Friday, September 9, 2011

How to Make a Fantasy Football League Draft Holy

By Susan Esther Barnes

My husband has been in the same Fantasy Football League (FFL) since 1990. Some people have come and gone in the league, but the core of the participants are guys with whom we went to high school. Every year, before the season starts, they gather in someone’s home to hold the draft, and every year at a party during the Super Bowl they gather to award the trophy to that year’s FFL winner.

A number of years ago, Mark, one of the participants, moved to Los Angeles, but every year he still came up to the Bay Area for the FFL draft. Mark’s a bit of a football fanatic, a big Vikings fan. He and his brother Ray know more than anyone else I know about the teams and the players in the NFL.

Mark is also a bit of a fanatic about the FFL. One year, he made himself a football jersey in his FFL team’s colors, by piecing together a couple of jerseys from NFL teams. Then, each year he started giving a jersey to one of the other guys in the league, representing his respective team. You can’t really tell from the picture above, but each guy in the photo is wearing a specially made FFL team jersey, courtesy of Mark.

A couple of weeks before the scheduled draft for this year, we got an email from Mark’s brother Ray, who is also in the league. Mark’s cancer had been acting up, and he wouldn’t be able to make the trip up here to participate in the draft. There were suggestions about how he could participate in the draft by Skype or other electronic means, but an FFL draft without Mark there would be like a hot fudge sundae without the fudge. Serviceable, maybe, but still a disappointment.

Instead, five of us decided to take a day off work and hop on a plane to LA, so we could do the draft at Mark’s apartment. His Mom had been visiting, and she changed her flight so she could meet us near the airport on her way out as we were on our way in.

Of course Mark’s Mom has known us since our high school days, from the time when her sons used to throw parties at her house and we’d be up until all hours of the night, before we’d fall asleep sprawled across the living room floor. It was in their living room that I first fell in love with my husband, dancing to “Life’s Been Good to Me So Far” by Joe Walsh.

So Mark’s Mom met us by the airport, and we ate some sandwiches and shot the breeze, and before she left she told us how much it meant to her that we had come down for the draft, as if it were possible that we might make any other choice once the trip had been suggested.

Then off we were to Mark’s apartment, to play Halo and to hold the draft, to eat chips & dip and to reminisce about old times, to complain about how much Mark’s cat was shedding and to make each other laugh.

And that is how you make a Fantasy Football League Draft holy.


  1. Rabbi Susan,
    This post is so beautiful that you are making me cry.
    With much love and awe,

  2. Kim -

    Thank you for youd kind words, although I am not a rabbi. May you have a sweet and good new year.

  3. so sweet. my brother, eric, has been in a fantasy baseball league forever, and they fly all over the country for their drafts. i'm going to email this to him. love and kisses.