After Alexander Dreyfus announced the date for the inaugural Global Poker League Draft Day, Lee Davy wonders who is going to left by their lonesome with their backs against the gym wall?
NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB…none of these acronyms mean anything to me. As a Brit, the word ‘draft’ is synonymous with my old man shouting at me for, ‘leaving the bloody door open.’
So why am I as excited as a hyena on heat?
I was a cracking footballer when younger; like Paul Scholes minus the ginger hair, round eyes, and ability. When we played football in school, the teacher would select the two best kids to act as captains. I was always one of them. The rest of the rabble would stand with their backs to the gym wall; most of them looking like they were about to face the firing squad.
A quick ‘best of three: Rock, paper, scissors’ would determine which captain got the first pick, and we would take it in turns to choose who we thought would form the better team. I always loved the selection process. I never picked the best players. Instead, I always went for people that I felt a sense of connection. I also had a soft spot for the underdog. I would always pick a few players who had a bit of Rocky about them.
We created tragedies and revolutions along that gym wall. Inevitably, there would be one poor sap left on his own with each captain trying to palm him off to the other. His name was Gavin. He looked like Stuey from Family Guy. We picked the shit out of him. The last I heard he was working for NASA.
I guess that was my first experience of a Draft Day.
I loved it.
When my son comes to stay with me, I play FIFA with him on the PlayStation. There is a mode where he takes a team through an entire season. The technology has advanced since my days playing Sensible Soccer. The computer completes the transfers while the game continues. There is something about watching Neymar Jr. signing for Manchester United that sets off that old backs against the wall gym feeling for me. I can’t wait to see how he settles in, how many goals he will score, and who will be dropped to make way.
There is also the FIFA Dream Team mode. EA Sports way of bleeding parents dry. The electronic game giant understands the excitement that drafts and transfers instill in the mind. That’s why they developed a game where the quickest way to improve the strength of your team is to buy a pack containing the signing of random players.
My son loves it when he opens one. If I tell him I am going to the toilet, he will wait until I get back. There is something about him and I sharing this moment. It means more than Christmas. He will countdown 1…2…3…close his eyes, and then open them to see what players he has got. He doesn’t care about playing an actual football match. He just wants to see the packs being opened.
I don’t need to be an American to understand the process. I don’t need to know what all of those acronyms mean. I have already lived it. I have felt the buzz before.
I want to see what team structures the franchise owners choose, which superstars are ignored, and read about the oohs and aahs the next day. I want to see transfers between teams, and I want to see what methodology the owners use for picking their wildcards – will they be talented players, mediocre players with huge followings, or celebrity fish?
But most of all.
I want to see who is going to be left alone by the gym wall?