I have a dark secret.
Actually, I have many dark secrets in my closet.
Paisley ties. A jacket with padded shoulders. Anything with paisleys. White pants when you don’t own a boat or live in a state that doesn’t border an ocean.
I once owned them all.
They seemed like a good decision at the time. I’m never much of a trend-setter. I’m more of a trend-follower. There are a lot of similarities between bad fashion choices and bad fantasy league draft choices.
Think about it. One day, your pick looks fashionable—even snazzy. And then you get home, and you think to yourself, “What was I thinking?”
“Can I return this even though I’ve used it once?”
“If I don’t wear it again, then everyone will know that I made a mistake.”
Buyer’s remorse is inevitable in fantasy league drafts. You never second-guess the picks in the final rounds. Nobody regrets choosing those defenses and kickers in the late rounds. Instead, you toss and turn in your sleep the night after your draft and wonder if you might have panicked when the trend for a tight end started early and so you took Dallas Clark without Peyton Manning throwing to him. Or you outsmarted yourself by picking that non-stud wide receiver too early since you believed Megatron would get all the double-teams and leave Nate Burleson free all day. Or you thought that rookie who looked good in college would look just as good out in the professional world; nothing fashionable out of Alabama looks good in the real world.
I look in my closet that I call my fantasy team, and I don’t see any skinny piano ties. (Every wannabe musician without any musical talent owned a skinny piano tie if he couldn’t afford an electric guitar. These days, those same teenagers just buy Guitar Hero instead.) Yes, I took the first tight end, Antonio Gates, in the fourth round when I secretly wanted Jermichel Finley instead. And then as another shocker, I later grabbed Finley as well, since both tight ends proved to be both spectacular, and brittle, last season.
Nobody seemed to follow my trend.
Still, the draft party lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t hard to beat last year’s hastily thrown together fantasy league (my very first) which amounted to nothing more than a conference/Skype call.
This season, eight of us gathered in a dive bar where the reliable WiFi connection was actually valued more highly than the expansive beer list. Only in fantasy football does that matter to a group of drunks-in-training.
Everyone’s closet full of draft picks has some gems and some regrets. But what looks good on them might not look good on me. Isn’t that always the case?
FANTASY FOOTBALL LESSON #3: Love what you own—not what someone else owns. Your jealous friends won’t tell you the truth. They secretly want you to look bad standing next to them, instead of looking good.
This bleach blonde New England bartender-type sitting directly behind me kept asking me who chose Wes Welker. She didn’t want her man ending up with the wrong man. No way, no how. I wondered if drafting Welker would gain me any special favors. After all, she looks like a woman who might dig a guy with a skinny piano tie.
I picked something paisley instead—namely the first rookie in wide receiver Julio Jones. Julio Jones won’t be a bad NFL fashion trend that I will regret. He will be a classic style that will look good year after year.
Julio in Atlanta Falcons black and red can’t look nearly as bad as these worst NFL fashion trends.
Soon after, to nobody’s surprise, DRUNKEN IRISHMEN grabbed Wes Welker with the sureness of Welker snatching a ten-yard down and out from Tom Brady. Foolishly, I believe that me and Julio Jones will grow on her, and she’ll ship Wes Welker off to Goodwill really soon.
After this weekend’s game, I’ll play Tuesday Morning Quarterback and evaluate the match-ups…as only I know how. Wry smiley face.
(Sept. 7, 2011)