By: Travis Allen
I’ve never been one for professional sports. I don’t know if it’s the toxic masculinity that I’ve never felt beholden to that is woven into the fabric of the pastimes, or if it’s instead my distaste for the veiled sycophantic jingoism that manifests as obsessive support, emotional and financial, for a team that owes allegiance to nothing more than your tax dollars. Whatever it is, I have a natural aversion to that particular brand of entertainment. I don’t watch ESPN. I don’t check scores. I don’t keep track of who is injured or what trades may happen. I didn’t even understand people’s exhaustion with Draft Kings and FanDuel until I saw ten minutes of a football game at my girlfriend’s parent’s house and was exposed to just how significant their advertising presence was.
Along with all the other things that I don’t experience related to professional sports is gambling. Of course, none of you reading this have ever gambled on sports games, because unless you live in Nevada or overseas, it would be illegal, so bear with me and just imagine it’s something you’ve done. Not having bet on games before, I’m unfamiliar with the emotional rollercoaster involved in the activity. Of course, I experience it in some capacity. After all, I bought $60 worth of Wingmate Rocs and Dragon Whisperers. While you could argue that speculation is gambling in its own right, it’s not quite the same. My hopes and dreams for Roc don’t live and die on one play of the game; there is no singular pointed moment in time that holds within it financial victory or ruin.
So when we did a fantasy Pro Tour draft this time around and I found myself sweating the outcome of Finkel versus PVDDR, a match that would determine whether I got second place or fifth, it was a novel experience. I found myself unwilling to watch them play, a behavior I know for a fact I’ve wondered aloud at when I’ve seen others not watch an event they’re financially invested in. I just kept working on the newsletter in silence, peeking at Twitter every thirty seconds for updates. When Finkel was finally victorious and I was locked for second place, a thrilling sensation washed over me unlike anything I get when a spec target quintuples overnight. All in all, it was an exciting experience, and it will be made all the more sweeter when I only need to pay four percent of a $400 dinner bill, rather than 14 percent.
Oh, also, Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar happened this weekend. Right. That’s probably what you would prefer to read about.