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Editor's column - Football fantasies



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December 14, 2011 - As a full-blooded, adult American male, why am I fantasizing about a quarterback throwing for four touchdowns or a running back rushing for 100-plus yards?

Because it is playoff time in my fantasy football league.

Call me weird, but there are a lot of us drooling for big games from our hand-picked football players that fill out our fantasy rosters as the regular NFL season winds down.

Besides, I could have worse vices than living vicariously through a bunch of millionaire stud athletes who play a kid's game every week. Nobody gets hurt with our addiction to football stats, matchups, bye weeks and scoring plays. Plus, the power of drafting and managing a 14-player roster over the course of 13 weeks or more makes us feel like legends in our own minds.

If you win the league's Super Bowl, you win money and, more importantly, supreme bragging rights over your buddies for the year.

For the diehards in the LOSE (Lake Orion Soccer Enthusiasts) Fantasy Football League launched a while back, there is no greater feeling than running your mouth against your opponent all week and then crushing them on Sunday with a player picked up off waivers who has a career game or a fantasy defense that runs an interception back for a touchdown.

Yeah, you can call us geeks. Our girls have grown up, with a couple still playing futbol and others moving on to different sports and interests. But we still enjoy competition, I guess. It seems like we only get together twice a year for the draft in August and playoff party in January but it is just like old times, with plenty of good-natured wisecracks starting immediately. The trash talk online keeps things fun during the season. Maybe it's a brotherhood thing, although there are a couple chick teams grand-fathered from Season One a while ago. (Yes Christa, you won the whole thing that year.)

How intense can fantasy football be? During this year's draft, the host's poor dog did his business inside the house, amongst us, during the first and second rounds. Not just in one place, but everywhere. We didn't even hear him whining to go out. With the draft clock ticking, everyone was glued to their player cheat sheets, evaluating their next pick and making fun of each other's choices.

Somebody finally noticed when they got up to get some more chicken wings. We've taken breaks before during the four-hour draft marathon, but not to clean up that! It is one thing to give a rookie fantasy owner some crap, but this set a new standard, I guess.

Truth be told, with the exception of a few players, this fantasy thing is as much about luck as anything. One week a quarterback can throw for five touchdowns and the next throw four interceptions. (Sound familiar, Lions fans?) Or a stud running back having a career season can go down with a season-ending knee injury just before the fantasy playoffs start. (That would be my player two weeks ago.)

When bad luck hits a league member's team, we all feel bad not! At that point, if he or she is desperate enough, maybe we can steal a player from them in a trade? Hey, we're going for blood out there. The stakes are high - $125 to the Super Bowl winner is on the line. (The pot used to be higher, but we've got college to pay for soon.)

So, on Sunday afternoons and nights plus Monday evenings during the season, most of us have our computers turned on to our fantasy football website. A few even have it on their smart phones. We're glued to the scores and players, wondering who is going to step up and who isn't showing up each week. Our bragging rights rest in the hands and feet of grown men who probably think us fantasy players are just a bunch of losers with nothing better to do.

At this point in the season, however, our fantasy Super Bowl is approaching and I do not plan on losing anytime soon. (Yeah, Permanent Damage has Koss in his sites.)

Too bad my expected winnings will only pay for less than a quarter of a ticket to the real Super Bowl in Indianapolis in February. Roadtrip, anyone?

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