I’ve got $14.82 left in my bank account. I don’t have a girlfriend. My apartment is infested with fruit flies, which hover around in lazy circles over the empty cans of Four Loko on my living room table.
But now I’ve got Mike’s Mom.
Mike’s Mom is the name of my fantasy football team. I created her three weeks ago. I picked the name because it implies things about the mother of my roommate, Mike, who’s also in the league. I’m still proud of the name even though my roommates think I’m a jackass.
In the three weeks I’ve spent with Mike’s Mom, I’ve already surpassed the 18 years of loyalty I’ve given my hometown Clippers, Dodgers and Lakers.
When you get involved in a league with the right people, fantasy sports are more than just a weekly compilation of statistics. We’ve built our own trophy (Refer to: “The Shiva” on FX’s The League) on Photoshop, which hangs majestically above our television. The 0-2 guy in our house can’t look at the 1-1 and 2-0 guys straight in the eye. In fact, he refuses to talk any more shit about anybody until he wins a game. Fantasy football has single-handedly changed our house dynamics, and the change is imperceptible to the other two guys in our house who aren’t involved.
With the Dodgers stinking up the universe heading into the final stretch of the baseball season, “Mike’s Mom” is the only reason I ever go to espn.com anymore. This is in spite of the fact that I haven’t truly followed football since John Elway’s Broncos.
I may be biased, but Mike’s Mom is awesome. She’s got Tennessee’s Chris Johnson — Chris fucking Johnson — as her starting running back. I lucked out when I got her the Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers in the fourth round when I thought I’d be stuck with Kevin Kolb or Brett Favre.
Still, she lost last week when Chris fucking Johnson fumbled and ran for 34 yards, getting only two of the 20 points he was expected to earn. She did almost win on Monday night when her Saints defense, picked in lieu of a struggling Cincinnati defense, pressured the 49er offense into a safety situation. The game itself was epic, with a long drive conducted by the Saints’ Drew Brees in the fourth quarter leading to a last-second, game-winning field goal, but in combined with the lead changes going on in my own fantasy game, I was on the edge of my seat. I was in sports nirvana.
It’s no longer enough just to root for a professional team.
Fantasy football has been around for a while, apparently, with the old school hardcore faithful of my parent’s generation appointing one commissioner to manually tally up the statistics every week from newspapers and box scores.
Today, it’s all done automatically online. There’s tons of free advice offered by thousands of experts. The internet has made fantasy football mainstream. It’s made it easy.
A fantasy football beatwriter I spoke to for tips last week claimed that the mainstream media and pro teams compare fantasy football to Dungeons and Dragons, likening fantasy participants to nerds living in their parent’s basements.
This is no longer the case. As technology gets better, so does our desire to control our entertainment experience. If anything, it’s a great way to kill the hours between classes.
I really like it a lot.
Daily Nexus Sports Editor Ravi Bhatia loves fantasy football, in case the point wasn’t clear in the article.