Friday, September 13, 2013

The Tale of the Most Unlikely Fantasy Football Girl

So recently, as in sometime in the past few weeks, I found myself with a team in my husband's fantasy football league. How did I, someone who knows so very little about the sport, end up involved in this gridiron gang? I volunteered. The league was short two teams so I said I'd take one spot. You're welcome, League.  I figured, what the heck, why not? I'll draft some players (dibs on Peyton Manning!!) and just see where the season takes me. Now I'm the cool wife, right? Even better, my friend Alison joined up too, so we're the newbies in this craziness together.
What I didn't realize was how involved the whole thing would be! I only had a week from the time I joined to draft day, and there is prep time. Serious prep time.  My husband bought me a fantasy football magazine. Yes, there are whole magazines devoted to stats and analysis and mock drafts and lots and lots of contradictory opinions. Now, on my coffeetable sits this book of football information I could only hope to retain as well as I do the recipes in the Food Network magazine it sits next to. He also gave me a list of all the players, ranked in order with potential scores and snippets of information about each one. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
In the days leading up to the draft, my dear husband tried to give me advice. I think it sunk in mostly, but I'm sure the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face never fully disappeared. I'm the sort of football fan that likes players, not necessarily teams (except the 49ers, which is pretty much a requirement to live in our house) so my husband had to make sure I knew not to draft players just because I like them. Cool dude does not always equal a good player.  Lucky for me, Peyton Manning is both so I was sticking to my guns on that one! Anyway, I made my list of players I wanted and it looked something like this: Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Arian Foster.  If you aren't familiar with the game, these guys are all like, the number 1 picks. The hubby looked at, tried to hold back his laugh and politely said, "You aren't going to get all those players."  Well, shoot. 
As if trying to learn all the players and how good they are isn't enough, there is a strategy to drafting. You don't draft a quarterback first, unless you do because some people do. And you wait until the end to draft your kicker and the defense team, unless you're my brother who drafted his defense team sort of in the middle which caused others to follow suit. And you make sure to fill up your wide receiver and running back spots first and you need back ups but only a few and you don't need a back up tight end and you don't really draft linebackers because they don't really get a lot of points, unless, again, you do. It was too much.
Most of the league went to Vegas to draft. I, having a 3 year old and a 2 month old, stayed home and drafted via webcam with a few others. I had my dad on speakerphone and we talked out each pick and built up a pretty great team (including Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson, by the way). About half way through the draft, my dad's phone was dying and he had to go, promising he'd call back later. That was it, I felt the pressure of drafting a team alone. I suddenly didn't know what I was doing. There is a lot of anxiety in drafting! I made a pick "A.J. Hawk," I said. To which my loving husband says into the computer some 300 miles away, "Why did you pick A.J. Hawk?"  Oh, I don't know, he looks just as good as anyone else, but not as good as some others? I like a challenge? AHHHHHH!!!! (Update: I dropped him this week and picked up someone else.)
Finally, after 5 hours of this craziness, the draft was over and I had my team. I felt like a load had been lifted. The anxiety was gone. Whew. Except now I have to come up with a witty team name. I never did, but that's OK. My team name is just fine.
I find myself now watching NFL Live, pouring over the commentators analysis. I text my dad things like "Shane Vereen is on the Injured Reserve until Week 11. I'm thinking about picking up Joique Bell off the Waiver Wire." Injured Reserve? Waiver Wire? Joique Bell? Add in Rushing Yards, Audible, Down By Contact, and shouting "he was totally in bounds before that tackle!" and I hardly recognize myself anymore. This is my life now.
Last week was week 1 of the season. Normally that doesn't mean anything to me except that the garage turns into "The Man Cave" and is over-run by football junkies and I make the "snack of the week" before heading out and doing anything else. This time, I am in it. I wasn't going to just dip my toe into the Gaterade, no sir. I am diving in. I'm a Gridiron Girl now! A Pigskin Princess! I sat and watched the games. I know my players. I still made yummy snacks! This is happening!
I ended up winning my first match-up and am currently 5th in the league. This week the hubby and I go head-to-head. Should be an interesting week in the Weber house...