When I was in college, and maybe a year or two after, I participated in a Fantasy Baseball league. Back in those days you had to hand tabulate (of if you had a smart dude in your dorm who knew how to use Lotus 123, input by hand all the data) all of the stats used to determine the league standings. I did that one summer (by virtue of the fact that the smart guy who set up the database was smart enough to use Lotus 123, but at that time didn't own his own computer) by virtue of the fact that I was the only guy on the floor with his own computer. Yep... strange but true. My old "Leading Edge 8088" would get use 24/7 by people who didn't want to wait in line in a few computer labs on campus cause it was one of only a handful of computers students on Miami's campus owned. I had to learn how to sleep while bathed by a warm yellow glow (no color monitors in those days kids... just yellow letters as far as the eye could see) and the light tapping of fingers on keys. I'm pretty sure the sound of Wayne Kintz cursing his engineering professors while imputing data put me to sleep more than once back in the day.
Ah... what a simple time 1987-91 was. No computers and no cell phones. It was the Stone Age, and by golly we liked it that way.
But, like most things, I eventually (as a marginal baseball fan) lost interest in all things Fantasy Baseball, and proceeded to live my life Fantasy free....
until about five or six years ago. That's when the Fantasy world sucked me back in.
I put the fault on my brother, who, as someone 12 years younger than myself, started getting into things like picking fake teams, to win a fake award, to win bragging rights that you are the best fake sports owner among your own tribe of clueless friends. One year his friends were short one player to fill out a full 12 man Fantasy NBA League, and he called to see if I was interested in playing. I really wasn't, but told him that I was. Then I proceeded to skip setting up my team and participating in the draft. It took Andy six weeks to convince me to even take a look at the team the computer had drafted for me.... which I ended up, reluctantly, doing, only to discover what stupid picks the computer had made in my absence. I dropped a few guys, picked up a few others, made a couple of trades, and within a week I was hooked.
Ever since then during every football and basketball (and one baseball season, which was enough) I have had my own fantasy team. And while I have won the regular season of the basketball league a couple of times (although I've never conquered the final tourney), my football teams have ranged from being passable to laughable. I don't know that I've ever finished in the top half of the league. It's good thing I enjoy the trashtalking, or I'd have quit fantasy football a long time ago.
But that's just it.... in my world, I can't trash talk with anyone. I mean, Sunday morning Charlotte (my associate pastor) was talking smack about how this hymn she wrote (to the tune of Great Is Thy Faithfulness) was the ultimate in song-writing efforts in the history of this church and how nobody would ever be able to top her. But that's as smack talky as it gets around here. "My hymn kick your hymn's F#". Not exactly testosterone generating.
Hence the downside of being a pastor: I miss being a regular guy. Nobody, even the guys who would consider me their friend here at the church, treats me as a regular guy. They watch their language and tell me clean jokes and make sure that if they have a beer with their dinner that it won't offend me. It's like I'm a 6'1" two-hundred and zzzzzzz pound china doll. I mean people I went to high school with apologize when they say a swear word in conversation. It's like they've forgotten that I might have heard that word once or twice while attending West Junior High School or Lima Senior.
This group of guys, who are largely Andy's buddies, don't know me as a pastor, so they bust my chops, and I theirs. And as anyone who knows me, knows, I like busting chops.
Anyhow, here's the 2007 edition of my Fantasy Football Team, which is named after it's owner who has dubbed himself the "Pastor of Disaster".
QB's: Donovan McNabb, Alex Smith, Byron Leftwich
This will be the third year in a row I've drafted Donovan McNabb. In both of the previous years, he was one of our league leaders in scoring, and carried me from weekly victory to weekly victory... until he got hurt. Then, ultimately, without him my team fell apart, and I either missed the playoffs or got bounced in the first round. So why pick him again. I dunno. Just a glutton for punishment I guess. Alex Smith seems to be figuring out how to be a QB in the NFL so I picked him as my backup, and since someone else got Big Ben, I took Leftwich cause he's from the MAC, I'm a Miami grad, and us MAC alums need to stick together (which would be laughable, except all the rest of the guys in my league graduated from Toledo, so you ought to see the run on UT-grads like Chester Taylor.... MAC solidarity is a real phenomenon).
RB's: Rudi Johnson, Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor, Priest Holmes, Anthony (A-Train) Thomas
If you actually play Fantasy Football, you know now why my teams aren't part of the upper echelon. For the fourth year in a row I've got a stable of not-stupendous running backs. And in Fantasy Football world, RB's are more valuable than even QB's (for statistical reasons that are too boring to explain). Rudi Johnson is probably the fifth to eighth best back in the league (which makes sense since I picked sixth). Edgerrin James was once an elite back in the league, and then committed professional hari kari by signing with the Arizona Cardinals, who are perpetually one-year away from being competitive. Fred Taylor had a great year last year, but has the most unreliable hamstrings in the game. If this were 2002, Priest Holmes would be a valuable back, but that was one major knee reconstruction and a Larry Johnson ago. And as for the A-Train, well, what can I say... he plays for Buffalo, so maybe he'll actually get a chance to get on the field. All in all, a pretty underwhelming group. We'll call em the "Drab Five".
WR's: Marques Colston, Donald Driver, Wes Welker, Eddie Kennison, Rod Smith
I don't feel bad about my receivers. They're actually pretty decent. Colston was a breakout sensation last year with New Orleans, which should continue to be a hot team thanks to QB Drew Brees remarkable accuracy and decision making ability. Donald Driver is really Brett Favre's only decent receiving option, so he ought to pile up some stats this year. I had Welker last year when he played for the hapless Dolphins, and he piled up solid numbers as a receiver and returner every week. This year, as a member of the Patriots, with Tom Brady as his QB, I expect good things. Every year I've been in the league I think I've had Kennison. People always think he's too old, and then he goes out there and keeps playing well. Rod Smith, unbeknownst to me during the draft, is probably not going to play this year (because he's hurt and 165 years old), so I'm actually in the process of dropping for a receiver from Minnesota (whose name escapes me). All in all, a solid receiving corps.
TE: Jeremy Shockey
Unless you had Alge Crumpler before Michael Vick got bit by his love of Pit Bulls, or Tony Gonzalez before he lost a couple of steps, you've probably never had a very productive TE. They just don't tend to have much value in Fantasy world. I chose Shockey cause he'll get the ball regularly, and will score a few touchdowns.
K: Robbie Gould
Took an immense amount of abuse by taking this guy early (the eighth round) in our draft, but the way our scoring is set up, a good kicker can make some hay. This guy had a great year for the Bears last year, and the inability of the team to put the ball in the endzone makes him extra valuable cause the teams ends up settling for a lot of field goals.
They were the best of what was left when I picked. I'm sure they'll get dropped more than once before the season is over.
Anyhow, I'll be lucky to finish near .500, and if I make the playoffs I won't last one round. But I really don't care because at least, for short periods of time, I'll just be one of the guys...
and that's just fine by me.