Every once in awhile, you find a unique concept that is just so damn cool you have to mess with it for a few days before you really understand the parameters of how it works and the implications of it on your daily life.
Welcome to Protrade.com, another in the long line of awesome time wasters I consume on a daily basis.
It's like fantasy sports meets the stock market, and if you have a basic understanding of each, you can jump right into this thing with a few short tutorials.
When you register to the site, you start out with $5,000 in Protrade Dollars (fake money) that you have to trade for players and teams. At the beginning of each season, Protrade puts a dollar value on each player in the league. Once the season begins, Protrade users can go buck wild, buying players who they believe are undervalued and shorting (betting against) players they think are overvalued. As players are purchased, their price goes up, as players are sold, their price goes down. At the end of the season, they have an Earnings Day, where you cash out all the players you purchased during the season and (hopefully) make money off of said players. They currently offer MLB, NBA, NFL, NCAA men's basketball (teams only) and a Beta version of Golf (sorry NHL, nobody cares about you).
As you build up Protrade Dollars, you can cash them in for various levels of prizes, from crappy giveaway stuff with the Protrade logo, all the way up iPods and autographed jerseys. Although I imagine you'd really have to play it to earn enough Protrade dollars to cash in for a signed jersey (a signed Troy Aikman jersey will cost you 1.25 million Protrade Dollars), the fun of playing the stock market with players intrigues the hell out of me even if the prospect of earning the top prizes is unbelievably far away.
You can also register for challenges that cost you a little Protrade Dollars to enter, and give you the potential of earning lots of Protrade dollars (I am currently in one with a prize of $250,000).
If this sounds intriguing to you, trust me, it is. As I noodle along and buy and sell MLB players and teams, I can't do anything but drool at the prospect of playing this thing during the NBA season. Or maybe that's the anaesthetic from the dentist's office this morning.