There's no crying in football

Today's blog brought to you by my hubby.  Thanks honey.

Daddy is a little too obsessed with fantasy football. My daughters, then 3 and 5, sensed this. Instead of trying to cut back on my fantasy football, I decided to welcome them to my world and try to get them addicted, too. Rather than doing the more complex fantasy football where you pick individual players by position, I started a Yahoo 'pick'em' league. For this league, once a week you go online and pick the team you think will win.  You can't get any simpler than that. Based on her love of ballet, Sydney's team was named "I Rock The Tutu". Brooklyn's became "Zhu Zhu Princess" after her toy collection. I recruited my mother-in-law, who is so football obsessed I can't watch games with her, a brother-in-law, and my only two friends who are more addicted to fantasy football than me, to round out our league.

Last year, I'd name off the cities and names for each team, and the girls would pick. This year, I'd start to say the city and they'd cut me off before I'd get to the team. I'd say "Green Bay..." and they'd yell "Packers!". Both girls had learned the names of every NFL to go with the city, although there are occasional pronunciation issues with the Raibers and the Rabens.

The girls have a funny way of picking teams.
They both pick Indianapolis and Tennessee to win every game because that's where Daddy's from and where they live now, and they'll pick Chicago and Kansas City most of the time because those cities' ties with uncle Eddy and Nana. When the Colts and Titans play, there's a lot of soul searching before making the pick. Brooklyn picks the Texans to win because it was the first team she could spell. Sydney always picks against the Steelers. No matter how many times I tell her their name comes from the fact that Pittsburg is famous for making steel (as in metal).  She fiercely believes their team is made entirely of thieves. Both girls pick Carolina because of their cousin Caroline.

To make this fantasy football post nerdier and add a Star Trek analogy, my six-year-old Brooklyn is the logical "Spock" of the two girls. She wants to know how she did the week before, and has started looking at a side column on the screen which shows what teams fans are picking. "Daddy, why does everyone think the New Orleans Saints are going to win?" "Because Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL." "Oh, OK. I'm still picking the Carolina Panthers." So, not completely logical. She also has a freakish memory. Some weeks ago, I asked her to pick the winner of the Chiefs/Broncos game. "Daddy, we already did that one." "No we didn't. We just started." "No, daddy, I meant we already picked those teams this year." She'd remembered from earlier in the season. I had to explain that some teams play each other twice in the same year.

Syd, aka Captain Kirk, is completely illogical, and does her picks like a mass of emotion. She cannot be more excited about picking these. If her teams win, she's happy. If they lose, she's crushed. Syd was actually close to leading the league until a week 12 swoon when she only picked 4 games correctly. Still, she's about 20 games over .500 for the year, and has had the most correct picks 4 different weeks this season.

The girls are so disappointed that there are only four games this week, and two next week. Brooklyn did her four picks (Saints, Patriots, Texans, Giants) and said, "That's all?" Syd finished her four picks (Saints, Patriots, Ravens, Giants), and then asked "Who do the Titans play?" I told her they hadn't won enough games to make the playoffs (somehow she missed this last week), and they were done for the year. She started to choke up. I tried to calm her by saying, "Syd, they'll play again next year." Unfortunately, that wasn't enough. Syd got up from the table and started wailing, walking around the kitchen aimlessly until finally wrapping her arms around mommy's leg and letting the tears flow.

All in all, I must say that I'm one proud daddy, and I love having this tradition with my girls.


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