Sunday, August 28, 2016

Victory Through Apathy

I have been playing Fantasy Football for some years now. Not enough to be fully competent, but just enough to stare at the numbers on the screen and anticipate the outcome of a week's slate of games. From Thursday through Monday night, all those catches and yards and fumbles create a statistical meringue that adds up to a score that sometimes gave me a win, and sometimes not so much. The past few seasons have had a lot of the latter. After careful consideration, I believe my strategy has been one of too much care, but not the right kind.
Try as I might, and with my wife's support, I have attempted to lessen the impact of the National Football League's hold on my emotions for six months out of every year. This roller coaster effect has been dampened a little by the recent success of my favorite franchise, the Denver Broncos. Winning a Super Bowl makes all pills easier to swallow, and even though I know that I will still sit on the couch on Sunday afternoons twisting and contorting my body with each first down and red zone opportunity, I can afford to toss some football karma to the sky.
I had a similar experience a few years back in Fantasy Football, where by mild cunning and a whole lot of luck, the team I assembled from rosters across the league found their way into the championship bracket. I ended up winning the whole megillah, and the ten dollars I had invested in previous years came back to me sixfold. That meant the next couple years I could put in my ten dollars without feeling like I was sacrificing basic needs. I was still able to have sour cream on my burritos.
Then came the dark times. For a good portion of the time that the Denver Broncos were experiencing their championship runs, my fantasy team hovered somewhere below the five hundred line. By the last few weeks of the season, I wasn't even checking my lineup. I left injured and suspended players in, and kept the stars on the bench. It was my Pigskin Flying Dutchman, not to be confused with the Statue of Liberty or the Fumblerooski.
All of this may be why when, on the evening of our league's draft this year, I simply spaced it out. Half an hour in, I remembered to log on and check the progress, and I found that the automatic machinery of fate had dealt me a perfectly respectable team. In the last couple rounds, I made a couple of picks that will no doubt come back to haunt me, since this whole enterprise would seem to run better on luck than any level of proactive management.
And so I'm looking forward to getting to know this new group, the ghosts in the machine. Will it be enough to win a Fantasy Trophy? I only care now because it seems like the right thing to do, but you'll have to pardon me if I feel a little apathetic. As my younger brother has suggested to me many times, that may be the key to success.

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