This blog post is Part 1 in a two-part series.
Yes, I’m a Fantasy Football Wife (FFW). There should be support groups for us. The wives of real football players get to reap the benefits of a sport that dominates every weekend and holiday from August until February. Those wives get to live in multi-million dollar homes and buy designer purses or shoes to console themselves every time their husband fumbles a ball or throws an interception. In my world, I have to endure the intense feuds, debates, phone calls, texts, instant messages, and fingernail biting games that have the power to make or break an entire Sunday.
I knew my husband was a football fan, but I had no idea what being a football fan really meant until after we were married and I joined the FFW club. “It’s just a way to keep the games interesting,” he explained (If only I knew then what I know now).
I grew up in a non-football family of all women, so I had no clue what was in store. I did not realize that I would lose my husband half of every weekend during the season. I did not realize that even summer vacations could be affected. I even caught my husband drafting his fantasy football team while we were at the beach one year. I knew he was spending way too much time in the bathroom.
Did I mention my husband is in eight fantasy football leagues and often times is the commissioner of no less than two? Yes, he is in it big time, although it is not always about big time money – as I’ve learned. Some of the leagues are for money. Some are for pride. The rest…. I’m not sure.
Sometimes, I wonder what that kind of dedication could accomplish in the real world. Okay… I just committed the ultimate sin as a FFW. A spouse should never ever call out their husband on the fact that this is just a game and not in fact part of real life. Even though we all know that “fantasy” is in the title, we are not supposed to point that out – unless they use their team as a reason to get out of chores, miss an event, or they just start moping around because they are not going to make the playoffs.
I wasn’t always so negative on fantasy football. In the beginning, I thought it was cute. I liked seeing my hubby so involved and intense (yes, we were still in the honeymoon period). I really thought it was great that he and his friends and brothers had something in common. It gave them something to talk about. It was a positive release from reality. I mistakenly thought it was like my arts and crafts projects, which give me a sense of satisfaction. The thing is my projects actually end. In fantasy football, there is no end. Even the off season is a chance to “regroup.” Every sports news article, broadcast, blog, tweet, message board, etc. is research for your team. Every discussion is competitive in nature. Every deal has the potential to be viewed as collusion. Yes collusion… it is a dirty word in the Fantasy Football League (FFL).
As I said, I was supportive at first. You need the house to host your friends for a live draft, no problem. I’ll even make some dip. You need to take this call at 2 a.m. to discuss that questionable trade, sure. You need to attend an emergency pow-wow at the bar to do a mock draft to prepare your potential roster, um okay. You need to push back our vacation a day because that is the only day everyone can get together for the live draft…. WTF! As you can tell… patience and support can only last so long.
So, how do you create a balance between showing support for your husband’s hobby and enabling an obsession? On the flip side, how can you draw a line in the sand without seeming like a complete shrew or the dreaded B word? I have to admit, I have tried every approach, from joining a league with my husband to experience first-hand what it is all about to giving ultimatums. The truth is there is no clear answer, but since my 13-year-old son is now also playing fantasy football and following the sport with a passion, I figured I should strike my own balance.
Here is what I’ve learned (From one FFW to another):
How do you “play?”
I won’t delve into too much detail, but it does help to know some of the basics. Knowledge is power and it will serve you well when you are faced with the argument that you just don’t “get it.”
First of all, fantasy is not a game you “play,” according to most FFL owners (yes, I said owners). In this totally acceptable dungeons-and-dragons-esque fantasy world, you are the owner of your very own team made up of the best of the best professional players (hence the fantasy part). Also, Fantasy isn’t just about football. There are Fantasy Leagues for just about every sport. But, for some reason (and perhaps I should say thankfully) my husband is only obsessed with Fantasy Football, even though I know he has owned Fantasy Baseball and Basketball teams. So, instead of “playing” fantasy you are managing your very own team. You are the boss deciding who stays and who goes. You get to bench your players or sign new ones depending on how well they play from week to week. It is easy to understand the appeal, especially for married men (no further explanation needed).
The Hard Truth – You Don’t Need to Know Anything to Play
If you are interested in understanding Fantasy in more detail, I suggest joining a league as a show of solidarity and support. But, be forewarned, your husband will more than likely want to take over, so do not let anyone else make decisions for your team.
The thing your Fantasy fanatic doesn’t want you to know is that you can be an owner even if you do not know anything about a sport. It is mostly a guessing game where luck plays a big part (Yes, I went there).
I played in an online league with my husband, son, and a bunch of strangers, and won the entire league (without any help thank you very much). Unfortunately, this victory did not come with any accolades or trophies. In fact, my son and husband both tried to sweep the fact that a FFW with little-to-no knowledge or real interest in the minutia of each player or NFL team could beat them handedly. I think the phrase they repeatedly used was “Throw Away League.”
Regardless of what they called it, I called it my opportunity to prove that luck and going strictly by the projected numbers has more to do with winning at Fantasy than any profound or in-depth knowledge of professional football. I also took the opportunity to remind everyone who would listen that I won simply by updating my team 15 minutes before kickoff each Sunday. I did not have to spend hours consulting or arguing with anyone before making a decision to add or drop a player. Unfortunately, this proof did nothing to sway my husband from his devotion – although I never heard him say that I did not “get it” again.
Click to Read “Yes, I’m a Fantasy Football Wife (Part 2)”
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