was injured that year (as he is every year). Making this picture made me feel better about drafting him, but I do wish that I had been able to get the numbers to integrate better with the anti-bomb suit.
Iggy and the Stooges
I still chuckle looking at this one. What better combination could there be than Iggy Pop and and Andre Iguodala?
Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco (born Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV) and Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray probably couldn’t have less to do with each other, but they came together well for a goofy cross-cultural pun and picture.