Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Facebook and fantasy

By Ben Feder

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I don’t have an exact topic to delve into for this week’s column, but I have made two conclusions in the last few days that I would like to share.

I am obsessed with the Facebook. It’s the latest craze and I don’t think I’m the only victim to its hypnotic spell. I don’t know what makes it so addicting, but I started it last week and now I can’t stop checking to see if my friends have left me messages or if I’ve been poked. I have this insatiable desire to find more people I know and add them to my friends list. I add weird things to my clubs and interests like, “hot cheese up front club,” or that my favorite book is the thesaurus, just to see if anyone else will show up when I click on those links.

It wasn’t until later that I discovered what category of addiction the Facebook falls into. It’s the same kind of addiction that keeps you checking and rechecking people’s away messages. Even though you checked someone’s away message 30 seconds ago, you still right-click their screen name to see if it has changed. That’s when it hit me, and I learned the true nature of the Facebook. It’s just one big, glorified buddy list.

Think about it. What other purpose can it possibly serve? All you do is add more and more friends to improve your sense of self-worth. The higher the number, the better you feel. But can you honestly say that each of those people listed are ones you actually talk to daily? Or are some simply mutual acquaintances, or better yet, that person you see at the dining hall every lunch. You know you’ll never really talk to these people or hang out with them, but still they’re there. I’m going to guess that only half or maybe even a third of the profiles found on people’s “friends” list are actual friends. All I know is that people I haven’t spoken to in years are now interested in placing me in their “friends” category.

My next thought was about fantasy sports. Fantasy football, baseball, hockey, whatever. I’ve overheard so many people talking about their fantasy teams, their players’ stats, upcoming matches, and anything else that it seems like I’m watching a live taping of Sportscenter. All of a sudden, everyone is an expert sports analyst. Acronyms like RISP, CP/AT, and ERA are being thrown around in classrooms and bars. What’s great is that everyone understands what those mean.

I came to the conclusion that fantasy sports are similar to the game Dungeons and Dragons. Or really, fantasy sports are Dungeons and Dragons for jocks. Now hear me out before you crumple up the paper and curse my name. I’m not trying to offend either fantasy sports fans or D’D enthusiasts. What I mean is that Dungeons and Dragons, much like fantasy sports, is all about statistics. It’s a game driven by numbers with the players constantly rolling dice. Players are constantly thinking and trying to come up with better numbers to beat opponents, numbers that improve the characters and get items with better statistics. Statistics quantify the D’D world.

In fantasy sports, people buy statistic analyses to figure out which players to put where. Players are pouring themselves over stats sheets, consulting ESPN.com and observing their opponents moves in order to make better decisions. The only thing missing is the dice. I have friends completely consumed in the fantasy sports world. It has become their reality, much like how D’D becomes reality to its players.

The key word is fantasy. I once overheard two guys talking about each other’s Fantasy Football roster. One was bragging about Donovan McNabb’s stats; 270 attempts, with 170 completions, totaling 2081 yards. I was expecting him to add that McNabb just got a new fire sword that has +2 attack points against frost giants. It’s all relative. Either you’re hoping Peyton Manning will get above 180 completions this week (I hate the Colts but the man has got some arm), or you’re venturing into that dungeon to fight that dragon.

Ben Feder is a Collegian columnist.

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