We have a winner for the first ever Ploughshares Fantasy Blog competition! After a three-week slog that saw The Holden Caulbabies and What the Chuckin’ Buk?! tied after two weeks, the winner, by the slim margin of two votes, is The Holden Caulbabies and manager Michael Nye!
Editor: Dave Eggers
Fiction Writer: William Faulkner
Cultural Critic: Roxane Gay
Nonfiction Writer: Michel Montaigne
Poet: Elizabeth Bishop
Travel Writer: James Baldwin
Nye was exceptional with his trash talk and participation the whole way through the competition: creative and a little crazy—just what the Internet needs. And there’s no need to praise his draft strategy again after doing so for several weeks now: the Holden Caulbabies took a few immortal legends (Faulker, Montaigne), added 20th Century masters (Bishop, Baldwin) and interspersed these with some young’uns with skills (Eggers, Gay).
Instead, the commissioner would like to come up with an award appropriate for the competition.
We could go the practical route and give these writers some money—because what writer (other than a select few) couldn’t use a few extra bucks? The Nobel Prize gives out a bundle of cash, as do a few other prizes, but for the most part, more accessible literary prizes range from $250-$10,000 or so.
For a fantasy blog league, however, money isn’t enough. We need something that’s more lasting. Something that will show the winner’s true achievement. I’m talking shiny hardware that can live on Nye’s mantelpiece.
Fantasy leagues across the country have taken a number of different approaches from standard trophies and toilet seats to mugs and boxing-inspired championship belts, but a fantasy blog competition needs something different. Here are the qualities I think the trophy should have:
1. It should be able to hold a beverage. Writers are notorious drinkers, and why not celebrate the victory with a toast?
2. It should not be as narcissistic as basketball and American football. The Lombardi Trophy and the Larry O’Brien Trophy are basically sports phalli that are odes to themselves. We’re better than this.
3. It should not be an item of clothing. Too many writers have their own trademark look, and a championship belt, scarf, hat, sash, or kimono might totally throw off a signature look.
4. It should be hoist-able. Yes, we’re taking our inspiration from the Stanley Cup, the greatest professional sports trophy. There must be a substantial heft to our award.
5. It should commemorate someone. One of the greats. Either in name or structure.
Taking all of these into account, the commissioner has created a spec drawing for the trophy, which is now in the process of being commissioned. I give you, the Sinclair Lewis Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Trophy:
Yes, that is correct, we will fashion Lewis’ head in silver and affix it to the top of a trophy where we will keep team rosters and records. Why Sinclair, you ask? It seemed only natural, since fantasy sports were invented by blue-blooded, baseball-obsessed Americans—and Lewis was the first American literature Nobel Laureate. Lewis also loved his booze (the stuff killed him, sadly), so perhaps we’ll affix a small label that reads “Drink and Write Responsibly” to warn winners as they prepare to drink deep from Lewis’ cranium.
Congratulations and thanks to all the team managers, and especially to Nye and Jordan Kushins whose teams competed the longest. And if you filled out your own bracket, we’ll be in touch soon to announce the winner of the handsome Ploughshares tote bag and subscription.