This is why I play fantasy football, and this is why I gathered for my fifth season with a motley crue of football onanists, gathering in a circle to satiate our fantasies of running our own teams. For the first time in three years, I could do this in person, and even better we were holding this year's draft at a casino.
What is it like to descend straight into the bowels of sports geekery? Let's go to the highlight reel:
- Average age of casino patrons: 68 including us, 93 not including us.
- Early pair of jokes that set the tone for the day: Morris, a rather hefty gentleman, made an offhand comment that he was hungry, to which our commissioner, PJ, responded dryly, “Really?” This elicited a big laugh from us. Morris acknowledged he left one over the plate and then replied to PJ—who is a cancer survivor—“You’re getting at least three cancer jokes this weekend.”
- There were enough explicit, offensive references to hot man-on-man action to fill a dozen comedy roasts. 90 percent of them were directed toward Lil’ Danny, the smallest member of the group, to the point where I think LD started to believe they were not jokes.
- Best man-on-man joke which also happened to be the cleanest: In the buffet line after our draft, we were discussing how much we already hated our teams. An older gentleman in front of us (who was waiting with his wife) overheard us and asked what first prize in our league was. Morris pointed to Lil’ Danny.
- Best hair of the weekend: the guy in front of me at the breakfast buffet sporting a Costanza-esque hairline, but with the back grown out and pulled into a small ponytail. He was also wearing a Paul Konerko jersey, jean shorts, and sandles. The whole ensemble prompted my brother Tickle to nod and ask me, “What’s going on here?”
- Veetz, one of Tickle’s friends, arrived wearing a t-shirt that said “Make Awkward Sexual Advances Not War.” A woman and her husband approached Veetz and said how much they loved his shirt. He thanked them and then told them to wait until he had a few drinks in him. The wife laughed, the husband did not.
- Tickle will be appearing in at least three wedding photos.
- We ran into the logistical problem of where to seat 8 pretty big guys (plus Lil’ Danny), with room for note pads, beers, fantasy football magazines, and a laptop so our one AWOL member could join us via Skype. The hotel rooms weren't big enough. The hotel conference rooms were taken up by the aforementioned wedding party, and we didn’t think they’d want us interrupting the best man’s speech with offers of exchanging Ronnie Brown for Philip Rivers* or the 72 instances where PJ offered to trade Jacksonville’s Mike Sims-Walker.** The hotel suggested we pull together some tables outside of their little cafe, located in the hall between the casino floor and hotel reception. In other words, right in front of constant groups of passersby who wondered what the hell we were doing. So we set up shop, including openly drinking beers out of the cooler we had brought with us and destroying any chances the single guys in our party had with the female wedding guests who walked by. Kudos to the hotel staff for not giving us a hard time about the booze, that was exceptionally cool of them.
- Our Skyping participant, CB, appeared on screen shirtless. He spent the next two hour being shirtless and drinking beers. With one of my early picks, I said I was drafting CB’s left nipple and hoped to handcuff his right one later in the draft.***
- Thanks to the addition of a new member, Uncle Andy (note: not anyone’s actual uncle), I am no longer the oldest owner. At one point out of the blue, Morris asked Uncle Andy what it was like in the 60s.
- Under no circumstances should Jameson ever be served in a plastic glass.
- Under no circumstances should Jameson in a plastic glass be repeatedly consumed, even after noticing that the plastic gives it a funny taste.
- Under no circumstances, no matter how many funny-tasting Jamesons I’ve had or how much he asks, should I give Tickle $100 on the casino floor at four in the morning.
- The next day, after waking up, Tickle couldn’t find his debit card. We went to security and, amazingly, they had my brother’s card—he had dropped it or left it at the bar. We had to wait for the security guy to bring it out, and after looking at me and then at Tickle, he didn’t even have to ask which guy had lost his card.
- After brunch, only Tickle, Veetz, and I were left. I had a final beer and then said I was leaving, while I was still up (despite my late-night loan to my brother). Veetz and Tickle said they were going to gamble a little and then also leave. An hour-and-a-half later, I got this text from Veetz: “Had 340 in wallet when u left. Now there is 19. I hate ur brother.”
Now doesn't that sound like material for a Miller High Life commercial?
*Actual trade I made.
**72 is probably too low. Also, a player’s fantasy value is inversely proportional to the number of times he is offered in a trade.
***In fantasy terms, to “handcuff” is to draft a player’s backup, in case that player gets hurt. Although a literal joke about handcuffing nipples would have suited the weekend perfectly.