No Punt Intended

I joined my first-ever Fantasy Football league this week.

I love football, and am eager for the NFL season to start next Thursday. Tara and I saved up money for a trip to Denver the end of October to catch our Broncos in a home game against the Redskins. The next four months will be all about football, football, and more football!

And yet, I know nothing about Fantasy Football. It seems hopelessly complicated to me, full of confusing terminology such as ADPs and “handcuffing your running back.” Umm…come again? You need to know bye weeks and strength of schedule, and must have a working knowledge of every team’s third-string tight end and backup to the backup QB. There are injury reports to follow, waiver wires to watch, and so many other little nuances it makes my head spin. Hell, I couldn’t even figure out which button to push to select a player during the mock draft I participated in yesterday. So, why join? Because I’ve always been curious about how Fantasy Football works. Many of my friends and colleagues over the years have participated in various leagues, and it sounded exciting to me, even though I had no idea what was going on most of the time. Besides, I want to be part of the team here at work, and the buy-in was only $20. I figured it would be fun, and a learning experience. I fully expect to lose, because these guys take it very seriously. Yesterday we drew cards to determine our draft pick order. I was trying to be funny, even asking at one point if we could draw cards to determine the order in which we would draw cards, but that got barely a chuckle. Poor Dan was devastated when he chose the ace, representing the #1 pick. I thought that was a good thing, but then he explained that in a 14-team draft such as ours (there’s my lucky number again) the person who picks first doesn’t get to pick again until #28. Which means I should be weeping over the fact that I’ve got the #2 pick, but I’m feeling good about it anyway. Like I said: I know I’m going to suck, but hopefully, I’ll have fun sucking.

We're all just pawns in the workplace anyway. (Courtesy of post-gazette.com).
We’re all just pawns in the workplace anyway. (Courtesy of post-gazette.com).

That’s what she said.

Friday, we’re having an actual draft at noon. The company is bringing in pizza, and we’ll all be at our computers, picking players for our teams. Apparently you’re supposed to come up with a clever name for your team, so I thought up No Punt Intended. Nice little play on words, and a solid bit of braggadocio to boot. And then I saw some of the other team names: Beer Guzzling Truck Monkeys. Indian Leg Wrestlers. Fuelgasm Skull Crush. Maybe I’m guilty of over-thinking my team name just a tad.

Really looking forward to this, though.

In other news, I mentioned recently that Tara and I are gearing up for company this weekend. Our friends from Sacramento, Matt and Monica, arrive Friday evening, and will be staying with us for three nights. We’re excited to host them, and looking forward to showing off our neck of the woods. I’m sure I’ll have a full recap of their visit next week.

Monica and I have known each other for over a dozen years now. We “met” in 2001, right after Audrey’s first birthday, and before Rusty had even begun Kindergarten. Now he’s a high school graduate and she’s a teenager. That’s a long time, huh? Yet, I put the word met in quotation marks, because 8 years passed before we actually saw each other in person, and that was for a grand total of about one hour. It’s got me thinking about the nature of friendship in this day and age – a generation ago this would have seemed bizarre to fathom, but nowadays, it’s common. The internet has made the world a smaller place. Monica and I met on the same blogging site as Tara and I, but two years earlier. She was one of my first blogging friends ever, and our lives were very different then. We were both married to different people. She lived in Denmark. The chances of us ever forging a real-life friendship, in the traditional sense of the word, seemed remote. But then our lives took some strange twists. She divorced her husband and moved to California. I divorced my wife. We had a lot of shared experiences, and bonded over those. For a while there, we would chat over gmail, almost every day. We shared secrets, hopes, desires, and dreams, and our friendship did, indeed, blossom.

I dated somebody who despised the friends I made on the blog. She would vehemently insist they weren’t “real” friendships, and hated the fact that I would “friend” these people on Facebook (as I have several of you reading me now). We had heated arguments back and forth, and she wanted nothing to do with these people. Which is both ironic and hypocritical, because she and I met on the same blog (!), but this was a troubled woman who is no longer with us. I mean that quite literally. She just plain and simple never “got it.”

In 2009, right around the time I started this blog, I was invited to my cousin’s wedding in Fresno, and decided to drive down. Keenly aware that the road to Fresno passes directly through Sacramento, which at 9 hours away would make a perfect spot to spend the night, I arranged to meet up with Monica and her new husband, Matt. We got together for dinner at a restaurant called Mimi’s, along with Monica’s mom, and all hit it off wonderfully. But after an hour we parted ways, and have never seen each other again. And yet, I consider her one of my closest friends. We’ve exchanged about a thousand emails, phone calls, Christmas cards, texts, and Skype sessions since then. As an Air Force “brat,” she’s the one friend I’ve managed to hold onto for a significant portion of time. Oh, and her dad was in the military too, so we have that in common. I just think it’s amazing that we have been able to keep in touch all these years. I’m excited for Tara to meet her too, and am looking forward to a fun weekend together.

Does a friendship get any more “real” than that?

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12 thoughts on “No Punt Intended

  1. “Does a friendship get any more “real” than that?”

    I agree, Mark, I have formed some amazingly close friendships through blogging, which have become friendships offline as well. It always blows me away when people say that blogging friendships are “not real.” And blows me away ever more that many BLOGGERS say this. “Real” does not mean you always meet someone in person, “real” means a real “connection” you make with someone.

    Have an faaaaaaabulous weekend, buddy. Sounds like it’s gonna be a very enjoyable one!

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    1. Maybe these people have dozens of real-life friends and have a different definition of friendship. Who knows? You’ve summed it up perfectly, though: “real” means a real “connection.” That’s absolutely correct. Have a great weekend, Ron!

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  2. I’ve met quite a few of my blogging buddies–and we’ve formed friendships that are dear to me. It is real, and it’s wonderful. Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your visitors———and, I hope, Sara and I get to meet you and Tara one of these days!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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  3. Some of my best friends are the ones I’ve met on the internet. :) Hope you have a great weekend with Monica & Matt. I hope Shawn and I can connect with you and Tara sometime – I’m trying to talk him into a trip out west.

    Good luck with your fantasy league, its a lot of fun. And it forces you to watch what’s going on with all the teams and players, not just the ones you’re most familiar with. And um, its kind of addicting. ;)

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  4. You’ll have to keep explaining Fantasy Football as this goes on – I too have often wondered what it’s all about! Hope you have fun with your friends. Don’t forget you have a wedding coming up, so the next few months won’t be all about football either!

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