I would like to meet the person who invented fantasy football. When I do, I will tie him to a chair and make him listen to me talk about chamber music until he begs for mercy. At that point, I will consider us even.
I married a man who was not a big sports fan. I did so on purpose. My son, however, emerged from the womb spouting pass completion stats. It was bad enough when he just watched the games. Now that he and his friends have a fantasy football league, it’s like living inside an ESPN Zone, only cheaper with better food.
First, there is the draft and the dawn to dusk complaints about who “stole” his favorite player. Then there are the endless trades, the texts back and forth offering deals, most of which suck. We spent an entire dinner talking about negotiation theory–this is what happens when your parents both have MBA’s. We taught him how to evaluate the strength of his position and that doing absolutely nothing is a legitimate strategy. That is an hour of my life I will not get back.
There is the never-ending discussion about who to play each week and who to bench. My son will enter my office, see me typing furiously and decide that I’m not doing anything, so he’ll take me through the various permutations of quarterbacks, running backs and defensive lines. He will choose incorrectly, because there is always a better option once you know the outcome.
I know that saying “I really could not care less, but don’t take it personally,” is not a recommended parenting strategy. I am also sure he has a similar experience when his father or I talk about pretty much anything. So we’re giving him five minutes to talk football at dinner. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but understand it is an entirely one-way exchange that feels like five hours. If he balks, I ask him which he’d like to discuss first, programming languages, grammar rules or Schubert.
“How about the Red Sox?”
It was worth a try.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Sima Dimitric © 2009 Creative Commons