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Layin' it on the Line: Enter my fantasy zone

— While many young boys and men are in the throes of exerting physical strength with testosterone coursing through their systems, every Sunday from now until January, I will be crouched in front of a 36-inch television in nacho-cheese stained sweats with cholesterol clogging up my veins for an aged-old ritual – football.

Not just any football season, however – fantasy football – where a nine-year old kid can utter mocking words on a blog post that cut through a man’s torso like a knife through butter after his third-string running back scores 15 points in a three-point victory.

Yes, that kind of season.

Trash talk is just one element of the fantasy world.

As the weeks run on, skill and luck have a lot to do with ultimate success as well.

While here for the past couple of seasons in The Dalles, I have enjoyed some good outcomes – two championships and three second-place finishes, one of those seconds came last year.

In one league, I also traded Andre Johnson three days before he had 14 catches for 273 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville for an injured Darren McFadden.

But I digress.

It is the game – all fantasy players speak in code, talking more about the losses and missteps than the wins.

Just the word fantasy football makes women shudder in their boots, because they know a single play can disrupt harmony in the household for weeks at a time.

When a fantasy football manager sees impending doom and lackluster performances from his active roster, so much is affected.

Relationships are altered and work productivity grinds to a screeching halt.

These prognosticators can be nervous wrecks, easy to fly off the handle and everything else around could be a haze.

All the voices around sound like a Charlie Brown cartoon, the yard work gets put on the back burner, shaving is a no-no and all else in the world is a non-factor.

Friends?

Forget about it.

Our only friends are Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Beanie Wells, Anquan Boldin, Jacquizz Rodgers, Codderrelle Patterson and Doug Martin.

On the bright side, this five-month span works as a diversion and an activity that keeps the brain working, while dealing with real world issues and all of the drama in between.

This outlet gives us absolute control and humanizes us in a way and, in all reality, brings the best and sometimes worst out in people.

Nevertheless, it is a necessary evil.

Forty million so-called experts engage in this activity each year.

Fantasy players spend more than 1.4 hours a day trading and reading injury updates.

Individuals are hired as television, radio and print analysts for fantasy sake.

The thrill of it all captivates people.

Sundays are an event and my fantasy brethren cannot focus on anything else because we wake up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday as if it is Christmas morning for a cavalcade of games.

This is our world, like it or not.

Some people fish, some work out, a few climb rocks, while others garden to stay entertained.

Fantasy football is nerve-racking and stressful, but it is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that keeps us coming back over and over again.

We want the bragging rights, the non-stop action and when we do not get it, we go through shakes and anxiety spells.

In what other world can a person scream and shout at the top of their lungs in the middle of mass when DeMarco Murray busts loose for a 38-yard scoring scamper that puts Ann’s Pink Ponies into a 72-65 lead over The Kamikaze Acorns with four minutes left on the afternoon schedule?

I am not going to get it twisted, because in essence, fantasy football is fake and phony and those who play are part of a made up sphere – ugly and beautiful.

Some may say, in order to win a fantasy league, so many things have to go right.

While true in some respects, it comes down to preparation and maintaining focus through the ebbs and flows of the season.

Just like 40 million other souls, I am a fantasy sports geek and with catastrophic injuries and poor performances, so much can turn this smile upside down.

Therefore, if you see me sprawled out on the front lawn of The Dalles Middle School, crying, barefoot with a full beard, in my nacho-cheese stained sweats, it is because LeSean McCoy shattered his leg in practice and Richardson’s Rooster snagged his backup mere seconds before I could punch the Enter button.

And just like that, we are ready for some football.

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