Draft-day diary

A fantasy football that started as a group of guys who didn’t know what they were doing has morphed into a four-day weekend event. The high point of the weekend is the Saturday morning draft.

After getting home the previous evening at one in the morning, my dad knocked on the door at 8:30. I got up at 7:30, a little tired but not hung over, miraculously, and finished my draft list. I also finished downloading teams’ “introduction music” into my iPod.

We arrived at my friend’s basement, where we have held the draft since the second year of the league. He only lets the female members of the league use the upstairs bathroom. Considering our behavior, we should feel lucky to be allowed in the house at all. The Commish has the league board up and is putting people’s keepers at the bottom. Each player is represented by a sticker. No, the technology has not improved from that point.

While the draft is supposed to start at 9, we don’t get going until around 9:45. It will be a theme for the day. I can’t get my iPod to work with my friend’s stereo system or computer, so there will be no introduction music. LT goes off the board. It’s my pick.

I know it’s going to be a reach, but I have to have the courage of my convictions. I take Kevin Smith. A minute later, I take a shot of rot-gut whiskey. It’s one of five types of alcohol I’ll consume today.

Before Brandon Marshall’s acquittal on “simple battery” charges, I considered Eddie Royal to be the second best wideout. I hoped that he would be there at my 2.11 pick. To my surprise, only three wideouts go before my second pick. I take Marshall. Remembering my mock draft experience, I take Donovan McNabb as my backup QB in the third round. Even though running backs are going like hotcakes, I know that the position’s deep enough for me to wait.

During the long break between picks, my fellow owners have different reactions to the draft experience. Some pour over their papers like there is nothing more important in the world. Others talk and joke. The rest drink.

If I drank all of the two dozen penalty shots offered to me by our penalty shot czar, I would be dead. I brought a vodka bottle that contained a little vodka and a lot of water. That saved me. When my fourth pick came up, Royal was still on the board. I took him, ignoring Kyle Orton’s disastrous preseason performance. I’ll take two receivers who might combine for 190 catches this year. I might be depending on Captain Checkdown, one of the nicer nicknames for Orton.

I take Cedric Benson as my third running back. With Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, and Benson I now have three running backs with little competition and some of the worst O-lines in the league.

Zach Miller and John Carlson are my tight ends. Jerricho Cotchery (another 80-catch guy) is my fourth WR. Ahmad Bradshaw is my shot-in-the-dark RB4. Marc Bulger is my “please let me never start him” QB3. I have defenses and kickers but I can’t recall who they are. Our penalty shot czar got drunk enough that he thought drafting Brett Lorenzo Favre was a good idea. It was good comedy at least.

After nearly four hours, we were done. I went home, napped, and prepared for the evening’s gathering, featuring the families of everyone in the league who wasn’t too hung over. It was nice. Tomorrow morning we’ll play our annual flag-football game, aka the Hangover Bowl, and that will be that. I’ll go to work and remember that it’s only 360 days until we do it again.

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