South Africa has cricket, Mexico has soccer, China has ping-pong, and the US has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Excuse me, I meant football. Just like that sick f*** who broke the world record for most hot dogs consumed (70 if you were curious), America’s love of football is downright unhealthy. We’re Fast Food Nation and we’re Football Nation and not the other way around.
I recently bought a baseball hat that simply says “SPORTS” because I’m constantly looking for inventive ways to get attention. I actually really like sports. Whether it’s playing, watching or actually talking about them, I’m pretty much the epitome of a “sports nut.” Despite being a natural-born athlete, I’m not good at all sports. I was the first ever female to be cut from a rec league volleyball team. Okay, so I wasn’t actually cut, per se – I just stopped going to games. I did suck though. Just ask any of my former teammates.
I like watching sports almost as much as I like playing them. I will gladly set aside 4+ hours to watch a football game because I can engage in four of my favorite activities: eating, drinking, sitting, and yelling at a TV. A statistic from 2011 says that among adults who watch football, six in ten say they spend between 3 to 5 hours a week watching it. I imagine this has changed since ’11 and the statistic people should probably do another study. Either way, I plan on watching upwards of five hours a week this season because unlike last year, this year I’ve got skin in the game. That’s right, I’m talking about Fantasy Football.
People all over the world have been playing fantasy sports for over 50 years, with approximately 40 million people participating in one or more fantasy sports every year. Many do not know where Fantasy Football even came from. I think it’s important that we sports watchers know the origins of this beloved tradition. Fantasy Football was conceived by three men at a Manhattan hotel in October of 1962. Wilfred “Bill” Winkenbach AKA Wink was the brains behind it, and is given most of the credit. The official name of the first Fantasy Football league was the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (try saying that three times fast. LOL). Mr. Winkenbach is also the brains behind similar games for golf and baseball. Little-known fact: Winkenbach’s life was the inspiration behind the phrase “Ball is Life” because sports consumed every waking moment of his life. Don’t be Wilfred Winkenbach.
So far my team is off to a rough start. I have one player that is suspended after getting a DWI, two are “questionable,” and one is IR, which stands for injured reserve, but might as well stand for “Immediate Regret.” The Patriot’s loss cost me my first match up against “Cry Me a Rivers.” I guess that’s what I get for choosing players based on level of attractiveness over skill. Basically unless I pull off some smart trades, I’m SOL. But who doesn’t love a good comeback? I know you’re all dying to know my team name. It’s “Tina’s Team.” Now that I know all about the history of fantasy, I think I might change it to The Winkenbetches as an homage to the game’s roots.