Karen Larsen spacer
NOT a guy.


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Help me out here, fellas. I’m trying on the writer’s hat in an attempt to reduce the damned Midwestern work-ethic driven guilt over my NFL obsession. If I’m selected to write, watching games and pouring over football news and statistics, becomes critical research for my JOB, not a compulsion. Sharing my opinions is required, not awkward conversation at a candle party.

I ask for so little – give me this.

Let’s get something straight out of the gate: I am a woman. A chick. Lassie, skirt, babe, dame, tootsie, moll. Got me? Not a guy, just an aging female baby boomer who loves the NFL and has seven years’ experience in playing fantasy football. For one thrilling Sunday afternoon in 2009, for example, I was locked in a mind-numbing two-person contest for $100,000 in NBC Sports’ Fantasy Challenge game. The lead see-sawed throughout the entire exhausting day, that day being is one of the most emotion-packed days of my emotion-packed life. Sadly, my opponent ultimately defeated me and I walked away with an IPod Touch instead of a hundred grand. Conversely, that was the year I was a bit distracted and came in last in my Yahoo! league, which doesn’t happen often. I took the top spot last season. I also occasionally gamble on the sport – not big money, but I ended up $500 ahead in 2011 – and I play every ridiculously addicting online fantasy NFL game that I can find. I’ve found a modicum of success that I can share with readers.

What does the NFL mean to me? One of the few memories that I have of my father, who died when I was 4 years old, is of watching the 1961 NFL season, cheering on men wearing white uniforms playing men wearing dark uniforms on a fuzzy gray field (white in winter) on a 17-inch television screen. I vividly recall sitting on his lap and asking who we were rooting for, the white guys or the other guys. We were in Jamestown, N.D.   It was 1961, the inaugural season for the Minnesota Vikings. Having a “local” team was new, exciting, and a very big deal. Being 4 years old, I had no awareness that the Vikings went 3-13. I only know that those games, that time together, continue to provide warm memories of the father I never got to know.

My older brother, too, was a sports nut. Paul was an animated color commentator when a football game (or any sport) was on. He’d yell, make fists, punch or gnaw the couch cushions, scream obscenities, jump up and down, or smash his middle finger against the television screen. I loved watching him watch football because he was so involved, so absolutely absorbed, that he actually didn’t hear his name called or the phone ring after he had entered the hypnotic world of the NFL. When he tuned out, man, he tuned O-U-T. He died several years ago, but football will always remind me, too, of my big brother.

What I’m saying here is that the NFL took hold of me years ago and has never let go. I have found success in fantasy football, and I have a different perspective than a lot of your followers. Give me a shot, guys, and see what happens.