September 19, 2014

Ascending the ladder for a return to glory

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From the grandiose, dramatic title, I’m sure you correctly assumed this column would be about fantasy football.

Last year, I rode into our annual fantasy draft on a high horse. The returning champ, nay, the king, had returned. When winning something as prestigious as a fantasy football title, it is difficult to remain humble. I smirked at what my competitors considered great draft picks. After all, what did they know? As the draft came to a close, I mocked the rosters of the other fantasy teams.

Sports pundits often reference the “gods” of the sport for which they are an expert. (Note: if this pundit is an ex-professional athlete, they are likely not an expert in the English language.) I chose to rebuke the mystical lore of these nonexistent deities. What harm could they bring upon me? As long as my roster included the chosen one — Aaron Rodgers (cue “Happy Together” by The Turtles) — a repeat championship was well within my reach.

Whether my prideful spurning of the traditions and dignity of the most sacred fake sport led to my humiliating downfall, I cannot say.

I can say, though, that I arrogantly turned down a legitimate early-season trade offer for one of my prized running backs, whom I later traded for hope and peanuts. Any slim chance for success I had hinged on Aaron Rodgers.

An injury forced him to miss most of the season.

I had seen the folly of my ways. My vanity had left me blind to the fact that I was attempting to build a dynasty with a house of cards (or Cardinals. I seriously started Carson Palmer a few games). When my ace was pulled, everything came crashing down.

The season progressed, and with my ego in check, I limped into the playoffs as the eight-seed. I came around too late though, and had not built up enough positive karma to be rewarded with a surprise victory. I was sent packing in dominating fashion.

With the draft less than a month away, I decided I had better do some fantasy house-cleaning. I logged onto our league page, ready to do things the right way, or in NFL speak, the Patriot Way (minus that whole Spygate thing).

The first order of the day was to mark my keepers for the upcoming season. By now, you can probably guess who my first player on this list was.

I stared at my roster. I looked at the player’s name next to “QB.”

I saw the aforementioned Palmer, and I also saw “Nick Foles.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT HAPPENED TO AARON RODGERS?

(Cue “Baby Come Back” by Player… Wait. OK. This is getting a little too weird.)

Looks like I have more work cut out for me than I originally thought. But that’s all right. A new season approaches, and I can’t wait.

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