I told myself it was for the writing. It was for the art. It was because I wanted to try something new. But if that had all been true I would have tried skydiving, something further from me. For many, the only surprise was the mere fact I had never done it before. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will I do it again? Maybe. The only reason I might make this my one and only fantasy football season, is because I won. And it so wonderfully pissed off my league.
It was every bit as nerdy as I imagined. I had to make rules. No fantasy talk during Patriots game. No computers. Unfortunately, everyone in my league minus me, had a smart phone. So they found ways around it.
My father complained to me Tuesday morning, he had been awake too late, watching a game, solely to root against Tony Gonzalez. He has no problems with Tony. For all my father knows, Tony dresses up like Santa each year and brings underpriviledged children presents. But if Tony had a good game, I lost. And that was enough, to hate Tony for the evening.
The best part about the season, was I had a co-manager. Usually, fantasy is equivalent to a one player video game. It is adding to the lack of social abilities my generation already lacks. Instead of watching football together and having beers, people watch numbers change on screens while drinking beers.
Sure, it improves math skills. And my students had a jolly time creating double bar graphs to help me choose my line-up. Or my favorite graph, “Ms. Kimpel rocks” which showed a double bar graph of each teams wins and losses. They decided the ‘trend’ was me killing it.
But having a co-manager actually made my season a little social oasis in the world of computers and numbers.
I came to have a co-manager not on purpose. But out of his inability to understand technology. He has always done fantasy sports on paper. So our first pick, Antonio Gates, was not actually our first pick. After Mr. Sweeneys tutorial on fantasy football, and studying his excel documents on player stats, Antonio Gates was supposed to be our fifth pick. Maybe fourth, depending on what happened before. But we didn’t understand the computer drafting system. So all the planning we had done sort of went by the wayside. But we managed.
We managed Stafford, a pick which was mocked at by many. We managed Fred Jackson. We managed Ray Rice. We managed Cam Newton. And for a brief moment in time we managed Tebow, but I couldn’t handle him on our team. He was already plaguing my dreams and Sports Center.
Each week we had the Newton Stafford debate. Christmas Eve we spent frantically texting each other possible line-ups. Not only had we made it to the championship, we also were playing against the equivalent of the Yankees. We had to make compromises. Something completely unheard of in the time of video games. Player one. Player two. Start. And our compromising made us stronger. He made the choice of Bell. I made the choice of Stafford.
It made me realize the absurdity of one person managing an entire team. Even a team just composed of numbers.
When we won, I had to go visit my equivalent to the Yankees opponent. Just you know, make sure he knew. With the holiday season being so busy I wanted to make sure he had noticed the final score. That of the Jay Street Elite destroying his team.
“I would rather be a full loser, than ½ of a winner,” was his rebuttle.
And there in lies the problem with my generation. So will I play fantasy again and risk losing to a whole loser? Maybe. But only if I can find someone to be a half winner with. Because sports aren’t really about numbers, as much as I try to convince my students they are. They about socializing. They are about being a part of something. Even if it is a fantasy.