What’s going on, everyone? This is Josh from Free Ballin’ Football. I’d like to apologize to those of you who read through Bill’s novel last week. I’ll try to keep it brief because you all presumably have lives and can’t spend all day taking a shit (I know that’s what you’re doing). Here’s the podcast to listen as you read:
I’m writing to you live from Wrigleyville, Chicago in the middle of a rain delay before the 10th damn inning of the damn 7th game of a World Series being played by the damn Cubs and Indians. Shit is weird right now. Despite my current location, I’m from the Baltimore area and am a major Ravens fan as such. No, I do not own purple camo pants (but I’m in the market). Yes, I love Natty Boh even though it’s not brewed in Baltimore and is basically one big marketing campaign aimed at my demographic. Yes I put Old Bay on everything. You should too. No, Ray Lewis didn’t do it. Yes, we are the target of a league-wide conspiracy perpetrated by the refs, the schedulers, Roger Goodell, etc. Crabcakes. I think that covers all the bases.
Things have been pretty tense in Baltimore– going 0 for October has that effect. However, it’s Steelers week and we’re in the middle of the bi-annual drama surrounding Ben Roethlisberger and his latest injury. All of the sudden, despite being 2 weeks into a 4-6 week recovery, Ben is back at practice. This puts Landry Jones’ chances of joining an elite club of Steelers backups who have started against the Ravens at risk. That club includes Mike Vick, Dennis Dixon, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, and maaaaaaybe Bruce Gradkowski. I can’t stand Ben Roethlisberger. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll end up hobbling his way out onto the field while finding a way to be somewhat effective (aka, throw short to Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell). Somehow, since the AFC North is a trash division this year, the winner of this game takes over first place. I can live with that.
Anyway, football is pretty cool despite its shortcomings. Last week’s podcast and blog were pretty heavy so I’ll keep things light. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for 6+ years. When we started dating, she was not a football fan nor did she really like the idea that I was. Growing up, her entire family was not a sports family and the idea of spending Sunday afternoon in front of the TV was anathema.
Over our first year or so of dating, she got more comfortable with my fandom. There were bumps in the road, including an argument in which I had to explain the difference between the playoffs and a regular season game. But overall, I made great use of bye week and night game relationship maintenance weeks and a status quo was reached. Her family still viewed my football habit with some suspicion, but that wasn’t a problem.
Fast forward to September 2015. My girlfriend is at home for a holiday dinner that I couldn’t make it to. I get a text from her: ‘How do you set up a fantasy football league?’ I asked if this was something she was looking to do with her friends. But no, she had found seven other family members, most of whom know little to nothing about the NFL, that wanted to give things a whirl. The league kicked off in Week 3, and it actually settled into a pretty normal league with all the trade controversy, trash talk, and roster mismanagement that I’d seen over the past decade playing with friends. I managed my girlfriend’s team and was able to peddle my institutional knowledge into a trip to the semifinals where I promptly choked. This did not go over well with her.
But there was one catch to all of this. One of the most vocal proponents of starting the league had recently become not so much a football fan as a Patriots fan. I hate the Patriots more than the Steelers. I lived in Massachusetts from 2001-2006. A lot of my friends are Patriots fans. My mom and my brother are Patriots fans. I watched the Billy Cundiff game at 4:00 AM on a 2nd generation iPhone in Singapore. It’s infuriating. They’re infuriating. But when I drew this family member in the annual gift exchange, Pats gear was the obvious choice. Sometimes you need to go along to get along and football with the Pats is better than no football at all. The league is back for a 2nd year and going strong. This year I hope to make it to the finals before I choke and my girlfriend again loses all faith in me.
Ideally I’d find some way to wrap this up and tie it into this week’s podcast, but frankly I’m not that good of a writer. We’ve got a solid show for you this week. We start off by hearing from Bill after his Eagles blew it against America’s Team in front of a national audience. We’ll also hit on the recent rash of ties in the NFL and discuss Cam’s Halloween costume. I wonder what hurt more-the cheap shots he took on Sunday or the fall into that cotton candy machine? We’ll also look ahead to Week 9, hit some fantasy, talk gambling, and of course, continue the futile but rewarding task of filling the Basket of Deplorables.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure the Cubs just won the World Series, which is mind blowing. I’m going to grab my pitching wedge, barricade my door, and hope nobody burns my building down. Enjoy the show.
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