Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Just a Fantasy

Do you have a favorite football team? When I was a kid I rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals. That was back in the days of Jim Hart, Dan Dierdorf, and Terry Metcalf. The Cards were my team until 1987, when they moved from St. Louis to Arizona. My allegiance then shifted to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had some great teams in the ’90s with Christian Okoye, Joe Montana, and Derrick Thomas.

Today my favorite team is the Kardinals, a team that doesn’t actually exist. You see, the Kardinals are my fantasy football team. This is my second year of playing in a fantasy league. It’s a lot of fun, but beware, fantasy football can change the way you watch the NFL. Rather than caring about which teams win and which team lose, you tend to focus more on the performance of your players. A fantasy league can thus wreak havoc on former allegiances. Earlier this year, for example, I found myself rooting for Cowboys running back Tashard Choice to score a touchdown against Kansas City. That I’ve been a Chiefs fan for more than two decades did not matter. That I have rooted against the Cowboys since childhood did not matter. I started Tashard Choice that week and I wanted the fantasy points.

This past Monday night the Baltimore Ravens defense carried my team to victory. That brought the Kardinals record to 5-5. I am happy to be at .500, given the obstacles thrown at me this season by injuries to my star players, huge scores from my opponents, and my own boneheaded draft decisions (I’ve already cut my 4th and 5th round picks).

With my team still in the playoff hunt, I must now scan the waiver wire and check the injury reports. Then I’ll set my lineup for another battle on the fantasy gridiron. Go Kardinals!

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