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Surviving fantasy football
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My name is not Tattoo. I do not see planes. But each Sunday, I live on my own little fantasy island.
Right around noon, I bunker down on the couch, remote and phone in arm's reach. For the next 6-10 hours, I watch football.
And while it's easier to say I'm a Jacksonville Jaguars fan now (usually something I keep top secret), I'm not tuning in to root for one particular NFL team. My focus is to make sure my fantasy teams - the Hefty Leftys - are going to pick up a victory.
Year after year, I get frustrated with fantasy football. I start the wrong guys and lose. One of my players gets hurt and my season is shot. Some opponent gets an extra 11 yards on Monday Night Football to pull off an improbable comeback.
Anybody who plays fantasy football has their own tragic story. And just like that one golf swing that makes you come back to the course, good fantasy football owners also have something that bring them back.
Here's my story.
This year, in the midst of football depression caused by Butch Jones, I almost quit for good. With my interest waning, I received a breath of fresh air.
My brother mentioned to me one of his leagues had a team with no manager. It was full of scrubs so teams could get a bye each week. It was fittingly named The Trashbags.
They're now the Hefty Lefty Trashbags.
I took over in Week 5, quickly upgrading the roster through waivers and one key trade where I netted Drew Brees for Jerick McKinnon.
Improvements were slow: I was blown out for three weeks. I joined the group chat, quickly lighting up the league with .gifs and threats that the dumpster fire I inherited would eventually become a juggernaut.
The snickers, the teasing, the taunting continued. Doubts about my skills and my roster were openly thrown in my face.
My pettiness grew. I wanted a victory, especially against one opponent who continually rejected my trades.
I circled Week 11, knowing his time would come. And late Monday night, in the Standard office surrounded by co-workers, I begged for Blair Walsh to choke on a field goal. His miss meant my win.
Walsh had my happiness at his toes. His kick fell short, and somewhere a video exists of my celebration.
I don't know how your fantasies end, but apparently mine come true when a man I've never met leaves a field goal two feet short over 3,000 miles away.