I don’t gamble. Not at all. Never. On anything. The house always wins, my judgment is awful, I let emotion rule, I love a good story more than good odds, on any given day … and so on.
So, here I am about to put another twenty-five bucks in my Draft King account.
This comes up, of course, because the NFL football season is coming soon to a brain near me, and while hockey and baseball were my first true loves, I can’t not watch football. Since I’m going to watch anyway, doesn’t it make sense that I ought to invest a little extra prep time so that I can see the game on a whole new level? There’s research to be done and rosters to explore. No more just grabbing a sandwich and a diet soda, plumping up the pillows on the couch and leaving family and the petty exigencies of life behind for a few (eight) hours.
No, my viewing now demands daily review of players moving to and from the trainer’s table and whirlpool, scanning scouting reports, keeping track of vets and rookies, new coaches, new schemes, suspensions, rivalries, contract extensions, and that’s just the start.
Let’s say I’m looking at a rookie. Is he a high motor guy, a natural waist bender, does he have a bubble butt, is he quicker than fast, does he have oily hips, is he a dancing bear, is he a space player, can he click and close, can he throw an effective jam?
Full disclosure. I have never asked any of those questions, but I do scan the opinions of those in the know, each contradicting the other, the result of which is that I’m lucky if I can make my twenty-five bucks last through the entire season. Last year? Ended up with one dollar in my account.
So I start this season with twenty-six dollars to plunk down, three bucks at a time.
I do understand that there is some dislocation of fan attachment when I’m less interested in the outcome of the game than the number of yards my tight end has put together or the number of sacks my defense has recorded. Some would call it rationalization, but I consider myself now a fan of football rather than hanging on to a provincial attachment to one team over all others.
I might also be a Detroit Lions fan, so there’s that.
Look, I have principles. I don’t goof around with college football, the last bastion of amateur sport; however, with no money on the table, this might be a good time to predict a top five finish for the University of Michigan. My allegiances in hockey and baseball are so misguided and absolute that I’d be through my small stake after three games.
I like to think of myself as a student of the game of football, an earnest aficionado, but there are moments when I think of Romans roaring encouragement to that week’s favorite gladiator, urging a final act of mutilation so profound that no opponent could crawl from the arena. Surely, hoping for a blitz so effective that the quarterback has to be scraped from the field with a spatula is nothing like that?
Well, as Julius Caesar is reputed to have said, “Alia iacra est” (The die is cast!). My twenty five bucks are in; might as well cross the Rubicon and check out the stats on Jimmy Garoppolo.