June brings with it many blessings. Birds sing. The sun shines. Children’s’ laughter fills the sweet afternoon air. Nature is reborn. It is a heavenly time to be alive.
Fantasy football is not at all devoid of this annual revival. Off-season training activities thrust the most innocuous player developments into the limelight. New start-ups seem to percolate more heavily as summer places football season firmly on the horizon.
For the last decade, the centerpiece of this seasonal fantasy exuberance has come courtesy of Mr. Scott Fish, and his namesake event, the Scott Fish Bowl (“SFB” in social media parlance). In case you’ve been living under a reef, the SFB is an annual redraft tournament which brings together thousands of celebrities, analysts, and fans in the spirit of charity.
From humble beginnings as a 96-player reader league on behalf of FFOasis, the Scott Fish Bowl now draws nearly 2,000 competitors. And while this may seem like an astronomical participation figure, invites are actually at a premium and highly coveted. In fact, the clamor is so large that in recent years a satellite league runs in parallel to make things even more inclusive.
Structurally, the SFB is a composite of several 12-team divisions. Pop culture inspires the overarching theme which is then cascaded into each of these sub-groupings. Recent themes have included television, video games, and toys, with this year’s event boasting a musical motif.
Spirit of Giving
Though technically a free event, the SFB has its roots firmly planted in charity. Fantasy Cares, an organization founded to connect fantasy philanthropy to the Toys for Tots holiday toy drive, was once at the forefront of this fundraising effort. However, in this year’s installment, SFB participants are encouraged to simply donate to a cause that they feel personally passionate about.
This is where things get creative and fun. Scott has sprinkled invites to popular websites and podcasts, who have in turn used them to induce giving. Apparel providers Veridian Global and RotoWear have partnered with Fish to supply SFB themed merchandise with the proceeds going to charity. Graphic artists volunteer their talents to create and sell custom social media avatars to benefit Fantasy Cares. There’s even a 24 hour podcasting marathon to raise money.
If there’s a way to collect funds for those in need, it seems that the SFB community will devise a means to righteously capitalize. And though the spirit of giving is a major pillar of SFB, charity is far from the only feel-good aspect of the event.
Never Fish Alone
At its core, the SFB is built on a bedrock of relationships. Longtime friends go to bat for each other with invites hanging in the balance. For those fortunate enough to gain entry, divisional and draft slot assignments give way to a host of new connections with which to strategize and revel in the excitement. Fans get an opportunity to compete and socialize with high profile individuals that otherwise may have remained out of reach.
As a first time participant in the main event, the fellowship that the contest fosters amazes me. It seems that people fed up with the fear and isolation of a pandemic are more enthusiastic than ever to run headlong into the comforting embrace of SFB. Personally, I am no exception to this line of thinking and have embraced every wonderful aspect of the experience.
My division mates and I have bonded over our mutual love of Rush. I am knee deep in strategic planning with those who share my draft slot. After a small donation, my Twitter account is sporting a beautiful SFB avatar, compliments of my assigned graphic artist (who could not have been more gracious and accommodating). So many friends have reached out simply to encourage and congratulate me on my maiden SFB voyage.
In short, I find myself overwhelmed by the spirit of Scott Fish Bowl: conviviality, compassion, and community. As an event ambassador, I pledge to pay this energy forward. Regardless of your invite status for this year’s event, I encourage you to get involved in some capacity. There’s room for everyone; whether it be in a satellite, through a podcast, sporting the merchandise, or simply cultivating a new friendship. Gather up your fishing buddies and find a way to make a difference today! Oh, and enjoy the swim!