Sometimes I find it hard to believe my wife doesn't take a more vested interest in my fantasy football team. After all, it combines the thrill of computers with the excitement of math! I suspect the problem stems from having too many thrills and not enough Channing Tatum with his dopey smoldering face. Plus, there's an awful lot of clicking involved, and generally men are more gifted than women, athletically.
But this doesn't mean women cannot enjoy the (let's call it) sport. Here are some ways to help you endure the season.
Pretend you're living with a fantasy husband/boyfriend
Walk around once every week and brag about what HE'S doing and how many "points" he's scoring. Men are competitive and he'll likely try to out-do the imaginary suitor. I use the term "suitor" because I'm a classy gentleman.
Be involved but not, like, too involved
Living with a man heavily invested in fantasy football (read: all men that play) is like living with an obsessive compulsive with chronic schizophrenia - he's always adjusting something 16 or 17 times each week, unsatisfied with the outcome each time, while sadly talking to/shouting at people that aren't there. As any therapist worth his or her salt would tell you, ignoring the problem won't make it go away, however being heavily medicated for 16 weeks is one suggested way of dealing with it.
Set up a jar where every time he makes a reference to fantasy football he must insert a pre-determined amount of money with the proceeds going to a fund to buy you a new frock, bonnet, etc. (I don't know women's fashion). However the rule is you CANNOT TRICK HIM INTO TALKING ABOUT IT, because after 30 or 40 times, he's bound to figure out what you're doing.
Sometimes it's okay to retaliate, but do it creatively
Sometimes you may need to remind the athlete he is neglecting various actions, activities and family members while focusing on his important fantasy football hobbyjob - things like chewing, blinking and not drooling. There might also be a child around somewhere. With the discipline and focus of British Grenadier Guards, the athlete in the midst of adjusting his lineup 30 minutes before kickoff could be bitten by a rattlesnake and he'd still check the last-minute game day inactives, which is an actual term.
A slap to the back of the head can be effective, but might be interpreted negatively - provided it registers. Mix it up. A pie to the face may be an old gag, but it's still equal parts hilarious and delicious. Unfortunately some pie bits may wander into his mouth, giving him the needed sustenance and energy to continue proposing ridiculous trades.
Do not offer advice
"I'd go with that guy because he has a nice smile," is not a valid selection process even if your methods would likely yield the best results. Also, you cannot put a kicker in your running back slot even though you've seen him do "the running." Tom Brady might be foxy (to you), but he can't play all of the positions even though "he's so dreamy I doubt there's anything he CAN'T do well." Wait, what is THAT supposed to mean?
Be sympathetic to his loss
He'll lose. He'll lose big. And he'll lose in ways nobody could have predicted. By the third or fourth loss, he may begin to (justifiably) weep. It's akin to if you, say, lost a child you were asked to watch, only these consequences are much more dire because you can't just borrow/hand over another kid and have everything be OK. It should be clear at this point I don't know a lot about watching other people's kids.
Join in the reindeer games
The athlete is very good at changing any topic to fantasy football.
You: "Oh my gosh, my grandmother just died."
Fantasy Athlete: "I'm so sorry. She's probably still better at tight end than that bum Antonio Gates!"
It is recommended that instead of fighting the irrelevant word salad that you join in the fun.
Fantasy Athlete: "I just don't know if I should play Wes Welker or Ryan Mathews in my flex spot this week. Welker has been on a tear lately but Mathews has an easier matchup."
You: "The process of making felt involved toxic mercury that drove hat makers to madness. That's where the phrase "mad as a hatter' came from."
Fantasy Athlete : "Then again Adrian Peterumwhat?"
You: "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were doing this thing where we randomly change topics to things nobody cares about?"
You can easily eliminate yourself from the conversation entirely
The key is to start early. Know when the "draft" is and appear eager. Then say something to this effect:
You: "I'm going to draft Jesus with laser eyes, a centaur, Gandalf, Darth Vader, The Doctor, Godzilla and Optimus Prime!"
Athlete: "No, you draft people like Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Rob Gronkowski and Victor Cruz."
You: "What? I'm pretty sure those are real people. I thought this was FANTASY football? I just rolled a 12. Optimus Prime just killed your Arian Foster with his energy sword."
Chances are he'll keep things to himself after that.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via cat message (he trains cats to speak English or, failing that, Morse code). Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny. Note to men: it is apparently not a compliment when your wife asks you how she looks to respond, "pungent."