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Leadership Lessons From Fantasy Football

By Joey Havens

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I have played in the same fantasy football league for over 12 years. I must admit, with today’s technology it is more fun than ever.

My grandson, Davis (11), has asked me for the last two years to find him a league. Last year, a youth league fell through at the last moment so this year we formed a family league with 12 teams. We agreed I would be the head coach and he would be the assistant coach. He named the team “Landsharks” after our favorite college team Ole Miss’s nickname for its defense. Now after seeing the Ole Miss defense this season, a better name might have been “Landminnows.” It was ugly, but thankfully our fantasy team had some Landshark qualities.

We tied for first in our division and this was more fun for “Pops” than ever as Davis would chat and call me on his WhatsApp. It was the first thing I had to download so we could stay in touch as coaches. In our second game of the season, we had played a QB that was having a bad day while the QB on our bench had thrown 3 TDS. Davis messaged me to quickly change our QB. I had to explain, once kick off happens, players are locked. That was his first lesson in “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

Hind sight is always 20/20. We must do a better job of game planning and preparation. We agreed he would be responsible for our player injury reports and notify the head coach if a player was doubtful or out for a game so we could find a substitute. Well about mid-season, we lost a game and we had an injured player in our lineup who scored zero points. He messaged me after the game, “Pops why did you play the RB that was out injured?” “Well, I didn’t know he was injured and out. Who is in charge of injury reports?” I replied. Davis had been out of town. Had he let me know, I could have covered the reports. This was his first lesson in how critical communications are. He also learned that a team of coaches is better than one coach.

A few weeks later, we lost our first game in the playoffs by a few points. We played our best match up. Davis applied his new lessons to that game. We pre-planned the lineup, communicated on injuries and collaborated on our best options. It simply wasn’t meant to be.

How much better of a season would we have at work if we used these lessons every day? Diligent preparation and planning. Over communicate on all critical matters. Collaborate as a team for the best outcomes. From fantasy football to life—the best lesson for me was how wonderful it is to share time with a loved one like Davis. Can’t wait to do it again next year! Landsharks will be even better.