Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Glimpse Into Our World. (aka Confessions of an OCD sufferer)

NOTE: I am speaking just from my own perspective here, but I would hazard a guess that others in the world of fantasy football have some of the same tendencies. Please don't take offense if I hit too close to home. The photo should be a clue that this shouldn't be taken seriously.

Mr Anal Retentive prepares for his Fantasy Football draft.

Well forlks, it's that time of year again. August is half over and the lawn is yellow from lack of water and over abundant sunlight & heat. The kids are getting ready to trade in carefree afternoons at the City Pool for another boring year of textbooks and homework assignments. Your wife is begging for a vacation from summer vacation because listening to her rambunctious hellion offspring fight over every little thing while she hauled them around all day for the last two-and-a-half months has driven her to the edge of a nervous breakdown.

But you have other plans!

You hear the clashing of football helmets echoing from your past and remember the excitement and exhaustion of two-a-day practices in the sweltering August heat. The locker room comradery, the scuffles that determine the new seasons pecking order. It all is coming back to you. Football season fast approaches. It's time to do the number crunching of last season's stats and read all the "experts" opinions about which team has had a better off-season acquiring free agents or selecting promising rookies in the Spring draft. Some of us have kept up with everything the minute it happens, while others have taken the summer off to actually be with their families and help their wives with that summer nervous breakdown thing they do.

The hardcore have been anxiously collecting data and keeping tabs every day of new developments. Now we have to download, print off or otherwise procure every 2005 NFL Fantasy Football Draft cheat sheet known to man. If you don't... well you're just not preparing yourself properly for the upcoming season. And if you're not knowledgeable about the latest news surrounding Hines Ward or Ronnie Brown's contract negotiations, you're just making yourself a target for the obligatory "smack talk".

It's time to get busy!

You're feeling the anticipation of the autumn rituals you've learned to enjoy since childhood. Only now, since you no longer play the game, just watch it... the rituals are a little different. Instead of hitting guys in full pads and getting buried in the bottom of huge piles of people... now you're buried in huge piles of computer paper with hand written notes and highlights of players stats that you "need". It's not a pretty site to see you lounging around in your favorite recliner, unshaven and wearing wrinkled clothes with the greasy finger trails across your shirt from the potato chips you've been eating for the past hour... good nutrition is important for this type of work. A nice cold Molson Ice is also necessary for the arduous task ahead.

You busy yourself by pouring over every minute detail trying to spot something that will give you the edge in your upcoming drafts. Every year you try to make sure you have the best draft of your life in every league... but it never happens the way you envision. Someone always grabs Manning right before you. Dammit! But regardless of the enivitable disappointments you trudge through your preparation rituals, endlessly surfing the web for fantasy football chat rooms looking for insider information and confirmation that somebody else believes Ola Kimrin will be the next TOM Dempsey... or that Mike Nugent will have more adoring fans by season's end than Ted Nugent. Search long enough and you will find someone who agrees. There's always a dealer willing to sell you what you need to get your fix... as long as you're willing to help him get his fix, too.

It's an ugly addiction. One that masks itself with male bravado... "if he can go a month without leaving the computer screen, then so can I dammit! Who needs sleep!"

Some men have been known to get so addicted to this game that they have forgotten all about the outside world. From September until February it doesn't exist. There is only football, stats, beer and nachos. Nothing else matters. The wife or girlfriend calls on you, sometimes with an obvious lust that only a fool would ignore. The kids are trying to understand algebra, but you can only think in x's and o's, not x's and y's. You are totally emersed "in the zone" of checking internet sites on an hourly schedule waiting for their draft analysis and pre-season camp breakdowns. Once the season begins, you have your routine of checking site after site for weekly game analysis based on last week's and last year's results. How do they play on grass, away from home, in the middle of a buffalo stampede.... it's ALL important information! These websites cater to your OCD, and they don't care if they are right or wrong as long as they sound like their "experts" and give you the numbers you crave.

You have ESPN on 24 hours a day so you won't miss a second of precious time with late breaking news of something like a Terrell owens ankle sprain from an excessive end zone celebration during pre-season which included the Spice Girls on Harley Davidson's doing 360 donuts around the goal post. One of them got dizzy and accidentally ran over TO's foot. Damn! Hey... don't laugh... it could happen. He's all about making the game more entertaining, so this kind of stunt would be right up his alley.

But once you start wondering what it would be like if Sean Salisbury and John Clayton actually put on boxing gloves and went 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden... well, you might want to turn the TV off for a while and go get some counseling or therapy. Of course, Sean would kick Clayton's ass... we all can tell Clayton is a whiny, brainiac, four-eyed wimp.

Goin' to Detox Mansion! They say it takes 28 days to get those nasty toxins out of your bloodstream. That is... if you can live without football and ESPN for a month in the middle of the NFL season. Ha! Not even going to happen. Better make it May or some off-season month when the football action is slow... and yes I am talking about NFL Europe. Who watches that crap anyway?

Just when your wife thought she could hogtie you for two second to get some attention and get you to clean out the rain gutters. Someone goes and creates a minor league of misfits and CFL rejects so that people in Europe can have the excitement of NFL football in their own backyards. Nice try! But it does give you another excuse to ignore those people who live with you... I think they call them family, and you're suppose to do "stuff" with them, like go camping or something. Why spend time with them? They don't have anything in common with you... afterall, they don't know how many yards per carry Shaun Alexander got last year.

They have no concept of how much you suffer for your addiction and that you know the most inane details of every NFL player better than your own families birthdays and anniversaries. "But I'm no good with numbers!" Yeah right!

So my first draft of the 2005 Fantasy Football season is coming up this weekend and thought I'd just share some of my twisted thoughts about this crazy ritual with some other freaks out there who might understand the craziness. My computer desk has stacks and stacks of NFL roster sheets, coaching bios, team offense and defense stats, individual offense and defense players stats, projections of fantasy scoring, draft cheat sheets for offense and defense players. It's nuts! There's not a bare spot on my desk to set my cup of coffee on, which means that somewhere I have an important stat that has been ruined by a coffee stain that's just waiting to be discovered. I know I take this hobby way too seriously, but I do have fun with it, and I do make fun of my OCD tendencies... so hopefully that means I'm not over the edge yet. Right!? Please tell me!

Obviously I'm messy and disorganized. So I can't have full-blown OCD!!

My dishes are piling up in the sink as they always do this time of year. I'll get to them before any major scientific experiments get started, but I have "real" work to do. I can't be trifled with mundane activities. I wish I had paid closer attention to all the off-season trades and drops, because now it's a mad dash to get caught up with the rest of you so I don't look like an idiot. Because you guys will be coming to me with a million questions and I'm supposed to know the answers. Will Patrick Surtain thrive in KC and make their secondary better than it has been? How will Plaxico do in a Giants uniform this year? What does Ronnie Brown holding out so long mean for the return of Ricky Williams as the dolphin running back woes continue right where they left off last year?

Too many questions... and I don't have any certain answers. Just educated guesses.

... and I'm sure someone out there will ask me something really inane like should I draft Larry Ned? Hell, I don't even know if the guy is on an active roster this year or not. He's a cult icon though. Surely one day will come when he gets to be the fantasy football scoring machine we all know he could be. All hail the GREAT NED


Creek! said...

..."believes Ola Kimrin will be the next Rick Dempsey..."

Rick Dempsey? The 3rd baseman who gained fame with the orioles in the 80's? You sure you don't the mean the co-record-holder for the longest field goal, Tom Deompsey, who also was born with no toes on his right foot, and looked like a fat version of the greatest intercontinental champion of all time, The HonkyTonk Man? Is that hwo you mean?

Archer said...

It's good to have you around Groucho! I'm just glad I didn't say Jack Dempsey, that would have really shown my age and memory lapse.

Thanks for catching my mistake.

skisteve said...

rick dempsey was a CATCHER with the orioles his whole career. they still show him on tv sometimes sliding on the rain covered tarp. he was the first i ever recall doing that.

-skisteve, lifelong orioles fan.