Farewell, old friend. You will be missed.
This goodbye isn’t meant for a person, or even a faithful canine companion.
It’s for a fantasy football league named after the premier pro wrestler at the time – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
For the past 16 years, basically my entire post-collegiate life, the Roody Poo Fantasy Football League filled the fall with competitive fervor, smack talk, companionship and the occasional riches of a high-payout.
The Roody Poo wasn’t the typical fantasy league. In its early (and in this writer’s mind better) years, points were hard to come by. The league was a scoring league. Touchdowns, like real football, meant more than yards. Quarterbacks, the most important players in the game, were the most vital to Roody Poo success. Passing touchdowns counted the same as rushing, receiving or defensive touchdowns. Throw an interception that was returned for a score? Well, that was six points off the quarterback’s point total.
The league was quirky. Owners had to reach the championship to earn a share of the pot. The champion usually won around a grand.
And the trash talk. Oh my, did it fly fast and furious.
Like everything else, things change. Over time, owners wanted more points awarded for yards and the third-place team to earn a share of the pot. As commissioner, I permitted such changes, but the original intent of the league was bastardized. It still owned its quirks, but the Roody Poo slowly became like the majority of other fantasy football leagues.
Drafts, which always took place at my apartment, started occurring online. The trash talk dwindled to a murmur, then grew silent.
Yet, the league remained highly competitive as the payouts proved fruitful – a nice bonus after the holidays.
But then, about six weeks ago, a realization hit me.
Even if the Roody Poo was no longer what I wanted it to be, I still took fantasy football seriously. Too seriously.
On this fateful Sunday, my Roody Poo team – Hadji’s Skeleton Achers – rolled with Matthew Stafford at quarterback and kept Joe Flacco on the bench. Just about noon, I was ready to insert Flacco into my starting lineup. My daughter, Anna, called upstairs to me.
“Dad, it’s time to go to church.”
I thought to myself, “Stafford’s been in your lineup all week, don’t second-guess yourself. Keep him in there.”
Flacco threw five touchdowns – in the first half.
Stafford, as he had done for much of the 2014 season, sucked.
I simmered over the decision the rest of the day. Seriously. It dominated my thought process.
That’s when the realization came to me … it was time to give it up. The Roody Poo needed retired, and I’m contemplating leaving fantasy football entirely.
And I’m OK with that.
As today’s 1 p.m. kickoffs near halftime, my Roody Poo run is about 90 minutes from being over. No starters Monday, or in Sunday’s late games. No playoffs this year. No adding to my league record number of championship game appearances. Over. 16 years. Just like that. I’m a little sentimental today, thinking back to the early years of the league and how much fun we all had competing. Moments from those in-person drafts that still make me smile. It was a great run, but everything, even fantasy football leagues, has an ending.