It’s that time again. That wonderful time of year where the family can spend Sunday together. It is a time to worship and give thanks. Sunday is a day of rest, a day of renewal. On Sundays, the family can reconnect and realize all the blessings they’ve been afforded. They can converse, dine, and frolic all while basking in the glow of the heavenly essence. The television.
The onset of the fall season means many things…the weather starts to change, children return to school, big pharma recommends that we all get flu vaccines, and grown men wearing heavy equipment run into each other repeatedly while chasing a ball, hoping to eventually get a ring. Football is a masculine game.
Football is perhaps the only violent and gruesome pastime that citizens the nation over look forward to all year long. That is, since public hangings and other methods of voyeuristic execution have been outlawed. In its absence we discuss it. We ascribe value to otherwise meaningless events like the NFL draft and the Scouting Combine. We seek to fill the void in our emotional well-being by watching grown men slam into each other at high velocity. We use these weekly events to invite friends over to eat, drink, and scream at the television. This is togetherness in America.
Professional football has enabled our superfluous culture to assign meaning to otherwise trivial and boring occurrences. The annual NFL draft every April is evidence of this. Loyal fans wait anxiously for their favorite teams to announce which collegiate prospects they will potentially employ the following season. We roar with joy when we like the selection. We ridicule the management when we do not. In doing so, we somehow convince ourselves that whomever our favorite organization selects has any bearing whatsoever on our lives in general. When we like what our team does in the draft, we blindly analyze how that particular player will translate into pro football. The individual himself is trivial. We care nothing about his background. He could be from an affluent upbringing or he could have been a crack baby left in a dumpster. His good fortune and hard work are not important. What’s really important is how fast he can run 40 yards and how many times he can lift ungodly quantities of weight above his head. Real value is in measurables, not intangible shit like personal welfare or family.
Tangentially related to our intense love of professional football is the fantastic environment we’ve crafted around the game to further fill our need for nonsense. Fantasy football is an idea constructed around the basic rules of real football, but allows the individual to own a fictional team in a conjured dream world of irrelevance. Fantasy football takes our unnatural infatuation with a child’s game to a whole new level of absurdity. Instead of simply not caring about football players as humans, we barely even care about them as players anymore. All that matters in the fantasy world is the numbers that they represent. Through fantasy football, we as fans can reduce human athletes to measurable statistics and then reduce them even further to charts and graphs. Also critically important to the fantasy football process is glossing your team with a clever and hilarious name like “The Romosexuals.” Your creative humor and comedic acumen will make you the darling owner of your office pool, you goddamn beautiful disaster.
Across approximately 99% of the world, football is a word used to describe a game where teams of 11 players kick a colorful orb around a field of green without ever using their hands. The world recognizes this as football. Americans, on the other hand, refer to that silly sport as soccer and mock its irrelevance in this nation. Just like our systems of measurement, currency, and generally poor English, most of the world doesn’t embrace our system of football either. When your analyzing you fantasy draft and preparing your week 1 roster, remember that you’re in America, screw what the rest of the world thinks.
And so begins a wonderful time of year here in our homeland. We’ve analyzed our draft, checked our depth charts, donned our localized organizational paraphernalia, acquired fictional athletes for mythical football leagues, and topped the melted cheese dip with, well…more melted cheese. Commence organized violence subsidized by corporate endorsements.
Happy NFL season!