“Hi, I am the typical college male and I am addicted to fantasy leagues, frivolous online spending and countless other things that I have found on the Internet.”
“Welcome, typical college male.”
As a student, there are often many troublesome issues that tend to go unnoticed simply because they are the norm in our society. In the same way that girls might incessantly shop or stalk crushes on Facebook, guys may engage in just as many distracting and dysfunctional behaviors but on a level of stealth. It is no surprise that sports are at the epicenter of today’s most popular online phenomena.
Fantasy sports leagues have become extremely popular in recent years, with ESPN, CBS and Yahoo! as the main providers of the entertainment. The widely played fantasy sports are football, basketball, and baseball but there is practically a league for any reputable sport.
Essentially, each participant takes on the role of a team’s general manager and with that title comes the responsibilities of choosing your players, managing your roster and hoping your players perform well on the field. Your players’ success in real life determines the success of your online team. The creator of the league is referred to as the commissioner while all the members he recruits are deemed the owners of their respective teams.
Each league can have about eight to 20 members and each provider has countless leagues. For those not familiar with this sort of system, think of it as a forum with an immense number of chat rooms, each chat room containing eight to 20 members vying for the number one spot.
For football leaguers specifically, Sunday is the Sabbath. No, that does not mean they attend a worship service. Sunday is the day that the game results are posted as well as your players’ updated stats. As for the other sports, they have games all throughout the week.
“I am a Miami Dolphins fan and I watch all of their games,” says freshman Chris Wittyngham of the WVUM Sports staff, “but without fantasy or some variation of it, fans would have no reason to watch the other games because they have no rooting interest. Because of fantasy, you root for the players on your fantasy team.”
Have no athletic ability? That’s okay. The qualifications to join a league are far from inconceivable. One, you need Internet access, and second, an affinity for that particular sport. Without background knowledge on the sport, not only will your success be hampered, but also the game will not be as stimulating for you. With such lenient requirements, the game’s increasing popularity is no surprise.
“It allows you to have a more vested interest in a sport that is already a huge part of your life,” says sophomore David Bahamon.
Bahamon is constantly on the football field as a member of the school band. Fantasy allows him to play more of a part in the sport’s action.
“I played football in high school,” said Bahamon, “and being unable to play now, playing fantasy football lets me still feel connected to that sport in some small way.”
However, one characteristic is needed to join this online community: you need time to invest in your team.
“For football, I probably play two to three hours a week,” says Wittyngham. “And then all day on Sunday [you follow] the games and the scores of your players.”
It might appear to be a tedious of hobby, reliant on clicking and scrolling, but it can get intense, especially when entry fees are involved.
“There are leagues that have anywhere from $5 to $500 entry fees and there are some high-stakes leagues where you find a lot of the addicts,” says Wittyngham, “In my case, there is a $25 entry fee in the league and the money is divided up between the winner and runner up.”
Some would be surprised to find out that another addiction many males suffer from is online spending.
When women get a chance to go shopping, they might head to the malls and do some serious damage on their credit cards. Men can do just as much damage from the comfort of their own desk.
A full-on shopping addiction is referred to as oniomania, but most who shop on a routine basis and less severe level are considered to have onionmanic tendencies.
The array of consumer products that can be bought through the Internet is limitless. Guys will put down money for anything from video games to clothing to DVDs, or even to the oddly specific such as Vic Firth drumsticks, No-Xplode Fruit Punch Pound Powder and KYB shock absorbers.
“I think the stuff that girls want can easily be found at specific stores,” says sophomore Jason Soriano, who prefers online shopping to taking a trip down to a mall. “But guys tend to splurge on items that are harder to find. The Internet makes it easier.”
The consensus on male spending seems to be the following: while girls spend money on many items of a relatively lower cost, males purchase less items at much higher costs. In other words, Jane Doe will spend $70 on jeans and two shirts while John Doe will buy a car part for $120.
The category of the items bought depends on the guy. For example, Giordany Loffredo, a freshman at Florida International University, uses his money to buy diet supplements on vitaminshoppe.com, while Miami resident Daniel Higuera typically spends his online spending money on instrumental gear on samash.com.
“I bought a cymbal online once for $390,” Higuera said.
Another reason why online purchases have become such a norm in the male world is because of the ease with which men can wear clothing.
“Girls tend to try on clothes and make sure that it hits all the right places at the right angle,” Soriano says, “At least for me, a shirt and some pants is enough if it’s in the right size. I don’t mind buying something without being able to try it on.”
Of course, there is no problem with making online purchases. The problem is when it interferes with the budgets that one establishes.
“I have friends who can’t regulate their online spending and then end up broke for the rest of the week,” says Soriano, “I try very hard not to find myself in those situations.”
Like spending in general, online compulsive buys are dangerous, even more so in that options are presented to you by a click of a mouse rather than having to walk or drive anywhere.
Fantasy leagues and online shopping are just two of a variety of different obsessions that can consume any male with a soft spot for indulgence. These addictions shouldn’t be overlooked: A of couple years from now, we might have Leaguers Anonymous and Online Shoppers Anonymous. It will be the same process as Alcoholics Anonymous but instead of a twelve-step process, it will be thirteen, the first step being to turn off your computer.