In honor of tonight's mental_floss fantasy football league draft, here's a story on alternative fantasy leagues that first appeared last summer.
Fantasy football drafts are firing up, and workplace productivity will soon grind to a halt as half the office spends half the day managing their rosters in an attempt to get the next Steve Slaton off the waiver wire. Just because you're not a football fan doesn't mean you have to be left out of the fantasy mania, though. There are all sorts of alternative fantasy leagues you can join. Why not try one of these?
1. Fantasy Music League
If you spend more time listening to the radio than watching sports, the Fantasy Music League might be right up your alley. In this league your job is to compile a roster that has more real-life chart movement and album sales than other owners' "labels." You shell out a certain salary to sign the acts you think have the most promise, and if they out-earn your competitors, you'll earn the fantasy world's equivalent of a Grammy. The label that's at the top of the standings for this season, Jenny Baird Records, boasts a roster that includes Fall Out Boy, Daughtry, Justin Timberlake, and Fergie.
2. Fantasy Water Skiing
Water skiing is great fun, but it takes some practice before you can do it well. Why not skip all of those embarrassing spills and noses full of water by just joining a fantasy skiing league instead? Pick your professional skiers, then get points according to how many buoys your slalom skiers pass, how many points your tricksters pile up, and how far your jumpers soar. Never again will you and your buddies just have to argue in vain about which one of you is really the most hardcore water skiing fan! [Pictured: mental_floss magazine Editor-in-Chief Neely Harris doing a little reality water skiing.]
3. Fantasy Pro Wrestling
Like the violence of football but wish you had a fantasy league that stuck to a script? Try fantasy pro wrestling. Web-based E-wrestling federations allow you to draft a stable of grapplers and then receive points for their performance in the ring and appearances on broadcasts. (We're guessing the Undertaker is the fantasy wrestling equivalent of Peyton Manning: maybe not the top guy every year, but you know you're going to get consistently solid production out of him.)
4. Fantasy Bass Fishing
The only thing more exciting than watching someone else fish is beating your friends at predicting who will get the nicest bass in their livewell! ESPN.com offers a Fantasy Fishing Challenge that allows angling fans to create a team of their favorite pro anglers while working under the constraint of a $100 salary cap. Each angler has a set "salary" that he earns, and when you sign one to your team they score you points according to their performances in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
We don't know much about bass fishing, but we have to admit it would be pretty entertaining to put Michael Iaconelli on your squad and then mimic his trademark roar every time he catches a fish. How could you not want this guy on your team?
5. Fantasy Congress
Just because you prefer C-SPAN to ESPN doesn't mean you can't find a way to waste several hours on a fantasy league each week. Try out Fantasy Congress. Although the game's website is currently down, FantasyCongress.com launched in 2006 to allow politics junkies to draft their favorite legislators and then rack up points according to how their Congressmen's proposed legislation fared, how often they voted, and their willingness to cross party lines to up their "Maverick Score."
6. Fantasy Bowling
You might not be able to pick up a 7-10 split, but that doesn't mean you can't destroy your friends at fantasy bowling. The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour has its own fantasy league, and it sounds intriguingly easy to play. Your squad scores points based on how your bowlers finish in individual tournaments, so if you've got a guy who piles up strike after strike, you're going to be tough to beat. According to the league's website, the number four overall pick is a guy named Rhino Page. Do you really want to pick against a guy named Rhino?
7. Fantasy Dog Shows
If fantasy leagues come any more adorable than this, we don't want to see them. Showdog.com allows you to enter a virtual simulation dog show league. You pick your breed of dog, then allocate your "funds" to help train and groom it into a champion. Your simulated dog can take on other owners' pooches in a dog-eat-dog competition to help ascertain the best way to breed a champion show dog. All of the glory, none of the fetch!
8. Fantasy Eating
Do you watch the Nathan's hot dog eating contest each Fourth of July and find yourself feeling pangs of jealousy because you can't match the competitors' gluttony? Now you can life vicariously through them! Krystal Square Off offers fantasy eating leagues for four to seven teams that allow you score points based on how many mini hamburgers your roster can wolf down. (Hot tip: I sat next to "Humble" Bob Shoudt and his adorable daughter on their flight home from Shoudt's winning performance at the Nashville Krystal Square Off in 2006. Not only did the man look like he could down some burgers—his world record is 28 in two minutes—but he was also maybe the most doting, sweetest father I've ever seen. Pick against this guy at your own risk.)
[Image credit: Flickr user Liz is Working.]