It’s six o’clock on a Sunday evening. You’re supposed to be going out to dinner with your girlfriend, but instead you’re glued to the Colts game on TV. It’s been a bad game — Addai’s only got 76 yards heading into the fourth quarter, and you’re more than a little worried. If he doesn’t pull off a monster carry soon, you might have to call your girlfriend and tell her that Koi is going to have to wait for the two-minute warning. It’s all about priorities.
Does this seem normal to you? If it does, you’re probably one of the almost 40 million Americans who participate in fantasy sports every year. Remember that scene in Knocked Up when Pete sneaks off to his affair — with his fantasy baseball league? He might’ve been on to something after all. Sometimes, having a fantasy team can seem a lot like dating.
No, seriously. Think about it. Don’t tell your girlfriend, but you know there are times you’ve wondered why you can’t leave her to watchBrett Favre’s ridiculous season. And there have been other times when you would’ve liked nothing more than to be able to sit down ask Rex Grossman when the hell he plans to stop throwing so many interceptions.
Sometimes fantasy football is more fun, and sometimes dating is, but there are a few lessons you can use for both of them. You might even be able to glean a little dating advice from your team.
- With dating, just as with your fantasy football team, there are moments that seem like complete disasters. The behavior of others can be a mystery, whether they get mad at you for no apparent reason or find a way to drop three passes in the end zone in one game. Just remember: the season — the relationship — is the goal. One game, or one fight, is not the end of the world. You’re not trying to keep a perfect record, just a winning one. Make the best of the situation, try to fix it if you can, and look to the future. Everything can change on any given Sunday.
- Both your girlfriend and your team need attention, and not just the “no-that-dress-doesn’t-make-you-look-fat” kind. Just as you can’t expect your players to draft themselves and then have career seasons, you can’t just put your relationship on autopilot. You can hope, you can plan and you can anticipate, but not everything will go the way you want. Remember that you’re fortunate to have what you do (a girl willing to kiss you on a regular basis) and you shouldn’t start taking it for granted.
- Priorities, guys. It’s all about time management. Taking good care of a fantasy team is just the same as taking good care of a relationship; you keep track of what’s going on in their lives, how they’re feeling and try to anticipate what they might do next. If you care about them, you’ll be interested in how they’re feeling, whether it’s a sprained ACL or a failed chem midterm. If your girlfriend is important, you’ll make time and room in your life for her.
There’s no reason you can’t make both of them work. Don’t be like Pete, sneaking off to your draft with your bros. Your players and your girlfriend don’t need to be mutually exclusive. What’s to say she can’t get interested in your team, too?
So next time your girlfriend gets annoyed that you’re spending hours on your fantasy team, there’s no need to get defensive. Just tell her you’re working on your relationship.