I’m not a big fan of change. As a creature of habit, the only reason I remember to do many things around the house is because I’ve been doing them the same way at the same time in the 13 years we’ve lived there.
True story — certain days of the week I walk our dog Fuzzy before work, and sometimes we go in the evening after dinner. The last two weeks, between our vacation schedules, my in-laws had the pet before returning him Saturday.
Monday’s a morning day, yet this week, after two pooch-less Mondays, I totally forgot to take him out, realizing it when I was almost to work.
Change throws me off. And you may have seen or heard from me that we’ve had plenty of change at the News-Gazette; we got a new publisher and ownership group within the span of a month.
But these are good changes (ask me another sometime “off the record” and I’ll probably be pretty candid), and I got further affirmation this week when new-ish publisher Tom Overton came by to talk shop. Tom, a South Carolina grad and uber-Gamecock fan, wrapped up the conversation by posing a question:
“Is it football season yet?”
I wish I could tell him the long, hot summer (according to the calendar and not our weather forecast through October) ended and kickoff is neigh. I wish, I wish. Soon enough, Tom.
But it wasn’t even the first pigskin-related question posed to me this summer. I’ve already been asked, at least twice, the loaded question:
“Hey Ken, want to join my fantasy football league?”
The question makes me want to crawl down a hole and wait for the next World Cup to start.
No, I won’t join your league — your invitation means you think I can’t win it, so I won’t be your fall guy. And don’t start telling me about your “keepers” and available players I could make a nice roster out of.
If you really need the weekly adrenaline rush, go on weighing the option of Todd Gurley vs. Anton Brown and in what round you’re gonna draft your tight end/kicker combo. You can keep it. It changes who you really are, man.
I know — because I was once one of you.
On my game room shelf, I have four trophies showing long-ago success — and how shallow the lives are of those who ran leagues I won.
I ate, drank and slept it. The careful study of rosters and upcoming matchups. Draft that team and it’s yours. Victory is sweet, but not as sweet as defeat is rotten.
If this is you now, sit by a mirror some Sunday. See what fantasy football turns you into with your computer, phone or TV.
You’re not watching scores, but for scores. Stats? Essential. Invariably comes the shriek: “BORTLES, YOU IDIOT! YOU THREW THE TD PASS TO FOURNETTE INSTEAD OF MARQISE LEE!”
Meanwhile, the Jaguars now only trail 21-7.
The worst of it comes Sunday morning when reviewing your team, and that week’s opponent’s. Look and listen — your soul is up for sale.
You’ve got Mark Ingram against the Falcons. Your opponent this week has Drew Brees, so you don’t want the Saints to throw it much, but if they do they have to go to Ted Ginn, who you have. But not too much, as you also have the Falcons defense going because the Steelers are on their bye week. The Saints still have to score a little bit, because you have Wil Lutz at kicker.
And you’re an Eagles fan — heaven forbid you had to take on any Cowboys or Giants because you simply had to at that spot in the draft.
Who won the game is meaningless — even through you have the Chiefs-Ravens online gamecast up in between league page refreshes.
I’m out, man. I watch one game every Sunday and maybe the Monday nighter if it’s good. I retired years ago with three titles and two other regular-season top records. Went out on top and, unlike Brett Favre, I resisted any training-camp comebacks.
Plus, I never had a snappy name for my team. In fantasy world, there’s lots of cleverness around. Just ask the owners of Cry Me a Rivers, Party Like a Gronk Star, Ladies and Edelman, Discount Belichick, Brady Gaga, Little Red Fournette and Backfields and McCoys.
None of those hold a property-inflated football to the greatest of all time: Somewhere Over the Dwayne Bowe.
Even though I lack that whimsy, I can be hired as a consultant. or example: I should charge for this, but here’s the positions you want to draft in the first 12 rounds, but only if you want to win:
RB, QB, RB, RB, WR (or TE if Gronkowski or Travis Kelce are available), WR, WR, QB, TE, DEF, RB, K. After that, just fill in the holes.
Send me a cut of whatever you win in January. Fuzzy and I will be waiting at the mailbox.