Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Fantasy of One's Own

When it comes to the cultural phenomenon known as fantasy football, I’m a little conflicted. That’s not true. My tortured soul rebounds between moments of clarity one minute and utter confusion the next. It isn’t even a complex issue and this much I know: I don’t like football. My husband, on the other hand, thinks the word “football” actually belongs in a sentence containing the word “fantasy.”

Thankfully, he has most of the standard fantasies men have, like those involving Carol Brady, or teeter-totters, and he happily shares them with me. However, the fact remains that the fantasy he logs the most hours with on a weekly basis is football. Which leads me to my fundamental question: What is wrong with men? I mean, I get watching one game per week, or maybe even two. But the day I gather 11 of my friends and pick a fantasy Oprah line-up with which to win or lose points depending on what they say or do during the taping of a two-hour segment, three times a week for eleven weeks in a row, and then award an engraved trophy at the end of our “season” to the “winner,” is the day I decide to home school my four teenagers.

As I watch my husband study football stats in his spare time, or stay up late to do the fantasy football newsletter, as is his responsibility as “the league Commissioner,” I remind myself to use the word ‘passion’ instead of ‘obsession.’ When I notice myself growing irritated at the sound of one man clapping loudly for a bunch of players four states away, or yelling “pick-pick-pick-pick-pick-pick,” I begin to mentally check off all the considerate things my man did around the house that week: weeding and mowing, helping kids with homework, the dishes, and making lunches. 

When listing his weekly accomplishments doesn’t do the trick, I try a little fantasizing of my own. I tell myself that a forty-two year old man changing jerseys three times in one day in support of a pretend dream team is sexy. Sometimes I follow him up to our closet between games, and he lets me watch. Yeah, baby, the blue one. No, the other blue one. No, that other blue one, the one between your little league uniform and your high school letterman jacket. Oh, baby, these thirty-four jerseys taking up valuable real estate in our closet are hot! Yeah, that’s my fantasy.

It’s not like he doesn’t snap right out of it at the end of the evening each Sunday, because he does. Well, right after he does the stats and sends out the newsletter, complete with hilarious football quips, while watching Sports Center. Then, he snaps right back to being the guy I fell in love with, the guy who made me believe in love again, and the guy who continues to hold me after the regular hug has ended. He is this guy six days a week (save for a couple of hours Monday evening), and seven days a week for half the year. Why, then, do I find myself rolling my eyes when I overhear him on the phone with one of his fantasy league "owners," sounding like Jerry McGuire trying to work a last minute trade with Bob Sugar? Show me the vodka.

Right now, you might be thinking that I am that spouse – male or female – for which nothing is ever good enough. Well, the truth is, nearly everything is always good enough, and my husband would be the first to say that I never complain. That is because my husband, ironically, is a fantasy husband. He is my best friend. He is the guy who never leaves me hanging, if you know what I mean. He brings it. He is the guy who sees a pile of clean towels in the laundry room and puts them away. Hell, this is the guy who even knows where the laundry room is! (I know a woman who once hired a hooker to hang out in her laundry room, just to see if her husband could find it. Three days later she sent the lonely whore home.)

Maybe it has nothing to do with my husband. Maybe it’s my dad’s fault for punishing me with the same weekly clapping and yelling for my entire childhood – back when fantasy leaguers didn’t have computers. My dad and his friends had fifteen sheets of binder paper taped together that they scribbled their points down on as they happened. Our living room was filled with grown men screaming and jumping up and down. And that was just when my mom brought out the dips. 

Perhaps what I need on Sundays is something that gets me out of the house and away from the mental triggers. Just so that I can fully relate to my husband, to see things from his perspective, it will be something that never gets boring, and that I won’t know the outcome of until it’s completely finished. It’ll chew up hours and hours of my time.

Interestingly enough, it rhymes with “ball.”

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