Much like the holidays, the end of the fantasy football season can be a lonely and sad period in a fantasy football player’s life. Thirteen to sixteen weeks filled with checking waiver wires, talking trash, and reviewing game tape can become a truly delightful ritual. Going cold turkey involuntarily is more difficult than many people realize. It’s even worse if you won your league’s championship.
My first year playing fantasy football was in 2006. I won two of the three leagues that I played in, thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson’s record breaking year, Fast Willie Parkers’ best season and the mid-season addition of Tony Romo. During the season, I often spent hours away from my office desk, talking fantasy with my co-workers. After the season was over, no one really wanted to talk fantasy anymore. No one wanted to discuss the great in-season moves that I made or go over how prophetic my draft was. My girlfriend, my parents and even my pug had no real interest in reviewing the season.
The next year, I won another championship. And the year after that, I won two more. In fact, there has never been a year that I have not won a title. Year after year, no one threw me a victory party. Surprisingly, there has been no ticker-tape parade. Posting my achievements in fantasy football forums yielded little more than “atta-boy” comments. Losers got more replies for their failures, proving that misery loves company. The prize money kept pouring in, but still I felt alone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am used to receiving attention from people who are drawn to my sophisticated charm, devilish good looks and freakish athleticism. I appreciate those that go out of their way to compliment me, and let me know what a warm and generous person I am. These acknowledgments are nice, but sometimes it’s not enough.
Sometimes I yearn to be noticed for more than just a wonderful humanitarian. Sometimes I want people to know me for my true self, a fantasy football champion. Sometimes, I need people to recognize me for the football genius that I am.
This past season, I made a life changing decision. After taking home the top prize in two leagues, I decided to hold back a little from my end-of-year charity contributions, and commemorate the titles with championship rings. Let me tell you, adding a little bling into my life has made all the difference.
No longer would my special achievements go unnoticed. At social gatherings, people kept noticing my shiny 14-kt. gold championship ring and my 18-kt. platinum ring, both with diamond upgrades. OK, I confess.
I skipped the charity contributions all together. Of course, being the life of the party is nothing new, but spending it giving out fantasy tips, has made it a lot more fun.
Even people that I didn’t know were nodding their heads in approval. The other day I was at the mall, and fellow shoppers kept saying cute little things like “Way to go Champ.” “Can me and the wifey get a picture with the Champ?” “Hey Champ, would you be our firstborn’s godfather?”
Last week, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman, who sat next to me in first class on my flight home from a business trip. He noticed my ring, and soon we were exchanging fantasy war stories with one another. Turns out that he’s a creative advertising executive, and he was interested in my ideas for some new commercials with a fantasy angle. Good thing that I had my resume and headshot on me. Nothing’s set yet, but let’s just say that Brett Favre may not be the only one wearing Wranglers in the future.
Profootball players often say that it’s all about the ring. I’ve come to learn that in fantasy, it’s all about the ring as well.