— -- When I got the email from Quin Kilgore almost four years ago, I knew immediately.
Quin, you see, was writing to tell me about his league. It was a normal 10-team fantasy football league out of Omaha, Nebraska, with only one small twist.
Last place in the league has to get a permanent tattoo ... chosen by the winner. Hilarious, I thought. Deranged, but hilarious and awesome. Quin and I quickly started talking. They told the story after the first year to a local paper, but ultimately, no one really knew about them and they had since done another tattoo.
So I made a request to the league. "Guys, I love the story. I am writing a book and I want you guys to be a big part of the book. Problem is, the book doesn't come out for another year. But if you can keep this story to yourselves for another year, I think it'll be worth it. Because I love you guys and I wanna blow your story up."
Well, they agreed, another year came and went, another tattoo was placed on a loser, this time Adam Palmer. Adam was forced to get a tattoo on his leg of Justin Bieber's face, with the words "Fantasy Loser #YOLOSWAG" across the top and the bottom. Chosen by Dusty Carter, the Bieber tat seemed to really strike a chord. The "tattoo league," as it became known, was one of the big things people wanted to talk about out of the book, and video of Adam getting the tattoo got almost 200,000 views on YouTube. "Sunday NFL Countdown" followed the league for the year, the guys appeared in a promo for Countdown as well and they were interviewed and discussed by tons of blogs, websites, local news, even appearing on Jay Leno's show.
The battle for the fifth tattoo comes down this weekend with some intrigue, as there's a chance Dusty Carter will have to get the tattoo. Dusty is a former two-time champ, the guy who chose both the Bieber tattoo and the Care Bear "Tebowing" in Year 2. Dusty is also the loser from Year 4, and he now sports a tattoo of ... wait for it ... myself as Miley Cyrus in the "Wrecking Ball" video, with Jay Leno's face in the actual ball. It's insane.
So yes, there is a chance Dusty has to get a second tattoo! In addition, there's a chance that the guy who gets to choose the tattoo will be Adam Palmer, owner of the Bieber tattoo, which was chosen by Dusty. No doubt it will be a tense weekend in Omaha.
I love it of course, and not just because I don't have to worry about a tattoo. Week 16 is the official start of the annual tradition of fantasy leagues sharing stories of how they punish their losers. I had heard of punishments for losing before, of course, but these tattoo guys took it to the next level. And since the book came out, I've been flooded with tons of stories of leagues coming up with creative punishments for the unfortunate soul who ends up at the bottom of the standings. There was enough that, when the paperback version of the book came out this year with three new chapters, one of the chapters was dedicated only to new punishments and pictures, as I had been inundated with them.
They're (almost) always hilarious. Every league (every good league, at least) has a punishment for last place. It can be extreme like the tattoo guys or just mildly embarrassing, such as wearing a team jersey of the winner's choosing at the next draft; it just has to follow these three rules.
1. Everyone has to be on board with it at the start of the season. Everyone. No one wants to be forced to do something and it's no fun if everyone isn't into it.
2. It has to be humiliating. How humiliating is up to the league, but it needs to be humiliating.
3. It can only be humiliating to the loser; it can't involve making innocent people uncomfortable or worse.
So, to inspire some leagues out there who may want to step it up, here are some of my favorite punishments that were tweeted at me this past year. I find that most league punishments tend to fall into one of a few categories.
Public humiliation, either by what you have to wear and hold ...