A Dream Come True

I was beginning to think it was never going to happen for me. The desire I held for one day obtaining my dream job had been in place for several years, but it wasn’t until more recently when my yearning morphed into a full-fledged craving. I did not need a college education or any special schooling. I did not have to fill out an application, send out a résumé, or take part in a grueling interview. I did not have to struggle, scrimp, or save either. In fact, I practically had given up hope when the offer seemingly came out of nowhere. Sometimes it simply is a matter of who you know in order to get ahead in this world. Out of the blue my one and only son called and asked me if I would be interested in owning a football team, and it wouldn’t cost me one red cent. I accepted his offer, after the initial shock wore off, and am now the proud Owner of Mac’s Motley Crue of the NFL Fantasy Football League.

It may not be the most opportune time to be associated with the National Football League, but I knew I was definitely up for the challenge. The first step as a new owner would be to assemble a competitive team which would occur all over the world on “draft day.” The draft is conducted through a website, so the team owners do not have to be in the same room, or even the same state, during the drafting process. That was indeed the case with my particular league’s “drafting party.” I have heard of men (and I suppose women) having spectacular parties on “draft day” and treating their extravaganzas as though they were a once in a lifetime event. I would compare those “drafting parties” to when normal folks wear fancy hats during the Kentucky Derby, get all dolled up for the Oscar Awards’ ceremony, or feast on tea and crumpets during a Royal Wedding. I was with my son on “draft day,” but I have no idea where the other four owners in our league were or even who they are.

I do know all of the team names in our modest league. They are the aforementioned Mac’s Motley Crue, Big Macs (my son’s team), the Arizona Ruff Riders, R3D B1RD PR1DE, 12th Man Frenzy, and Show me ur Tds (isn’t that one cute?). Think about it. My son gave me an overview of how fantasy football works and offered me a few tips. I’m sure he didn’t want me to embarrass him, but I’m pretty sure we all know that ship has already sailed. Every team in our fantasy league consists of a starting quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, a defense, and a flex position. The flex position is determined by the owner by inserting either an additional running back or a wide receiver into the starting lineup each week. Every team is also allowed to have a few backup players at their disposal. An owner can then determine to use a substitute when a starting player has been struggling, or they may wisely decide to add them to the lineup whenever a starter has a bye week. The objective is to accumulate as many points as possible each week, with your starting lineup, and to beat whichever team from your league you happen to be playing against.

It was about an hour before the draft, and I could not believe how nervous I was when realizing the impending ordeal was like a good first impression: you only get one chance. I started second guessing myself and the limited research I had done on all of the key positions and available players. I also began wondering if playing the part of an NFL Owner was beyond my realm of expertise. My son joined me in the “draft room” (my living room) acting as though the approaching event was no big deal. He then began laughing at my obvious apprehension and looming doubt of the situation. I asked the young but veteran owner a few questions about the draft, and he did a fine job of explaining how he thought the drafting process would work even though he wasn’t positive because he had participated in numerous fantasy leagues in the past, and they weren’t all alike. The lack of any specifics at that point only added to my discomfort. I continued interrogating my son with every question I could think of, so I would be as prepared as any rookie owner possibly could be, and he continued laughing at me.

It was now less than 5 minutes away from my first draft ever and from me making some of the most important decisions of my life. Do I draft a running back with my first pick, as suggested by my son, or do I go with my gut instincts and choose a quarterback? As a new NFL Owner I had already decided I would not be at all concerned if my team included domestic abusers, drunk drivers, drug users, rapists, or even murderers as long as my players were able to earn me some points. Calm down people. I am just the Owner of an NFL Fantasy Team. We turned on our computers, and I fumbled around for a piece of paper I had hurriedly jotted down a list of my preferred players on (that resembled chicken scratch) a day earlier. My son then yanked out two pages of notes from somewhere, neatly typed and organized, and applied his game face. We apparently were no longer father and son. We were NFL Owners thinking only of ourselves and aspiring to acquire the best possible team in the League.

With sweaty palms and my mind racing the highly anticipated draft finally began. I was given the 5th and 8th overall picks in the draft (by the luck of the draw) to begin with. My son had previously informed me he thought each owner would be allocated 3 minutes to make their selection or else they would lose their turn for that round. The whole drafting process really didn’t seem too difficult. That is until almost immediately I noticed Mac’s Motley Crue had appeared on my computer screen, and the large clock in the corner was counting down. The four owners choosing ahead of me evidently were seasoned veterans since each of them only needed about 5 seconds to complete their first transaction. Making matters much worse was discerning I had 2 minutes, instead of the assumed 3 minutes, for making my all-important initial pick. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my desired first choice, Quarterback Peyton Manning, still available. With the touch of a finger I now owned him.

The next thing I knew I was “on the board” again, and I could hardly believe my second choice, Wide Receiver Dez Bryant, had not yet been chosen as well. With another touch of a finger I now owned him too. My son advised me, before the draft, he had learned over the years that drafting the best running backs in the NFL was the key to having a successful fantasy team. I had said to myself, “whatever,” because everybody knows the quarterback is the leader of the team and the most important position. Besides, the League is laden with running backs, so I was content in drafting them after the QB and WR positions I had identified as being much more important. Ultimately when the time did come, for me to enlist a couple of running backs, I must admit the players left were pretty slim pickings. However, I certainly couldn’t complain about my team’s roster after landing arguably the best quarterback and wide receiver in the NFL.

Being an NFL Owner and selecting players for Mac’s Motley Crue on “draft day” was both exhilarating and exhausting. As I was admiring my finalized starting line-up on the computer screen and comparing it to the sheet of chicken scratch, I was barely even able to glance at during the draft, I became alarmed and nearly freaked out after noticing I had forgotten to draft a kicker for my team. I guess the lowly kicker receives about as much respect in the fantasy league as he does in real life. My son assured me, between his intermittent chuckling, I could rectify the near catastrophe before my first game. I merely had to submit a request, to the Fantasy Football gods (whoever they are), for dropping one of my players from the squad and adding one of the remaining undrafted kickers in his place. The gods granted me permission the very next day, so I was back in business.

My inaugural season as the Owner of Mac’s Motley Crue in the NFL Fantasy Football League is only a quarter of the way finished, and apparently I am just an average owner (my current record is 2-2). I’m still reeling from this past weekend’s loss to my son. The League’s leader, and only undefeated team, humiliated me by accumulating a whopping 162.32 points to my dismal score of 78.18 points. Ouch! I am painfully now aware that father does not always know best, and my dream job as an NFL Owner is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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