Today, my son celebrates his first birthday. I have a hard time remembering what life was like before my wife and I had a baby. What did we do with all that free time? How did we keep another human being alive for a whole year? Are we bad parents for laughing when he falls head first into the ottoman? Despite not having near as much free time as I did just one year ago, there’s been one thing that’s really helped me stay afloat over the last tumultuous year….fantasy football.
My obsession with fantasy sports started way back in college. My fraternity had a fantasy basketball league we all played in. This was a over a decade ago and I can still remember the fights that occurred in our house over Tracy McGrady. All I’ll say is don’t leave your computer unattended with your league page open in a fraternity. As obsessed with fantasy football as I have been over the past 10 years, I can say that without a doubt, this year has been my most obsessive.
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of people say “I don’t understand fantasy football” or “Is that just something nerds play?” I get it. It’s not for everyone. But what I’ve found over the last year is that fantasy football can be an outlet. It’s there for you when times are rough. It’s there for you when you’re up late at night because your baby won’t sleep. It’s there for you when you lose someone close to you. Late night feeding time is the best time browse the waiver wire. Negotiating trades with league mates helps take your mind off that tub you need clean because your kid pooped in it. Trying to figure out why people continually overrate Lamar Miller is the best thing to do during nap time. Setting your lineup for all your teams helps you ponder less why your wife thinks its so important that your kid’s socks need to match the rest of his outfit.
For me, fantasy football helped me keep my sanity. The first year as a parent can be terrifying. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In my Army days, I lived through the stress of 2 years in Iraq and it didn’t break me. A few nights of having a baby that woke up screaming every 30 minutes just about broke me. And it was times like this that looking over the latest player rankings or looking at the latest mock drafts helped melt off a lot of that stress. Well, that and beer.
Once my wife and I adapted to this new life, things calmed down quite a bit. There are still bad days, but the days are mostly good. So, on my sons 1st birthday, as I watch him nap on the baby monitor, I run through my rosters in my keeper leagues. Lesean McCoy or AJ Green? Amari Cooper or Brandin Cooks?