My old boyfriend, Dave, was obsessed with fantasy baseball.

I’d walk into his apartment and find him hunched over a desk, carefully compiling stats for his team. “Want to go catch a movie?” I’d ask hopefully.

Dave would look up at me distractedly and reply, “Not now. I’m about to trade a pitcher.”

The idea behind fantasy (or “Rotisserie”) baseball is that you join a group of people who each pretend to own and manage a team composed of actual pro players. Though Dave and I talked at great length about his roster, I really only learned one thing while I was involved with him: You either “get” fantasy baseball or you don’t. I was squarely in the latter category. It’s not a real team, I kept thinking. Why should I care?

Fast forward many years to the planning of this issue. We had decided to answer the question “If you could create the perfect pool company, who would you hire as managers and why?” Even though I was excited about the idea, part of me remembered Dave and was concerned that staffing a fantasy pool company wouldn’t be interesting enough to carry a whole magazine.

I was wrong.

In addition to relying on our own expertise, we received a number of “team member” nominations from the industry. Then we spent hours on the phone interviewing the nominees. In every case, the people we spoke with had unique, insightful and user-friendly ideas about their own achievements and the ongoing success of their companies.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t publish them all and had to make some tough choices. In addition, some business owners became managers on our teams not because they were “demoted,” but because we thought their operational expertise was so strong that they were the best ones for those jobs.

In the end, we had a great time putting this theme issue together and learned a lot in the process. We think you will, too.

If I ran into Dave again today, I’m not sure I’d want to discuss fantasy baseball, but I’m happy to say that when it comes to creating a dream team for the pool and spa industry, “I get it.”

Erika Taylor