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Living out the fantasy

October 9, 2011
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE (vandkel@hotmail.com) , Times-Republican

Fantasy football is a wonderful game where average guys compete with each other over the athletic prowess of professional football players for imaginary points on a make-believe team.

It gives regular football what it has lacked for decades, meaning more numbers and statistics. Often I will turn on SportsCenter and there will be periods where there are no charts, or even a single graph showing a player's performance vs. the blitz on Monday nights. Clearly something had to be done. So I joined a league.

The best part about the game is that it gives Americans a distraction from work, relationships, television, children and the outdoors and enables them to spend time on the Internet doing research on people they've never met - all as nature intended.

The rules of fantasy football are anyone's guess, save for one: the one who knows the least about the game, the players and life in general will end up winning.

A goat would win your fantasy football league, which is why most leagues explicitly forbid goats from participating (or women).

Many women question the game, citing its irrelevance and "pretend" nature. As many psychologists have probably said, it's healthy for your brain to continue to pretend and in no way detrimental to a house or relationship when a normally docile man working in an office will suddenly go into a Sunday fit of rage after seeing Philip Rivers throw his second interception. Perfectly normal behavior, and a sign you are living with a fantasy footballer.

Honestly, denying its existence is akin to denying gravity or the fact that Hugh Grant movies give children chicken pox. It exists and there's very little you can do about it. Like an irritating rash, complaining about it doesn't do much good but it will go away with time.

Another sign you're living with a fantasy footballer is when you catch him up late at night and WISH you found him searching for "adult" material, finding him instead hitting "refresh" every six seconds on some sports site.

My only gripe with fantasy football is that it doesn't take fantasy far enough. I'd like to propose TRUE fantasy football: where you can draft fictional or mythical creatures. My team would look like this:

Quarterback: Dementor. Being a demon and invisible to all but wizards and witches would certainly make them hard to sack. Would-be tacklers would succumb to having all the love and happiness sucked out - including their souls - making them quite sad. ACL injuries wouldn't be an issue either, as dementors don't have legs.

Alternate: Captain America. If he's that accurate with a shield, a football shouldn't be an issue.

Running back: The Hulk. Provided he's angry, a conservative estimate would be at least three scores/game. To ensure his continued anger, I'd have him play for the Minnesota Vikings, where everything they do is maddening and purposefully done to infuriate humankind.

Wide receiver: God Shiva. A minimum of four hands makes her twice as likely to catch a pass (while stiff-arming defenders and eating a pretzel at the same time). She is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. That's gotta come in handy in clutch two-minute situations.

Tight end: Yeti. Hard to tackle, what with the claws and fangs and being nine-feet tall and everything. He? Would be particularly advantageous during winter games at Lambeau or Soldier Field.

Flex: Medusa. Granted she doesn't have the fastest 40-yard-dash time, but the ability to turn defenders to stone makes her a must-start most weeks.

Defense: 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers. Seriously, they were awesome. An alternate would be 12 Jedis or a hydra (nine-headed dragon creature).

Real "Fantasy" football would be so much more enjoyable to watch. Just once I'd like to see a game between a group of Abraham Lincolns riding atop centaurs against a demonic horde of minatours led by Batman. The halftime show could be a transformer battling Godzilla.

Actually, I'm thinking about starting up a fantasy fantasy football league, whereby I draft and play friends that I know that play regular fantasy football and pit them against each other. Both in the game and in real life.

The way I figure it, the further I can distance myself from reality, the better. I'm sure reality feels the same way.

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Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications. He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via Goodyear blimp message.

 
 

 

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