Fantasy Football is Not Just a Game, For Many a Way of Life

By Jim Heath
New York Jets Fireman Ed
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

I was once a member of a Fantasy Football draft in which a GM took Byron Leftwich with his first pick — which incidentally was the first over all selection — and then turned around and followed up his stellar first round selection with Mike Vanderjagt in the second round. I can’t make this stuff up. As my granddad would say, “if I’m lying I’m dying and I ain’t dead yet.”

I wanted to say something, actually should of said something but I didn’t. Oh, there was enough said after the draft and through out the season and actually every draft since. I’m pretty sure the infamous day will probably make its way in to his eulogy some day.

There was another draft in which one GM claimed, “if you can name this movie, I will serve you food and, er uh, beverages for the rest of the night.” The look on his face when I yelled out, “A Clock Work Orange!” was priceless. Needless to say, I enjoyed that evening particularly more than others.

Maybe the most memorable was a draft that took place well after midnight with the assistance of United States Army communication equipment with GMs in Panama, Columbia, Belize and Guatemala. Nothing, including down range deployment, gets in the way of Fantasy Football drafts.

The venues have been unique, the stories are legendary and the memories are priceless.  Many of us looked forward to Christmas as children and for many that excitement has been replaced by the anticipation of annual league drafts. Oh yeah, it’s that big, no over exaggeration here.

Fantasy Football has changed everything. It has changed the way in which we collectively watch football. I vaguely remember a time in which the stresses of Sunday revolved simply around a win or loss by a favorite NFL team.

Today, because of Fantasy Football we are no longer able to relax, instead GMs sit at the edge of their seats holding their collective breaths hoping — no, praying — that whatever team currently in the red zone will use one of his or her players to pass, run or catch a touchdown for their fantasy team.

The landscape of the game will never be the same.

It’s a national phenomenon. More than 30 million people participate from coast to coast. Productivity in the work space is jeopardized because of online queries about Fantasy Football. From September to December it is the dominant conversation piece of the company water coolers.

Fantasy Football has ascended from a game or pastime to a proverbial way of life. It identifies many folks. In public, legal names such as Bob, Joe and Chad are replaced with the nicknames of Tater, Liver Eaters, Booger and Window Lickers – still not making this stuff up – because of fantasy team names.

And so, here we stand once again on the threshold of another Fantasy Football season, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. May your dreams of championships be realized, your search for sleepers fulfilled and even if things don’t work out may your Toilet Bowls be clean.

Best of luck; it’s Fantasy Football 2013.

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