When I first moved to San Diego, I was dating a guy who was hell-bent on watching a handful of television shows. Some of his shows I was a fan of already, some I was not. One of the ones I was not familiar with was the The League, which I quickly became a fan of. In fact, after one episode, I even wrote an email to my best girlfriends raving about the show and ranting about how 100 percent next fall, 2011, I am throwing myself into a fantasy football league.
Now I always prided myself on being a sports girl and can shoot the shista on most sports. After all, I grew up in a male dominant household, I played 3 sports in high school (field hockey, basketball and lacrosse), I worked for the Washington Capitals for 4 years in college, and I went to a big sports school (Go Terps!) and went to every home football and basketball game.
I’ve loved NCAA basketball since I was in elementary school when I developed my first athlete crush on Steve Blake, who now plays for the Lakers (I loved telling people that on the west coast).
But in all honesty, I loved football for the culture. By culture, I mean the reason to drag me out of bed at 8 a.m. to celebrate kegs and eggs on a Saturday morning in college, having hot guys happily grill hamburgers and equip me with cold silver bullets at tailgates and finally, having my guy friends tossing me up in the air like pizza dough inside the Byrd Stadium 14 times if we scored 14 points because it was a football tradition. I did not really understand all of the positions other than QB (usually white), wide receivers, running backs (fast) and that the guys on the line were large and in charge. I could hang ten during a Ravens game, but was never one to announce what the ref just called, but was more likely to act angered by calls, though I had no idea what just happened.
Here is a short excerpt from that email I sent my girlfriends from fall October 26, 2011:
“My first full day in San Diego, I woke up to a text from Flo (short for his last name and his friends deem him sauve) requesting a cameo appearance by me for Sunday Funday at Bubs to watch the Raider game with him because he ‘bleeds black and silver.” After I munched on my usual double order of celery and buffalo sauce and the Raiders lost, Flo threws his bike into my CRV (laugh here if you know my car’s real name) and we arrived at his place to watch The League. Let me tell you, The League is my new fav show….It’s about some Chicago BFF Bros in a Fantasy Football League. Now girls, not sure who has heard my rant on how I decided next fall, I am 100 percent, launching myself into a fantasy football league. Plus, this will definitely make me more marketable in the male department and I will actually have a better reason to be at bars other than faux watching the game and eating exorbitant amount of celery with mild sauce. I urge all you girls to contemplate it…This could be a gold mine. Hot girls who keep checking their points on their fantasy football app while sitting at the bar already have two things in common with the others guys in the bar: we both are drinking and we are both in a league. My God, we could make guys squirm for us. Anyway, I told Flo this theory of mine and I swear, I saw his brown Indian eyes sparkle like the lights of Times Square.”
So, this past summer, when I was invited to an old boyfriend’s fantasy league after attending Valerie and Tom’s wedding together, of course I jumped at the chance to fulfill this void in my life and to get in touch with my inner Madden. I actually had kind of forgotten about my previous year’s intent because it was the first week of August, but hell, I was not going to pass this up. This was a grand opportunity to become proficient in the language of the NFL and to impress 9 bros from college.
I should give you a brief background that I was actually a pity invite to this league I think. My wedding date was complaining about how they needed a 10th man in their league and no one could decide who was worthy enough for the role. Some candidates were either annoying, lackluster in managing their leagues in previous years, or some guys just offered to help their friends out, but did not give a flying field goal about football.
At that wedding, my date and I were on the heels of just hanging out with Art Donovan, 5 time Pro Bowler and Johnny Unitas’s lifelong friend because he owned the country club where Val’s beautiful reception was. Art, because we are on a first name basis now obviously, asked if I was married and of course I told him I was “a free agent, just like [you] once [were]!” to which I scored a raspy laugh from the walking man of Baltimore football greatness. Anyway, my date, knowing I was a fan of FX’s The League, turned and said, “Hey! You watch The League! Do you want to be in our league? I mean we have a black president, why not has the first chick in an all male league?”
So when I gave the okay that I was down to touchdown, texts were sent to the league members for approval. All gave their thumbs up except the commissioner at first, who wanted to ensure I would be serious. My college boyfriend reassured the commissioner I would do at least 5 to 10 hours of research before Draft Day and that was 5 to 10 hours more than last year’s 10th man, so I was in like Flynn.
“Five to 10 hours?!?!” I thought to myself. What the H have I gotten myself into? The week before draft day, I was skimming the World Wide Web like there was no tomorrow and I was going to die in my fantasy football league with a strong roster (‘rosterbating’ if you League fans will).
Judgment day arrived, I mean Draft day. I had exhausted all my jokes about popping a Xanax to chill my fantasy football nerves. I arrived at home early to get set up with all my printed research, my laptop, and some BLLs in perfect position for this ESPN session. I even shot gunned a brew or two with my NFL consultant Henrik, a loyal friend and diehard Pats fan. It was 9 p.m. draft for my east coast Terp guys, 6 p.m. for me. And I scored the No.4 pick.
I have followed football (mostly knowing Ravens players and the good looking athletes who date other celebrities) to an extend for years, plus I was topped with 10 hours of research my belt.
I knew names, but I didn’t not know every player histories or even current teams of a lot of these guys, but Henrik provided that information during the 10 seconds we had during each round to pick a player. He always gave me the last decision respectfully. For example, he played devil’s advocate on why I should choose Vick over Brady despite Henrik being a Pats fan, but I made the right decision. During our draft and even throughout the season, I talked smack keenly to these guys who never thought of me as a shista talker. And I even embraced being the only girl in the league of 9 bros with my ingenious title of “TEAM BIG A** TDs.” Say it out loud for the full effect readers. My picture was a set of you know whats in a Ravens cheerleader outfit. I was aiming to be like Jenny, the hot wife on The League, who has proven she can hold her own and was granted a place in The League.
Within an hour, my anxiety had settled as the draft was over and I had molded my roster into shear greatness…before injuries and weak sauce performances lessened my team’s merit at times, but I am still very pleased with my first season in the league as I surpassed all the 9 bros expectations from the first broad even blessed with the ability to rage in their league.
Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Rob Gronkowski (all New England Patriots) and Peyton Hillis, AJ Green, Neil Rackers, and Packers Defense secured my 5th place. #Nottooshabby for my first season I thought.
Not only did being in a league justify my presence at the bar (my house did not have NFL Sunday ticket whereas most bars show all the games because they do), but I learned a filthy amount of information on the sport. In addition, I impressed more dudes than I could have ever imagined this past season. I even ended up dating a one of the coolest, smartest guys I’ve ever met for a while because I used my league as the attention getter, believe it or not, in Vegas.
How’d I do it you might ask? My 4 girlfriends and I had just arrived TAO in the Venetian for LMFAO. The TAO employees asked if we wanted to be hooked up with a group of guys in VIP. I politely accepted while maintaining my cool, not to blow our cover that we were thankfully amped for bottle service, which we had grown accustomed to in Vegas through our various connections. I sat next to my favorite sandy-haired dude in a silver dress shirt and framed glasses. He was a tall drink of water and a confident intellectual, not a boy. I introduced myself, exchanged pleasantries and then whipped out my cell phone asking his opinion on how he thinks my team is shaping up. Boom. A bromance was born because I was speaking guy fluently. Once I buttered him up with that, then I could keep his attention on more personal and feminine stuff like my background, my blog and my life ambitions.
Anyway, it was a great year to join because last year there were so many injuries and so many trades making this season unpredictable and even more exciting with unexpected performances. Plus, not only is the NFL bigger than ever, but religion has never been so dominant in the game thanks to almost canonized Tim Tebow. I always loved the guy because he is ridiculously good-looking, has always had a nice girlfriend according to my cousin who lived right next to him at University of Florida, plus he didn’t score so high on the SATs, so I sympathized with him on that.
But boy does he know how to throw one up to the Big Man and he’s reaped the benefits of prayer this year with his breakout performances.
Personally, I am jazzed about my Ravens rolling into the playoffs! YEA BUDDY! But just to spite those senseless Steelers fans, of course I, and the rest of America, minus any Shittspurgh fans, wanted the Broncos to defeat the Steelers and God himself answered our prayers through the handiwork of Tim.
Tebow threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass. His stats in Sunday’s game mirrors the numbering of the Biblical passage that Tebow at times had painted on to his black eye paint during his undergrad as a Florida Gator — John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Tebow bro also threw a BIG A** TD to Demaryius Thomas, who happens to have been born Christ’s birthday, for the winning touchdown in OT vs. Pittsburgh on Sunday, ending the fastest overtime in the history of the game. Heavenly coincidence? America and the ESPN Analysts in Bristol, Connecticut, think not. Think angel wing motion by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Angels in the Outside, but instead drop to a knee, bow your head in prayer while placing your TEBOW on your knee.
My fantasy league is over now and even though I had 3 spectacular Patriots on my team this fall, it’s 2012 and I don’t want to vote against God when we all may die this year. So, I am rooting for the Denver Broncos when God plays Belichick this weekend. (And note, Terp Lance Ball is on their team too). But remember, I am ultimately hoping for a Ravens Superbowl Championship, starting this Sunday vs. the Texans for the AFC Championship (see later this week’s blog post about Ravens football).
A grande gracies to my old crushes for the opportunity to familiarize myself with the wonders of The League and being in a league. From now on, I will always be a league. In fact, I’ll probably be in two next year, one with my local guy friends (little boyfriends) and one with my girlfriends and I will be the Commissioner of us Baltimore broads. I’ve told my friends who are already stoked. Some of them already watch The League because of my rave reviews and because their cool boyfriends watch it. We all laugh about how fantastic Ruxin, my favorite character is and how every guy appreciated my Facebooks status of “Golden Gating” because of Rafi when I was in San Francisco last month for 5 days. I’ve had the greatest time in my fantasy and I want them to appreciate how rewarding, yet stressful being a league can really be. After all, it’s all about the little people. So let’s go big.