Commish HQ: Hey, New Commissioner! Are You Slaying?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

I was on Twitter this week, as I am everyday. I’ve been a fantasy sports writer, writing about running fantasy leagues and giving advice to commissioners and league members for quite a bit now. If I didn’t feel that Twitter kept me tapped into a slice of the fantasy football world, I would probably avoid Twitter altogether. Maybe.


Twitter should be taken in moderation. That’s the end of my PSA.


In any case, I came across the following tweet by @notnotluke1:


"Name another fantasy football league commissioner who's doing it like me. I'll wait." - @notnotluke1


I laughed when I read it. I thought to myself, “Finally! Someone is having fun running a league.” It was refreshing to see a post like this, because most of the time, I’m scrolling through my feed encountering tweets from commissioners complaining about how being a commissioner sucks and how it’s a thankless job. Not, Not Luke, who on the other hand, seemed to be basking in some unspecified glory while “commissioning.”


I was curious as to what he was doing that the other thankless job folks weren’t, so I tweeted back asking, “Whatcha doin’?”


His response? “Slaying.”


I laughed some more. Even though this wasn’t very revealing or informative on his part, it did make me smile. Okay, fair enough. I surmised that’s all I was going to get.


I responded back, “Cool.” I wasn’t sure what else to say, so I left it at that. Whatever Not Luke is doing, he’s slaying and seemingly having a good time doing it. Splendid. That’s what I want for all league commissioners: for them all to have fun, enjoy running their league, and for them do a good job. That’s why I’ve been doing what I do for years now. I want more people like Not Luke invading my Twitter feed with self-congratulatory declarations of slaying.


So how do we make that happen? On my part, I’m going to keep talking about the things that commissioners can do to make their lives much simpler and easier. So, in honor of Not Luke The Fantasy Slayer, we’re going to talk about three things that new commissioners might want to think about, right now, while the season is young.


Journal Slaying


Start a journal. You can get an actual journal, you know, a smallish book with empty pages, or a notebook. Your tablet can be your journal. What’s important, is that you’re going to keep notes on something. What are you going to write? Anything related to your league or any other fantasy league that you hear about. You spot a post in a comment section about some cool thing a league is doing? Write it down. You come across someone who seems like they’d be a good addition to your league? Jot down their name and contact info. This person may come to your rescue one day.


One week from now, you may have absolutely nothing logged or written down. That’s cool. No pressure. Just make the deliberate choice to assemble your collected ideas and musings in one place. You’re doing this now so when May comes, you’re not trying to remember something that happened many months earlier.


Slaying the Pulse of Your League


Okay, “slaying the pulse” sound pretty silly, but I had to keep the theme going.


Is everything going well with your league? No drama? No bickering over trades? No trade veto (which shouldn’t be happening anyway) nonsense? No inter-office politics seeping into and tainting your league dynamics? Wonderful.


If by chance, you nodded in the affirmative to any of the above questions, let’s hope you’re addressing these issues. If you’re not, get started on that. The worst thing you can do is ignore conflict among league members. Never cross your fingers and hope things will just play out. As a new commissioner, you have to set the bar as to what the league will tolerate. In other words, what we really mean is what you will tolerate as commissioner, especially if you started the league.


Toxic social interplay can destroy your league, so you want to lay positive groundwork for your league early on, because we’ll assume your desire is to keep your league running for years to come.


Slay and Chill


In short, don’t over commish. Some commissioners feel like they have to have weekly declarations about what’s going on in the league. They like to meddle in league business. They feel something is wrong if they are not “commissioning.” They have to do something. If things are running smoothly, awesome. Let folks play the game and you do the same. Chill, relax, and have fun yourself - presumably like Not Luke.


Legit league issues need to be dealt with, but you’d be surprised the emails I get from commissioners wailing and moaning about how their league hates them and “everything sucks.” Sometimes they deserve the brushback they’re receiving. They haven’t realized that they, in fact, are the problem and the source of their tales of woe.


There are those who really mean well, with the best of intentions. They might be a first-time commissioner just trying to sort it all out. Somehow, things aren't quite working out the way they imagined, and unfortunately, some of their league mates are at the ready to give them grief.


Then, we get the ones who are attracted to running a league because they like the idea of being in charge. After all, when you’re in charge, you are the boss, you get to tell people what to do. That seems to be the prime directive for some of these folks. It’s what really drew them to being commissioner in the first place. Getting people together, to play a game based on a common interest, is usually an item a little further down their list of priorities. These are the ones who give us fantasy commissioners a bad name.


As they say, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” If the league is running itself, then you’ve earned the right to sit back and let things be. Do that … but keep your handy journal on standby.



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