So my Dungeon Master...aka my fantasy football league commissioner...sends me an email today reminding me that the draft party was coming up sooner that we thought, and I should start doing some research on the upcoming draft.
It's just now April and it seems like football season never ended. I blame fantasy sports, and particularly fantasy football.
Since the arrival of fantasy football, the passionate and loyal football fan has slowly withered into nothingness.
Normal Sundays used to consist of going to a local drinking establishment to watch my team surrounded by intoxicated Rams fans or others seeking the haven that is NFL Sunday Ticket.
Now all I get is Joe Crave Case slamming peach beers and nibbling on cinnamon sticks. He sits there wearing his Packers hat, Cowboys Zubaz (remember those), and sporting a Tom Brady jersey.
On the bar stool next to me sits Kathy, not Kevin like the days of old. Kathy is screaming at the top of her lungs for Romo to throw a pass to T.O., but when it sails past the "ego" and into Witten's arms, this Cowboy-clad soccer mom slams her hands down in frustration.
I look at her in complete confusion and ask, "Kathy, what in the hell is wrong with you? Your team just scored the winning touchdown and you are upset."
She looks at me as if I am the moron and answers, "Jeff, I needed Owens to score. He's on my fantasy team."
I look around and there are twenty Kathys' surrounding me. Real and true fans are nowhere in sight.
So now every week I get to hear friends, neighbors, co-workers and even my mail man ramble about fantasy sports.
"I just traded my Level 2 Black Magic Mage for Chad Johnson and Brady Quinn."
Rooting for your team, your guys, that is now a thing of the past. Now just like a lot of things, it's about the individuals and the numbers.
Remember back in the day when the ticker showed a score and a few key performances?
Yeah, me either.
Now I get updates on my TV letting me know that Tab Perry had one reception for seven yards.
First of all, why do I even know who Tab Perry is? Secondly, why should anyone care besides Tab's wonderful family if their boy caught a single pass for 21 feet.
I also know found out one week that Dan Carpenter of the Miami Dolphins had one Extra Point! Wow, you don't say CBS...the score was 7-7.
Driving home one evening, I almost had a panic attack. Some guy was on my local sports radio show reporting a trade between the Rams and the Eagles.
He told me, it was like three in the morning so I'm pretty sure I was the only one listening, that Marshall Faulk was traded for Donovan McNabb.
I was outraged. We had Kurt Warner and Marshall was the man. Why would we do this? Fumbling through my pocket and dodging my pager, I found my plus sized cell phone. I started to dial the stations number to go on a massive rant.
Then I heard it.
"Give me a call and let me know what you think of that trade. This is Willie with The Fantasy Football Review. We'll be back after the break." ----> continue to page 2.
If my gadget arms worked, I would have strangled Willie right through my phone. But like usual they didn't and I have still yet to perfect the Jedi mind trick, so going Vader on him wouldn't fly either.
I must admit that I am being a bit of a hypocrite. I was part of a fantasy football league the last few years, but I literally hated every minute of it. I had a winning team that actually collected money.
But, no matter the prize, it wasn't worth it. I actually was rooting against players on my beloved Dolphins.
If found myself, just like Kathy, screaming, "NO! Run it with Ricky, why are you giving it to the full-back!'
I promised myself that the last season I played would be "the last season I played." So far, I have held true to my vow.
I wear my Dolphin orange and teal and support my team. I support all of them, not just the ones who were lucky enough to get drafted by Johnson's Warthog (Halo Reference).
I know that I am fighting a losing battle. I understand that I am in the minority and you will all tell me that Fantasy Sports has helped ratings, merchandising, and the popularity of sports. Blah Blah Blah.
All I see at restaurants and bars on Sunday afternoons are D&D conventions with jerseys.
Sports used to be tough, manly, and intense. Sit near the tube by your old man while he guzzles a cold one and idolize the larger than life images on the screen. Now we can marginalize anything.
Throw any stat into a scoring category and make sports more about accounting than athleticism.
Welcome to my world, Bleacher Report. A world made of dirt, blood, sweat and grit. You can leave your fire throwing Dwarves and Wizards back at the Shire.
React to me!