Monday, July 8, 2013

Draft Day Locations

We have mentioned numerous times the excitement of Draft Day.  Not only is it exciting, it is extremely important because to build a successful team you need to have a successful draft.  To have a successful draft you need to draft in a place of comfort and quiet.

Many leagues will hold their drafts at a sports bar if they’re not drafting on-line.  Makes sense since you could multi-task by picking your players, watching whatever sports happen to be on the television and enjoy a few refreshments with your friends.  I would imagine it’s kind of tough to concentrate at a sports bar, however.

The CFCL has experienced 30 drafts.  I can put my finger on fifteen different locations.  There were a few years we had to scramble to find a location when our “Go-To” place didn’t materialize.  Here’s a list of the locations we’ve drafted – as best as I could do it in chronological order.

1984 First Draft Ever – The Mahlan home in Oak Park.  Made the commute pretty easy for the Copperfields, Friars and Penguins.

1985 – The ForGoetzMeNots offered up their apartment in Forest Park for the festivities.

1986 – The Bald Eagles made their basement available in Brookfield.  Being the ever gracious host, Bob even overpaid for Steve Carlton.

[I’ve officially lost track of where we drafted in ’87 and ’88, so I’ll just move on to locations and give up on the specific years.]

I do know that in 1989 and 1990 we drafted at Mount Olympus.  No, we didn’t fly to Greece.  Mount Olympus was what David and I called our third floor apartment in Forest Park.

After that, when David thought it would be more beneficial to hang out with his future wife, rather than the guy he started the league with, he and Michelle moved to Oak Park.  They graciously opened their doors to the CFCL at both their Oak Park apartments.

Dave Holian (owner of David’s Ruffins) let us use his basement in his Oak Park home at least once.  That was the year we didn’t start drafting until after 8pm and didn’t finish until around 2am.

One year we were in a bind for a location and Kim and I had everyone over to our home in Aurora.  It wasn’t a favorite location since we had owners that lived in the city, the near west suburbs and the north suburbs.  But it must have been a comfortable atmosphere because that was the year that the ForGoetzMeNots fell asleep at the draft.

I began my career as a Financial Advisor back in 1995 and for a string of close to thirteen years we were able to draft in the training room at my office.  We drafted in two Oak Brook office locations, Lombard and one Naperville office.  This began the tradition of the DoorMatts and Rebels arriving an hour or two early each year to move tables and chairs and set the room up for the draft.  And EVERY YEAR virtually EVERY OWNER would offer their help to tear the room down after the draft and set it up in its original state, so that no one would know we were there and help ensure that we would be granted access the following year.  That amazing sense of community among the owners is what makes the CFCL so special.

In 2010 I changed broker/dealers and for a couple of years we didn’t have access to a room that was large enough for ten guys, their snacks and their laptops.  So in 2010, Bob Boryca (owner of Mo’s Red Hots) was able to secure us a spare room at Plainfield North High School, where he teaches.  We had to wait to start the draft until most of athletic activities for the day were over.  Truthfully, I think they wanted to make sure all of the co-eds were off campus before ten wonky stat geeks showed up.

2011 we had to scramble.  Plainfield North didn’t want us back.  (In reality we didn’t want to put Bob in a spot of using the school for non-school purposes, in case that would put a mark against his name.)  The Ruffins came to the rescue by offering a basement room in his step-father’s building in downtown Naperville.  The Ruffins jumped on the home field advantage and built themselves a champion team that year.

For 2012 and 2013 we went back to the corporate setting.  My office moved to Lisle and we now have access to a beautiful conference room with floor to ceiling windows and a table large enough to seat at least ten owners.

Over the years we’ve had to make slight accommodations to some of the locations, but overall all 30 drafts have been an awesome experience.  As time goes on it’s obvious that, while the locations have been comfortable, it’s the camaraderie and friendship we share that makes the draft as special as it is.

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