And the Winner is….

The winner of this year’s Bowl Game Pick ‘Em Challenge is none other than my dear friend CountryWe won’t speak about how I did in the standings.

Those of you who have read some of Country’s exploits will no doubt already know why I love her.  (I’ve often referred to her as the big-breasted younger sister I never had.)  This is the woman who set me up on a blind date for her wedding with the infamous and amazing Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (who, incidentally, still won’t let me write about her).

But now, knowing that she is also the master of all football knowledge in the universe, how can you not think she’s the perfect woman?  I may hire her as a consultant for my fantasy football team next year.

Sorry guys: alas, she is already married, and to a man that can kick most of your asses.  So you’ll just have to dream of being so lucky.  But don’t worry, I’ll give you just a hint of her beauty to set your fantasies off.  (I had to scour through my old MySpace account to find this pic, so you fuckers better be grateful!)

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Why Do I Play This Game?

I’m a little behind on my posts and for that I apologize.  But the fact is it’s fantasy football season, so my writing output is going to suffer.

Yes, I am a Fantasy Football nerd.  Correction, I’m a fantasy sports nerd.  Last year, in addition to my two fantasy football leagues, I started a fantasy hockey league, played in a fantasy basketball league (and I don’t even watch the NBA), and created my own college bowl game pick ‘em league.

Yeah, I’m a dork.

I don’t know why I love fantasy sports so much.  It’s not like I’m all that good at them.  I won my very first fantasy football league 15 years ago but haven’t sniffed the title since.  Fourteen straight years without a title.  It’s not that I’m bad at fantasy football, it’s just that, despite all the hours I pour into it, I’m decidedly average.  It’s very frustrating.

To give you an idea of  how long I’ve been playing, when we started our league there weren’t online fantasy sites that kept score for you.  Nope, I did it all by hand.  I’d pick up a newspaper on my way to class every Monday morning and use the box scores to score while I was supposed to be paying attention in lecture.  (Which might explain why I have the dead end job I’m in now.  But that’s another story.)

In one of my favorite movies, Rounders, there’s a great quote about poker players:

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.

This might be the truest statement I’ve ever read.  Looking back on that championship I won in 1996, I remember almost nothing of my championship team other than a few key players.  I don’t remember a single big win, can’t recall a single detail from that championship game.  What I do remember from that first season of fantasy sports was a devastating loss at the hands of my nemesis, Family Man:

We had battled it out through the weekend, and going into Monday Night Football it was still anybody’s ballgame.  We both had a big gun playing; I had Rod Smith at wide receiver (he would finish the year with 12 TDs and top 5 in WR fantasy points), and Family Man had Terrell Davis, the top running back in the game.

We watched the game together at his place.  Shit talk was flying back and forth with every carry or catch by one of our guys.  I was less than one touchdown down when John Elway hit Rod Smith on a deep crossing pattern and Smith broke away from his defender towards the end zone.  I was up out of my seat screaming and yelling and dancing and swearing as Smith streaked past the 30, the 20, the 10…  Finally, a safety caught up to him and dragged him down at the one yard line.

This is where fantasy football can be so cruel.  Normally, a wide receiver making a 54 yard catch down to the one yard line is a good thing.  But not when your fantasy opponent has the team’s running back.

One play later Terrell Davis ran in the score and sealed the game not just for the Denver Broncos but also for Family Man’s team.  I’ve still never forgotten that empty feeling when Smith got brought down at the goal line and I instantly knew I was finished.

Why do I play this game?

Another heartbreaking moment that many of you can relate to came in 2008, when I had drafted Tom Brady with my first pick.  Brady, coming off a record-setting 50 touchdown season, and never having missed a game due to injury in his career, had his season ended approximately 12 minutes into the year.  What’s worse, by this time I was playing in two fantasy leagues, and I had drafted Brady in both of them.

I remember the excitement of opening day, that optimism I feel every year that my team will lead me back to glory.  And I remember that moment when Bernard Pollard launched himself at Brady’s legs, shredding his ACL and my entire season in a single play.  It is one of the most vivid memories I have in 30+ years of watching football.  Why can’t I remember Florida State’s national championships as vividly as that horrible moment?

What did I do after that?  I immediately grabbed my cell phone and, too impatient to even power it down, ripped out the battery and threw the phone across the room before I could be inundated with texts and calls mocking my misfortune.  Yeah, my friends are assholes.

Why do I play this game?

But possibly my worst fantasy football moment occurred in 2000.  After several piss-poor seasons following my inaugural championship I had finally regained a small measure of self respect by making the playoffs.  I had a loaded backfield with three solid backs that could have started for most any fantasy team.  Unfortunately, you could only start two.

The week of my playoff matchup I poured over box scores and stats trying to determine which two backs to start.  After about three days of getting nothing done at work I thought I had made up my mind.  But, seeking reassurance, I emailed Family Man to get his thoughts.

Now, I will not blame Family Man for what happened to me, because it is my own fault for not trusting my instincts.  But I allowed Family Man to talk me out of starting one of my backs.

That running back’s name was Mike Anderson.  And that weekend he had one of the greatest games in NFL history.  251 yards.  4 touchdowns.  He very nearly outscored my opponent single handedly.  And he was sitting on my bench.

Again I ask, why do I play this game?

But despite all the misery, all the heartache and frustration and things thrown across my apartment, I still love fantasy football and will keep on playing.  Someday I might even win again.

But in the meantime, the frequency of my posts may suffer a bit.  For that I apologize.  Bear with me, by week 8 I should be eliminated from playoff contention and ready to resume my normal writing pace.

If you know of any good sleepers, email me.

Random Thoughts

No story this time, just some random thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head.

The Godfather is the greatest movie ever made.  It’s not even close, nothing else is even in the same league.  They should make a new name for what kind of art The Godfather is, because trying to compare it to other movies is like comparing Michael Jordan’s basketball skills to my rec league’s talent pool.  Part II is also in the top 5, and Part III, for all the criticism it receives, is still top 10.  Too bad Mario Puzo died before they could complete the story for Part IV.  Puzo said in an interview that it would have been similar to Part II, with two storylines, one a continuation of Vincent’s story and the other a flashback to Don Vito’s ascension to power during Prohibition.  Who wouldn’t watch that?

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Vikings, Spartans and Trojans?

–Ray Lewis killed a man and still gets TV endorsements.  Maybe Old Spice should change their marketing slogan to, “We can even get the smell of blood off you.”

–No woman has ever been able to make me climax from just a blow job.  And yet, I consider the BJ to be the most important skill a woman can possess in the bedroom.

–I am the Cleveland Browns of fantasy football.  I’ve won a championship but it was so long ago no one remembers it.

Yeah it looks like a shithole, but it's a great place to drink at 3am.

–It’s an insult to call Reno a poor man’s Las Vegas.  An insult to Vegas, that is.  Las Vegas is paradise on earth, a bastion of sin and depravity and debauchery.  Reno is a mid-sized city with a couple casinos.  But if you ever find yourself in Reno, I suggest a bar called Tonic.  It’s an easy cab ride from the casinos and it’s open long past when the casino bars shut down.  One night in Tonic I was witness to an amazing trifecta.  My boss was making out with a guy who wasn’t her boyfriend.  Another co-worker was making out with a guy who wasn’t her fiancee.  And my lesbian friend Shane was making out with a guy who wasn’t a girl.  I’ll let you figure out which of those three lucky guys I was…

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Cowboys, Miners and Lumberjacks?

–How did we survive before cell phones?  I’m not even talking about the convenience of having a phone on you at all times, for emergenices or being able to make changes to your plans on the fly, yada yada yada.  Forget all that crap.  I mean how did we survive before drunk texting?  And before I call send pictures of my penis to girls?  Not to mention being able to avoid assholes at work by simply whipping out your cell phone and pretending to talk to someone?

–I love freckles but moles feak me out.  I know, it’s a fine line, and I couldn’t explain it to you if I had to.  But freckles on a girl are hot, especially on the cleavage.  Moles on the other hand… well, I swear they start talking to me when I’m drunk.

–I was a Jenn Sterger fan long before that douchebag Brett Favre made her famous.

Jenn Sterger

–The first four girls I slept with all had names that started with the letter S.  For a long time I thought I was cursed.  My game is bad enough as it is, if you cut my odds to 1/26th I might as well just give up.

–I’m not afraid of dying alone.  But drinking alone depresses me.

–The only movie I’ve ever cried at is Rocky III.  How could it not break your heart when Mick is dying in the locker room while Rocky is getting bludgeoned by Clubber Lang?  And then after the fight when Balboa, bloodied and beaten, lies to Mick in his last moments, telling him he won?  If that doesn’t get to you then you’re some kind of robot.

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Canucks, Ragin’ Cajuns and Fightin’ Irish?

–I might just be the world’s biggest Jewel fan.  Go ahead, laugh all you want. I’ve heard it all before and I don’t care.  Jewel’s music is magical.  I’ve seen her in concert seven times (and it’d be more if I hadn’t moved to End Of The World, UT), and I have approximately 250 Jewel songs on my iPod.  I know, it doesn’t exactly fit with all my stories of drinking, swearing and attempted fornicating.  What can I say, I’m a complicated man.

–Muhammed Ali is the most overrated fighter in boxing history, and possibly the most overrated athlete ever.  (And no, I’m not just saying that because I hate draft dodgers and Muslim terrorists.)  Everyone talks about how Ali beat Joe Frazier two out of three times, but they never mention that both boxers were pretty much washed up and at the end of their careers for the last two fights.  In the only fight that truly matters, the first one, when both fighters were undefeated, Frazier beat Ali soundly, nearly knocking him out in the 15th round and winning on all three scorecards.  Smokin’ Joe is the greatest fighter of that era, it’s not even up for debate.

–In the first 30 years of my life the extent of my criminal record consisted of one speeding ticket.  That’s it.  But then I moved to Utah.  Within 3 months I had been arrested for DUI (later plead down to reckless driving, thank you very much.)  Then I got a public urination.  Oh yeah, and I’ve gotten another speeding ticket.  If I stay here in Mormonland much longer I’ll have to stop making jokes about Ray Lewis.

–I’m not really into lesbian porn.  I like to see hot girls getting fucked by guys.  Some people might think that’s gay.  But my fantasy is to fuck a busty blonde pornstar, not watch her fuck another girl (not that that would be all that bad either).

–The greatest line in movie history comes from V for Vendetta: “People should not be afraid of their governments.  Governments should be afraid of their people.”

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Friars, Demon Deacons and Crusaders?