A fantasy for the rest of us 

It’s 3 a.m. in Lower (make that Outer) Hillcrest: do you know where your honey is?

Mine is hunched over a small black notebook, scribbling feverishly, like maybe he’s transcribing information coming into an antenna embedded in his brain. I peek over his shoulder and see hundreds of numbers in rows and columns. There are letters, too, with parenthesized hieroglyphics — multi-directional arrows, punctuation marks — beside them. One wide-open eye, circumferenced by stubby lashes, like a child would draw, gives me a spooky, maniacal stare.

Registering my presence, sweetheart turns to me and says proudly, “I’ve developed a system.”


“And my additional skills are really improving,” he adds with a weary grin.

I don’t have any idea what he’s talking about, and am doubtful that he does either.

“I think you need sleep.”

In the morning, coffee in hand, I open my laptop. The screen is all numbers. Great, I think, the computer’s broken. But no: the browser was left open. There are names, in blue, at the left side of the screen. Brushing away sleep, seeking recognition, I find Ortiz. And Youkilis, and Lowell. Renteria, Pujols, Ramirez. I cringe and stop at Jeter. This must be what he was talking about the other day, when he had come over and said, “I hope you’re ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“Fantasy Baseball. Spring training starts in two weeks.”

My first — and last — brush with fantasy baseball, a couple of years ago, resulted in a nasty fight over my unwillingness to blindly follow a seemingly arbitrary no-calling policy that was explained by only three precious little words: “It’s draft day.”

With between 15 million and 18 million people participating in fantasy sports nationwide every year, there’s a good chance you know — or even live with — someone who either has been or will soon be flipping channels and checking stats with compulsive regularity.

The concept is simple: Join a league of team owners, assemble and manage a fictional dream team of real players. Spend every other waking second studying games and statistics. Trade, drop, and pick up accordingly. Scoring can be complicated, but nowadays is handled largely by computers. There’s usually money involved: sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. On any given day, it’s likely that several members of your team will be playing. Watch out for injuries. Keep the right pitchers off the bench.

Fantasy sports give participants a reason to be even more involved in games that they normally might not pay much attention to. (“Now leaving ESPN on twenty-four/seven is totally justified!”) But whatever is the other half to do with all this new-found free time? How are we to satisfy our need to be involved, to compete, to obsess?

With corresponding singlemindedness and careful adherence to gender stereotyping, I’ve created my own version of this engrossing game: fantasy fashion.

Drafting begins eight days after Fashion Week (or, more accurately, weeks — there are four, in New York, London, Milan, and Paris) ends. This is kind of like spring training. Designers must be chosen for specific categories, like evening, resort, couture, denim, and shoes. The season starts when the collection is released, and scoring is based upon how well the collections sell (and in which stores), red carpet and party sightings (and on which personalities), and reviews from both industry insiders and gossipmongers. Women’s Wear Daily will be your Racing Form. The New York week just opened, and the Paris week wraps up in early March.

Let the games begin.

“I put him through my system, and Garrett Atkins is my number-one third baseman. I would have gone for Cabrera or Aramis Ramirez, but according to my little meat grinder here ... Who would have thought?”

“Proenza Shouler’s Target line: an egalitarian move, but what does this mean for their RTW?”

“Drew is a cry-baby. Anybody who has Scott Boras for an agent is only after money.”

“Jimmy Choo has been sold to a private equity firm.”

“Juan Pierre is one of the best outfielders going, but he had so many at-bats his average doesn’t look good.”

“Marc Jacobs moved ‘Marc’ to the London week — a last-minute plea for more time?”

“Anyone can homer in Colorado — the air is so thin.”

“Erin Featherston is derivative of herself.”

It’s a conversation, of sorts. And that may be the point of the whole thing. Finally, an end to those interminable silences so often shared by two women who have just met.

“Hey. Nice shoes. Who do you have starting for accessories?”


Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Two wounded in Indiana school shooting

    An adult and a child were wounded and a suspect is in custody in the latest school shooting, this one in a middle school near Indianapolis.
    • May 25, 2018
  • Another inmate death at Brickeys unit

    The Correction Department has reported another unnatural death at the Brickeys Unit, the seventh not attributed to natural causes this year at the Lee County prison.
    • May 25, 2018
  • PS: Casino amendment includes sports betting

    A casino gambling amendment now cleared for the gathering of petitions to qualify for the ballot could bring sports wagering to casinos if approved.
    • May 24, 2018
  • More »

More by Katherine Whitworth

  • Sand in our shoes

    It’s true that Arkansas is a landlocked state: The nearest access point to salt water is at least 400 miles away. It’s also true that no less than three state Parks and Tourism employees laughed at recent requests for information regarding the beaches of
    • May 4, 2007
  • The perfect summer drink

    Sangria, the unofficial national beverage of Spain, may very well be the perfect summer drink. More festive than beer, less punishing than a cocktail, and as companionable as iced tea or lemonade to summertime staples like barbecue and fried chicken, this
    • May 4, 2007
  • In the garden

    Has anybody noticed the scarecrow hanging outside O.W. Pizza? It’s kind of hard to spot unless you’re looking for it, because it’s over on the left side, toward the back, and you can’t see it going east on Markham without craning your neck at a dangerous
    • Apr 5, 2007
  • More »

Latest in Katherine Whitworth

  • In the garden

    Has anybody noticed the scarecrow hanging outside O.W. Pizza? It’s kind of hard to spot unless you’re looking for it, because it’s over on the left side, toward the back, and you can’t see it going east on Markham without craning your neck at a dangerous
    • Apr 5, 2007
  • Who should parent?

    Let me tell you about a friend of mine. He’s a guy who is unequivocally regarded as a wonderful person by those who know him. He’s kind, and caring, and conscientious, and compassionate. He’s smart, funny, and generous. He seeks joy and peace and knowledg
    • Mar 29, 2007
  • Femininity vs. feminism

    Speaking of feminism, why is it that the Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women is so much better represented in the thrift and used-book stores of Arkansas than in those of any other state I’ve been to? I’ve been lazily collecting these slim volumes —
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Trade places

    I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.
  • Like wrestling

    So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Now, the main event

    • Good article and an accurate observation of the inconsistencies in Gov. Asa Hutchinson's words and…

    • on May 24, 2018
  • Re: Flooding the swamp

    • Nations who negotiate sweet deals with the US pharmaceutical companies are only able to do…

    • on May 24, 2018
  • Re: Like wrestling

    • Trump's policies to help a financially failing US Postal Service are nothing compared to the…

    • on May 24, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation