Most weekdays from now until the Packers and Seahawks kick off on September 4th, The Big Lead will detail one reason we are excited for football season to begin. Including today, we’re 13 days away from NCAA and 20 from NFL.
Fantasy football drafting parties will bring us together for some fun and smack talking over the next two weeks, and tonight, the first weekend after the first preseason games (when starters are hit and miss on actually playing for long), marks the unofficial start of peak draft season (yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve already drafted in your ultra-shark league).
It’s a bittersweet occasion for me. Tonight, I’ll be hosting the live auction draft. Pizzas are ordered. My lovely wife has been cleaning–and I have been doing my own poor version of it.
This is the family draft league, “Keeping up with the Joneses”, that we started over a decade ago. At the time, it was a good way to keep in touch. Cousins and uncles, brother-in-laws, new members of the family and close friends. When the league started, I had just become a father; now, everyone is mad that my son has Jamaal Charles on his roster.
When we started the league, my dad had never played fantasy sports and I talked him into doing it. He took to it with more obsession than I could have possibly predicted. That’s what happens when you win the league in your first year. He went from not knowing all the players’ names to a year later wearing me out with info. Two years later, he pulled the biggest upset of league history, #8 seed against #1 seed, and rolled to his second title. That came when Terry Glenn caught a flea flicker pass from Drew Bledsoe for a 71-yard touchdown against the Chiefs, defeating a team that had Carson Palmer, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Torry Holt, Steve Smith, and Jason Witten (and still holds the league points record).
Yeah, that was my team. And we were sitting next to each other on the couch watching it. As the ball left Bledsoe’s hand, before the camera panned downfield, I let out a scream and knew who was on the other end.
That’s how we spent many Sundays back then. My wife worked weekends at the hospital so on Sunday mornings, I would join my parents for breakfast and then get the little one down for a nap in time for the games.
A few years later, my parents left the country and spent more than a year in Qatar. One of the ways we kept in touch on a regular basis, despite the massive time difference, was fantasy football. We would chat about the upcoming draft and the players before talking about other things. When they returned to the States, but were still moving around the country with my mom’s work, we still had our constant chats.
I miss those chats. As some may know, my dad died suddenly, three years ago in December. He was such a big part of this league that these nights are both wonderful and heartbreaking. My son took over his team and won the title last year, knocking me off the trophy from the year before.
I’ll miss his excitement when he way overspent and got Larry Johnson in 2005 for $10 (out of $100), outbidding others of us who also had our sites set on him late, and it worked out in a big way when Priest Holmes got hurt. I miss his laugh at those draft parties.
I still don’t forgive Terry Glenn, though.
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