The Tale of the Tape: Fantasy Draft vs. Birth of Son

11 Aug

The end of summer 2010 brings with it a few milestones for Dad and Buried. One is the arrival of my first child, another is the arrival of my 10th or 11th or maybe even 12th season (who remembers?) of Fantasy Football.

My baby’s due date is not set in stone; he’ll come when he feels like it. My league’s draft date, however, is August 21st, and that is non-negotiable. My wife is aware of the draft, and has no real issues with it, provided it’s not the day of or one of the days immediately succeeding the arrival of our kid. But that’s no guarantee, and from my wife’s perspective, abandoning both her and my newborn baby at the onset of our new pact of responsibility and family care just so I can spend a long afternoon drinking, arguing, and kicking off the 5 months of stress and frustration that is fantasy football is not an option.

I beg to differ. I understand that having a kid is a pretty big deal, but so is my 10th or 11th or 12th year playing Fantasy Football! And the draft is the best part of the entire activity – I will not abandon it lightly, newborn son or not! So we have a stalemate.

In order to resolve this situation, I have set about measuring the two events against each other. Join me as I decide, once and for all, what is more significant and therefore less skippable: The Birth of My First Child OR My 10th or 11th or 12th Fantasy Football Draft.

Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!

After the jump.

1 – Names
I’m not great with names. For the same reason I’ll never get a tattoo: I second-guess too much. I often change the name of my fantasy squad every week; that’s how fickle my preferences are. I don’t quite have the same option when it comes to my son. And I can’t name my son something that is solely designed to insult someone else, as I often do in fantasy. I mean, I’d totally name the kid “Anthony Sucks!” but my wife won’t let me.

At the same time, something like “The Situation” works as a name for both my fantasy team and my son. It’s a real dilemma. But I think the lower stakes of the fantasy name give it the advantage. Let’s be honest, my fantasy team isn’t going to get beat up on the playground, no matter what I call it.

WINNER: FANTASY

2 – Cost
This one’s easy: fantasy is a one-time fee. My son will be draining me til the day I die.

WINNER: FANTASY

3 – The Big Day
Draft Day is a blast. Labor will be long, tiring, painful, scary, bizarre, disgusting and beautiful. And I’ll be outside in the waiting room, which is just boring.

WINNER: FANTASY

Just kidding, honey. The good news about labor day is: I won’t be experiencing any of the pain. The bad news is: I won’t be experiencing any of the drugs. My wife’ll be the only person getting high at the hospital, and not in the good way. At the draft I can get drunk; it’s one big party. 

At the end of the draft, I’ll have a team that seems simultaneously dominant and pitiful – it’s always impossible to know. At the end of labor, I’ll have a child that could be President or Porn Star – which is a win-win, really.

Finally, there’s a new fantasy team every year, and you only get one first child. This is a tough one.

WINNER: PUSH

4 – Potential Blunders
I could faint during delivery. Or I could draft J.J. Arrington again.

WINNER: BIRTH OF SON

 The Tale of the Tape: Fantasy Draft vs. Birth of Son
5 – Crying
I am the Commissioner of my league. Which means that I have to deal with 11 babies constantly whining about my decisions all season long. On draft day it gets even worse, as I am forced to run the draft room, deal with off-site participants via the phone and the internet, micromanage time limits and listen to this Anthony kid bitch bitch bitch.

On labor day my wife will be screaming, but not at me, and we’re only having one child. Dealing with one crying mouth is a lot easier than dealing with 11.  And in my baby’s case, crying = living. In fantasy, crying = me wanting to kill everyone else.

WINNER: BIRTH OF SON

6 – Chatter
In fantasy football, on draft day and beyond, shit-talking goes part-and-parcel with the whining I mentioned above. It’s incessant, lots of fun and occasionally hurtful, just the way trash-talking should be.

I’ve never been in a delivery room, but I’m assuming that any trash-talking that happens will be generated by my wife and my wife alone, and may or may not be far more intense than anything my friends can come up with. I doubt I’ll be pulled into duty, despite how fun it sounds to berate snobby doctors for staring at my wife’s genitals all day long.

WINNER: FANTASY

7 – After-effects
I won’t be able to have sex with my wife for around six weeks after she gives birth. And I’ll suddenly have a tiny child around to dominate my checkbook, sleep cycle and general mind-scape. Having a kid will age me: my gray hair will increase, my body will decay due to limited time at the gym, and my stress level will explode.

On the other side, I don’t want to have sex with any of the friends I play fantasy football with; as stated above, it’s merely a one-time cost; and the constant thinking, talking and arguing about it is the best part of the whole experience. But every Sunday afternoon, once the lineup is set and there’s nothing to do but watch as your friend’s imaginary team outscores your imaginary team; and the second-guessing consumes you; and you are faced with constant reminders that – despite the fact that you read up and study your ass off, basically working a second job in an attempt to beat your friends – everything depends almost entirely on luck, the accumulated psychological trauma makes fantasy far less fun than it should be. There is no doubt that what should be an entertaining hobby actually contributes to the graying of your hair and the eventual existence of an ulcer.

Raising a kid is no picnic, but at least my son will love me back.  For a while.

WINNER: BIRTH OF SON

8 – Company
Draft Day is spent amongst a group of friends I’ve known for a long time. One as far back as elementary school, another high school, the rest college, give or take a member or two. The same group has been participating in this same league for a long time now, give or take a member or two. We’ve got history, and that history makes draft day, and the season, immeasurably better.

The fact is, I haven’t even met my son, but I already like him better than half my league.

History schmistory.

WINNER: BIRTH OF SON

9 – Refreshments
Hospital food or beer.

WINNER: FANTASY

10 – Legacy
10, 11 or 12 years into the fantasy league that I run I still haven’t finished in the money. It’s all luck, sure, but I both have bad luck and completely suck at fantasy football. It’s still fun, except when it’s not (read: all the time). But in 50 years, will I remember participating? Will anyone remember Thunderdome at all? Probably not.

My son will remember me. Maybe only as the guy that screwed up his life, sure, but he won’t be forgetting me any time soon. Especially not after I brand him.

WINNER: BIRTH OF SON

FINAL TALLY: FANTASY 4, BIRTH OF SON 5,  PUSH 1.

It was close, but the Birth of My Son takes it. I guess I’ll have to be prepared to skip my draft, should my wife go into labor soon before or even on the actual day. That means my team will be chosen by some combination of previously prepared rankings, well-meaning friends and a draft robot. It sounds dicey but there’s really no reason to believe I’ll fare any worse with a team I don’t choose than I will with a team I do. It’s small consolation, but it’s true.

And if I want sex when those six post-birth weeks are up, I’d better keep my mouth shut.



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