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The Great Predicament


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As a man who lives his life on the brink, I endure countless dilemmas that require sound emotional stability and the poise to stay calm in the face of chaos. I rarely succeed at this, but such is the way of things.

In my distorted opinion, however, there is no greater conflict in life than staring the following hypothetical situation in the face late on a fiendish Sunday afternoon.

I’m in a battle. My guys have been gritting it out all day, but my opponent just got a garbage touchdown from Steven Jackson. Wait, Jackson doesn’t score touchdowns. Let’s start over. My opponent just got a garbage touchdown from Maurice Jones-Drew (most likely cutting Jacksonville’s deficit to 31, mind you) and my fantasy matchup is just about tied. His quarterback, Eli Manning, is marching down the field with two minutes left and the New York Giants trail the Philadelphia Eagles by four. Completely aware that every point is critical in a tense fantasy war, particularly at the unholy hour of 6:50 p.m. on a ferocious November Sunday, any clear-headed individual in my situation would be rooting for the Eagles defense to come up with an interception, right?

The problem is that I have a dysfunctional, unhealthy obsession with the New York Giants, and such is the conundrum that so many beautiful Americans face on a weekly basis. I confidently submit to you that it is harder to decide who to root for in this situation than it is for a father of two to choose which of his trapped spawn to save from an oncoming train. The attachment I feel toward my flock of fantasy warriors is essentially equal to that which I have toward the New York Giants.

As vile as it may be, I generally find myself rationalizing why it’s more important for me to win at fantasy than it is for the Giants to win. My fantasy performance is a reflection on me and my character, I tell myself. I’m completely detached and uninvolved in any success or failure the Giants might have.

This warped logic doesn’t work, or course. It’s next to impossible to comfortably root against either your fantasy team or the NFL team that you’ve spent so many years fanatically devoted to. It’s just unnatural.

Deep down, whether we want to admit it or not, we lean one way or the other. All of us do. We may feel guilt for secretly rooting against our team just as it may torture the soul to hope for your stud running back to fumble. But somewhere within the depths of our consciousness lies our true loyalty and we go with what that tells us. We have no other choice.

Then again, Manning could just hand it off to Ahmad Bradshaw.