Archive for Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Montemayor: Fantasy football? Try nostalgia

July 24, 2012, 12:17 p.m.

Updated: July 25, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

We never did have enough room in our little house in Mission to fit everyone. But by Labor Day each year, they came.

Friends, family, co-workers. They crowded our living room most years.

The aroma of homemade deer chili wafted through the house until there was no more — and, trust me, there were never any leftovers. As children, my brother and I would grab a bowl and listen to the banter, which, at its height, would literally shake the walls of our home.

This was Frank’s Fantasy Football League, the pigskin prognostication organization my dad founded three decades ago. That was fantasy football, and if all you know of the game is sitting behind a computer making your picks, occasionally mixing in a witticism or two via online chat, then you have never fully experienced it.

I was lucky enough to get in when we still did that, when we still met in person and ate and shouted and laughed. For at least four seasons, on up to my dad passing the reins of “commissioner” to his progeny, we did this.

Memories flood back now that summer is at its cruelest stage: few games of consequence on television, fewer days of temperate weather to pass the time outdoors and the fall in sight but still far enough away as though to appear a mirage. The nostalgia is stoked by the onslaught of fantasy football rags on newsstands, one of which has been the authority on fantasy football preseason preparation in my household: Fantasy Football Index.

I pick it up not because I can’t get the information elsewhere — today it’s impossible to visit a sports news website and not be confronted by promises of fantasy football expertise — I pick it up because of what it makes me remember.

One day each July we’d be at the grocery story with Mom, and she, a multi-time FFFL champion, would grab the ‘Index’ from the magazine section, its cover adorned by its title in bold yellow letters and the season’s featured athlete clutching a football.

After a three-year hiatus, we’re planning to get the league back together again. Unfortunately, time has driven us all a few hours apart, making an in-person, chili-fueled draft all but impossible.

It’s a shame, too, because in anticipation, I again grabbed the Index, flipping through it to prepare for the year ahead and think of those behind me.


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