Week 1 of the NFL is almost in the books. Just two games left and then it's on to start planning your party and tailgating activities for Week 2. Unless you are a fan of teams like the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, or Kansas City Chiefs. YOU are left today with a bad taste in your mouth, a sense of foreboding that a really bad season looms ahead of you. A depression from a poorly played game that will linger all week. Unless you play fantasy football.
One thing I like about baseball is there are games nearly every day of the week. Days off are rare, so when you suffer a humiliating - or just ugly - loss, you don't have time to dwell on it. There's another game tomorrow. But the NFL is a different animal. There are only 16 games and they are (usually) a week apart. That is seven days for you to over analyze and agonize over each and every mistake your team made. Seven days for you to swear you knew they couldn't win and brag about how you tweeted that they were going to lose. And then Saturday arrives and you start talking smack again with this week's opponent. You wash your game-day jersey and pack the cooler to head down to the stadium on Sunday. And it starts all over again.
I use to spend Sunday night and all day Monday in a "Football Hangover." I'd get so frustrated during games that my family makes me watch them in a separate room. I scream and yell at the TV, I pace, I throw things, I have a referee voodoo doll that I rip to pieces. And when they win I celebrate in the front yard doing my happy dance wrapped in my Brownie the Elf flag. But if they lose, my family is ordering pizza for dinner, tip-toeing around the house, and avoiding me until Tuesday.
This year, Opening Day was especially difficult. I am a world renowned "Kool-aid" drinker. I bought into everything. I tried to keep some objectivity and realize that there would be problems, but oh lord, not like that. To make matters worse, we lost power just as the 3rd quarter of the Browns - Bengals game was starting so I didn't even get to SEE anything for the rest of the game. Listening on the radio isn't helpful to me. I actually like to watch the linemen, the secondary, check out how the routes are being run, etc. I try to see the good things so that if the game ends badly I have some positives to build off of for next week. Not so much today.
But wait. What is that? What is calling my name out of the depths of my depression and telling me that I have to go on, I have to live, I have a purpose? Fantasy Football! I am in six leagues this year. This is the most I have tried to do in my seven years of playing Fantasy Football. Perhaps it was a psychic voice in the back of my head warning me that I would need the distraction during (yet another) rebuilding year. I don't know.
What I do know is that instead of scarring my grandson for life by having him witness me having a complete conniption fit followed by a nervous breakdown yesterday, I was able to look forward to the Cowboys - Jets game. I was able to celebrate each yard gained by Dez Bryant as it took two (yes, TWO) of my FFL teams closer to victory. I was able to live again. I was able to find joy in football games that did not include the Browns.
So, when you are gathered around the water cooler today talking smack and boasting about the great moves you made in benching Jermichael Finley and starting Ben Watson (yeah, that's me), and someone walks by and says "I just don't understand your fixation with Fantasy Football" never fear. I understand. When you love a professional team that always seems to find ways to let you down, it's the Fantasy world you can turn to for happiness.
However, if your Fantasy Football team sucks just as bad as the pro team you love, remember one thing: Dr Kate is in the house and is here to help you. Just tweet me @ClvlndK8 anytime and I will help you work through your depression as well as the tough lineup decisions. We are in this together!