I got a phone call today from a chap I know. Would I like to come to spend a day in the company of a group of ex-SAS servicemen and attempt a hostage rescue operation on a downed aeroplane? “Sure,” I said offhandedly. Then I started to think. Those men that I’ll be spending time with tomorrow have seen action. Real action. Their leader was one of the men to storm the Iranian Embassy in 1980, opening the world’s eyes to a new era of the enforcement of freedom. Suddenly I have to place things in perspective. On the one hand: a feeling of helplessness against a tide of evil, a feeling that I can only sample the life of a person who will risk his life for the good of others. On the other hand: my 2005-2006 Yahoo! Fantasy NBA Winner’s League.
I really want to win that league.
Some things are more important than life and death (and I can afford to say that because all tomorrow’s ‘rescue operation’ is going to be is a bunch of computer geeks running around a plane yelling and stubbing toes on aisle 37, a far cry from the real thing), and my Winner’s League is more important than life, death and anything else you care to throw at me. Let me demonstrate how important this league is to me. Winner’s League … spot anything there? Yes that’s right, I’m putting the apostrophe in the wrong place. I know what you’re saying… “Rob. That apostrophe should really go after the ’s’, you know.” You all pause to put your hand comfortingly upon my shoulder. It’s quite a burden. “You know there is more than one winner in your league and the league belongs to all of them equally,” you all finish, smiling sympathetically.
I’m sorry but no. That league belongs to me. Yahoo! Winner’s League 15144 is mine. It is mine by right and it is sure as hell mine to win. I earned my place in it through advertisty the like of which could rival that of Christ himself. Admittedly not the adversity he faced in his later years but more around the time he was still giving the carpentry thing a go and just couldn’t get those dove-tailed joints right. For in England, where I make my home, we are not lucky like you fortunate souls reading this in the United States of America. We see no basketball here. There is no sound of bouncing balls through my cobbled-together surround sound system when I turn my television on. In fact there is very little on my television since I lost the remote, but that is not the issue. What we are talking about here is how I overcame my adversity last year, gorging myself on statistics and clips of games taken from the Internet where little blurry men ran jerkily across my screen to dunk the ball, only to hover in the air for three seconds, spasming, before crashing altogether and dissapearing into my desktop. I turned the other cheek when Americans laughed on draft night…
“An Englishman?” they might have cried! “By what right does he consider himself worthy of competing with experts such as ourselves?”
“I agree, sir,” they perhaps could have added. “He cannot think himself our equal if he is not able to fill up a giant armchair and feast on cheesy puffs at gametime every single night.”
“He cannot win,” they all thought as one. “He … cannot … win!”
They were all wrong. I played the game from start to finish. I prepared and drafted my ass off. A steal in every round. I led from the gun and didn’t look back. I never stopped fighting and scrapping for points until the last day of the season when defeat could only have come at the hands of tanking, the likes of which even Vince Carter would shudder at. It became more than a game to me. And now that I’m in my rightful place I have only one goal, and that is to take the ultimate crown and become winner of winners.
You lucky people in the Fantasy Baskeball Cafe will be subjected to a season of scribblings from me following my quest. I imagine they will consist of 6% minor triumphs and 93% complaining about a combination of injuries, disastrous picks I made by clicking on the wrong button, and the guy in my league I can tell is going to be a bit of a knob simply because he’s called his team “Flamethrowers”. The final 1% not presently accounted for will be set aside for letting you know if writing about fantasy basketball on the Internet leads to hot girls fancying me. At the end of the season when that proves not to be the case, I’ll make up the missing percent by adding the non-appearance of hot girls to the rest of the complaints. Therefore you know you will not be missing out on anything.
My draft is in 4 days, 21 hours and 44 minutes, according to the unnecessarily accurate countdown. I’ll make sure to post beforehand explaining my tactics, and then shortly after when I will try to explain how I managed to draft AC Slater from Saved by the Bell in the third round.
Rob Donald has a feeling that he may be slightly out of his depth playing against people who actually get to watch basketball on TV, but he promises not to go down without a fight.
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