Monday, November 19, 2012

Hi. My Name Is Jim. I Am a Fantasy Football Addict.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the draft picks that are busts,
The courage to start a stud after a bad game,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I am speaking to you from inside an invisible bubble. It surrounds the couch, television, and laptop where I sit. I have just spent the last two hours in nerve-wracking anticipation, checking weather reports, scouring injury updates, and agonizing over my rosters. White knuckles, glassy eyes: if these games don’t start soon, the sickness will set in.

It all started innocently enough. When I was a kid, I occasionally bet a few bucks with my grandfather on the local football game each week. You know, just for fun. Soon, the thrill was gone; it wasn’t enough.

A friend told me about Fantasy and showed me how to play. You can have a tiny piece of a lot more action, he said, spread out across the entire football season. Then, he let me set his roster. It was just a little taste, but it was like lightning striking a thousand church bells in my brain. I was hooked.

Next thing I knew, I started a league with my buddies from school. No big deal, I thought. Just talking some trades during lunch, or sneaking off campus to grab a paper and check a few box scores in my car behind the gym.

America didn’t really know what Fantasy was; back then, no one could appreciate how dangerous it can be, and how widespread the epidemic would eventually become. Now, nearly every major company in the country has a group of degenerates who slink into the bathroom with mock draft guides tucked discretely under their arms. With the help of the internet, this disease is being slowly exported across the globe, infecting the populations of every continent.

A mean, icy sweat starts to creep
down the edge of my brow
as the motor of my manic thoughts
begins to rev jack-hammers along my spine:
I need to beat these guys.
How could I lose to idiots that draft players on injured reserve?
Suckers that start kickers on bye weeks?
Soccer fans?!!!

Even with a shot of pigskin magic coursing through my veins, I can sense the inevitable crash and withdraw. It is a sinking sensation that leads me into a black pit of despair; I feel trapped beneath a wall of ice, banging frantically for the trophy shielded from my fingers.

The other night my wife found me googling Peyton Manning and the recovery time for cervical neck fusion in my sleep. When she tried to snap me out of it, she claimed I started to mumble irrationally about replacement refs, Seattle and Green Bay, violently cursing a league–wide conspiracy. Then, I got down on one knee and Tebowed. She was genuinely shaken.

I feel helpless, prostrate in chains, at the feet of this gridiron beast. For the sake of my career, family, and sanity, I’ve got to find some way to reclaim control of my life, to rid these football demons from my soul.

Anyhow, hockey season is about to start, and I’m starting a new league, so I need time to prep for the draft.