Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, August 07, 2006

League of Nerdcraft

A colleague at Spectator once told me, "The Internet is only good for is fantasy sports." And I have certainly followed his advice, spending far more time than is reasonable on fantasy baseball and football. I am famously terrible at these games, which is a running source of humor, given my profession. My early studies of soccer have discovered the English also play fantasy sports. Fantasy soccer strikes me as rather dull, given that there aren't so many goals. That would be fine if there were other stats, but the English laugh at us in the U.S. for wanting to record assists as an official category.

But recently, I have discovered fantasy fantasy soccer. It's a game where you act as a team chairman/manager. Your job is to hire the coach, buy players, sell players, set the training regimen, make sure the team turns a profit, make additions to the stadium and try to win promotion into better leagues. These games have the added advantage of being played in real time, which means that people all over the Internet can join in. So in a sense, you're playing against the entire world. I've joined two games, Simsoc and Hattrick. Eventually I'll pick between the two, or else just forget it entirely. Simsoc uses real teams from the four major English levels, and real player names. Imagine my surprise the other day to run into Joe Cole of the real-life Chelsea playing for Grimsby Town or some other League 2 side. That was jarring. In Hattrick, you invent teams and play with your imaginary players against other fake teams. So far I've created the NorCal Peaceniks, named the stadium Kumbayah Grove, bought a goalkeeper and fired the coach.

The Peaceniks play their first friendly against a Brazilian club this week. I'm sort of excited about that, which makes me about the biggest nerd ever.

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