Ah convention, consensus, common logic. Whatever the term du jour, this week it is “I shoulda known better.”
The first week of the playoffs in some leagues, in others the last week before playoffs. I play in a “Spooks” league on CBS Sportsline, “The Bills Vs Vikings Super Bowl Grudge Match” league. One of fifteen, and one that I’ll probably be back in if they let me.
I haven’t said much about it because it is my “alter” league. As in Alternate Dimension. Alternating quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. I could never quite get the hang of it, yet I seemed to hang in against the odds. Up until the last couple weeks, smoke and mirrors continued to baffle the opposition. By week 8 I had less points than the guy who was 3-5 and at the bottom of my division, yet there I was, 7-1 and a game ahead of the nearest team. Then the wheels fell off.
It started much earlier though. Before the season in fact.
My draft was poor. It is one of those weird leagues, 12 teams, where I drafted in the 9th spot. It was ugly from start to finish. The guys in the league always seemed to pick the player I wanted, and I couldn’t get out from under the feeling someone was in my brain, viewing my cheat sheets and nervous scribblings each time another player went down.
I found myself reaching. I got lucky with the first pick. Edgerrin James was still there at nine. I followed that, smartly I thought at the time, with Travis Henry. I’d wanted Rudi Johnson, but the guy two picks before me nabbed him.
With the third pick I took Laveranues Coles. Moss, Harrison, Holt, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, even Santana Moss had all been taken by the 9th pick in the third round. I was desperate, but instead of taking Tony G, (I figured he would be there after the turn,) and Laveranues the highest rated WR left on the board according to my VBD Ouija board cheat sheet, I took the plunge. Tony G went three picks before mine.
By this time felt like one of those people in the Twilight Zone. The music was playing in the background and freaking me out, until I realized my son was flipping channels and had landed at the Sci-Fi Channel at just that moment. A cold sweat covered me as I fumbled through the sheets. The draft hit its stride as players flew off the board. I grabbed Steve Smith, Javon Walker, Charlie Garner and Steven Jackson, followed by the Eagles D.
I don’t think I need to continue. Feeling pretty good after a rough beginning I snagged Bledsoe, Dallas Clark, Jake Delhomme and Jimmy Kleinsasser as the draft finished up.
First Steve Smith. Then Kleinsasser. Laveranues with the toe. Travis Henry. The bodies piled up, and I shuffled my lineup, shucked and jived in the waiver wire. Pick ‘em up and drop ‘em, just give me one start was my mantra.
I dropped Delhomme just before he warmed up, and grabbed Vinny just as he cooled off. Griese would come in and Vinman to the bench, and on and on ad infinitum gag en barfum. At each turn I grasped defeat from the vapid jaws of victory, never seeming to get the right combination. Somebody stole my mojo and I was damned if I could get it back.
So now I’ll watch this league, led by a spook who calls himself the Creator and speaks the strangest smack talk I’ve ever seen, as an outsider…not a position I am used to outside of the Shark Leagues.
You want to know the ultimate irony? Besides that 3-5 team being the one to knock me out of the playoffs this week that is.
The league is being dominated by a nice sort of chap. A soccer fan no less. Football is his game, and he means the kind played by Manchester United. He stole my mojo, and all because Malcolm Glazer wants to own the most valuable football team in the world. Nope, that ain’t the Bucs, who have looked more like Chris Berman’s Yuc’s of old.
Damn it man, its football, not soccer.