Fantasy Camps have been around for over thirty years and are in no danger of going away. For the uninitiated, a Fantasy Camp is a fully immersive experience usually lasting three to five days where a “camper“ gets to do something he or she has always dreamed of doing.
For example, the New York Yankees have a Fantasy Camp twice a year where campers fork over $4,950 to get a complete Yankees uniform, professional coaching and the privilege of dressing in and hanging out in the official Yankee clubhouse and dugout. The real appeal is getting to spend time with and play with former Yankee greats like Jesse Barfield, Bucky Dent, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, etc. At the end of the week, there’s an award ceremony and social where trophies are handed out (“Best Outfielder / Accountant,” “Most Deluded Camper,“ etc.) and each participant gets a hundred of his very own baseball card.
Currently, most every major league team has it’s own fantasy camp, but the idea isn’t limited to baseball. Many NBA teams run camps as do NHL teams and some NFL teams, even Notre Dame does it. Specific athletes like Cal Ripken Jr., Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Richard Petty have their own camps as well. In fact, the idea itself has spread beyond sports.
There’s Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp with or without Gene Simmons, Jazz Camp, Jazz Hands Camp, Broadway Fantasy Camp, Military Secret Ops Camp, Culinary Camp and even a “Dancing With The Stars Fantasy Camp.” By all accounts, these camps offer a first class experience with great accommodations and fantastic instructors. The Fantasy Camps listed below, not so much.
6. Minor League Fantasy Camp
Ever dream of what it’s like to be an honest to goodness bush leaguer? Then this is the fantasy camp is for you. After first day orientation, you’ll be handed an ill fitting uniform which you’ll change into in a cramped, dank locker room with three functioning shower heads for a team of twenty five. Don’t even think about asking about the hot water because there isn’t any.
From there you’ll board a school bus without shocks for the sixteen hour bus ride to Butte, Montana where you’ll play in front of a crowd of two hundred people. After the game, you’ll go back to the locker room where you’ll have your choice of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches featuring both creamy and chunky peanut butter. That night you’ll sleep four to a room in a Red Roof Inn. Be sure to get your sleep because at the crack of dawn, it’s back on the bus for a short nine hour drive to beautiful Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.
During the drive, you’ll be entertained by tales of bitterness from former career minor leaguers such as Doc Edwards and Pete Rose, Jr. about their brief time in “the show.“ On the last day of camp, you’ll be called into the general manager’s office where you’ll be handed your outright release by the organization and given a bus ticket home, just like a real minor leaguer!
5. Washington Generals Fantasy Camp
Ever wonder what it would be like to lose night after night to the Harlem Globetrotters? Well, wonder no more. Don’t pass up this unique opportunity to go where hundreds of slow, white men have gone before. Imagine being coached by Washington Generals legend, Louis “Red” Klotz, a man who’s coaching acumen is so sharp that he beat the Globetrotters in 1971.
You’ll play alongside such Generals legends as Billy Kurisko, Zack Links, Jesse Barfield and Ryan Gunderson and you’ll learn how to play basketball the Generals way. Like how to not look under a player’s jersey when a basketball is hidden there. How to have your shorts yanked down on at mid-court while always maintaining your dignity. How to always be out of position when rebounding and how to find the optimal location on your skull to have basketballs bounced off of. At the end of the week, you’ll play against the campers from the Harlem Globetrotters Fantasy Camp and you guys are long overdue for a “w.”
4. Adult Entertainment Fantasy Camp
As mentioned earlier, not all fantasy camps are sports based. This camp, located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, the adult entertainment capital of the world, will let you experience every aspect of the adult entertainment industry from catering to the importance of maintaining continuity, fluffing, script writing, reaction shots, etc.
You’ll also be treated to a series of lectures from legends of the Adult Entertainment world like Jenna Jameson, Kristina Rose, Jesse Barfield and Nina Hartley. The last day of camp, after you’ve learned all about “the biz,” you’ll star in your very own twelve adult videos with at least three of the legends. After your films are completed and screened, you’ll be attending the AVN Awards. Congratulations, you’ve been nominated in the prestigious “Best Newcomer” category!
Whether a career in Adult Entertainment has always been your dream or if you’ve wondered what it would be like to be on the other side of that screen, this is the camp for you.
Please note: all campers must provide proof of Hep C vaccination.
3. Umpire Fantasy Camp
If you’ve ever yearned for an occupation where the only time you’ll get noticed is if you screw up badly, then this is your fantasy camp. Be one of the men in blue. Dress in a cramped locker room. Wear heavy gear in ninety degree weather where every game is a road game. This is your first step on the road to a career that leads to persistent verbal abuse, early onset diabetes and at least two failed marriages.
Learn from our crack staff of C.B. Bucknor, Joe West and “Balking” Bob Davidson on how to call balls and strikes and where all the good doughnut shops in Florida are. On the final day you’ll run the gauntlet because you, as a fantasy umpire, will get screamed at and have dirt kicked on by Lou Pinella, Bobby Cox, Paul O’Neill and Jesse Barfield. If you’ve ever been in the stands when fans have chanted “kill the umpire” and secretly dreamed of being that umpire, this is your opportunity, so don’t blow it. Or do blow it, because as an umpire, even when you’re wrong you’re right.
2. The Jason Bateman Experience Fantasy Camp
By all accounts, Jason Bateman is a blessed man. He has a strong marriage, two healthy children and a burgeoning directing career. However, none of that will come into play here. Rather, you will get to experience what it’s like playing the “Jason Bateman” character from one of his films.
Taking your cue from “The Breakup,” “The Change-up,” “Extract” and “Couple’s Therapy,” you’ll find out if you have what it takes to be the responsible one. The one who always keeps his cool no matter what crazy shenanigans are transpiring. The nice guy. The family man. The mediator. At the end of your week as the “Bate-Man,” you’ll be left with memories that will last a lifetime and the nagging question, why doesn’t Hollywood realize that he’s capable of so much more?
Note: As of press time, Jesse Barfield will not be participating.
1. Houston Texans Football Camp
Technically, not a fantasy camp because if you pass the physical you will play for the Houston Texans for as many games before you get injured.
If you want to play quarterback, no problem. It’s not like Ryan Fitzpatrick’s going to be any competition. In fact, to debunk a popular urban legend, attending a fantasy camp is not how Matt Schaub came to the Houston Texans many years ago.
So, there you have it. There’s lots of competition for your vacation dollars but, hopefully, you’ll find the right fantasy camp where you can turn your fantasy into reality.