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Slices of Life: Living the fantasy and scoring a big W
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My daughter and I live with a bunch of guys, so it wasn't much of a surprise when they suggested a family fantasy football league. They are good at thinking up ways to beat us in various competitions - and not watching chick flicks.

The fantasy league wasn't such a bad idea. I figured it would generate a friendly atmosphere of competition and provide a shared sense of engagement during the big games. Plus it might even garner me a spot on the couch on Sunday afternoons. I was all in.

We started with the draft. This is where you pick your team, not get ready for war. Since my knowledge of professional football fits comfortably on the tip of a very sharp pencil, I was a little apprehensive. My sons showed me there are apps for that. Our app walked us through the whole fantasy drafting process, gave us a play-by-play rundown of who's who in football and ranked players according to their estimated fantasy worth and scoring potential.

How hard could it be?

I picked my roster and was feeling optimistic about my running backs, quarterbacks and couple other backs on my team. As a bonus, I'd scored a good-looking tight end (which refers to a football player, by the way).

After picking a team, you have to decide which players to put in your lineup each week. This involves research into player injuries, team matchups, home field advantage and of course who has the best looking tight end. I read the predictions and checked the stats and played my players accordingly. The process was detailed and scientific. I was at the top of my game and ready to put it through the goalpost.

Then game day hit like a linebacker and I got clobbered like a scrambling quarterback.

Apparently getting your butt kicked in fantasy football is easier than the odds lead you to believe. Either that or I'm just talented that way. For a few weeks now my mainliners have produced squat while the guys sitting on my bench put in outstanding performances.

Perhaps this whole fantasy thing is more of a nightmare than I thought.

It also changes the way you watch the game. Not that I've ever been much of a watcher, but I assume if I had been I'd pick a specific team and root for a "W." In fantasy football, it isn't important which team wins the game, but whether your tight end catches a touchdown pass from your quarterback with your kicker successfully making the extra point. It's a possibility you could have a running back on one team and a wide receiver playing against your running back on the other. Knowing which team to cheer for is nearly impossible. Besides, none of this has ever been about the game; it's about the fantasy.

Win or lose, I'm just glad I got invited. It's allowing me the opportunity to spend quality time engaged in sports talk with my guys as well as enjoying an ongoing date with them every Sunday afternoon through at least the first week in February. (Which gives non-sporty types like me a whole month before March Madness brackets become a reality.)

As a bonus extra point, I'm happy to report that landing a spot on the couch during game day is no longer a fantasy. That's a big "W" for me under any league rules.

- Jill Pertler's column appears Thursdays in the Times. She can be reached at