Mrs. Angry is no fan of fantasy football.
In fact, if fantasy football were a sentient being capable of making archenemies, it would have one in the form of my wife, whose view of the pastime is very, very dim indeed. To her, fantasy football is Voldermort, and her husband has become a weekend Death Eater.
My path to darkness has an inauspicious beginning. I was invited to fill a league. I was a warm body. At the time, professional football was only a passing interest for me. On average, I watched half-a-game per week. So I accepted the invitation with barely a shrug. Sure. Whatever.
One of the more cunning League members, V, called me about a week into the season. Would I be interested in trading my running back for his? Amongst my present-day fantasy football circle, what transpired next has become a sort of inglorious legend. Without a second thought, I exchanged Marshall Faulk for Eddie George, and the snickering V went on to win the championship. The league bitterly credited his tainted victory to my foolish trade. Much like my newly acquired infamy, my thirst for fantasy football revenge was sealed.
During the off-season, I poured over gridiron statistics. I monitored injury reports and post-season surgeries like Quincy, M.D. I studied ESPN highlights deep into the night, muttering to myself like Gollum as Mrs. Angry fearfully waited for me to announce my apprenticeship with the Sith.
Too say fantasy football consumes me is an exaggeration. But not much of one. I spend a significant amount of billable time surfing sporting websites for the latest scraps of news that might have the slightest bearing on my fantasy roster. I know which running backs perform best on artificial turf. I know which teams have cornerbacks who can be beat. If I have a player who’s team is playing on Monday Night, I start them. If I can draft a kicker who plays his home games in a dome, I draft him.
When Sundays arrive, I tear open the laptop and hungrily hunt for bullitens of sudden injuries, unexpected benchings, and even weather patterns. I phone my brother and my Angry Dad for last second advice, then debate on whether I should accept the counsel or do the exact opposite. While enduring the screaming banter of Shannon Sharpe and Terry Bradshaw on the television, I dash out a couple lines of trashtalk on the League message board, all while imploring silence from Angry Junior. “Shhh! Daddy’s working!”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Angry tries to be supportive. She makes me cheese dip. She offers to take Angry Junior to the park. She is respectful of my bursts of outrage every time Terrel Owens drops a sure touchdown pass, or my defense surrenders more points. Mrs. Angry does not want to impede upon her husband’s hobbies.
Except, well, the Angry Czeck can be a pretty aggravating loser. Worse, the Angry Czeck can be a pretty aggravating winner, too. But while my boasting can get old very soon, it’s my petulant attitude after losses that grates my wife most. “What kind of hobby makes you angry!?” laments Mrs. Angry, wondering why I’d rather about my tight end fumbling at the goal line than take a pleasant evening stroll with the family.
I always believed that anger, or at least chagrin, is the only response to losing. And that’s not very relaxing, to which Mrs. Angry responds, “What’s the point?” After all, a hobby is supposed to be fun, and there’s nothing fun about wanting to throw your sofa through the TV.
What Mrs. Angry does not know is that winning is far more exhilarating than the disappointment of losing. Ha! Eat it! Now I own your soul! Very little in life provides more pleasure than lording over a defeated foe! You may be taller than the Angry Czeck. You may generate more income. You may be several pounds lighter, but when it comes to fantasy football, Andre, you are my second best bitch!
And really, how can you trump that?