Jerry Ferrara's Fantasy Football Obsession

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What to do when your life -- OK, your Sundays -- has been thrown under the bus? I found myself making a list. And praying a lot.

With the NFL lockout dragging on, I was staring down the barrel of losing the most sacred Sunday event: football. More important, fantasy football. But my prayers were answered, and the 2011 season is upon us. Apologies to my friends who were pumped for my substitute-for-football Monopoly/Clue night. Actually, I’m not sorry at all, except that I’m stuck with way too much wine and cheese.

Some of you might not get people’s infatuation with fantasy football. In fact, there have been times I’ve wondered myself. But you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Losing football to a lockout would have been awful, but there’s more to it than that. When people ask, “Why the obsession with fantasy?” I usually just launch into the details of how to play. They look at me like I’m nuts. I realize now, that’s the wrong answer: The real answer is as corny as a man telling a woman, “You complete me.”

It’s friendship. That is the obsession. I’ve been in the same fantasy league for six years, made up of some of my closest friends, including a few who weren’t friends until fantasy football. I know this is way cornier than I expected; I even deleted this whole thing a few times. But it’s true. Fantasy football is my guarantee that I will be in constant contact with my friends.

Whether it’s draft night, phone calls of trades offers or simply watching Monday Night Football with our game hanging in the balance, it all adds up to my friendship security blanket. I know it shouldn’t take a Dungeons and Dragons-type game to bring friends together. Most of the time, it doesn’t. But let’s be honest: Sometimes life just gets in the way of friendship. Fantasy football gives us a carved out, set-in-cement friendship routine.

My girlfriend has no idea what she is in for. We met during baseball season. But then again, she’s from Minnesota, and the Vikings are … well, what else is there to do when it’s snowing at 40 below? The Vikings are pretty much it. Maybe I’ll draft Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota defense this year. I’d have a decent team, and she’d think I’m a sweet guy. Win-win.

By the way, I liked Jerry Maguire.

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