Monday, September 30, 2013

The Girl's Guide to Fantasy Football

Sports and I have always had a complicated relationship. My father loved the Seahawks more than I loved Mr. Rogers, so from a young age I was familiar with ESPN and the ever-present Sports Center. Basketball blended with football until the rules of each game were so muddled that I lost any interest I may have had had it not been the background of all my waking hours when my father was home.

When ESPN wasn't on, movies about sports were. My early childhood years occurred during the same stretch of time when cable television channels were acquiring the rights to movies like Hoosiers, the Natural, and Rudy: all unfortunate films about depressed people who did unfortunate things for the love of the game. Or a girl. But the girl always played second fiddle to the game. I picked up on this quickly and decided sports was not for me.

As an adult, my hatred hasn't much changed. I still resent the Super Bowl for superceding my early February birthday weekend. I still despise the televisions during happy hours for showing the same boring plays of the same boring college basketball games. And while I have decided to embrace baseball, I have the attention span of a three year old high on fruit roll ups so often miss the base stealing action, and by the time I realize something happened I have no idea what it was.

Up until a few years ago I pretended that football just didn't exist. This is my philosophy on life for anything that bores me, and it has yet to fail me. Then a dear friend invited me to join his fantasy football league. His motives were not exactly pure, since he knew that I don't know the difference between a punt and a bunt. But of course I accepted, because I am a girl. And girls are always going to be better at fantasy sports than guys. Especially girls who simply don't care.

If you're a girl, and you don't care about fantasy sports, you won't hold the experts' advice to be gospel. You're not going to spend hours reading up on statistics or projections or any of that rubbish. What you're going to do is be smart about it. You'll go through your Facebook friends and start catching up with any guy who has recently changed his profile picture to a sports logo. And all these guys will feel validated by your coming to ask them for advice, so it's a win win for everyone. Your first draft for fantasy football will not be a player, but your boyfriend, who knows all sorts of random stuff about random teams you don't care two hoots about.

After these preliminary steps are done, just shift into Legally Blonde mode. When the guys in the draft are trying to smack talk each other, talk about how a fantasy draft is like a trip to Sephora, and how runningbacks have a lot in common with facial cleansers and moisturizers. How your quarterback is the same as having a good lip gloss that is dependable yet fun. In short, freak them out with all the nonsensical gibberish you can come up with. If they think you're a ditz, they won't take you seriously in your matchups and it will be easier to beat them. Since they don't see you spending the same amount of time researching Matthew Berry's every word on sports, they won't expect you to be researching at all.

Finally, name your team something really good. The guys are going to name their teams after jock straps, RGIII, and the Manning brothers. So come up with something different, something annoying, and something pink. This year I have the Ferocious Kittens. Ramona's Flower Powers won the championship, and Pink Vampire Gurlz came in second. The more frivolous the name sounds, the better.

And now I'm an addict. It isn't that I like sports now. My father succeeded in turning me off of football and basketball for life. It's just that I've somehow turned into a weird Miss Havisham, fantasy-sports style, bent on wreaking revenge for the lost childhood hours spent listening to the droning of ESPN announcers. I love every winning moment of it.

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