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Fantasy, Schmantasy August 6, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Sports.
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I have never enjoyed the San Francisco 49ers. In the 1980’s when I first started following the NFL, they were the team. Sports reporters and analysts followed after them like lost puppies, reporting on every aspect of their lives on and off the field. Their on-field skills were second to none as they bulldozed over everybody in their path for a good eight years. Off the field, we heard about every aspect of the team. They couldn’t fart without it being a subject of analysis on an NFL pre-game show. I didn’t like them though. Maybe it was my rebellious nature that made me not want to follow the crowd. Maybe it was their garish red and gold uniforms that were blander than the marinara sauce at the Olive Garden. Whatever the case, I just got this bad taste in my mouth whenever they won their games, whenever they played and whenever they took up space on my television, often pre-empting episodes of the Sunday afternoon He-man and She-ra Hour.

 

But last season, there I was, seated in front of a television at my local watering hole, willing their running back to push across the goal line with seven second left and score a meaningless touchdown that may have cut the deficit to a respectable 25 points. Was there a Vegas bet on the line and I needed the points to cover? Nope. The team they were playing was the fantasy football defense of my closer competitor in the league and a touchdown by San Fran would mean his defense had given up 21 points, thus guaranteeing me a spot in my fantasy league’s playoff. So I sat, screaming at the television and brushing off my former self. I could almost picture the younger me, staring at the older me and shaking his head, saying “Don’t you remember the ickiness they put us through? Have you no respect for your hated past? Oh, and should I start taking Rogaine now because I do not want my hair to look like that?”

 

Fantasy football time of the year is here again. Essentially the game is Dungeon and Dragons for the jock set. You choose a list of players whose real-life stats will make up your fantasy team. Though there is a complex point system that would make Einstein’s cranium smoke, it is essentially boiled down to one core value: your team is better than your opponents. It turns most guys I know into numerical nerds for the next few weeks as they compare numbers and figure out formulas. They utilize long nuclear style equations to find out just how many rush yards a player will average. They pore over guides wondering just how many catches the eighth guy on the Bears receiving corps may catch if he gets in the game and stops his normal duty of making sure the Gatorade cups are all faced logo out for maximum advertising dollar. They watch the newswire like a newspaper intern trying to break that big story and finally get their very own cubicle. I’ll admit I do it too, but this year I’m boycotting fantasy football. Is it because my team was a failure last year? Quite the contrary – I won three of the four leagues I was in, netting myself a cool three hundred dollars (which I spent on Ho-Ho’s and a copy of Journey’s greatest hits and then put the rest on a gift certificate, Wheel of Fortune style). Do I not have the time to peruse the umpteen sports magazines? My bowel movements alone provide ample reading time. No, I’m boycotting this year out of fan loyalty.

 

I’m a Giants fan. Maybe it was my childhood here in New York City. Maybe it was their history. Maybe it was the collection of characters who always looked like they spent their off week trolling the prison yard for cigarettes and nudie mags. I still live and die with them. The Monday after they win, I am Spartacus. I roam the streets with my head held high, surveying all around me. I am generous, I am caring. I am a god among men. When they lose, however, I slug through my day, analyzing every play and every lost opportunity with more ferocity than any pertinent world event. I look like a haggard beaten man who has just found his dog was run over, re-animated and then run over again all on Christmas Eve, in the snow and while he was carrying a kidney to the hospital in those flip-top coolers I can’t afford. I own jerseys, hats, beer cozies, even a select pair of boxers that I wear around the house of game day strutting around like a supermodel on the catwalk. Taylor. Simms. Shockey. Manning. I would giggle around them like a depraved schoolgirl if I ever saw them in the flesh. While my blood really is blue (I think I learned that in science class, but cannot confirm or deny that because Ms. No, my 5th grade teacher was REALLY hot), it actually does bleed blue when I accidentally bite my finger while scarfing down game day wings. Actually, that’s scary and I should probably get that checked out.

 

It is because of this that I am boycotting fantasy football. The game itself is ingenious for the NFL. Teams you wouldn’t follow if you lived in the city and your grandmother started at quarterback are now gaining massive viewership because a bunch of men across the country have the tight end for them catching this Sunday. Stats are free – just a bunch of silly numbers and meaningless digits so it can be created anywhere. Yet when I step back and see my former self, shaking my head as I root for the team that caused me so much pain and strife, I cannot bear to continue

 

One would ask then, why not choose all Giants players to fill up your team and that way…Look I’ll stop you before you continue. Like most Giant fans, I am a realist. I know full well that at every position, my players are not the best in the league. And with my own money on the line, I’m not about to throw down unless I have the best chance to vanquish my opponents and stand over them laughing, usually with some well placed pointing and a few jabs at their manliness. No, this year I must be strong and say to myself that there will be one game each week I will follow. I will no longer try to calculate stats and scenarios using a slide-rule, Deep Blue and an abacus made from dried olives. This year I will watch my boys and my boys only. I will act as a beacon of pride to my younger self when I do not succumb to facts and figures. Instead, I will only concern myself with my team. Fan loyalty is dying enough as it is as we all traverse the country, moving from city to city. We jump on and off of bandwagons faster than Mel Gibson running from the Malibu police department. But this year, I’m taking a stand. No fantasy football. I must focus my strength behind the Giants.

 

R.I.P. my fantasy league. Don’t cry for me. I’ll just wait until the Giants are like the Yankees and buy up every bit of high priced talent they can. Until then, I’ll be the one in the corner in a Tiki Barber jersey whooping it up, content with my younger self, drinking a beer and complete inside.

 Oh, and also knocking back a few Rogaine Coladas.

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Comments»

1. Ginie - August 7, 2006

“Childhood in NYC?” Did you got P.S. 151 with me and Mel Torme? I am pretty sure I remember you getting beaten up by Mike Dolan and Sourdough Sam.

2. Ginie - August 7, 2006

Edit:
Did you go to PS 151? My condolences.

3. doctorolove - August 7, 2006

You and Mel Torme? Christ, I remember you guys…Never could get you two off the lunchline…That crazy Mel and his crooning…And I saw Sourdough Sam last week…how’s this for irony? He’s allergic to wheat and leaving in an all vegan commune upstate…Ah, youth


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