INWOOD, NY – First of all, I’m not a huge football fan. I grew up loving the LA Rams and then drifted away from the sport until the mid 1980s when I moved back to NYC and the Giants struck my fancy (that’s what I call my privates – “my fancy”). As a baseball-first enthusiast, it really bothers me that the NFL is as popular as it is. That popularity, I believe, rests on people’s desire to gamble on the games, jackassery and… Fantasy Football. The future looks bright, though, as felonies, head injuries and cheating take their toll on this too big for it’s breeches sport and league. For the first time and under duress, I was coerced into participating in an ESPN Fantasy Football League. From the moment I signed on it’s been nothing but an ulcer and diarrhea fest. I don’t really care about teams other than the Giants and I haven’t taken the time to learn a lot about other players from other teams. Peyton Manning? Okay I know him and he knows me (at least as that dopey producer in the Mets hat). The majority of the other 1696 active players aren’t even a blip on my radar.
The first bane of Fantasy Football happened during the draft:
What the hell am I gonna do? How long is this gonna take? I have a cocktail party to get to and drinks are crying because I’m not there. FIVE minutes between picks? How many teams? What’s that math add up to? Hey, I wanted that guy. Dammit he’s gone. Let me Google top picks per position. Oy. Montee Ball? That’s a joke right?
After the 2nd round, the administrator decides it’s going too slowly and moves the picks to every minute. Oh good, I’m thirsty. OH WAIT that ESPN ALERT NOISE. NOOOOOOOO. Mrs. Matt is part of this league and she’s in the other room yelling at her computer, too. One toilet – big problem.
Cut to week one. Okay you know what? I don’t field a bad team! Having Aaron Rogers, Ryan Mathews, Mark Ingram, Panther defence (continental spelling), Stephen Gostkowski lined up makes for an acceptable roster. There was, of course, the nauseating factor of having Tony Romo as a backup QB and his Lurch teammate Jason Whitten to contend with. I’m dense but I slowly realize (new world spelling) that this is a misery that every fantasy player has to deal with at some point. I lock in my players make sure people aren’t hurt, in jail or dead and Team Scorpions (thanks Tommy) loses a nail biter to last season’s champion Club Heisenberg. Okay. Alright. Not bad. The fact that I’m obsessively tracking players, teams and their moves all week and making my own knee jerk reactions (THAT GUYS ON A BYE SOON!!!) is easily overlooked.
Cut to week two. Team Scorpions has the most one-sided victory in the history of this league. That is still the case on Week 6. Now I have a new most frequently used app on the Smartphone. Wheeling. Dealing. Gloating. Floating. The crystal meth of the virtual world sinks its foul teeth into me. The end is nigh, however. Injuries mount, waivers are claimed, replacements are awful and I’m on a wicked losing streak.
The final insult came as the Giants took the field against the Eagles. Needing only 2 points from Victor Cruz, I watch in disbelief as he is carted off the field. You could have caught that pass though, ya bastard. Look at me! I’m a mess and there’s only one guilty party – Fantasy Football. Please let me be, FF. I need my life back. I need to go back to only caring about what the Giants do. I don’t care when Ryan Mathews is back from injury. I don’t want to know if Aaron Rodgers projects 23 points against the Panthers. I’m playing the top team in the league this week – big deal. I WILL NOT END UP LIKE ERIC CARTMAN PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT!!!
I am now culpable for increasing the popularity of football and I am DONE.
Oh, I just waived Victor Cruz.