Sorry Ted, but we’ve got a new front-runner for “Best Homeless Success Story” of 2011.
Nathan Harrington of Salem, Massachusetts, finished first in ESPN.com’s prize-eligible fantasy football competition. That’s first place out of 3.1 million other teams. And he did it without a computer or a home, all on the heels of a car accident that left him without a job and with nerve damage.
In 2009, after a car accident, Harrington, 33, was forced to take medical leave from his marketing job. Then, Harrington, his fiancée, and their 3-year-old son were evicted from their apartment because of a rat infestation taking over the building. They moved into a cheap motel, and Harrington put his computer into storage.
Harrington told the Salem News:
My fantasy football was the one thing that kind of seemed to be going right at the time. There was a lot to be upset about, but the one thing that was steady and heading in a positive direction was the fantasy football. So I thought I might as well stick with it and ride it out. Thank God I did.
Harrington said he knocked on strangers’ doors asking to use their computers, snuck online at his dad’s nursing home, called in roster moves to friends, made pit stops at the library, and swung by his mom’s house when he could.
Going into the last week of the season, Harrington’s team, the Boston Beatdowns, sat in seventh place. While hoards of deranged Floridians might tell you Harrington was saved by God, he said that his decision to start Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is ultimately what vaulted him to the top of the standings—0.8 points clear of second place.
ESPN awarded Harrington with a $3,500 Best Buy gift card, which he then sold to his mother—a cold-hearted, but savvy businesswoman—for $2,500. He plans to use the money to move his family into a new, rat-less apartment.