I broke up with my fantasy league this week. It’s a little awkward as I am in possession of the championship trophy.
I’m not going to do a recap of the league’s history or the play-by-play of what caused me to leave. It’s time to move on, but when you’re in one thing for 16 years and you’ve only been married for 12.5, it’s worth taking a moment to recall the fun, because it was a lot of fun. Let’s do a combo post here. I’ll have one memory followed by one crazy league idea for the next league (because I’m totally going to have a rebound league).
Memory #1: Early August 2001, we have our first live draft in one friend’s basement standing around a pool table not sure how to do it all. We pull names out to select the first overall pick and the shocker pick is Edgerrin James over Marshall Faulk. I get Curtis Martin and Ahman Green at the turn (had my typical shitty first every fantasy pick with Brad Johnson the year before). Someone bought a pony keg and I doubt we finished half of it. My then-girlfriend had to pick my drunk ass up and drive me to the beach.
Two weeks later I was in the emergency room. I made it through (spoiler alert) and members of the league were instrumental in my recovery, bringing me the trophy to admire in my hospital room.
Zach’s crazy fantasy league idea #1:
Superflex, but all 12 teams get to roster Ryan Fitzpatrick so if you start him it will be like those 80s movies where the two main characters unload on each other with Uzis from five paces away.
Memory #2: After winning the league in the first year, thanks in part to a championship week waiver add of Kordell Stewart, I won again in year three and trash-talked my opponent so bad the following year in the title game when my Daunte Culpepper-led squad looked invincible that he held it over me for years when he pulled off the upset.
Crazy fantasy league idea #2: Each owner throws in one crazy rule and we pull one out of the hat. Mine: three required starting tight ends.
Memory #3: Did I mention copious amounts of booze? Our friend Chuck started the tradition of the “penalty shot” when I came over to his Rams house to watch Super Bowl 34 and one of the most painful losses in history. One year my friend Don and I made a pact. We had a giant water glass next to us and every time we were awarded a shot, we poured it into the glass. Somehow Chuck caught on when he noticed the water glass was practically emitting fumes.
Crazy fantasy league idea #3: Team that finishes in last place has to start a player that RotoViz can’t quit, like Stephen Hill or Marvin McNutt, as their flex every week.
Memory #4: Our hosts, Tracy and Heidi, were finally allowed to get married thanks to last year’s Supreme Court decision. That’s the only way my backwards-ass state of Georgia would allow it. Of course we weren’t allowed to go to the actual wedding but we were at their house the following day. As a “gift” I purchased them both special football jerseys. You see, Tracy’s father played for the Saints in the 1960s and wore the same jersey number as the one I got her, Reggie Bush. Yes, I am 12.
Crazy fantasy league idea #4: Draft order by BAC.
Memory #5: For a few years, the owner who got most drunk at the draft ended up taking home the title. I’m not sure if the best was Mike, who ended up passed out in the front yard by the 10th round while we decided which Jaguars backup TE to draft for him, or Chuck who yelled over the phone at his wife to pick him up at “5-3-8!”, not remembering the actual street we were on. Two years ago I was the owner who got sick and guess what, I have the trophy as a doorstop at the moment.
Crazy fantasy league idea #5: Do the beer mile before the draft, but hold off on the actual running part. Each “lap” would be leaning over to the cooler to pull out your next beer (that you can actually taste).
Memory #6: We used to start the draft at 9 a.m. at my friend Randy’s house. Randy insisted on hosting and he had a spread of food, a refrigerator with beer, water, and Gatorade, labels all facing the front, and he’d smartly order pizza a couple hours into the festivities. We’d finish the draft around 2 in the afternoon, go home, nap, and have a family event after the fact. Nobody drank much at that one.
Crazy fantasy league idea #6: Last place team can only drink Budweiser fake flavor o ritas during the draft, and one is required to be consumed every round.
Memory #7: Chuck didn’t take it well in year one when he and Don finished out of the playoffs, and when Don beat him in the consolation game he created the Colt .45 trophy, which said “We suck less than the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs when they went 0-14”. Don was a Bucs fan at the time, and the “best of the losers” got to take home a nasty looking bottle of Colt .45.
Crazy fantasy league idea #7: Combine best-ball and choose your own lineup, doing a doubleheader in which you get one each per week (doubt any sites could handle that).
Memory #8: One year we decided to draft “out of town”. The compromise location was Tunica, which I wouldn’t believe exists other than we were there. We rented a conference room in a hotel for the draft, ordered lots of beer and food but a manager came in, interrupting my amazing Brett Farve pick (year after his Minnesota renaissance), and told me that we needed to hide the approximately dozen liquor bottles we had on the tables.
Crazy fantasy league idea #8: The wild and crazy “do a brand new redraft every week” idea that would make everyone insane.
Memory #9: I invited my dad into the league so I’d have a ride home every year, and he proceeded to kick my ass almost every time we met for years. He won his third title the year after I won my third title and he did it with Blake Bortles and Tim Hightower in his starting lineup. This happened during my “worst football weekend ever” in which I witnessed the Titans get crushed by the Brandon Weeden-led Texans and my dad made his announcement to me before he won the championship. Because of course he did.
Crazy fantasy league idea #9: One team has to start the QB facing the Titans every week, outscores Cam Newton.
Memory #10: I’ll end with a brief ode to Paul, our commish, who put this all together. We played flag football every week (back in the early 2000s before most everyone in the league had kids) and he threw out the idea, and one auto draft later (anyone still do this?), we were rolling. His daughter was born the day before our first live draft and she’s 14.
Crazy fantasy league idea #10: Just have good, fun people who have each others’ backs. That’s the wildest one of all.
How did I break up with my league? I didn’t do it by text because that’s just inconsiderate. I didn’t do it by Facebook because only a monster would pull that off. I sent an email.