The Year is 2011.
I had been chirping to my dad the last two years about Fantasy Football. I was asking his advice, gloating about my wins and bitching about my losses. Sundays morning were all about football talk with my father. And he was so smart when it came to the sport. From hearing my chatter about the upcoming season he had expressed interest in learning to play, so I offered to start a league for him to learn. A few weeks later my brother comes up with the great idea of starting a league so our dad could play. This is how that went down.
My brother: “Hey. You need to start a football league so dad can play.”
Me: “Yea Bill…I told you a few weeks ago I was doing that. Thanks for listening.” (He never listens to what I say…EVER!)
My brother: “Oh. (His typical response.) Well let me know what night you are going to do it.”
There were still two weeks before the season was slated to start but since I had never been the Commish before I thought it would be best to prepare early. I went on to Yahoo to set up the family draft. I had no idea what do but Yahoo is pretty easy to follow. I created the league and named it Fess’ Football League. Original I know, but my creative juices were not flowing that night.
I am not going to lie, I freaked a little when a huge page popped up with all of this crazy scoring stuff. Yahoo was asking me how I would like to customize the league. I had no freakin idea how I would like to customize my league. Aren’t they all the same? Obviously not! Thankfully I scrolled down to see that Yahoo gave me the option of using the same setting as my other league. I understood that league so I chose those settings. A wave of relief washed over me. Now I had to chose a date and time. That was easy. I picked my date and time and started sending out invites. (No worries…I assure you I still managed to f@ck it up!)
I informed everyone of the invites and checked everyday to see who had accepted the invitations. Everyday no one accepted the invites. In turn, I became this "Fantasy Football Creeper". Each day I would ask the persons I invited to the league if they accepted the invites. My brother completely ignored me which wasn’t a surprise. I guess he didn’t see my 1700 text messages. Everyone else kept saying they never received invites or that they accepted the invites. Finally, after day 5, I decided to investigate why everyone was lying to me because it couldn’t possibly have been something I had done wrong.
I log into Yahoo. I stare at the screen for about 15 minutes stupefied. Why does it say offline draft results have not yet been entered? I could have sworn I chose a live draft. Furthermore, I scheduled it and sent out invites. Seriously Yahoo? I try to change it from an offline draft to a live draft setting but when I go to select the date and time of the draft, it no longer allows me to pick that time. No worries. I had originally scheduled it for 7:30, I can change it to 8.
The drop down box on the schedule shows that time is available, yet, when I go to select it, it will not allow me to choose that time. I resort to the number one solution for fixing the whole “this web site is really pissing me off” phenomena. I close the page and re-open it. Sometimes a plug in ( Shockwave, Java, Aliens) crashes and creates a ripple effect of very extreme frustration.
Yea….that didn’t work. You have got to be kidding me? It still wouldn't allow me to select that time even though it was offering that time. I didn’t clear my cache. Perhaps I should do that. I hate clearing my cache. It takes forever because quite frankly, I look at a lot of stuff on the web. Ten minutes, one cigarette and a cherry vodka and diet coke later and I am still SOL. Now I am getting pissed.
For the next 20 minutes I try different variations of days and times to get my league on the draft schedule. Not one combination worked. I had to walk away from the keyboard because I was ten seconds from slamming my laptop off of my desk and I COULD NOT afford to break it...... although it would have felt really REALLY fabulous for about a minute.
I had to admit defeat. We were going to have to draft a week after the football season started. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was the only time available on Yahoo’s jacked up, lying ass, schedule. Of course when I inform “the supervisor”, aka my brother, about the change in plans, he pulls out the sarcasm rocket launcher and starts firing away. He must have been having an off night because he was rather redundant in his assault. “That’s retarded” and “That is gay.” were used about ten times during the assault. Usually he is more creative with his sarcastic verbiage.
It is funny how the one who can’t spell likes to down the one with the gifted IQ. It’s all good though because I know my brother. I have yet to pull the Ace card out of my sleeve. I continue to listen patiently as I always do. I get some rather good material for my own sarcastic arsenal from my brother. If they gave out degrees in sarcasm my brother would have a doctorate. He was truly gifted in the medium. When he finally comes up for air, I pull the Ace out of my sleeve.
Calmly and ever so sweetly I say, “Why don’t you set up the draft then?” That ends the sarcasm tirade immediately. It is settled. We will be drafting a week after the season starts. Figure out how your opponent thinks, and you will always be victorious.
I proceed to inform everyone about the change. Once again, I become the “Fantasy Football Creeper” because no one accepts these invitations either. I was beyond frustrated at this point. I walked over to my father’s house ( he and I only lived a house apart back then) to see why no one had accepted the invite. My mind was boggled once more because both parents stated that they had accepted the invite.
When I get to my house, I go to my office and head to NFL.com. I had never drafted with them before, but from what I was gathering, it was very similar to Yahoo. We could do the draft tomorrow night, which was a Wednesday, before the season started. I sent texts all around to see if this was good for everyone. Turns out it was! We were back in action! I gave myself a pat on the back for my knack for overcoming obstacles. This was going to be great.
Let me tell you, the family draft turned into quite a night.
It is now Wednesday aka Draft Day. I am driving home from work when I get a text from the “supervisor”. He wants me to set everything up for our family draft tonight. He will be home by 7:30. He also wanted me to bring over wine. When did he become a wine drinker I ask myself? As I drive the rest of the way home I wonder what it would be like to boss people around and have them actually listen to you. “Hey Billy, go to my house and do my laundry. I will be home around 8:30. Oh and stop by the liquor store and get me some cherry vodka.” His response would be simple yet definitive. It would be “No.” Whatever! I’m doing this for my father anyway.
I arrive home around 3:00 and check NFL.com to make sure the draft didn’t magically change from “online” to “offline”. It did not. Thank you football gods. I look at my team from my other league. I had won the award for best projected draft. I wanted to try and get as similar a team as possible for my family draft with the exception of trying a different QB.
I walk over to my dads because SURPRISE, no one has accepted the invitations AGAIN. My mother is my first victim. I ask her why she hasn’t accepted the invitation. The draft is at 8:30. We need to get her account set up. She claims she hasn’t received one. (You have GOT to be f@cking KIDDING me goes through my mind and I may have even said it out loud although I try really hard not to drop the “F” bomb in front on my parents.)
There are two laptops in the living room. I tell my mother I am going to get Billy’s and Dad’s accounts set up. She just looks at me. I ask her if she is okay with that. She informs me that they don’t have their email set up on those computers so we will have to use hers to get the invitation links. I tell her I can log directly into their webmail. She searches but cannot find the passwords. I start laughing. Fantastic! We are at the mercy of the slowest computer on the entire planet. We definitely aren’t going to make the 8:30 draft time.
I walk into the kitchen to sit with my dad and try to figure out what to do. Am I seriously going to have to change the draft time again? I glance at the kitchen table and there are football pools lying there. They are the type of pools where you have to pick the winner for each game and write the total points of Monday night’s game for the tie breaker. I ask my dad if I can have one. I needed to clear my head.
I walk back into the living room, sit on the couch and begin studying the paper. My mother looks over and says she played one too. I asked her what teams she picked. She said she picked the ones with the birds and animals she liked the most. Without missing a beat, I ask what she picked if there were two teams playing against each other without a bird or animal as a mascot such as The Packers vs. The Saints and The Vikings vs. The Chargers. Colors was her reply. She asked my dad what color uniforms the teams wore and chose the ones with the colors she liked better. Of course she will win the pool. Screw player stats and expert projections. Maybe I need to start doing that too.
I pull up my NFL.com account. I created it through Facebook. How could I have forgotten that? They all have Facebook accounts. We can just do that! I walk back over my dad’s. I was starting to make my neighbors dizzy. Hell, I was dizzy. As I come through the front door, my mother, full of excitement, informs me she that finally got the link. Great! You do it that way I tell her. I am going to go on the other two computers and set up Dad’s and Billy’s through Facebook. I text my friends and tell them to do the same.
We called my sister Steph and tried walking her through the log in step by step. Of course I confused her because sometimes I talk too technical, an annoying side effect from my previous job. She was on her way over with her laptop so I could just do it myself. I decided it would be best to bump the draft time to 9 PM just to be safe since it was already 7PM and nothing had gone right so far. Big mistake.
As my brother and I continue to exchange smack talk, a draft window pops open on my screen. It says “Enter live draft now”. I click on it thinking it is going to bring me into the draft room. I start scanning the room but the only name I recognize is mine. The timer is ticking and it is my turn to select a player. I begin freaking out. “It started the draft now?“ I exclaimed. “Who are these people?“ Panic stricken I start scanning the page. I see “NFL Managed” with a bunch of numbers after it as the league home.
I was in a random live draft. How the hell did that happen? The rest of my family started getting the "enter live draft now" screens too. I warn them not to click on that page. I needed to figure out what was going on. I also grabbed a glass of 2/3 vodka and 1/3 ice tea because sometimes an abundance of alcohol is required when you live in Whatthef#ckville.
The madness ensues……
Mom: “So I am not supposed to click on this page even though it says to enter the draft?”
Me (furiously clicking through pages to find my league): “No, DO NOT click on that page. It is not our draft room.”
Mom: “Okay, because your father has the same screen up.”
Me (glancing over to my father): “Dad, don’t select that.”
Dad: “So I am not supposed to go in here?”
Me (taking a huge gulp of vodka spiked with ice tea): “No.”
Steph: “It just popped up on mine too.”
Mom: “Is hers the right one?”
Me (finally arriving at the my league home, praying the buzz would kick in ASAP): "What the f@ck?”
Me (Quickly looking up at my mom): “Oops. That wasn’t meant for you. No, it is not the right one.”
Mom (laughing): “Okay. How do we know when we are supposed to click on it?”
Me (taking another big swig o‘vodka): “I will tell you when.”
Dad: “So no clicking on this page.”
Me: “No. No clicking on that page.”
Mom: “Do you know why that came up?”
Me (half annoyed, half laughing, not nearly buzzed enough): “I am trying to figure it out but I keep getting interrupted.”
Mom (trying to hold her laughter): ”Okay. We will be quiet.”
Me (The blood flowing through my veins finally turning warm and tingly while my brain starts to send sparks of light headed goodness): “Thanx!”
The next available live draft is not until 10:30 PM. THAT'S IT! I am NEVER going to be the Commish EVER again! EVER! As I look up to inform my family that we are going to have to wait 2 ½ hours to draft my brother speaks up.
Billy: “Chrissy, what is this?”
Me (looking over at his screen, shaking my head): “It’s a random live draft Bill.”
Billy: “Why am I in here?”
Me (Not only was my brother sitting five feet away from me but he was in the room the ENTIRE time the above conversation was taking place. I need more alcohol and he drank all my wine.): “Well I guess you must not have heard me one of the 500 TIMES I said not to click the “Enter Live Draft Now” screen.”
Me (speaking to everyone): “When I changed the draft time to 9PM it knocked it offline. The next live draft is not available until 10:30. What do you want to do?”
Billy: “What the hell? No! That’s too long to wait.”
Mom: “I’ll wait”
Dad: “Yea, we can wait.”
Steph: “I don’t have any plans.”
Billy (showing his Santino Corleone side): “Chrissy, it is going to take hours for us to pick all our players. Then you are going to be up until 4 in the morning entering all that information. My friend Eric spends hours entering all the picks for our draft. It’s too late. Let’s just do it now.”
Me (giving my brother the “have a nice warm cup of shut the hell up” look): “I have work at 4AM. Besides, it is online. I don’t have to enter anything. The computer logs and saves all the information as you pick your players.”
Billy (not buying it): “What? Really?”
Me: “Yea. The draft shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes tops and everything will be online.”
Billy (still apprehensive): “ I never did it this way before. That’s pretty cool. And why do you have work at 4AM?”
Me (sighing): “Don’t ask.”
It figures. The only two people in the room that know anything about Fantasy Football have thrown themselves into random live drafts.
For the next two hours I show everyone how to select players. I show them how to filter by position and rank. This is very confusing to most of them because they have never played before and my brother…well he isn’t very versed with computers. My mother knows nothing about football so I show her where each player ranks that way if she is unsure who to take, she can just choose the next player available by rank.
My father gives her a crash course on player positions. I “suggest” what positions they should focus on first. I recommend getting running backs and a quarterback in the first few rounds because they are your big point earners. She decides she is going to stick with the birds, animals and colors for draft selection. My sister, brother and I snicker among ourselves.
Finally 10:30 rolls around. It is time to draft. There are five of us scattered around the living room. Four on laptops, my mother on the desktop. Steph goes first and picks Ray Rice. I call her out on her pride pick. Actually though, it was a great choice and was a few years before the whole beating in the elevator incident. I draft second. I mull between Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson. I go with Johnson since I already have Peterson in my other league.
My mother wanted him. (I will most certainly end up regretting this selection later. Mid season my mother tells me it is karma for stealing him away from her.) My brother takes Jamal Charles. I wonder what his strategy is. My father takes Cedric Benson. I am beginning to wonder what both males are thinking. My mother takes McCoy because Eagles are one of her favorite birds.
Round two my father takes Brandon Jacobs. Another pride pick. I don’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t the best choice. He says Jacobs is going to make a comeback this year. He and my brother are both Giants fans and find this sarcastic statement extremely hilarious. I grab Arian Foster knowing he will probably be on the bench for awhile, but in the long run, will produce for me. My brother mutters “Way to pick an injured player.” I give him the finger. My mother picks Darren McFadden because the black and silver uniforms look nice.
In the third round I decide to go with Rivers. (Another bad decision.) My father picks Mario Manningham. I warn him about Giants players. My father steals Dallas Clark from me in the 4th round. I don’t give him a hard time because..... he is my dad. It is also my job to remind the elders when it is their turn to pick.
Me (Round 7 in full swing): “Dad, you need to make your pick. You only have 30 seconds left.”
Dad: “I already have my choice ready. I am going to take Lawrence Tynes as my kicker.”
Billy (snickering at the choice): “You thinking lots of field goals this year?”
Dad (laughing): “If Eli has another season like he did last year, Tynes will be very busy kicking field goals.”
Me (trying to mentally recall my father’s roster): “Dad…you took a kicker before your quarterback??”
This really makes my brother laugh out loud.
Dad: “Don’t worry. My choice is still out there.”
Me: “ Um...Okay? Cathy.... it’s your turn.”
Steph (turning to me): “She is being awfully quiet over there.”
Mom: “I am concentrating.”
Me (whispering to Steph): “ I can’t wait to see what her team looks like.”
Steph: “Well we know it will definitely have the coolest animals and colors out of all the teams.”
We both begin rolling.
Mom (Still facing her computer): “I heard that.”
Billy: “Who is she choosing?”
Me: “I have no idea but she picked her football pool based on her favorite birds, animals and colors.”
Billy (laughing out loud): “Does she even know what players she needs?”
Me: “The computer is helping her.”
The three of us start cracking up.
Steph: “Watch her win.”
Me: “I know. I said that earlier.”
Dad: “ I am taking Matt Cassel as my Quarterback.”
We all go silent and just stare at him. Why would he do that?
Dad: “The NFL channel said this could be his year.”
I never question my father but I began to worry that he may be going a little senile like my grandfather.
Me: “That is good to know.” It was all I could manage without laughing.
When the draft is over, I review everyone’s roster. Naturally my father’s is heavy with Giants players. I completely understand. I did the same thing my first year with Steeler players. My brother’s team makes no sense to me but perfect sense to him. My friend Mel fell asleep halfway through the draft but was thrilled with the automated picks she got. When I get to my mother’s team I gasp. She has arguably the best team out of all of us. My sister did very well too. It is almost midnight. Everyone begins winding down.
The league is now called The Lector League. Has been since 2012. Yes, I am still the Commish even though I said I would never, ever be Commish again. We did not get a draft going this year because we all had too much going on around the beginning of football season year. It was the first time in 4 years there was no family draft which sucked. We will definitely have a 2017 draft though. The family goal, to beat the GOAT, aka my brother-in-law Mike, who joined the league in 2012 and also does not lose in Fantasy Football.....ever. I am being completely for real. He is always the champion.
One of us, one of these years will beat him though. It will happen......maybe. We are also going to add a pot to next year's league. There will be a financial stake. Practice is over. We are all pros now. We are gonna play like pros. My family is a football loving family and it's one of the greatest things to play in a family league! I will gladly be the Commish for The Lector League as long as they will have me. I promise I will not fine anyone for unsportsmanlike conduct or flag anyone for excessive celebration after a hard earned weekly victory! I may slap my brother though for being a smart ass. Unnecessary roughness is legal in this league!
As Bill Belicheck would say..... On To 2017!