by Kevin Burton
There was a day in 2003 when I took a late afternoon city bus ride to a music store, just in case.
Undefeated Ohio State would play defending champion and heavily-favored Miami of Florida for the college football championship that night. I needed a copy of “Celebration,” on Kool and the Gang’s greatest hits album just in case Ohio State won.
On the bus ride I read USA Today and the sports column where all but one analyst predicted Miami would win.
Ohio State won and my song rang out over north Columbus.
That is one scenario for my fantasy football efforts for the year, but there is another.
I have rooted against the Dallas Cowboys for years but in a way that is particularly cruel. I have not wished for them to lose every game. That would be prosaic. I have always wished for them to have a good season and advance to the brink of something significant, such as a Super bowl berth, and then lose.
That’s my other fantasy scenario, I get my comeuppance for being so cruel to the Dallas crowd.
Both scenarios are in place at this writing. A win in the final week and K&J Silvers, the family team, clinches a playoff spot. Cue Kool and the Gang. But a loss drops us into tiebreakers that we would almost certainly lose. We have held a playoff position in the top four of our league for all but two or three weeks this season. So the fate I have wished on the Cowboys, get close then fail, would be visited upon me and be mine to try to live down.
Not so funny now huh Kev?
And so I will speak of my fantasy season in the past tense, assuming the loss because my next opponent put up 182 points this week. If you don’t speak fantasy and don’t know how good that is, just know that our team averages 110 points. Do the math.
So I am saying my goodbye to fantasy before the metaphorical awards banquet. If you don’t see any more fantasy stories, you know we lost week 15 and the season ended.
If we somehow win and make the playoffs, or if I am wrong about the tiebreakers and we back into the playoffs, you will hear the shouting long before you see the story. Don’t worry about that one!
I must say fantasy turned into an obsession overnight. Winning and losing have affected my moods in ways that just aren’t helpful for a grown man. But as an intellectual exercise I will defend fantasy.
You have some math to do. There is critical thinking needed, attention to detail. There are deadlines. You have to balance short-term and long-term goals. At times you have to ignore a tug of the heart when evaluating players on your favorite team.
I could almost see this as a group project for students at some high school. Having several people make decisions about the team in a group discussion would approximate work situations the students would be facing soon enough.
There is also an element of life isn’t fair, get over it.
I played fantasy football after years of laughing at it as a means of continuing the good feeling from the USA Legends beep baseball team. That was a team of geezers, assembled with good attitudes and good play in mind for one last beepball hurrah. I was hoping the Legends who decided to field a fantasy team would interact, with maybe some good-natured trash talk. But that didn’t happen. My fault for not making the effort.
The people at Yahoo Fantasy ridiculed my draft saying it was good “if the goal was to come in dead last.” They predicted we would be 4-11.
Well, we won nine games, twice what they predicted and then some. We did not come in dead last and will finish no lower than seventh.
A seventh-place finish would put us just below the top half, which is where the USA Legends finished at the beepball World Series. Not bad considering how old the Legends were. Not bad for K&J Silvers, considering we had no experience in fantasy and all the other teams did.
My wife has been greatly amused by how my football rooting has shifted from teams to individual players.
“It’s all in fun,” Jeannette repeats every week. That is something I hear like I hear the disclaimer in the game broadcasts about not using the pictures, descriptions and accounts of the game without express written permission from the NFL.
I hear it, but it sounds like a message for others as I pace the floor doing mental calculations.
Fantasy sure was a rush, win or lose it was fun. Try it at your own risk.