Playing Fantasy Football is gross. It's a loser thing to do, an American travesty, an act as shameful as watching the Kardashians on TV.
Yet all 330 million Americans, with the exception of one or two enlightened people such as me, play it every NFL season. The Fantasy Football phantasmagoria starts tonight as the season opens.
What's the attraction? I've never been drawn in by anything with the word fantasy in it. As a third grader for my birthday my Mom dragged my friends and I to a fantasy G-rated movie called "Fantasia." It blew. For five minutes we watched, noticed there were no human beings in it, then lay down in the lobby bored out of our trees waiting until the cartoon-like, unrealistic film of fish and animals put us out of our misery. To this day several of those kids have never hung out with me, so traumatized they were with boredom on that behemoth birthday boondoggle.
The movie didn't encapsulate the real. I dig real. Take Rocky Balboa, for instance. A no-good bum reeling in the sludge of Philadelphia, he takes on the world champ in boxing and beats him. This happened in real life, in my life, and in your life at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Rocky was no fantasy; his story is true.
Consider another movie: "Grease." I have never seen anything more real than Olivia Newton John. OK, the movie was kind of made up especially the bit when Travolta tried out for the track team. But how made up was Olivia in that last dancing scene? That vision of her will always exist for me.
In the literary sphere I have never read a fantasy book except maybe one: Alice in Wonderland. I had no idea how disturbing Alice's life was until I read it. Sure creeped me out. I much prefer books about real people such as Larry Bird and Marilyn Monroe.
On the TV front the show "Fantasy Island" became a hit series back in the 1980s. Yet it never drew me in. Some tall and short guy stood around in white sport coats and pants and waited for an airplane to fly over the island. When it did, the short guy would blurt "the plane, the plane." Flimsy and flat fantasy was all it was. The show didn't go anywhere, lacked T-Bone. It was the precursor to Fantasy Football.
It's pointless, if you really think about it, to read books about things that aren't true. Sure, they provide escapism. But if it didn't really happen, why should anyone care? What matters is what really did happen such as Rocky Balboa outslugging Apollo Creed to claim the crown and yell "Yo, Adrian" with his eyes all bloody.
Because everyone in this country plays it, Fantasy Football must have some allure. Some might say I'm narrow-minded and they would, of course, be right. But the name itself, a fantasy, reminds of my childhood and that day suffering through "Fantasia." That experience scarred me. A child I was then and I child I remain now.
Give me real football.