Are you ready for some FOOTBALL???

Yeah. Me neither.

But Captain America is. Boy howdy.

This Labor Day weekend marks the 14th year of his fantasy football league. I don't know if you can understand how serious this league is, but I'll try to help out.

Their league was created in college, and this is Captain America's 3 year with them. It's been a part of our entire marriage. Every Labor Day weekend, every year, including the year it was on our honeymoon (in Captain America's defense, I was also in the league that year. And only that year). They started drafting on someone's living room floor with notebooks and magazines. Let me give you the rundown of a fantasy football weekend now.

People start arriving in the Twin Cities. Some drive, some fly. They come from as close as down the street, and as far as San Diego and Virginia. We start gathering & catching up at the hotel, where they have rented a conference room. A few people stay at the hotel (including us), some live reasonably close by. We may go out to dinner, depending on schedules. League members may make a traditional late night trip to Perkins to talk about how they think the auction will go.

Owners start wandering in and catching up. Instead of notebooks, there are a lot of laptops. The auction starts midmorning. There may be a speech from last year's winner, and he (or she, although they're back to all guys this year) will be presented with his winnings. Which is a glass mug with the team name and year engraved. No cash. Just the mug, and the honor of tapping the keg. The keg of 1919 rootbeer -- a tradition from their first years of play. They're all about tradition.

Then team owners will go around the room with a life update. Perhaps pictures of the kids, if there are some. Any rule changes will be discussed. Keepers declared. Announcements made. And then it begins. You have 100 pretend dollars. Players are tossed out (Eli Manning for $15, etc), people bid back and forth, and you have to fill your roster with the $100. So at all times, you're paying attention to the positions you need, the amount of money you have left, and your highest bid potential (at all times you can only bid what you have left, minus $1 for every other position you still need to fill. I think.) Owners have a call-out spot order, and they take turns calling out players for bidding. It's a little bit more of a challenge than a draft, but it seems like everyone has a shot, not just the person with the #1 draft pick. There is an auctioneer, and usually one more extra person keeping track of everyone's numbers.

Break for lunch. Usually ordering pizza.
More auctioning.

When the auction is FINALLY over, they all sit around and talk about how awful their teams are. How badly it went. How they CAN'T BELIEVE FAVRE WENT FOR $50 or whatever. What was he thinking? Then we all go bowling. And then out to dinner. And then back to the conference room to play cards or something into the wee hours.

Those of us who are still around sometimes catch brunch. Then we say our goodbyes and head home. If I'm lucky I squeeze in a little shopping.

Why do I know so much? You're looking at the auctioneer. Well. Not actually LOOKING. And I'm not always the auctioneer if I can help it. But sometimes there's a slice of cheesecake in it for me. Otherwise I'm out shopping with the other spouses/significant others.

Can I tell you something sad? Do you promise not to tell Captain America? You know how I mentioned that we went to the draft on our honeymoon? That means every single year I'm there for my anniversary. Or close to it. Even our 10th, last year was on the Friday of auction weekend. Well this year with Labor Day so late, our anniversary was the weekend before. Ok. Shhhh...but it almost didn't even seem like our anniversary. Not a word, people (Jersey? That means you.)!

*edit * Stellar proofer, Jersey, HAS commented to say I was wrong on how many years. It's the 15th year, and Captain America's 14th. Thanks for reading, and we'll miss you this year.


jersey said...

Your secret's safe with me.

Thank you for a fantastic ode to our league. You really captured the spirit of the league, and it just kills me that I won't be there this year.

I'd point out one tiny thing, however - this is the 15th year, and 14th that Brennan has been involved. :-)

Brian said...

Did we find a home for the NNFFL archives? Thanks for the post Sarah, makes me eager to start the weekend and at the same time bummed that Jerz, Dunk and Argetsinger will not be there.

What is the fee for posting league records, previous mug winners, video links to league-wide addresses, etc., on your blog? :)

gretchen said...

Okay, maybe I'm crazy too, but this sounds like FUN! But then I'm from Texas and was weaned on football. I used to actually read the sports page and memorize stats and stuff, but over the years I've gotten out of touch. Maybe you've inspired me to start paying attention again!