Monday, September 13, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Fantasy Turned Nightmare

Seven years ago, my buddy Paulie introduced me to something that would change my life forever: fantasy football.

Being the raging sports fan that I am, this discovery was the equivalent of the creation of the Internet or man landing on the moon or even Columbus finding America.

Fantasy is perfect for people like me who cannot get enough football only on Sundays and want to feel more connected and involved in the sport. And it is exponentially less pathetic than just creating a fantasy team in the Madden video game because you’re actually dealing with real players who are playing real games.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still ridiculously pathetic.

Fantasy also provides me a way to stay connected with my friends who live all over the country. My Wife will call up one of her girlfriends back East and they will talk for hours about their lives and the latest gossip. Yeah, my friends and I aren’t going to do that. I haven’t had an actual conversation with my buddy Chris in probably six months, but we text 10 times a day about potential fantasy football moves.

So for the most part, the fantasy pros have heavily outweighed the cons until something unexpected happened.

The one league I was a part of wasn’t good enough anymore.

Four years ago, I got invited to play in another league that was set up slightly different from my original league and I thought I’d give it a try for a season. If I had been as bad in that league as I was in my first league (and still am), I probably would have been one and done. But no, I had to win the championship that very first year in the new league and then something even worse happened.

Two leagues weren’t good enough anymore.

Fast forward to the start of the current NFL season and I am in not one, not two, not three but FOUR fantasy football leagues.

And I can justify them all.

I’m in a 12 team/dynasty keeper league, an 8 team/2 player keeper league, a 10 team/auction draft league, and a 12 team/standard draft league.

So, there.

But now I have problems that I have never dreamed of before. With so many players on four different teams, I will inevitably have too many of my own players playing against myself in the other leagues. It was tough to enjoy Justin Bieber... uh, I mean Tom Brady’s 3 TD performance for one of my teams on Sunday when I knew he was obliterating the Bengals defense, which I had starting for one of my other teams.

Even that was nothing compared to the convoluted chaos I found myself in on Monday night. In one league, I had an 18 point lead over an opponent who only had Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles left to play. In another league, I had a 12 point lead over an opponent who only had Ravens running back Ray Rice. And in another league, I was trailing by 10 points but I HAD Charles and Rice. So I needed just enough from both, but not too much from either.

Hours later, I’m still confused as to how it all played out.

To be fair, the fantasy gods did try to warn me this year. I only wanted to do two leagues but I got roped into playing in the other two at the last minute (by “roped” I mean I was invited and instantly said, “Yes!”) and endured terrible draft experiences in both of those leagues.

In one of those leagues, we decided to bring our laptops to a local sports bar and hold the draft there. I logged in a half hour before the draft was supposed to start to check my Internet connection and everything was fine… until two minutes before the draft when I lost the connection.

The draft started and I scrambled to get back online and the computer started auto-picking players for me. And it was as if the computer had a personal vendetta against me as it drafted players I normally hate in fantasy and real football – including the starting quarterback, running back, AND wide receiver from my least favorite real NFL team.

Thanks, computer.

At least missing half of that draft was better than the other draft in which I missed the entire draft all together. Thought the draft was at 7 p.m. but it was at six, so I logged in at 6:45 the draft was already over.

I'm getting sloppier than Andy Reid blowing through timeouts.

After that debacle, I promised myself right then and there that I’m only going to play in one league next year.

Or maybe five.

Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh and follow @INDT_popculture for entertainment updates

Monday, September 6, 2010

LIVING LIFE: With This Ring

My Wife is very cool about a lot of the nonsense that I put her through. Her life consists of watching a lot of sports, watching me play video games, calming me down on a regular basis, and watching a LOT of sports.

I still can’t see her angle on why she married me, but I’m sure she has one.

But the one and only thing that she is not cool about is when I don’t wear my wedding ring. She’s never said why it bothers her so much and I’ve never asked, but if you want to see her go from normal to Jwoww in .04 seconds, come over to our place and watch me slide my ring off.

The only problem with this being her only problem is that I hate wearing my ring. Not because of what it stands for, I just can’t stand wearing jewelry of any kind.

So this was a borderline-to-legitimate issue when we were planning to get married.

ME: I don’t really have to wear a wedding ring when we get married, do I?

MY WIFE: Don’t even try to get out of this one. YOU HAVE TO WEAR A RING.

ME: It’s not like I have a cavalcade of women knocking down my door so what’s the difference if I don’t wear one? Can’t I just get a tattoo around my ring finger?

MY WIFE: Yes, you can get a tattoo. I will let you get a tattoo instead of wearing a ring if you get one that says “I love my wife more than anything else in the world, she is so beautiful and I’m so lucky to have her and I will buy her flowers every day for the rest of my life.”

ME: Hmmm… Can I put that on a sign to wear around my neck instead?

Since that idea bombed worse than MacGruber (sorry, Will Forte!), I suddenly found myself in a jewelry store trying to pick out a ring. I didn’t care about price, quality, or design. The only thing I was concerned with was the weight. I asked the guy at the store for the lightest ring he had and told him I would even be fine with wrapping a few pipe cleaners around my finger.

We finally found a ring that was a suitable compromise for the both of us and I started to wear it a few weeks out before the wedding so I could get used to it. I was miserable for about a week. I was constantly aware of it and it felt like my left hand weighed a ton. Even worse, I felt like one of those poor animals that had been tagged in the ear for tracking purposes.

But then a funny thing happened, we got married and I got used to wearing it. I got so used to wearing it that I now feel weird when I’m NOT wearing it.

Another brilliant tactical development by the female gender.

So that - and the fear of my Wife - is what caused me to freak out a couple of weeks ago when I left the house to run a few errands only to realize that for the first time in over a year, I had forgotten to wear my ring.

I was grabbing a couple quick items in the grocery store when I looked down at my hand on the shopping cart and noticed the ring wasn’t there. My first thought was, “Where is my Wife right now?” Because if she was home and saw it lying there while I was out, I might as well never go back.

Once I had the calming realization that she was out of the house as well, I looked at my phone to see what time it was (I won't even wear a wrist watch). She said she would be home by noon. It was currently 11:45 a.m. and I was at least 15 minutes away from our house. I literally left the cart in the middle of the aisle and sprinted to my car.

Now I know why she’s with me – she owns me.

I screamed at every slow driver that I passed (this was before my massage) as I blew through stoplights, racing home like Memphis Raines. I pulled in to my parking spot at our apartment just in time to see my Wife turn the corner in her car. I deftly slipped my left hand into my jeans’ pocket and walked briskly to our front door. Once inside, I ran to our bedroom, found my ring on my nightstand, and exhaled deeply as my lovely bride walked in.

I came out and gave her a big, anxiety-ridden hug only to see her pause and stiffen up.

MY WIFE: You haven't been wearing your ring, have you?

Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh and follow @INDT_popculture for entertainment updates