Chivalry is alive. It might be layed up in a hospital bed somewhere, hanging on by a thread, but it still has a pulse. It does seem, however, that those left in the world with any degree of decorum take it to the extreme, almost to a fault. For every guy on the subway that won’t offer his seat to a granny or expecting mother, there’s another who insists upon being the last guy off of the elevator, despite the fact that he is closer to the door than his fourteen cramped and annoyed fellow passengers. Polite, if not exactly sensible.
I have a dear friend, Bobbo, who is incredibly polite. On the eve that 2010 turned to 2011, a group of us got together at another friend’s home. Earlier that week, a pipe had burst in the basement of this friend’s house, and while the plumbing had been fixed, the host was self conscious about a lingering musty smell, and so various candles were lit, food was baked, and potpourri was set out in an attempt to mask any leftover odors.
Bobbo and Kate, his girlfriend at the time (now his wife), had a family event in the afternoon, and then a long drive, so they arrived a bit late; their tardiness was, of course, announced in advance. The spread had already been set out along the bar by the time they arrived, and they were hungry, so after greeting everyone, they dug right in.
A few minutes later, we were all standing around the bar, eating and drinking, with various conversations taking place, and I heard a loud crunch, like someone was chewing on a cough drop or the type of hard candy my grandmother always seemed to have a bunch of in the bottom of her handbag. I looked up to see Bobbo chomping away, with an odd, almost disgusted look on his face, though he was trying to hide it. I looked around the bar to see where the candy was, and saw none. There was, however, a small decorative cup filled with potpourri of the waxy crystal variety, and I deduced that Bobbo had mistaken it for candy and had a taste. He finished chewing and swallowed with a shudder, and he said nothing when he was done.
Only a few minutes later, Kate reached for the potpourri crystals, and he stepped up closely behind her and whispered in her ear, “That’s not food.” He repeated himself a few times, the whispers progressing in volume with each rep, but to no avail – she grabbed one, popped it in her mouth, and started chewing. The loud whispers caught everyone’s attention just in time to witness Kate, upon realizing it was not food, grab a napkin and spit it out, as Bobbo, mortified, apologized for her poor manners. Laughter erupted.
When everyone finally caught their breath, Kate screamed at Bobbo for not telling her, and he explained that he had tried. She asked why he felt the need to whisper, and he said that he didn’t want to offend our host by proclaiming loudly that her candy was disgusting. You know, just in case it was actually candy, which he was pretty sure it wasn’t. This statement brought to light the fact that Bobbo had already sampled one of the perfume pellets, which I corroborated as the sole witness of this action. The room roared again, even louder this time, although no one was really surprised, because Bobbo is a gentleman, even if to a fault.
Chivalry is not dead.
It seems like there exists rules of etiquette, either written or assumed, for any situation imaginable. Table etiquette. Subway etiquette. Email etiquette. Workplace etiquette. You get the idea. Fantasy football has some rules of etiquette too, but for players new to the game, it’s not always clear what these rules are. Unless you’re in a league with experienced players and are frequently guilty of and reprimanded for breaking the rules, you may have no idea they even exist. Until now.
- Don’t abuse the waiver wire or free agency. Specifically, don’t pick a guy up and then drop him in a day or two. Whenever a player gets dropped, he is placed on waivers for a set amount of time, typically two days, meaning no one else can pick him up during that time. This is especially brutal when a player is dropped within two days of their game, because it means no one will be able to grab him before line-ups are locked. I’ve played in leagues with guys before who use this tactic deliberately to block an opponent from picking up a guy he needs in time, and that’s just downright dickish (and against the rules in a lot of leagues). But doing this inadvertently because you’re wishy washy on who you want to start that week is just as frustrating to others in your league, and no less detrimental. So, before you pick up a player, think long and hard about how you’ll use him and if he’s worth it. And if you’re having second thoughts, drop him the same day you got him, when he’ll go back to free agency without having to wait on waivers.
- Respond to trade offers. When someone offers you a trade, they’re putting themselves out there a little to try to make their team better; if he or she is a decent person, they’re also likely proposing a way for you to make your team better, and it probably involves players above the quality of what you’ll find on the waiver wire. By not responding, you’re leaving the offerer in limbo. If the offer is preposterous, such a lowball transaction that you think it doesn’t warrant a response, respond anyway, either with a joke, or an equally preposterous counter-offer. Not responding to a trade offer is like not RSVPing for a party. It’s just rude.
- Be up front about your wandering eye. You might be in a position where you’re aggressively shopping for a trade. You have four awesome wide receivers but only two running backs, and you’re looking to convert. You’ve scoured other teams’ rosters, have a couple trade ideas in mind, and you want to start sending offers. It’s Thursday, and you want to get the deal done before Sunday, so you realize the time crunch. You can’t wait around for a response from one owner before you propose a trade to another, but firing off all offers at once could cause chaos, especially if multiple parties are interested in your guy. So what do you do? You tell each owner that he or she is not the only one getting an offer from you, you’re looking to cash in on your surplus at WR, and you see multiple options for you to do so, and the first one to respond gets your guy. It’s basically the fantasy football equivalent of, “I’m not ready to settle down yet, I’m seeing other people, I hope you’re not looking for anything serious.” It’s not wrong if you disclose your intentions up front.
I’ve never played in a fantasy league with Bobbo, but I imagine a trade offer from him would include a full injury report on the guy he’s offering, just so you know what you’d be getting into and can make the most informed decision. I’m not suggesting you go that far. Be polite. But not too polite.