Advice for the Fantasy Football Widow
TACKLING A FANTASY FOOTBALL ADDICT
by Aonika Laurent Thomas
It’s a strange type of widowhood. He’s still alive, sentient being. He eats, breathes, passes gas like he always has. He’s probably even sitting right there next to you. By any and all measurable metrics, he’s still in the land of the living. Except for one thing. September has come, it’s the beginning of the NFL football season…the first month of fantasy football. As a result, your man is literally on another plane, alternately thrilled or dismayed, crunching numbers and endless combinations of team roster personnel with the blinding intensity of Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind.” Feverishly checking his twitter feed for updates on injuries and depth chart reversals. Studying the run/pass ratio he expects for the players on his team this week, and texting his league mates with trade offers and counter offers. With all of this going on, yes, he’s there – but he’s dead to you.
For the next 17 weeks, the fantasy football gods will snatch his soul from his too solid flesh and render him useless to you. So, what’s your game plan gonna be, fantasy football widow?
The essential thing to remember is that fantasy football is an addiction. Unfortunately, to date there is no equivalent to AA for this affliction. So, as in places where they give junkies free sanitary needles, give your addict football Sunday. Let him watch the games, check his scores, and gorge himself on a buffet of statistics until he nods off into a peaceful sleep. If he doesn’t get Sundays, you’ll be made witness to the hallmarks of an addict suffering withdrawal: moodiness, cold sweats, shakiness, delirium, inability to focus, and severe anxiety. The upside is that your fantasy football fiend will be able exist in the world as something like a functioning human being Monday through Saturday. It should be noted that as far as addictions go, fantasy football is worlds better than porn, gambling, or opioids. So there’s that.
There is opportunity in enduring the pitfalls of the roto-addict. That opportunity is leverage. The price of his mental and spiritual absence should be that you own him for the rest of the year. If you want to go see “Christopher Robin,” he’s getting the tickets, the popcorn, and he will happily bear witness to the latest adventures of Winnie the Pooh. If you have kids in school, there is literally a birthday party for some classmate every single weekend. Guess who’s buying the gifts, dropping off and picking up for every party between February and August? Yes ma’am, Mr. Football will be reporting for duty. You can extract this concession because the beauty of the fantasy football sickness is that the cure is instantaneous. As soon as he is eliminated from playoff contention or wins his league, the spell is broken. It’s quite an amazing thing to see.
Or…you can join the dark side. Try it, you might like it. Anyone can get drawn into the fantasy. Even you. Want to blow your man’s mind? Join him. Find other couples that may be interested and form a league. Have a draft party, pick your players, and enjoy the ride over the course of the season. You’ll see that he’s immersed in this hobby because it’s genuinely engrossing, not because he wants me-time. If you understand the game it will go a long way toward not taking it personally if he’s checking his team’s score while you’re in labor, for example.
Chances are, your fantasy football geek is hooked because deep down he yearns to be something he’ll never be: a world-class professional athlete or an owner of an NFL franchise. This dream is permanently deferred, and the pain and longing are too much to bear. It is quite literally a way for him to live out his fantasy. It’s pitiful. So rather than feel abandoned or ignored, remember that this hobby gives him at outlet to be competitive and to be the boss. At home, we all know who’s really running the show. It’s far better he takes that frustration out on a make-believe football franchise than on you, isn’t it? Besides, Neiman Marcus on Sunday is all the rage. He won’t even notice you’re gone.