Monday, September 30, 2013

F is for Fall Fantasy Football

Fall used to be a simpler time for me - it would bring a simple sadness that winter was coming and my summer clothes would be doomed to darkness in the dresser for the next 9 months. The only bright light during this dim time would be Thanksgiving and the joys of the holiday season. But never fear, fantasy football is here.

This is my third season and I've graduated to participating in two leagues. Two leagues, I had hoped, would equal twice the fun. No. I was wrong. Two leagues = twice the disappointment, anxiety, and bitterness on each and every Sunday and Monday for the 4 months of this terrible and wonderful time of year. Let me explain:

The season starts with the giddy joy of being accepted back to the leagues (as a woman this is quite a feat). The excitement continues with the prospect of the draft - who will make the team? Will it be Drew Brees? Or will I finally believe Howie when he says I over-value quarterbacks and attempt to hoard receivers and runners? And what about my team name? Oh the pain of seeking a brilliant team name that strikes fears into the hearts of others in my league! In actuality, I really just hope my team name gets at least a chuckle for being mildly clever.

Then draft day arrives. With many windows open on my screen, I jump back and forth frazzled trying to look up the players I'm not as familiar with between picks. After all, before fantasy entered my life I only ever paid attention to the Giants - there are a lot of players in the NFL to learn about! The end of the draft brings some relief, but also the onset of nerves. Did I make the right picks? Is my team solid? Week one will tell.

A loss and a win. Okay, I can deal with that, its only week 1.

Week 2: a loss and a win. Alright, being 1:1 in both leagues is not bad... its still early.

Week 3: a loss and a loss. Ughhh. My defense is falling apart in one league... my receivers in the other are getting double covered on every play. My stars are falling to "Questionable" for next week. The players left on free agency are limited. I fear a trade. What to do? What to do? It's still early...

Week 4: Here we are. What started out as a hopeful Sunday in the lead after the 1:00pm games has turned into a nightmare and I'm looking at another 0-2 weekend. How can this happen? My teams were solid...

My options seem to be dwindling and despite the appearances of solidarity on a "stacked" team, my players still can't keep it all together to get me a win. What looks like a solid lead turns into a 30 point deficit just because Tony Gonzalez has a breakout 38-point achievement that never should have happened while my defense dwindles into negative points for the 2nd or 3rd week in a row.

I know this is all of a lot of jargon and for those of you who don't participate in fantasy football, this is probably a nonsense post. I just can't help but reflect how my fall has changed from a time of mourning the seasonal equinox to anticipation over how my 17 players from 10+ different teams will play in their weekend match-ups. I now worry over predictions and averages and rivalries. In some ways, my fall is a lot more exciting, especially when my team wins. Its also brought me closer to a sport I grew up with but did not fully appreciate before. However, it also brings with it the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime. Oh fantasy. 

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