I am in the middle of yet another trying fantasy football season. Two of them, actually, since I am participating in two leagues, like some kind of masochist. It’s been weeks of misery, punctuated by occasional spurts of short-lived happiness.
Just like raising kids!
Seriously, parenting and fantasy football aren’t all that different (here’s what a fantasy parenting draft might look like!) There’s a lot of work, you have to pay a lot of attention, and nobody wants to hear about any of it.
I know, you think I’m an idiot. So I made a list!
1. So. Much. Prep.
The fantasy football industry and the parenting industry are loaded with experts and manuals and pundits and buttinskis. They both have long lead times of about eight or nine months before the action happens. They both involve a lot of logistical headaches, e.g.: buying supplies; arranging schedules; collecting fees; stockpiling booze; placating your wife; etc. They both involve a lot of hushed, paranoid conversations with friends about what’s going to happen. And, despite all that prep, they both involve someone potentially shitting the bed on the big day (draft or labor).
2. Friendships Are Destroyed
Fantasy is a competition. Some people inevitably take it too seriously and irritate the hell out of everyone else. Because nobody knows what they’re doing, least of all people who act like they do. Of course, the only thing more irritating than someone bragging about their fantasy team is someone bragging about their kid. Parenting is NOT a competition, which makes it even worse when someone starts making comparisons. Congrats, he can count to 10 in Spanish. Wake me when he has blue hair and a meth addiction. Nobody likes someone who rubs their good luck in your face, especially when they act like they planned it. Because nine times out of ten, they didn’t …
3. Fantasy Football is All Luck
Sure, you can prepare. You can study. You can read all the “experts,” get advice from friends, buy all the recommended gadgets that make things easier. But at the end of the day, none of that matters because it’s all a crapshoot. You might go undefeated and then lose in the playoffs because Matt Asiata comes off the bench and scores three touchdowns. You might follow every rule in the parenting handbook and still watch your kid become a Juggalo and drop out of high school. It’s impossible to prepare for the excruciating randomness, the heartbreaking arbitrariness of both endeavors. Your best made plans are worthless. All you can do is sit back and hope your team/kid/marriage survives.
4. Nobody Cares!
You love your kids, we get it. You’re tired, we get it. Everybody else’s kids are boring and exactly the same and nobody cares about them except you. The same goes for your fantasy team. You made a trade? Snooze. You started the wrong guy and lost by a half a point? Nobody cares! But let me tell you how Ilost last week, it’s so frustrazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Fine, did I tell you the hilarious thing Junior did at prezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
5. The Stress isn’t Worth It
You enter into the fantasy season with grand expectations of all the good times you’re gonna have. Then, when you lose week one because you didn’t start the guy who scored three touchdowns, or you drop the wrong RB and pick up the wrong WR, or you lose to a guy who didn’t even start his kicker but whose DST had two punt return TDs and a pick-6, you realize it’s mostly just aggravation and stress. Just like parenting! Suddenly this thing that is supposed to bring you happiness instead costs you a bunch of money and gives you an ulcer. You’ll lose count of the amount of times you wonder why you even participate.
6. The Payoff is Worth It
And yet the happy moments trump everything. You make a good trade and your team goes from on-the-brink-of-elimination to five straight wins and the championship purse. Or the hunch you played by stashing a third-string RB on your roster for 13 weeks pays off when he finally gets the starting job just in time for the playoffs and suddenly you forget how aggravating your Sundays have been for the past three months. Or your kid grabs your hand in the store, totally unprompted, and looks at you and says “I love you, Daddy.” Or he asks if he can watch Star Wars some day. Or he gives you a snuggle. And suddenly you don’t even care that he just fumbled his Spaghetti-O’s all over the couch.
7. Time Flies
It’s already week twelve! My son is already four! It seems like yesterday I was childfree, sitting around drinking beers, bullshitting with my friends, without a care in the world. Now I have to worry about parent-teacher conferences and whether or not I am going to make the playoffs. Fantasy moves fast. Parenting moves fast too, which can be tough, because unlike fantasy, you can’t just start over the next season. I mean, you can, but that would just be stupid.
A version of Fantasy Football first appeared on Dad and Buried.