Warning: Reading this column about fantasy football can be hazardous to your health. If you cannot handle humor and satire, mixed in with a few juicy tidbits of NFL facts, this may not be for you. But if you are ready—read on my friends.
As I sit down to write this I am having all sorts of mixed feelings. Retirement is not to be taken lightly. In fact, this golden age stuff in general is not recommended for those who are too weak to handle all the sharp curves in the road.
I want to thank Mike Nazarek of FF Mastermind for giving me my first opportunity to write about this game we love way back in 2001. I want to thank Jim Lenz and his successor Dish Adams for giving me an opportunity to write for Fantasy Insights, the first privately owned fantasy football information website on the internet. I also want to thank Dish Adams for bringing me along with him to Fantasy Sharks when three-time FSWA Hall of Fame nominee Tony Holm bought Fantasy Insights.
I want to thank Dan Rose and Jim Bukowski, who as editors made sure over the years that my Nease-to-English translations were readable. I want to thank you, our readers, who have been awesome. I have received some emails after announcing my retirement, and I must say, that I appreciate them and there were several that brought a tear to my eye.
Yes, it is all about the readers when one writes. If I wrote a column on what color socks to wear every day nobody would care to read it. With countless people writing about the NFL in general and fantasy football in particular, there is so much duplication and repetition when you look at all the available resources. In 2015, I began this column and it took me until early in the 2016 season to get a good handle on what you wanted to read.
The six-pack concept seemed to work nicely. I tried to cover things you were not being hit with every time you read something or turned on a TV-based fantasy football show. Also as you may have noticed, I do have a sarcastic streak in me and I have a hard time tolerating stupidity. Yet, I absolutely love people like Roger Goodell and Rex Ryan because the world needs clowns and they certainly fill that bill.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Bonnie. Shortly after we were married in December 2000, she encouraged me to work to fulfill a fantasy of mine. In about 1989, I sent some writing samples to Hub Arkush at Pro Football Weekly and never even got a response. Disappointed, I gave up as there were no other viable opportunities out there.
Bonnie pushed me and I submitted samples to Mike Nazarek who gave me an opportunity and so the journey began. Since then, she has encouraged me, not only in writing, but in oh so many ways. She has played the game herself over the years and has a few fantasy championships under her belt. Never, yes that would be NEVER, tell someone they cannot play a game because they do not know how to play it. Bonnie extracts a lot of pain from people that do that.
This last week, my dynasty league that I have been honored to be in since 1985, had its 32nd Fantasy Bowl. We had our highest combined scoring results ever for a championship game and one team won its 10th title, stopping his opponent from getting a three-peat. In my experts leagues, I had a couple of playoff teams and almost had a third. This year was by far the most fun I have had in several seasons.
In life, though, we are on a journey that has many turns and detours. Being an old *&^%&* I disdain GPS systems and sometimes I prefer the road less traveled. Back a couple months ago I saw a sign. It was when I watched the paramedics pull away from our home with Bonnie in the back. The stark reality of that hit me like a plank over the head.
As a 20-year-old there was once a fantasy of immortality. Now, many decades later, the other side of that coin is shown as it flips in the air. Suddenly, reality strikes a dissonant chord and mortality creeps into our most inner thoughts. I realized that I needed to spend more time with Bonnie.
I began mulling over ideas about how to keep doing what I enjoy doing and also spend more quality time with Bonnie each and every day. While the concept was good, the actual solution was just not working out. Deadlines and flexibility are what we used to call in school mutually exclusive concepts. Something had to give.
I will continue to be addicted to fantasy football, but my writing with weekly deadlines will cease after this article. Next year, I will cut down on the leagues that I play in, but will still have 5-6 teams.
In the meantime, I just want to mention this one more time in regards to keeping the fantasy football party alive after my retirement:
Last week I had a brainstorm. With my pending retirement from fantasy football writing, what I will miss the most is my interaction with readers and my fellow writers. As I was writing player comments last Tuesday it hit me.
We need a Facebook discussion group. So come one, come all. Join us at the new Couch Tomatoes. Indicate you want to join and I will get you setup.
I automatically put a bunch of friends in there already. If you are in it and want to opt out, let me know.
We will get the thing working now and see what diverse directions we go in. One rule basically–keep it clean and do not be mean.
So far we are getting a nice mix of some of my writer buddies, readers and other friends. Feel free to invite your friends and league mates. If you have any questions, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, it is with some tears in my eyes that I conclude this article. And as always, I leave you with these magic words.
Good luck! Have fun!