Last week, I received my annual invitation to play Fantasy Football. I received it just as I was starting to get antzy about not having gotten it yet. Because our league is first come, first serve and more people were invited to join in than there are spots available, I immediately signed up. Last year, I had a miraculous comeback from 8th (out of 10) in the second to last week of the season to making the playoffs and ending up placing 3rd. It's always satisfying to do well; even better is beating out my two rivals-both of whom are silly boys.
I first started playing in 2002. I played that season because my friend was short two players and wanted to know if James was interested in playing. Being that he was a die-hard Steelers fan, and therefore did not want to have to root for anyone who was not a Steeler, James was hesitant to play. So, I said I would, knowing absolutely nothing about what I was doing.
I ended up letting Yahoo draft for me instead of pre-selecting my draft. That is not something I highly recommend. I then "hired" James and my friend Kip (also a Steelers fan) to be my coaches. Everything they told me to do in terms of roster moves went against my instincts. Let's just say I should have listened to my instincts. I finished that first season 8 out of 10, but I was hooked.
The next season, I did about a 50-50 split of pre-ranking players for the draft and letting the system pick for me. I also "fired" James and Kip and did what I wanted to, or asked their opinion and did the exact opposite. That seemed to work better-I finished 3rd (out of 10), thanks in large part to Torry Holt's best season of his career-a draft pick everyone thought I was smoking crack for selecting. A women's intuition is a beautiful thing.
In 2004, we expanded to 12 teams. This is the only season from 2002-20007 that we have had 12 teams; it is the season that I got first. I believe that there may have been some help from above in that one-that Dad was able to give me one last gift, because I should not have won it all with the team I had!
Naturally, when you are #1, there is nowhere to go but down. And down I went. I dropped to 4th in 2005 and 9th in 2006. But, when you are in the basement, there is no where to go but up, as I proved when all the stars aligned to give me a 3rd place finish in 2007. I seriously needed 6 scenarios to go a certain way that last week of the regular season and they all did, jumping me from 8th to third going into the playoffs.
This season, we are playing with 12 teams again, so I have high hopes for another 1st place finish. But as excited as I am to play, it is going to be hard to not have James here cheering me on, giving me advice to ignore, and telling me I am a goof for shouting "Woo-hoo!! Points for me!!" when one of my players scores a touchdown, or to laugh at me for shouting "Will you stop throwing to him?" at the TV when my opponent's player keeps getting the ball . It won't be the same not having him here to catch me actually watching a game only to insist that it was only on for background noise while I made dinner because I couldn't find anything else to watch. He stopped believing that a few years ago, and rightfully so.
All I can do is believe that James is watching over me and that he and Dad will be shaking their heads over my silly girl moves-like drafting players for no other reason than because I like their name. I really do want to take first this year, and I want to do it for them: two of the biggest football fans I had the honor of loving.