The Football Girl: Bill Simmons, Come out of your Manhole!
The following is a response to Bill Simmons’ “Fantasy Fixer” column from Friday, specifically item # 4, in which he insinuates that women are crashing the all-boys fantasy party and contributing to the ruin of his fantasy sanctuary.
Dear Bill Simmons,
Nice to meet you. Although you probably don’t know my name, I’ve actually met you on several occasions, generally at ESPN parties. I’m the very tall girl, who used to be a producer on SportsCenter and Rome is Burning and has a friend/former co-worker who happens to be your famed former intern, Jamie. Each one of our conversations has gone almost exactly like this:
Me: Hey, how are you?
You: How are you?
Me: How’s Jamie? Is he in town?
You: He’s good. Yes, he’s in town.
Me: Ok then, well good to see you.
You: You too.
Despite these “Groundhog Day” conversations, I do appreciate how friendly you’ve always been to me, especially considering the masses clamoring to talk you only grow with each party.
That our relationship hasn’t developed beyond the above conversation (minus a hilarious Rome joke or two from you) is really too bad because after reading your latest column–the one where you play fantasy troubleshooter and declare yourself “Future Sports Minister”–I might have had a few more things to say.
My primary grievance, as you might have guessed, is with suggestion #4—where you go off on one of your oh-so-famous tangents to lament about the recent infiltration of your hallowed all-guy fantasy leagues with, gasp!, women. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Martha Burk, or even Keith Olbermann on you. But I just want to point out how asinine your claim is that fantasy is somehow “unique” to men and that we women should “start our own leagues.” Congratulations Bill, you‘ve managed to make the same “separate but equal” argument in favor of segregation that’s been rejected by our court system for the past 56 years.
The problem with your theory, like all blanket segregation, is you lump everyone into the same boat. Let me introduce you to a concept clearly foreign to you: the “football cool” girl. She’s really the same as the utopian fantasy player you’d want in your league, except with breasts and better shoes. This is the girl that knows her x’s and o’s, is ultra-competitive, loves beer and nachos, burps, in fact doesn’t even mind a fart or two, and is comfortable with names like Romosexual Tendencies and My Vick in a Box. I think you’ve met her already. Her name is Erin Andrews, Michelle Beadle, Jemele Hill, Summer Sanders, and a million other “football cool” girls that aren’t famous enough to be graced with your presence. They all fit in with the guys, especially during football season, and only the most closed-minded men out there wouldn’t want them around.
I do agree, Sports Guy, there are a lot of lame poser fans out there that happen to be girls. My website even did a piece on this awkward post-feminist movement in football. From the absolute hater (the woman trying to squash your football balls) to the tolerator (she would be the girl you have to explain what a touchback is to), those girls absolutely blow and I don’t want to watch football with them either. I’m sorry for you that we all can’t be Betty Drapers (sometimes) or Trudy Campbells, and give you your space to construct a “caveman” worthy double-life. Those Mad Men days are long gone.
But back to us, the “football cool” girls. To suggest we go form our own leagues is simply ignorant of all the great co-ed leagues out there (maybe you’ve never been in one). You certainly have the right to form any league you want, but as a 15-year veteran of fantasy sports (almost as long as you), I can tell you that most guys actually enjoy being in co-ed leagues. For example, I have run a co-ed fantasy football league for six years, one that includes Howie Schwab and some other hard-core ESPNers. We all trash talk, bust chops on stupid trades, text msg each other during games, all those so-called activities that you consider “unique” to guys.
And Bill, no one denies the need for “guy time.” But guess what the dudes in my league do when they need to escape their ladies and experience some male on male bonding? They call their buddies and go get some drinks at a bar. Or they golf. Or go to Vegas (I know you’re a self-proclaimed Vegas expert, but I think you’re way off on your assessment that it too has been overrun with ladies. There’s a reason any group of girls can get into any club there for free. I’d still maintain Vegas is the happiest place on Earth for the lady looking to get laid). Or get creative. Some of the dudes in my league do a yearly event called The Decathlon. Sixteen dudes spend the day trudging through a series of events ranging from dodge ball to wall sits to every variation of flip cup imaginable. After they’ve had about 300 beers each, they go out and continue the ball-busting revelry. The idea actually stemmed from a bachelor party, so maybe you’ll try it out some time. Point is, there are a million other ways to get your ogling hot chicks, telling fart jokes, and reciting Anchorman lines time in outside of fantasy.
Also, your suggestion that women “start our own leagues” is also seriously demeaning to the football cool girls that are out there. (Maybe Jerry Bruckheimer will make a movie about an all-women fantasy team from Texas Western taking on all-men team from Kentucky). I’ve played in a league of all women who I didn’t pre-screen, was the commish of it too (poor me) and it was horrible. You are right that there are hordes of ladies who do not yet warrant playing in mainstream leagues (i.e., leagues with balls). While women are well in the double-digits of the fantasy playing market, it’s really still hard to find 10 or 12 ladies that meet the utopian fantasy player profile that I mentioned above. And a lot of women think $50 or $100 or higher is too much for fantasy – that’s perhaps my biggest pet peeve about the girls you describe in your column.
But what about the rest of us? Are we really supposed to be shut out? Do you really think Jemele Hill should be relegated to a Triple A fantasy league? Jemele Hill? How long are you willing to cling to your “separate but equal” beliefs while the world changes around you?
A fellow fantasy junkie