Eep- I can’t wait for football to start again! Made some tiny fan portraits at this week’s drawing club:It’s crazy to think that until kinda recently, my opinion of football landed between indifference and dislike. And it’s not because I didn’t grow up with it: I was adopted into an exceptionally athletic family of football fans and players; I filmed Stony Brook University’s home games for college TV; my British husband rooted for the Seahawks before they were champs (to be fair, he follows ALL the sports). Plus, I’ve distractedly watched a bunch of Super Bowls. I’m just a non-sporty weirdo who had to come around to football in my own time. (And for the record, I don’t think it’s without serious issues. It’s one of several problematic things I’m a fan of… like Lars von Trier movies or shopping on Amazon… but it’s also a great game.)
So last year, I joined the Flagpole Fantasy Football league and it was like “bloaw!” Practically out of nowhere, I got really into the NFL. At first, I didn’t have a firm grasp on the rules of the game (like, football itself but also fantasy sports) and totally bombed the draft. Yahoo gave my picks a D-, ranked me dead last, and predicted I’d only win one match. I picked Aaron Rodgers first because he was the only available player I’d heard of, then muddled through the rest with a list I’d compiled of players who looked friendly, hadn’t been charged with anything horrific, and weren’t Washington Redskins. It didn’t look promising but then I won my first match! I was at work on a quiet night, refreshing my phone 10000000x to see what was going on (answer: Carlos Hyde, tearing it up!). Every week, I was sure I was going to lose but I ended up winning the next 7 games, beating every team in the league once. The third week in, I was distracted by an IKEA breakfast and didn’t realize until kickoff that despite being on my team DeMarco Murray wouldn’t be playing. I stopped in the middle of the store to curse the football gods but, amazingly, I still won! The nerd-rush that hit after my odds-crushing streak was nuts. In the end, I lost reeeally bad in the playoffs but I was so invested by that point, it was ok. LOL LOL LOL, Yahoo!
And truly, football’s appeal goes beyond the thrill of winning. I used to think it was boring (??) but now I see it’s like a giant, brutal chess game. Way more exciting and interesting than I’d thought. Second, fantasy football taps into my love of superstition. Carlos Hyde was injured early in the season but I kept him in every possible lineup as good luck. Conversely, I blamed my losing streak at the end on DeMarco Murray who was a “can’t cut” player even though he was abysmal with the Eagles. Finally, I became a fan of specific players. My favorite right now is RB Doug Martin. Apparently, he hates the nick-name “The Muscle Hamster” but, c’mon, that’s adorable. Also, Tampa Bay runs a lot so he’s got plenty of opportunities to shine. This is my second drawing of him- I mailed the first to One Buccaneer Place (my second fan letter ever). Devonta Freeman was one of my last draft picks which was stupidly lucky cuz he ended up being a superstar. So impressive and unstoppable that I realized- yeah, the Falcons are pretty cool. Finally, phew! It turns out, Aaron Rodgers is famous cuz he’s a solid QB. Even on a bad week, when he’s running for his life and nothing’s going right, you can tell he’s awesome. Haha. Now I know… Anyway, it’s highly doubtful I’ll be half as lucky this year but I’m getting super psyched in the pre-season. Life is funny and I guess I love football now!