Bush League

Let me first congratulate everyone on the beginning of another football season. It’s been a long and interesting offseason – players’ first and last names were changed (Pacman and Ocho Cinco), trades were demanded (Ocho Cinco again, Anquan Boldin and I actually asked to be traded from my slow pitch softball team after losing my lead-off spot).

Oh and if you didn’t hear, Brett Favre was traded. I know, I know, I missed it too. There was hardly any coverage on that story.

Anyways, there’s a lot to love about the beginning of the NFL season. Every team starts fresh with a chance at redemption and I’m not just talking about the 32 franchises that make up the NFL.

I’m talking about fantasy football.

Let’s face it – very few of us will ever get the chance to run a football team. It’s a tragedy because I’m a hell of a scout. HowÂever, fantasy football gives any football diehard the opportunity to put together a championship caliber squad without the hassle of trying to find “team chemistry.”

In fantasy football, a team can play Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and neither of them will yell at you to “give them the damn ball.” It really is a fantasy.

Fantasy football also brings out the kid in us, for better or for worse. The other day a friend of mine described fantasy football as “pogs for grown-ups.” Remember pogs, those tiny disks with the goofy pictures on them that I and much of my generation played incessantly back in the mid- ’90s?

I collected hundreds of those things and I remember making Danny Ainge-like trades with my fellow poggers any chance I got. Well, in fantasy football, each player is like a pog – some are more valuable than others, and rarely are we completely happy with our collection.

And there were slammers, the metal pogs that were used to disrupt the pile. In fantasy football, Ladainian Tomlinson is the ultimate slammer because of his ability to score 60-yard touchdowns basically whenever he feels like it.

However, fantasy football isn’t always that great, especially for those around us. About a week ago, my friends and I were describing how our fantasy draft had gone down and my girlfriend just happened to be in the room.

We may as well have been speaking French, because she had no clue what we were saying or where I had found the time to memorize the stats of the 2007 Jacksonville Jaguar receiving core. Actually, she may have had a better shot at understanding the conversation had we been speaking French, because she actually once studied that. Football stats? Yeah, right.

She has no idea how much she will hate fantasy football by mid-October.

So as a new season begins, I want to wish all my fellow fantasy owners good luck and a few words of advice: though things can get competitive and tempers may flare, it’s not worth losing a friend or girlfriend over a loss in a fake league with fake teams.

Oh, and stay away from Stephen Jackson this year. He’s going to be a big letdown.