If you’re looking for an edge this fall in your yearly fantasy football league, you have 10 months to prepare. Dads make the best fantasy football players.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
There were three of us and we all had never done it before. We were only 14 at the time, but the intrigue had us all wanting to do it. No one our age was doing it, and no one we knew in our little town had done it yet. Needless to say, the excitement was unmatched. We would have bragging rights forever.
I don’t remember how it started, and I don’t know when it ended, but I do remember the day I was hooked on Fantasy Football.
For over 20 years, I have been playing fantasy football. I’ve played with strangers, ex-girlfriends, work colleagues and friends. I’ve laughed, I’ve yelled, I’ve dance, but never
maybe once cried. There is truly nothing like the game.
Two years ago, my life changed. I had my first child and with it my fantasy fortune shifted. The last two years, I have either won my leagues or finished second. We’re talking multiple leagues, 12-14 teams in each one. As I prepare for my first draft of this season, I realize why the consistent success. It is not the homework I do every summer. It is not my experience as a grizzled veteran of the fantasy life. It is not my witty banter on draft day. It is the characteristics I have picked up as a father that has led to my advantage.
So listen up because I’m about to tell you why Dads make the best Fantasy Football Players.
From the moment I saw my son for the first time, the flood of emotions was a roller coaster ride like nothing I’ve every experienced before. It was Christmas, my birthday and a warm chocolate cookie just out of the oven all rolled into one. It was then that I knew that my life was no longer just about me.
When you are married, you deliver vows to your spouse. In sickness and health, till do death do us apart, yada, yada, yada. While all of those are special and I’ve held true to all of them, you are still partnering with another adult human being. Someone who can take care of themselves, hopefully, feed themselves, and most importantly wipe their own butts.
The moment you bring a child into the world, your life is no longer about you. It’s about your child. It’s about raising them to be the best version of themselves. It’s about shielding them from danger. It’s about putting them ahead of you, at all times.
Fantasy Football is no different.
You cannot be selfish and think about only you. You have to do what’s right for the team. Let’s say you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, does that mean you don’t draft Dez Bryant or Odell Beckham, Jr.? Don’t get me wrong, it would take a hell of a lot to draft Eli Manning, I mean we all have limits. When the Eagles play their rivals that reside on your fantasy team do you play them? Yes!
You have to do what’s best for your team and that means creating and cultivating the best lineup. No matter what. If that means sacrificing your team loyalty for the betterment of your squad, suck it up and cheer on Bryant and ODB, but never! never! cheer for the team in general, only individual players.
The hardest thing for me to do once we had our son was figure out to get everything done in a day with little or no sleep. I still don’t know how I made it through the first year of my son’s life. With work, being a good husband, being a good father, you find yourself wearing multiple hats. For my wife, she’s been doing this her whole life. For me, the simple tasks of chewing gum and walking were taxing the day our beautiful son came into our lives. Did I forget to eat some days? Maybe, but you better believe I was changing diapers and feeding that kid, sometimes at the same time during those first few months. If there were a cub scouts for dads, I would have received my multi-tasking badge with flying colors.
In fantasy football, you are juggling those same issues, but now throw in fantasy football. And unlike those other tasks mentioned above, you have no control of who’s playing, who’s injured or who’s coaching. There are numbers flying in from all over, a dozen different “experts” telling you who to play on a given week. The whole process can be mind numbing. I will tell you this, however, if you made it through the first year of your son’s life, you can definitely add fantasy football into your daily juggle. Just make sure you don’t drop the baby.
The greatest gift my son has ever given me is the ability to love limitlessly. Each breath he takes, I can feel my heart growing. It is unnatural to feel so much love for something and then to wake up the next morning and realize that love you thought had reached its plateau just spiked to new levels. I know not all of it will be unicorns and rainbows. I know we all have tough times as parents. I also know that no matter what, that kid of mine will have my heart and I will always love him.
While it may be hard sometimes, you have to love your team. A fantasy football team is like a baby, better yet, a love fern. You have to water it, maybe sing to it, nurture it so that it can grow to a beautiful trophy at the end of the year. Ultimately though, you have to trust your team, and love your team. The moment you start to lose confidence and trash your team, is the moment you start that downhill slide.
Don’t believe me, ask Celine Dion:
We’re heading for something
Somewhere I’ve never been
Sometimes I am frightened
It has ahBut I’m ready to learn
Of the power of love
That’s right, you can be headed for something, somewhere you’ve never been, you could get frightened, but be ready to learn. That’s the power of loving your fantasy football team.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I know there will come a time when my son will look to me to know what’s right and wrong. In fact, research has shown he’s already doing that. I’ll be the first to say, I have not lived my life perfectly. I have made plenty of mistakes over the years, and I will continue to do so. My hope is that I will be able to teach my son when he makes mistakes to stand up to those mistakes and accept the consequences for those actions and learn from them. Like I mentioned earlier, I want to raise the best version of him. With that comes the difference between right and wrong, integrity, chivalry, giving him the ethical roots to sprout into a beautiful loving “gentleman tree.” Will there be bumps along the way, sure. But for him to learn that, I have to walk it.
The same holds true for fantasy football. This game is about trust and honor. Respect the game and its players, and the game shall return the favor a hundred fold. While many websites have certain restrictions that try to keep the field level, there is still user error, and sometimes that can help one team but injure the league. Or if your league happens to use some sort of currency as a “buy-in,” pay the fee (if it’s legal). Don’t be one of those players who waits to see if they win, and then your commissioner has to hound you. Also, be respectful, if your out of the race, keep playing. There’s nothing worse than an absentee owner. Honor, Respect and Trust are the hallmarks of fantasy football, never forget.
From the moment he was born, the level of fun in my house has shot through the roof. It is a house of laughter and smiling and I would want it no other way. In fact, In a The Atlantic article published 2 years ago, W. Bradofrd Wilcox says,
In infants and toddlers, fathers’ hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability,” writes psychologist Ross Parke, who has conducted dozens of studies on fatherhood, including a study of 390 families that asked mothers and fathers to describe in detail how they played with their children…From a Saturday morning spent roughhousing with a four-year-old son to a weekday afternoon spent coaching middle-school football, fathers typically spend more of their time engaged in vigorous play than do mothers, and play a uniquely physical role in teaching their sons and daughters how to handle their bodies and their emotions on and off the field. Psychologist John Snarey put it this way in his book, How Fathers Care for the Next Generation: “children who roughhouse with their fathers… quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.”
In fantasy football, you must remember that it’s just a game. Ultimately, you joined a league for some good-natured ribbing, a chance to bond with your buddies, co-workers or family members, and to engage in camaraderie rarely seen in an age of detached social network-addiction where most people stare at their phones than engage in real life conversations. I yearn for The League’s Taco’s off-line social networking, My Face. Embrace Fantasy Football and enjoy it for what it is. Do that and you’ll win, regardless.
At the end of the day, fantasy football should be fun. In fatherhood and fantasy football, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
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