It’s Week 13 and I’m 5-7. The playoff dreams of my once 4-0 team are shot. I have no reason to be checking my fantasy lineup and making shifts in the rotation.
And yet, I am.
I’m still scouring ESPN for stats, watching SportsCenter for predictions, and browsing any possible free agent pickups. Why? Call it denial. Call it desperation. I call it pride.
My team underperformed this year, and I don’t hesitate to use that fact as a preface when asked my record. Eli Manning has brought in mostly marginal numbers. The Seahawks defense had only a few moments of brilliance. Vernon Davis has been disappointingly inconsistent. And Larry Fitzgerald—I’m still waiting for the 20+ weekly points your first round selection promised me.
I work in an office of men who eat, breathe, and sleep sports. They don’t take their fantasy leagues lightly, and even though I’m a woman, neither do I. When I win, I absolutely spike the virtual football, trot around the Internet diamond, or do a victory dance, taking that moment to relish in my opponent’s loss. In fact, this is the first season in which I have stumbled, and I am not enjoying the sting of failure.
Perhaps sports-conscious women tend to take fantasy leagues more personally, because they feel they have something to prove. I want my colleagues to take me seriously when it comes to sports. We swap opinions at lunch about last night’s game or the latest trade deals. But for all they know, I am just regurgitating lines from articles I happened to peruse while I navigated the Internet to get to Cosmo’s website.
Fantasy sports are a chance to prove I’m equal in sports knowledge. Yes, there is a bit of luck involved in the matchups, but even Peyton Manning needs some luck at times. Fantasy sports are an opportunity for me to delve deeper than words and to put my knowledge into action. Of course these thoughts set a fire to my competitive edge.
But above all, I just don’t like having to sit back while others gloat.
So yes, I will continue to play to win, even though I have no chance at the playoffs this year. I may be fighting a losing battle, but at least I’m still fighting.
Oh yeah, and I am once again starting Larry Fitzgerald. I’m still waiting for his week.