When our workday is done, the way/s in which we choose to spend our time define who we are more than anything else. Free time is precious. If you are a guy, carving out a little free time when you have a demanding job and a wife and kids is not an easy thing to do. But finding that balance is important. A good dad has to manage the "me time" for himself, the "our time" with just his wife, and the "family time" for everyone to be together. When you have a precious, finite amount of free time, there are tough choices to make. So all that being said, there is one activity guys do that escapes me, and I hate bagging on dudes because, well, I am one. I'm talking about fantasy football.
It's that time of year again. Draft Day is coming up! You've purchased those glossy covered magazines. Perhaps you are downloading tip sheets and position rankings. In your head, there is a clock counting down the days. Guys around the country are gearing up for another season of Fantasy Football. I know, it's just so exciting! You want to outsmart your league and win that championship trophy, perhaps a little dough as well. It would be great too, if it wasn't just the stupidest way to waste your time.
Wow, that last sentence was harsh. Maybe you should ask your wife what she thinks about it. I bet, for the most part, she'd agree. But, guys have a built-in competitive gene, some more so than others. As the sports filled days of our youth fade and our knees start to ache, those jonesing for competition have to look elsewhere. And when you have a busy schedule, it gets harder to find the time to scratch that competitive itch.
First of all, just so you know, I have played fantasy football, fantasy baseball and even fantasy basketball. I understand your addiction. And let me be clear, it can be an addiction. But I played long before the days of smartphones and iPads, and I haven't played in a decade. Technology gives fantasy owners real time game updates, scores, and fantasy point totals. That's the problem.
If you are a guy that works a regular Monday through Friday job, the weekends provide you with the largest chunk of time for you to spend with your family. Your wife, your kids, your free time. But Sunday is Fantasy Day. It's your day to tune out and worship the NFL. Sunday is 14 percent of your entire week and 50 percent of your weekend. I'm not even counting Monday or Thursday night games. That's an awful lot of time when you think about it. It's not just one game anymore, it's all the games.
Every guy needs a distraction, sure. But when you are swiping your phone screen to see if the Texans kicker hit that field goal when you are supposed to be watching your kid jump off the diving board, you are not being present and in the moment. That's a fair criticism. If your Sunday fantasy league gets in your head more than reading a book to your kid, you are giving away life moments you can't get back. If you can't skip a season, or are playing in two or three fantasy leagues, or really just want to be left alone in front of the TV on Sunday, then on Sundays, it seems like you are being selfish. Now if your wife and kids play along with you, okay, you win. But I haven't found that to be the case very often.
I've seen dads sitting in restaurants after church on Sunday checking their phones every sixty seconds for fantasy updates. I've seen guys post their fantasy woes on Facebook as a status update. A status update about a fantasy game as if it were their real life. That would be like posting a Dungeons and Dragons update bemoaning the fact that you were set afire by a large, flying reptile. It makes absolutely no sense to get emotionally involved in a game in which your favorite team isn't even playing, just because you need fantasy points. I once saw a guy yell at the television as he watched a game in which he did not even care who actually won, but his receiver had dropped several passes. Watching sports used to be about rooting for your team to win, not any more.
Sunday is a great day to spend with your family. It can be filled with hiking and museums and picnics and car drives exploring new places. For a lot of guys I know, doing those things during the NFL season is, at worst, not an option, or at best, done with distraction. If you can handle all of those things on a Sunday and be in the moment, then good for you. But if not, I'd love to hear what your wife thinks of you spending half of your weekend counting points from Dallas' defense or rushing yards from your backup RB on a bye week. Sorry, I just don't get it.