Astronomy and Fantasy Football?

I love NFL football. It's the only sport I follow anymore. I used to love baseball, but when they canceled the world series while on strike, I gave up on baseball. I mean really, they didn't even cancel the World Series for World War II, but they canceled it over money? Screw baseball.

So NFL football is the only pastime, hobby, diversion I have to take me away from astronomy 24/7. I need a distraction for my sanity, so I won't apologize for my obsession with football.

A few years ago, my son asked me to join a fantasy football league he was in with co-workers. I'd never played before, and wasn't sure what it was all about, but quickly realized that this was made for me and my OCD personality. Essentially, you draft your own team from the player pool of the NFL and then play games each week in head to head competition based on the statistical performance of the players on your team in games played each week. You can trade players with other owners and pick up players off the waiver wire, just like in the NFL.

It was the best $150.00 I ever spent. My son and I played each other in the Super Bowl that first year, and he won. We've been playing against each other ever since, and we've spent hours and hours debating football, life, and a million other things we probably wouldn't have taken the time to discuss if we didn't share this fantasy football obsession.

In September this year, we went to a Browns/Vikings game in Cleveland to see Brett Favre one more time before he retires. It was a glorious road trip. We drove to Cleveland the night before the game, had a great dinner and debated football and life over drinks to the wee hours. Then we drove to the game in the morning and enjoyed one of the most perfect, sunny, crisp days football was ever played under in a terrific stadium with rabid fans. It was a ball. Our plan is to visit all the NFL stadiums in the next decade or so. Sooner or later we'll be dragging my grandson along for an education in football fanaticism.

Through the years, my son has beaten me consistently in our head to head fantasy competitions. He has won two league championships, while until last year, I rarely even made the playoffs. Last year, I snuck into the playoffs as the last seed and went all the way from 6th spot to league champion. In the process, I had to beat my son, Jan, which made it all that much more special.

I also won the championship in another league I played in; so I won two out of the three leagues I played in last year. The prize money totaled over $2000.00! Did I mention we have this huge, gaudy trophy that holds about 30 ounces of beer for the Champ to keep on his mantle for the whole next season?

Like any good astronomy freak, I spent my winnings buying astronomical equipment. I bought a CCD auto-guider, mounting rings and an 80mm guide scope. I also purchased a treadmill which we have in the living room, in front of the plasma TV.

Fast forward to the present. This is the first week of playoffs and you guessed it, I am playing my son in the first round in the league we play in together. Bragging rights at Christmas dinner and $600 are at stake so this is serious business! I'm also leading the pack in another league I play in, so I'm looking at finishing in the money in 2 out of 4 leagues this year.

The AAVSO meeting in April will be held in Argentina this year. If I win both leagues, I might actually be able to afford to fly Irene and myself there. If my teams sputter in the playoffs, it's doubtful we will spend the money, in spite of it being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Funny how even my distraction of fantasy football has turned into an astronomy related activity; and one with such important ramifications. It's really not that hard to understand. I'm spoiled. I love what I do, I'm passionate about it, no matter what it is I'm doing, and I would be totally bored if it were any other way.

We want to go to the southern hemisphere and see the sky down under.

Go Runnamuckers...
Go Belichick's Hoodie!

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