Life is Just a Fantasy (football league)

Can you live this fantasy life?” – Aldo Nova

This may not be exactly what Aldo Nova had in mind, but last Sunday marked the 21st annual draft in the B&K fantasy football league.  Our league is made up of approximately 20 men (some teams have “co-owners”) and one bold woman (props to Jen (Hopper) Dugan for reppin’ many years for the women).  I’ve been the commissioner of said league for all of these years too.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea of the league, but it’s named after one of my best buds since 8th grade, Barry Blanton (the “B”) and myself the “K”.  Not super creative, but hey, it was 1995 – a year in which President Bill Clinton was dealing with the Whitewater scandal, “Braveheart” was winning the Academy Award for best picture, and the Macarena was sweeping the nation.

That same August this league kicked off with it’s first draft in the basement of the Midtown Plaza in downtown Norman, OK with just some crate paper and a sharpie and about 12 people with pen, paper and fantasy football magazines.  We utilized the hot technology of the time – fax machines and made actual voice telephone calls to put in starting lineups during the season.

As commissioner I had to use the actual newspaper to calculate scoring every Monday morning and then again on Tuesday morning after Monday Night Football.  We used the Terry Bradshaw fantasy football scoring system which basically said 6 points for every touchdown with bonus points added for the length of the touchdown scored and the kickers got 1, 3, 4, or 5 points depending upon whether it was a extra point or field goal from over 50 or 40-49 yards or 39 yards and in.  It was pretty simple and there weren’t too many complexities in figuring up the score every week.

terrybradshaw

Yes, even back in 1995 Steeler legend Terry Bradshaw was into fantasy football!

Of course, being the sometimes creative writer that I am, I always produced some sort of “news” with the results which was really nothing more than an opportunity for me to hurl veiled insults at the owners and their teams.  Kevin Hopper’s Wire to Wire team won the very first championship and he even purchased a trophy (below, which I still keep in the garage).  We took an official photograph together also of myself handing him the trophy.  I think I still have the photo somewhere, but I’m not positive.  I asked Kevin at our draft on Sunday how long he thinks this league can last and he said he doesn’t see it ending anytime soon.  We joked about all being in an assisted living center and using the dining area  about 2 pm for our draft just before bed.

bktrophy

The trophy which lasted for 11 champions and losers.

“See the men paint their faces and cry.  Like some girl it makes you wonder why.”

Fantasy football is not for the weak or the pathetic or the lonely.  You have to be tough and many times have perseverance to make it in fantasy!  It can be a cruel, cruel, fictitious pretend world!  You would think in a league like ours that is starting its’ 21st season that most of the teams would have tasted a league championship by now.   Maybe even multiple championships.  At least one, right?  Wrong.  Of the original teams still in this, and as I recall the original members still playing (there were only 12 teams the first season) include  Kevin Hopper, Blanton, Jeff Hopper, Mike Cochran, Jim Pence, Scott Humphreys, Scott Shaw and myself still remain.

hop

The first champ, Kevin Hopper, making a selection at our draft in 2013

Of the originals only Kevin Hopper (3 time champ), Blanton/Jeff Hopper (once as co-owners), Cochran (the godfather of the league – a league-leading 5 time champ) and myself (just once) are the only ones to have won a B&K championship.  Yes, that means that Pence, Humphreys, and Shaw are a combined 0 for 60!  I love that stat and I will probably use it at some point this season.  We have others that have come and gone through the years with some of those that have been in the league for nearly 20 years as well that have yet to win it.

bkffl

Just two titles between these four teams (l-r myself, the Commish, Brent McMullan, Blake Rambo, and Blanton).  I first met these three men as pubescent 8th graders in 1984 in at Whittier Middle School in Norman, OK where we all started for the 8th grade basketball team.

We started the league with 12 teams and then went to 16 teams and then to our current 20 teams in 2004.   Over these 20+ years the scoring system has changed numerous times and technology has improved so that everything is kept track of on our league website at rtsports.com.  We’ve also had very little attrition over the years.  Sure we have had some teams leave, and we’ve had many name changes as well.  If you’ve been in the league a long time I will throw these names at you.  Some of these owners are still in the league and some have long since moved on – Heavy A’s, A Team Named Moe, Bald Eagles, Scuba, Bebe’s Kids, Baba Booey, Lizard Kings, Bionic Fighter Pilots, Sooner Killer, Stogies, AndaQuarter, Lookin’ for a ‘W’, S, S, & T, Nuts & Bolts, Stiff as Hell, Dead Money, and The Plunger.  Only one team has left the league in recent memory (Scuba), and that was about 3 seasons ago.  Before that, I don’t even remember when the last team to leave was.

“So forget all that you see.  It’s not reality.  It’s just a fantasy.”

Sure, fantasy football is just that – fantasy, make-believe, pretend.  Whatever you want to call it is fine, but it’s also big business now with the emergence of daily fantasy games in all sports in recent years.  But, for the twenty something of us in the B&K FFL, it’s just fun, and it’s a great way to keep in touch.  So as the 21st season sets to kickoff, once again coveted bragging rights and a little money are on the line with the B&K FFL.  And, in about 30 years if you’re ever visiting an assisted living facility and you see a bunch of old men and one woman with pen, paper, magazines, and curious looking draft boards you could be in the presence of B&K’s golden anniversary.

“Can’t you see what this crazy life is doing to me?”

Even though this is really a 90’s and beyond thing, this 80’s song by Aldo Nova is a fitting theme and song for this post.  Plus, there’s just so much to like about this video starting with Aldo Nova’s skin-tight leopard print wardrobe!  Pretty sure I would buy that if I ever came across it in some sort of novelty store.  His guitar also serves as a laser during the 1:25 non-music intro.  Lasers, helicopters, skin-tight leopard print – what more can you ask for in an 80’s video!  This was a #23 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1982, and it’s really the only hit by Canadian guitarist Aldo Nova, “Life is Just a Fantasy.”

Thanks for reading.

sincerely,

the 80’s

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