Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with five representatives of a 12-person fantasy-football league called Raccoon Nation. Their commitment to the league has led to an elaborate infrastructure of regulations and statistics, a trophy for the winners, punishments for the losers, and even merch. They discuss the inner workings of Raccoon Nation, and how it’s ultimately more about the friendship than the football.
Spencer Carr, a 28-year-old environmental scientist who lives in Morrisville, North Carolina. He is the league secretary, and his team’s name this season is the Carr Football Team. “Like the Washington Football Team,” he says.
Marcus Crotts, a 28-year-old sales rep who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the league historian, and his team’s name is Beercules.
Roy Jacobs, a 27-year-old attorney who lives in Hampstead, North Carolina. He is league counsel, and his team’s name is Bush Did Spygate.
Kyle McMahan, a 28-year-old marketing manager who lives in Charlotte. He is the league “media manager” (he reached out to me nominating this friendship), and his team’s name is the Humongous Melonheads.
Matt Powell, a 28-year-old software consultant who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the league statistician, and his team’s name is Tres Leches.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: Give me the Wikipedia summary of Raccoon Nation.
Kyle McMahan: We’re 12 guys who have formed our bond around fantasy football. The league started in 2012, when we were in college. We’re now in year nine.
Matt Powell: It formed mostly because of NC State housing decisions. Me and my freshman roommate, Jacob, are from the same hometown, and we lived together in college. Spencer and Marcus were from different places, but they lived in the same suite as us. We all were a door or two down from each other.