Fantasy Football Fraud (August 28, 2012)

Football Charlie Brown



There are numerous forms of sexism which irk me: the assumption on the part of some that we are mentally and physically the weaker gender, the presumption that women should be overruled when it comes to decision-making power over their reproductive cycles, the corporate glass ceilings that still exist which often permit women to do the same work for less pay, with fewer opportunities for advancement. These are among the more obvious examples and there are plenty more from which to choose. But as a lifelong sports fan about to welcome the official start of the football season, I am reminded again of the generally-accepted prejudice when it comes to women and sports. And I am not talking about small-minded attitudes about our individual athletic ability, although that rankles as well. My personal tale for the week revolves around a male-dominated office environment and a 2012 NFL Fantasy Football League.

I was born into this cruel world a Chicago Cubs fan and an ardent student of professional baseball, mentored by a statistic-loving father. Baseball will always be my first love in the sporting world, but several years ago, my enthusiasm for that particular game met its match when I gave football a serious look. Up to that time, I had written off the occupation as unnecessarily violent and complicated, code for “It makes me feel dumb.” I could sing-rap every verse to the 1985 Chicago Bears’ playoff anthem, “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” but I didn’t understand the roles of the men on the field that weren’t quarterbacking or field goal kicking, nor did I care to try. It seemed like too much  investment.

But decades of disappointment experienced at the hands of The Loveable Losers (Where were you during “The Bartman Incident?” Every Cubs fan has a memory.) and some initiation into the world of office sports pools turned this woman into a hyper-competitive gridiron addict. I have written about my up-and-down emotional journey with a Pick-a-Winner (PAW) contest in which I have participated for the past six years. I join New York Jets fans the world over in detesting Brett Favre. Long story short, after a deep immersion in the NFL for more than a half-decade, I know my shit.

This season in addition to regular participation in PAW, I am branching out my sports wagering empire to include a Fantasy League Football team through my current workplace, via Yahoo! Sports. Last year, my company was a little less ambitious, containing efforts to a weekly, straightforward pool, during the course of which I CLEANED UP! I won far more money than any other male participant, and it would be positively indecent to discuss the can of whoop ass I opened up during the special Super Bowl edition. But do you think this success buys any respect or even an admission that I might just be a real football fan? Nope, instead I was treated to the requisite, unimaginative jokes about women selecting winners based on the attractiveness of a club’s uniform color.

On Tuesday nights, I attend a kickboxing class, my favorite release of physical aggression, and the Commissioner of the company’s league scheduled the draft to begin right around the time I’m jumping rope with my fellow students. I understand that not everyone’s itinerary can be accommodated so rather than just rely on the chancy auto pick function, which makes team selections in the event of absenteeism, I asked my boyfriend to stand in for me. Regardless of the lamentable fact that he is an Indianapolis Colts fan, I trust him completely. He understands the seriousness with which I take this and we have been discussing the draft, the order in which I’d like my positions selected and who I would ideally like to fill them, for weeks. It must be mentioned that JC takes his assignment so ardently, he is logging on before the start of the madness to do some additional research. Perhaps a training injury took place this week of which we’re not aware. It’s really gratifying to have such a partner.

But instead of congratulating me for capable delegation and the investment in a relationship of equals, I am dealing with predictable accusations that I have secured “a ringer.” Sigh. Sometimes the chauvinistic ignorance is nearly too much to bear.

I realize that some of the “teasing” is a legitimate attempt to drive me from the League, to turn it into the non-threatening boys’ club it was intended to be. Sadly it really stings a certain section of the male populace to lose to a girl, as if that somehow inverts their masculinity. I’m hardly Susan B. Anthony or anything, but I feel I’d be doing a disservice to myself as well as my gender to run from these attitudes simply because they’re unpleasant. So once the draft concludes, I suppose I’ll have to keep making my point with understated, superior management skills. The “Woman’s Curse” is not menstruation. It is dogged, multi-tasking competence and willful patriarchal arrogance.


No, ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ Just No! (February 12, 2011)

Please don’t do this to me y’all. I have watched every episode of every season you have ever had. I have stuck with you through Tom Bergeron’s multiple co-host changes (and sorry ladies, none of you can ad-lib your way out of a Smart car). I have suffered through Bristol Palin and feared your casting team could go no lower than Evander Holyfield, but now you are thinking of doing this? Does my loyalty purchase no gratitude?

Rumor Mill: Brett Favre to Join ‘Dancing with the Stars?’

I knew it. I was finally lulled into the belief that I might be free of seeing this grizzled old drama queen wince his way across my TV screen. I swore that after a highly publicized episode of texting his pee pee to a female employee of the NFL, after leading the Minnesota Vikings to a horrendously disappointing season, promising once and for all to free the league of his divatude, he might take his millions and crawl into a pop cultural cave for a spell. But no, the ultimate media whore has decided instead to give ballroom dancing a whirl.

Though a loyal fan, I have never cast a vote for a contestant of this show before. However, if the rumor pans out and Favre does compete on the 12th season of the program, I will start my own robo dial campaign – for everyone but him.

Go away Brett!

I Hate Brett Favre (August 19, 2009)

I have never been a Green Bay Packers fan, and I never will be. As a lifelong Chicago Bear, I have done my duty to repudiate cheeseheads in green jerseys for as long as I can remember.

However, I have plenty of respect and understanding for the angry Packer fans everywhere today. Is this guy a tool or what?

I have watched this clown “retire” for the last two NFL seasons. The first of these decisions came with a bucketful of manly tears, and vows to withdraw from football before the tarnishing of his legacy (a Vicodin addiction and a complete lack of SuperBowl titles). The body was falling apart, even if the spirit was willing, blah, blah, blah.

Of course that was all shit, and you may recall that last year, old Brett (emphasis on the old) played for the NY Jets. I liked Favre’s work in There’s Something About Mary, and found him otherwise benign, but toward the end of his brief tenure in New York, my disinterest turned into a burning rage.

For the last few years, I have participated in a football pool each season run by my friend Wayne. It is called Pick-A-Winner (or PAW for those in the know). Basically, all the players start the season fresh. You may pick one winning team, and only one, from the week’s matchups. The tricky part is that once you have selected a team, you may not reuse them again. So if you are lucky enough to continue surviving each week, you must select your winner from a diminishing pool of available teams. It’s a science. You don’t want to use all the good teams upfront. So, in 2008, Boop found herself in the driver’s seat, heading toward the last week of the NFL season with only two competitors to outwit and outlast.

Favre had had a pretty good first half with the Jets, and even after he started to come apart at the seams a bit, I took a look at what I had left to play. In a move that I now wish wholeheartedly I could undo, I put my misplaced trust in Brett Favre for the final game, Jets vs. Dolphins. If I could emerge out the other side with a New York victory, I would be $1500 richer the day before Christmas. What a touching story right?

Wrong. As succinctly stated by Don Banks at Sports Illustrated. com:

“Favre won some big games with New York last season, particularly those back-to-back road wins at New England and Tennessee in Weeks 11-12, but in the end, the 2008 Jets will be remembered for losing four of their last five games and collapsing from an 8-3 Super Bowl contender to a 9-7 non-playoff finisher. Favre threw nine interceptions and two touchdown passes over the course of those final five games, and in the most ironic twist of all, was beaten head-to-head by former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington in Week 17 in the Meadowlands, sending downtrodden Miami into the playoffs as the AFC East champion.”

So instead of riding to victory, Boop sat in a hotel room in Phoenix with Eddie, tears streaming down her face, vowing to get Brett Favre, if it took the last breath in my body. When he retired again after this disastrous season, I was lulled into the belief that the sports world was finally rid of this chucklehead. But alas, he will reappear again this season, this time in the Midwest with the Minnesota Vikings. The unmitigated nerve of it all. Sir, just how many franchises and their fans do you hope to tear apart?