With your draft not too far over the horizon, you should now be knee deep in the planning stages for your draft day party. If you’re not, shame on you. Your Fantasy Draft Day should really rival Thanksgiving, The Super Bowl, and St. Patrick’s Day as the most anticipated holidays of the year. This is the day you’ve been planning and prepping for – don’t let it go to waste and make sure you’re prepared. Someone in your league needs to be the event planner and it looks like it’s going to be you. So strap in and get ready to make your league the envy of all onlookers.
Location, Location, Location.
First choice you have to make is – indoors or outdoors? If you choose outdoors, make sure you have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. You need to be able to take this sucker mobile if Mother Nature decides to do her version of “stepping in front of the TV while you’re watching the playoffs” by dumping 14 inches of rain on your hopes and dreams of a winning season. If you luck out with the weather, a nice big deck or a patio will be your base of operations. Make sure there is a good looking grill handy as you will need it.
Wherever you decide to have your party, you need to make sure there is ample space for everyone involved in order to have enough personal room for each manager and their resources. A boardroom style table is probably the best, however do what you can. When having everyone sit around the table, try to get them to sit in draft order as this will cause less confusion as the draft goes on and you all get a little more half in the bag. If you are hosting your league online (and who isn’t nowadays?), try and have some Wi-Fi capabilities available as you draft so you and all the other managers can utilize the internet whenever necessary information is needed (injury updates, etc.).
If you’re doing your draft indoors but don’t want to use someone’s house, then perhaps reserving the back room at one of your favorite local bars is the call. You could even rent out some space at a local Firehouse or Legion Hall if your league is up for it. You really just need a great place to sit back and relax when the drafting is through, in order to really let loose and party.
When your guests arrive, have everything already laid out for them: Notebook, index cards, pens, and seating assignments all ready to go. As they walk in they should also be greeted by the sweet sounds of Football glory. Either a TV in the background playing highlights from the past season or my personal favorite – The Power and The Glory…. Oh you’ll recognize it when you hear it… gets me all teary-eyed just thinking about it again.
Man’s Gotta Eat
When talking food, there really is only one option… BBQ. Try to emulate a tailgate party as much as possible. Cold beer, hot grill, and plenty of meaty goodness to go around. If there are any vegetarians in your league… honestly… I don’t know what to tell you… maybe find some new friends. Pizza just won’t cut it in my book. You really need to slap down a slab of something on the charcoal and loosen the notches in your belt when you’re done eating. Ask everyone in the league to bring with them the best tailgate recipe they own. Maybe someone can make a chili that after digestion will upset your downwind neighbors. Perhaps one of the guys can get some Omaha Steaks and fire those bad boys up to perfection dripping with juice and love. And if you don’t have any of those options, here is recipes for some never fail burgers that everyone will salivate over. They are called “Fenza Burgers” as I got the recipe from an old college buddy:
Beef – As much as you’ll need (I make my burgers thick)
Pour the Worcestershire Sauce in a big mixing bowl along with one egg. Then sprinkle the Grill Mates generously into the bowl and whisk it up. Take 1 lb. of beef and knead it into the contents of the bowl (don’t forget to wash your hands when handling food). Soak up the contents and then make burger patties. Grill them up good and throw on the Monterey Jack before you take them off the grill. Serve and accept praise graciously. (While realizing that 25% of that praise goes to me and 25% of it goes to my college buddy Luke.)
Devil Is In The Details
So now you have a killer draft location and some perfect food and drink to go around. Great… sounds like every draft party I’ve ever been to. So what else is there? This all depends on how nuts you want to get. To set you apart from the rest of the boring leagues you hear about, you are going to want to add something extra. Something that will really get everyone psyched about throwing down that entry fee. Not only that, but if you create enough buzz, other people will be begging to get into your league year after year wanting to be a part of the fun. Here are a couple of cool things you can add:
Fantasy Draft Board – Probably the greatest 30 bucks you’ll ever spend. It makes your league seem professional, it’s great eye candy, AND it will help everyone be as organized as possible during the draft. For me, it’s pretty much a necessity every year now. I get mine from here – FJ Fantasy Sports.
Fantasy Trophy – For the hardcore enthusiasts, it’s time to invest in a piece of bragging rights hardware. May I suggest the folks over at Fantasy Trophy. A firm warning however – DO NOT brag about your trophy to the opposite sex. They will look at your funny and you WILL be going home alone. Just trust me on this.
Draft Day Clock – For the best way to keep the draft moving along, invest in a draft clock (with remote control!) Laugh now… but get ready to be amazed come draft day when you hustle along the slow motion pickers into making up their minds on their stupid 12th round pick… Come on man! There is beer to drink!
Draft Day Emcee – If you are organizing the draft as well as participating in it, the best idea for you is to get a neutral person to be the draft day emcee. This person will play the part of commissioner during the draft. They will read out the picks, post them on the draft board, and be in control of the draft clock. They also should be well versed with your league’s rules and regulations, as they will be clarifying any scoring questions or settling any meaningless rule debates you may come across during the day. You want them to be in control as much as possible.
After the 2007 draft is in the books, sit back and bask in the glow of a promising new season. But don’t relax too much. Because if you’re smart, the rest of your crew should be showing up moments after the draft ends to start in on this whole other keg that you haven’t even touched yet. If you have anything you want to add that you think makes a draft party even better, feel free to post it on the message boards at the link below. Football season is here my friends… and it deserves the warmest of welcomes.
Mike Gogel is a jerk, a crazy person, and a Libra. His love/hate relationship with fantasy football is similar to that of a really hot girl who goes out with a tool. (Mike, of course, being the really hot girl) Fantasy Football told him it loved him once, he concurred, and now it's allowed to ignore him and generally treat him like dirt. Mike went to Penn State University and much like every other person you'll ever meet from Penn State, he believes that his football team is the greatest tradition ever in the history of sports and nothing you can say will change his mind. You can catch up with Mike in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of pirater4u.
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